There’s no place like the road

Staten Island mounts a massive comeback
Team USA, Strasburg dominate the Netherlands

Yesterday’s game between the Twins and the Yankees ended when Alex Rodriguez, on a 3-1 pitch, flied out to Carlos Gomez. A-Rod, 1 for 6 against Jesse Crain prior to that at bat, represented the last gasp for a dying team, and he didn’t come through. The three batters that had to face Joe Nathan were simply a formality, and the Yanks went down in defeat, 4-1, to the Twins.

In this game, the Yanks had their chances. Darrell Rasner, the Yanks’ sixth or even seventh starter, threw five effective innings. He allowed three runs — two earned — on four hits and a walk. With four strike outs, Rasner threw better than he had since the start of July. While he left on the wrong end of a 3-1 game, a Robinson Cano error prevented it from being 2-1 or even tied.

But again, the Yankees couldn’t get their offense going. They scored their two runs on a single and a wild pitch, and while A-Rod’s eighth inning out was the most egregious example of failure, no one came through. Johnny Damon, Bobby Abreu, Xavier Nady, Robinson Cano and Melky Cabrera combined to go 0 for 16, and the Yanks just left four runners on base.

On the other side of the ball, the Yanks’ pitchers had another rough day, health-wise. Dan Giese, throwing three days after his last start, left with shoulder stiffness in the sixth. It was just another man day in a long season of injures.

Elsewhere in the AL, the Yanks saw Boston kill Chicago Texas. With the Boston win and the Yanks loss, the Bombers fell six games behind Boston for the Wild Card with 41 games left to play. The Yanks are 3.5 games behind Minnesota and are fading fast. While Phil Hughes and, eventually, Joba Chamberlain on the mend, the Yankees will offer their fans some excitement this season. But I’m going to start making plans for October that don’t, for the first time since 1994, involve the Yankees. Hopefully, I’ll have to cancel those plans, but right now, after a 3-7 road trip, I’m not too optimistic.

Staten Island mounts a massive comeback
Team USA, Strasburg dominate the Netherlands
  • Slugger27

    backs against the wall boys… u can only go up from here

    KEEP THE FAITH!

    • mustang

      I agree STAY STRONG. They still have a lot of game against Boston I’m going to quit on this team.

      • mustang

        This is when TRUE fans cheer the hardest when it doesn’t look optimistic.

      • mustang

        I’m NOT going to quit…

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      You absolutely keep the faith.

      You also keep the faith, both in this season, and in the longer term. You keep the faith that, even if it doesn’t work out this season, that this franchise is moving in a direction that would only be a growing pain in moving towards building the next Yankee dynasty.

      You never, EVER give up on this franchise.

      • jsbrendog

        never have, never will give up on this franchise, but this season is hurtnig my soul lol. i feel basically how hank does, the future is bright and we are and always will be the yankees, but if we dont make it this season, we’ll be back so don’t lose your head

  • McCaff

    So i have been on a cruise for the past 5 days, which is just lovely by the way, and have been checking the scores regularly. As you may know, people from Boston suck, and i have had to deal with Red Sox fans telling me how much the Yanks blow. Still , without hesitation, dawning my Phil Hughes t shirt and blue yankee fitted, i proudly stuck up for me team, and, with my baseball knowledge, put the Sox fan in their place. But, was I right to do that? With a team underperforming as much as the Yankees, my attempts to boost my teams “goodness” were unwaranted and silly. The season isnt over, and i will never give up on it untill it is, in fact, over. But i’m for the first time in my life worried about the Yanks. These Red Sox fans are making me contimplate jumping over board, yeah im just going to stick on board the yankee train and hope we can turn this thing around.

  • dkidd

    i’m a girardi supporter but the manager should take some heat when his team plays like they did today

  • stuart

    Hank may quit on this year and make lame excuses but I will not.. They can still make the playoffs if the wealthy guys play better. Hughes back in a week and smae for Matsui.

    Cano’s play is very dissapointing, his mental lapses are terrible.

  • Mark B

    I am beginning to feel that Joe Girardi and his coaching staff have been a complete failure despite all his hype as a former manager of the year, Fox & YES broadcaster and ex-Yankee during the championship run. If this wer eDon Mattingly, we would all be starting to question whether we hired him too soon and whether he had enough experience. Say what you want about injuries and how players play the game, managers don’t, but managers and coaches like are evaluated on how well the team executes the fundamentals, something this current squad is failing at.

