Yanks look uninspired as Pettitte loses

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For the first time in their team history, the Tampa Bay Rays find themselves in uncharted territories: Following a 7-1 drubbing of a lethargic Yankee team, they are six games over .500, a franchise high-water mark.

Following tonight’s loss, Mike and I were talking about this game. We both agreed — and this is hardly breaking news — that the Yankees without Jorge Posada and Alex Rodriguez are a vastly inferior team than they are otherwise. The middle of their lineup lacks punch, and the bottom of the lineup — led by a struggling Jose Molina — is fairly heinous.

I was all set to write about how the Yankees look old and bored and the Rays looked young and exuberant. But then Mark Feindsand beat me to it:

If you’ve ever watched the Rays play, it’s easy to see their enthusiasm and excitement, both on and off the field. They joke around in the dugout, they run around the field like a bunch of kids and they look like they’re having a great time playing the game.

Compared to the Rays, the Yankees look like a bunch of 60-year-olds.

That about sums up the play on the field tonight.

Meanwhile, let’s talk about Andy Pettitte. Over his last four starts spanning 21.1 innings, Pettitte finds himself 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA. He’s given up 28 hits and six walks while striking out a respectable 17. Pettitte just hasn’t had it lately, and the Yanks need him to find it.

Tonight, Pettitte’s problem seemed to be one of pitch selection. He was hitting 89-91 with his fastball, which should be fast enough to get out hitters as he mixes in his curveball and cutter. But Jason Barlett beat him on a curveball — the third straight curveball of the at-bat. Pettitte got a little too cutesy with a player hitting .248 with no power, and Barlett delivered the death blow.

The Yanks find themselves again treading water. They’re yet again one game under that .500 mark, but they haven’t lost ground to the Red Sox, losers of three out of four in Minneapolis this weekend. At some point, something’s gotta give. The Yanks need to turn it on. Can they really afford to wait another week while A-Rod recovers?

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  • http://memotosteinbrenner.blogspot.com/2008/05/may-13-08-yanks-look-uninspired-as.html Mr.MemoToSteinbrenner.blogspot.com

    Even with Posada and Arod this team is NOT consistant seems to lack the desire and overhall during a long season and isn’t hungry???

    Right now this doesn’t seem to be a team that can rally off 8 to 10 straight wins…than again who knows come July?

    ……Nor does this team “seem” to have the internal fortitude to overcome theirselves or an opponet who wants it more
    be it a Sabathia, Beckett or Carmona

    yours truely

    http://memotosteinbrenner.blog.....ed-as.html

  • AndrewYF

    I’m pretty sure they won that start vs. Sabathia. A pretty damn good 1-0 game.

  • Pingback: Puzzling Pettitte « iYankees

  • Rich

    They need a spark Call up Gardner, and let him play LF for while at Damon’s expense.

    • RollingWave

      If everyone’s hitting like Damon, we’d be fine.

      It’s hard to say what to do with this situation right now. the guys that should be performing aren’t or is hurt, and with the possible exception of Giambi the biggest culprits have been surpsingly the guys people felt most confortable with comming into the year (Jeter / Cano / A-rod and to lesser extend Posada)

      on the pitching side so far it’s been the worset case possibility for IPK and Hughes, the front 3 as a whole have been doing about the same or better than we’d hope. but no one has really stepped it up to a level that could carry the team’s problems through all this.

      essentially, on the offensive side there is little you could do but hoping the guys who aren’t hitting will hit soon (and it looks like they’re starint to wake up anyway… barring today of course) and the guys who are hurt gets healthy. on the pitching side obviously we need to mix and match moer and cross our fingers.

      • Rich

        I would look to see what Damon could bring back in a trade.

  • http://conservationvalue.blogspot.com Jon G

    They need some spark and speed. I’d love to see Brett Gardner or Justin Christian get a shot…

    Granted – they have had a VERY rough start and are only 3 games behind Boston in the loss column, which is really pretty good actually considering the injuries and the inconsistency of the starters.

    But what’s it going to take to wake the team up?

    Of course, a little winning and players returning from injuries certainly will help. Rasner is a wonderful development – I’ve always liked him and like Jeter’s comparison to John Lieber. This may be a kid who can go out there and win 10-15 games for a few years.

    But what will inspire the offense with O’Neilesque energy? Would it be Christian or Gardner? They sure could use that kind of gritty, pesky player!

    • Micky7 Old Ranger

      Are we the only ones advocating the promotion of Brett or Justin? I fear not, a few have mentioned it, but only in passing. Both of those guys could help the team in many different ways; speed, defence, and the ability to get on base. Johnny is not going to keep hitting as he was(before last night). Bobby is a good hitter, but he gives up hits also. It ain’t gonna happen folks. They will come up only if someone gets hurt. It sure would be nice to see some life out there, wouldn’t it? 27/08.