  • Axl

    It’s over. We’re done. We’ve been cursed for a while now. There is nothing we can do…

    Boston brought up yet ANOTHER rookie in shortstop Jed Lowrie…that has like 30 RBI in 150 at bats. Then we have our guys…veterans and rookies who can’t do anything.

    It doesn’t make sense and it bothers me. It seems like there is no end to this mess.

    Girardi can’t hit for them…or tell them how to hit. Although you can’t help but question these players motivation behind him.

    All I know is that in the final season of the original Yankee Stadium…the Yankees will for the first time be out of the playoffs…and if this illness continues…it might be for a while. We might be looking at a 1980’s slump.

    • Tripp

      I don’t know Axl. Different kinds of rookies. Yankees haven’t brought up to many hitters, just pitchers. Doesn’t seem like Masterson or Bucholtz have been too hot for the Sox and Jacoby has been all but average all year.

      • ChrisS

        Jacoby is only slightly better offensively than Melky. And Ellsbury is nearly a full year older than Melky.

        Although, recently Cabrera is a little concerned that Ellsbury might take his mantle of the being the worst hitting ML CFer and has really put the crap in craptacular. Meanwhile Ellsbury has been on some kind of hot streak.

      • Axl

        Tripp,

        We’ve brought up Gardnerr, Christian, Melky has been awful, Cano has been bad this season. Our “highly touted” pitchers have been horrendous (Hughes, Kennedy, etc). Rasner has been what he is…mediocre at best…and only SOMETIMES. But I don’t ask much from him because he is who he is.

        Meanwhile, Bucholtz and Masterson stink. Lester is already a solid #2 for a somewhat established rotation. Papelbon doesn’t get hurt even though he’s more mortal these days…he’s still healthy. Our young pitchers aren’t.

        Our whole entire team is doing bad right now. There really isn’t one guy who stands out that is doing anything right.

        One day we’re not hitting, the other day our starting pitching does us in…another day our starting pitching is great and our bullpen makes sure we lose….and if everything is going well….the baseball gods will make sure Mariano Rivera gives up a 3 run home run to make it interesting.

        It’s almost like this team is trying so hard to lose.

        How is it possible that almost everybody on your team can suck at exactly the same time?!? How is that possible?!?!?

        The Yankees have been successful with that for years.

        They look very boring out there and lacklustered and they don’t deserve to win. Even if we made it to the playoffs…we’d be the worst team in there. I still don’t even understand how we won as many games as we have with this horrible display all year.

        On pace for 200 less runs than last year. It’s the same fucking team!! 200 less runs?!?

        Yes, we’ve had a lot of injuries…but mostly to our pitchers…Posada had a ridiculous year last year ok…and he’s gone…but everybody else? No excuse. Nady has fit in nice for Matsui (even if he came a little later). He’s probably wondering why he left the legitimate Pirates for the $200 million version of the Pirates.

        It’s embarrassing. And it makes me sick.

    • zzzzz

      yeah i get pissed at how good some of boston’s hitters are. you also must remember that they play in that little league field known as fenway though. it props up some of their stats.

  • mike

    I have long held Cano should have been traded – his talent is a tease, and he is not a winning player.

    some people mock “gritty” or “gamer” as a unquantifiable quality to have as a player and get drunk on stats, but I believe at the level these guys are (generally speaking)pretty equal and its the heart/desire they have to play hard each out which is apparent over the course of time.

    I remember Pete Rose saying (paraphrasing) that you get to 4000 hits by the lineup as a whole never taking an at bat off, and by making sure your teammates make the plays in the field they need to, as it likely will get you some extra at bats over the course of the season – i.e. if a guy dumped an at-bat, or screwed up on a play, he was taking opportunities from Rose. Now he was a selfish player as far as his stats were concerned, but he played each at bat as it were his last, and would play anywhere on the field it took to make the team better.

    No one wants to make an out (even in a game among friends), but i am sick that a 24ish year old – considered a building block for the future – needs to be Bowa-ized all last year, or needs to be spoken to every week for lacksadasical play. Making an out is excusable – looking like you want to be elsewhere should be accomodated.

    Cano is a guy we will see in another uniform on Sportscenter a few years from now with crazy stats driving the ball all over the field – but with his lack of heart or desire (im not a mindreader, but we see/hear it) he certainly will never be a core guy on a winning team.

    • ChrisS

      I don’t necessarily disagree with all that. But when gamer and gritty is mocked is when a guy is hitting like Melky, but sportswriters and fans claim that he’s contributing so much more because he gets his uniform dirty. Outs are outs.

      A-Rod busts his ass to be the best baseball player he can be, but no one calls him a gamer or gritty, apparently because he has talent, too.

      • JohnnyC

        OTOH, no one would question that Cano has much more talent than Pedroia…yet who has more to show for it? Melky and Cano are not comparable. We’ve over-rated Cabrera and he’s not to blame for not living up to OUR expectations. Cano SHOULD do much, much better than he’s done this year.

        • ChrisS

          OTOH, no one would question that Cano has much more talent than Pedroia

          Really? I think Pedroia is a very talented second baseman, but even he has a slight attitude problem and tends to show up to spring training out-of-shape.

          My expectations for Cano are tempered because he’s a swinger and not a walker. He’s going to have bad seasons even when his LD% is the same because so much of his offense is wrapped up in BABIP. And he’s only 25. Chase Utley didn’t even have OPS+ over 100 until his age 26 season. Batters grow and morph.

          I’m unconvinced. But now is not the time to trade Cano unless people have a special fondness for selling low, which seems to be a pervasive mindset. Last year or two years ago, Cano was untouchable, but at the first sign of a problem, the drumbeat to dump him begins. Tabata was untouchable last winter, now he gets dumped for an outfielder having a career year and the trade is cheered because Tabata sucks.

        • ChrisS

          OTOH, no one would question that Cano has much more talent than Pedroia

          Really? I think Pedroia is a very talented second baseman, but even he has a slight attitude problem and tends to show up to spring training out-of-shape.

          My expectations for Cano are tempered because he’s a swinger and not a walker. He’s going to have bad seasons even when his LD% is the same because so much of his offense is wrapped up in BABIP. And he’s only 25. Chase Utley didn’t even have OPS+ over 100 until his age 26 season. Batters grow and morph.

          But anyway, now is not the time to trade Cano unless people have a special fondness for selling low, which seems to be a pervasive mindset. Last year or two years ago, Cano was untouchable, but at the first sign of a problem, the drumbeat to dump him begins. Tabata was untouchable last winter, now he gets dumped for an outfielder having a career year and the trade is cheered because Tabata, apparently, sucks (and in his first five games with Pittsburgh’s AA team isn’t doing so poorly).

  • Bart

    The beggining of the dark ages — easy to froecast when the front office went on vacation tolet the mets deal with twins on santana

    the msiplaced hope that the offense coul carry the picthing was detailed here

    lest you mistake my doomsday scenario for being anti yankee — i am only anti abysmal mangement —

    the doom and gloom is not for not giving the Wilson Isringhousen Pulsiphur redux a try — it was for putting so much misplaced hope on so many lements — Gaimbi, Cabrerra, Matsui and Damon (health), Posada that he could continue to go at his former pace despite the odds of advancing age.

    No one could forsee the failures/injuries across the entire cast — or the criticall contribution of Mussina, and the the general excellence of the pen — but there were / are no hedges against even a pertially diminshed offense which was ORDAINED as required to support the young guns.

    The doom and gllom is a curse reserved for Cashman and Steins if they now abaondon the plan – and eal wildley to shore up and replace or drive Hughes, kennedy Joba to hard – too much expectation that they break again.

    If the plan stays in tact we the fans can avoid the Dave laPointe dark ages — but the Front Office has to stay in the Game on Sabbathia, Teixeira and replacement for Posada and Cabrerra, Abreu (beetmit,

    • JohnnyC

      I think Cashman was well aware of the pitfalls of this roster but he and the organization had made the calculation that the time to make drastic changes was the offseason after 2008 when more than $75 million were scheduled to come off the books. He didn’t forsee the injuries and the utter failure of Hughes/Kennedy. He could have made better contingency plans and he’s at fault there. But, the logic behind firing Torre and replacing him with Girardi was: they knew, at best, we’d make the playoffs and lose in the first round, at worst, we’d miss the post-season entirely. Neither situation would have been a pretty sight with Torre still in the dugout. It would have been brutal…again. Not that missing the playoffs for the first time in 13 years is easy to accept. It’s a necessary transition to a new roster built for the future. More speed, more athleticism, less ego, more system-fed, and cheaper. Keep the faith. 2009’s gonna be good.

  • Wolf Williams

    Easy, big guys….

    Maybe the Red Sox and Rays are due for a slump, and we sweep the Royals and rebound with a 4-2 trip next week….