  • chris

    it is embarrassing that with a roster of 250 million that the loss of 2 players can make them so embarassingly aweful. yet another indictment on cashman that he cant build a complete team. i know nearly 50 million tis tied up in these two plus pavano, but i am really starting to believe the critics that this team cannot win without spending an uber amount of money.

    maybe this offseason, cash can sign a pitcher and some good complimentary players alla tim raines strawberry, chad curtis etc. and make this a complete team. its embarrassing to watch them get ominated niight in and night out by teams with half the payroll.

    one thing i am happy about though is that i picked the rays to get to the playoffs in 2009 – that prediction is doing pretty well

  • chris

    living in tampa, i have had the opportunity to atch them a lot this year and they have built a really good team that you cannot just attribute to. they picked up garza in a trade, kazir in a trade, and signed percival for bottom basebment money – oh yeah they also signed PEna off the “nobody wants you list”

    in the past 4 years what typs of moves like that has cashman made? i mean real trades not salary dumps. oh yeah he did sign calos pena for about a week.

    this team needs to be torn apart at the tade deadline – try to trade 2 or 32 of the damon/matsui/abreau trio and then go out in the free agent market and sign as many good players under the age of 30 and/or bring up some youngsters who are ready for the bigs

    damon matsui and abreu ae all having decent years and could garner something on the trade market while freeing up space to get a look at the kids in the minors and tak stck before free agency begins – couldnt come fast enough for me

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph P.

      “hen go out in the free agent market and sign as many good players under the age of 30 ”

      Because those players grow on trees.

  • http://www.myspace.com/j_panama Jamal G.

    I think it’s dangerous to characterize a team after a game like this. I don’t know whether it’s fans of all teams are Yankees fans in particular but we seem to be a little short when it comes time to give credit to our opponents. Matt Garza kicked our ass last night. He used a Fastball ranging from 92-95 MPH the whole night being able to locate it wherever he seemed fit, moving it in and out and up and down. He was masterful with the pitch and that’s all he needed.

    The reason I have such a problem with the reaction to this game is because of the Yankees’ play recently. Scoring three runs in the 9th off Todd Jones and the Tigers, falling just short of an improbable comeback. Constant attacks on Jeremy Bonderman on Saturday afternoon and not to mention the good offensive output against Paul Byrd and the Indians on Thursday night. We ran into a very talented pitcher that was on his game tonight, what do you really expect us to look like? If I am not mistaken, coming into last night’s start Matt Garza allowed 3 ER in his last two starts combined.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph P.

    Everyone is starting to sound like they did last year. Except this isn’t nearly as bad. As far as I can recall, we didn’t add any speed to the lineup, and they came around just fine. Be patient. Two of our best players are injured. They’ll be back.

  • Tripp

    I’m just sick of others out there blasting the Yankees for having no life and then turn around and complain about Melky, Cano, and Joba when they do something exciting after a play.

    No one on this list really….just venting here.

    • LiveFromNewYork

      Absolutely.

      The Yanks are getting creamed by both their critics and fans no matter what they do.

      Fist pump: too enthusiastic.
      Loss: no enthusiasm.
      Melky: too young and inconsistent.
      Giambi: too old and costly (believe me I’m the first who would like to see him go)

      They plod or they jump and either way it’s wrong.

      It’s nice to see a young, enthusiastic Rays team. Reminds me of the Yanks in 96 and we’d LOVE to have the Yanks of 96 but we’re still living in the shadow of that dynasty and the signing mistakes that have been made since as we’ve panicked that the dynasty will never be again.

      But so long as we keep declaring them dead after every loss or crushing their enthusiasm after every fist pump, we will never see them win it all again.

      The extreme reactions to everything they do has GOT TO STOP.

  • chris

    they needed a career year from arod last season (and that is saying alot), the roster is a year older and crowded with 14 DH’s, no real first baseman, no true lead-off hitter, no lefty power (in reality not in name) and i am still not sure melky should be in CF, ideally left face it – this is a piss pooly built roster and the team is now paying the piper for backloading all of their long tem deals – see giambi – see jeter – even mussina before his current deal.

    i hope that the team essentially bought these guys on credit cards and they are paying the finance charges now.

    pesonally i dont want tex as he will get 20 million and doesnt deserve it. i would much rather get dunn. burrel, sabathia and maybe burnett or sheets (whoever is cheaper) and trade some young pitching for youn hitting alla delmon youn for garza — hughes or even kennedy and someone else couldn’t get a great young hitter?

    betances and a thow in ouldnt land matt laporta who is supposedly bein shopped.

    the team needs a shake-up and a year when you ae trying to beak kids in is the perfet time to do it. i want a team built to win a WS, not just get knocked out in round one and am willing to sacrifice a year for it.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Can you can it with the LaPorta talks until you actually offer up something more substantial than your own opinion?

      • A.D.

        So in reality they’re only realing paying this year, this is the first season that we’ve even heard the Yankees not willing to expand payroll.

        Getting Dunn or Burrell would be a terrible idea, they’re both swing and miss hitters who aren’t particularly consistent and while both have solid throwing arms, I believe they are both considered pretty bad outfielders with limited range.

        Burnett & Sheets is also probably not the best idea, they’re not coming at any discout and they could easily be the next Pavano, the consistently miss some starts every year due to injury, and they are almost always arm/elbow injuries which has to be a warning sign.

        So far the young pitching for young hitting looks like a bad idea, as the Rangers would probably prefer having a lights out starter that Volquez has been so far no matter how many RBI Hamilton puts up, and Delmon Young hasn’t done much, while Garza has pitched pretty well since coming off the DL

  • Mike N (Stamford, CT)

    Losing your two best hitters will do a lot to make a team look lethargic and unenthusiastic. We all knew coming into this season that pitching was going to be a bit of a problem as they transitioned to younger players from the older guys.

    Imagine in the Red Sox lost Ortiz and Ramirez for an extended period of time? They Yankees success this season was predicated on the pitchers doing enough to keep the Yankees in the game for the bats to win it. That is tough to do without your two best offensive players. Simple as that.

    There is a somehwhat legitimate beef to be made about the roster but who expected A-Rod and Posada – two veritable Iron Men – to miss significant time? Who expected Robinson Cano to struggle as mightily as he has so far? Who could have expected Giambi to hit .177 into May?

    The bullpen has been quite good so far, I expect Andy to rebound and for Wang to continue to be a very good pitcher and for Moose to have his ups and downs. If we can get A-Rod back and eventually Posada and the bullpen continues to be pretty strong, then the team should be OK.

    • mike

      I have to disagree with you a tad – the starters were not supposed to keep the game close for the offense to bail them out, the offense was going to be so good that they could club their way to the playoffs with mediocre starting, voluminous options at middle relief, a dominant back-end of the bullpen and some mid-to-late season call-ups of power arms in the minors.

      Guess what – someone scouting the Yanks did a piss-poor job, as greater-minds-than-us ( with access to better info, inside juice and other assets that billion dollar organizations have) have made a ton of poor decisions in the past year.

      It doesnt matter if they made sense at the time – thats what reporters and bloggers yammer about. Cash and other execs have a much greater scope to contend with ( i.e. profit over wins/losses etc.) but when it boils down to increasing the value of the asset (team) wins and the cost-per-win do matter.

      Everyone liked the Vasquez trade at the time, and Contreras was flaky, and Weaver had 3 complete game shutouts when he was picked up mid-season, and randy was coming off a dominant season. and Brown had a 2.2 era the year before, and Pavano could have been a horse etc. BUT what worked out??? nada. Each of the above guys were a little helpful…but talk about a downward spiral

  • http://nyyu.blogspot.com Mike @ NYYU

    “Pettitte got a little too cutesy with a player hitting .248 with no power”

    Exactly!

    Hughes got too ‘cutesy’ and got pounded, Kennedy got ‘cutesy’ and got pounded.

    Kennedy goes to Scranton, is not ‘cutesy’ and blows people away. Just like he did last year. Same for Hughes and Pettitte.

    Where is this ‘cutesy’ nibbling crap coming from???

    DAVE EILAND!

    • Count Zero

      Can you back that up? I mean, Eiland wasn’t telling anyone to be cutesy in SWB last year was he? Did he suddenly become the proponent of the “cutesy” philosophy when he got promoted?

  • nick blasioli

    thanks to cashman for the collapse..he did nothing to improve the team from last year…sure injuries are part of the game and all teams have them..but you have to suck it up and go on…

  • Geno

    If Kennedy can continue dealing in Scranton, in a few weeks he’ll be back and hopefully fixed. If we can get him, Hughes, Arod & Posada back, that’s a boatload of talent. I think the team is a little down on itself right now because of all the injuries and demotions. We’ll turn it around.

    • http://nyyu.blogspot.com Mike @ NYYU

      Geno,

      Kennedy is starting vs the Rays Thursday.

  • http://yankeesfaninboston.blogspot.com DMan

    They just look so lazy sometimes. I’m sure they’re not, but sometimes it’s hard to tell.

    They look uninspired right now. We all know they can do so much better.

  • TurnTwo

    calling up Gardner isnt the answer… like it was mentioned, Damon, Melky, and Abreu have all hit fairly well considering the overall ineptitude of the offense.

    the real answer here is simply is putting together a little winning streak, and getting ARod and Posada back and healthy.

    the starting staff is having more good days than bad, and the bullpen has been solid…

    just need consistency in the offense where they need production: 3B with ARod out, Catcher with Posada out, 1B with nothing really from Giambi/Duncan/Betemit/Ensberg, and 2B with Robby Cano.

  • r.w.g.

    I’m not sure calling up Gardner is the best idea. If you look at his career numbers, he always has a struggling/adjustment period when he’s moved up a level. I’d be worried about people thinking he’s going to be a spark-plugging savior and then kill the kid when he’s hitting .250.

    I’m not really sure what the solution to make the team better is. We made it by the skin of our teeth last year when Posada and Rodriguez had the best years of their careers and Phil and Kennedy pitched great for us in the last month or so.

    Giambi has a lot of home runs but his average is getting so low at this point that it is detracting from his OBP ability. His number of homers makes me want to give him some more time, but he’s starting to really push it.

    The Yankees have a strange team these days. Matsui and Damon should both be DHing (though Johnny has good range in LF despite that arm) and for all we know right now, Jorge will need to be the DH going forward. Shelley Duncan is a LF playing 1B sometimes, Jeter looks about the same defensively, and Robbie Cano might be this type of player (at least until he’s a little bit older) — drastic hot/cold stretches.

    I dunno.. they kind of look like a .500 team. There is some real talent, but they’ve got bats getting slow and some good pitchers who aren’t quite there yet. That being said, I’d let this thing go until the All-Star break. This group of guys has rallied enough times in the last 2-3 seasons that they at least get a bigger window to get some momentum going.

    If they are still looking cruddy and inconsistent, maybe you deal Johnny Damon, or cut Giambi or something. Maybe trade Abreu if they don’t want to resign him. This might just be a okay team in a transition year. I wouldn’t blow the whole thing up, but I really wouldn’t be too worried about dumping some guys. You’ve got A-Rod, Posada, Jeter, and Mo together for at least 2 more seasons after this one (hopefully they do the SMART thing and just let Jeter walk if won’t move off SS), and the kids are under control for what, 4-5 more years?

    I agree with another posted who earlier suggested maybe looking at Ben Sheets in the offseason. If we can get him on a contract like Mussina’s extension (2 years, 22 million or so) might be worth it. I’d be careful about Teixeira, 7 years didn’t work with Giambi.

    • Count Zero

      Solid post IMO — I agree with most of what you’re saying. With A-Rod back in the lineup this might be an 87-90 win team — without him, they look pretty much like their record – .500.

      And just to be clear — I’m all for staying the course. Keep developing people in the minors, don’t panic and rush them up too early; stick with the plans for Hughes, IPK and Joba. Slow rehab and progression for Sanchez. Keep Tabata focused and adjusting. September callups will be very interesting.

      The MiL system looks really good, and we are in a solid position to build another dynasty by using cash and trade chips to fill in the last couple of pieces — when the time is right in a year, or maybe even two. The price of that is we will likely be sitting at home in October this year. It’s a price I’m willing to pay.

  • http://yankeesetc.blogspot.com/ Travis G.

    losing the two best hitters (going by last year’s stats) will hurt ANY team. it seems to be the case that this is a .500 team without those guys.

    and please stop with the cliches. of course the Yanks look ‘old, tired from the long season and unenthusiastic’ bc they’re LOSING. and the drays look ‘young and enthusiastic’ bc they’re WINNING. when the yanks are winning, they look ‘experienced and enthusiastic’. then the drays are losing, they look ‘too young, inexperienced and tired from the long season’.

    trust me, when the Yanks ARE winning, they’ll be excited and enthusiastic. excitement and enthusiasm are NOT what’s winning for tampa. it’s their talented hitting and talented pitching.

    anyway, that offensive showing was pathetic. garza threw what seemed like 90% fastballs (we’re talking fairly straight here, not Carmona/Wang type FBs, and not terribly fast (90-95, not Beckett at 95+), and the Yanks mustered 6 baserunners?!

  • RobertGKramer

    Anyone else see the contrast between the Red Sox on Sunday night and the Yankees Monday night? Hate to praise the Sox, but the only word I can think of for their comeback attempt is ferocious.

    We’ll need some changes in July for a pennant run. I’ve gotta think we have some interesting trading pieces with good value at some other ML team. And we have or should have some interesting options on the farm! With the returning wounded I’m optimistic!!!