    All is not lost. Have you forgotten 1978? Have you forgotten Mo’s three innings in the 2003 ALCS Game 7? Did we quit then? “Did we quit when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor….? What the fuck happened to the Delta I used to kn…”

    This is not John Blutarsky and his 0.0 GPA. There are still 41 games to go…. I say we go 31-10 and turn this thing around….

  • JimT

    Is the Yankee’s record (7 games over .500) just about where they projected to be at the begining of the season? I know that 3-7 isn’t a good road trip. But they went up against two talented and motivated teams. The Angels are right now the team to beat in the American League and the Twins are always tough, especially in thier own barn. Also, in the post “greenies” era most teams in MLB have poor road records. Is it a real suprize that an older, nicked up team such as the Yankees should run out of gas on the road?

    I contend that the Yankees have over performed this year to be at thier current record. Going into the season they were an older, veteran team that was placing great hopes on a bevy of young unproven pitchers. Face facts, Hughes, Kennedy and Chamberlain were rushed to the majors out of nessesity. Once past those three the real talent in the Yankees farm system was too young to help this season. When the injury bug hit (and it hit the Yankees especially hard) they didn’t have the organizational depth to plug the gap. But I maintain that it was elements of the veteran presence (Mussina, Rivera and Damon in particular) that kept this team afloat.

    Perhaps it is too early for this, the Yankees could still put on a rush and make the post season. Realistically they would have to be almost flawless against the Rays and Red Sox in head to head games and they would have to play through a brutal up coming road schedule. But still I’d love to hear from some Yankee fans what they should do for next years team. Which veterans should be kept and which should be replaced.

    As a Red Sox fan I hope that Hank keeps to his recent words. By that I mean adding a veteran pitcher and otherwise keeping this group intact. They will be another year older and the injuries and declining perforances that dogged this team will be evident next year as well.

  • http://usc Matt

    Things may not be goin so well, we may not make the playoffs, but at this very moment I have never been more proud to be a Yankee.

  • http://RiverAve.Blues Joseph M

    The key to the Yankees off season is getting younger position players. Abreu and Giambi have to go. Cano moves from the untouchable list to the what have you got in mind list. If and it’s a big if they can find someone to play center (a young someone at that) I would move Cano. Of course what do they do about second base. I would start shopping the likes of Abreu and Giambi right now to see if they can make a waiver deal (hopefully bring back a young player or two in return).

    The competitive season is over let’s deal with it in a productive manner and start retooling right now.

    • The Fallen Phoenix

      Why would you look for someone to play center, when Austin Jackson is one of the top position prospects in the Eastern League and projects to be the team’s starting CF by 2010?

      Nady can slot into RF for Abreu (who shouldn’t be waiver traded: he’s a Type A this offseason), while Matsui and/or Damon can hold LF for another year while they’re still on the books. You don’t trade a young two-way 2nd baseman with one of the highest upsides in the game for a corner outfielder, but if the Yankees could land a top SS and P prospect for Cano, then, and only then, would I really contemplate moving him.

      I don’t understand the desire to move Cano; he’s one of the Yankees’ only young position players, plays an up-the-middle position with solid glove and batwork (this year’s offensive struggles aside), and the Yankees have no one in the high minors who projects as an average second baseman.

      • ceciguante

        as to your first question — ajax may project to start in 2010, but that leaves you with no credible CF option for 2009. ajax is just a prospect, so the likelihood remains that he busts. this team has to recognize that it’s thin in the OF (esp CF), and as damon/matsui/abreu age and depart, it’s getting thinner. austin jackson is not the answer to the yankees OF problems.

        …and the Yankees have no one in the high minors who projects as an average second baseman.

        the yanks have no one in the high minors who projects to fill ANY position other than pitcher. and one more point: matsui is a liability in LF (and may be worse than ever with his recent knee problem). damon covers some ground but his arm is awful and he probably can’t make 140 starts in LF. both are past their prime and becoming more injury prone. cashman will have to start unloading top pitching prospects for positional ones, and spend big on the FA market for guys south of 30 (tex, CC).

      • http://RiverAve.Blues Joseph M

        Good points here’s a couple of issues I have with them. Austin Jackson could be tne next Eric Duncan or Drew Henson for all we know. I don’t think you can just write off the 2009 centerfield position based on Austin Jackson 2010 arrival.

        If you can move one of the older players Giambi, Abreu or even Damon for a real 2009 prospect I think you have to do it.

        As far as Cano goes I hate the thought of trading him while at the same time thinking he doesn’t have the inner drive to be the palyer he is fully capable of being.

    • ceciguante

      problem is, the OF class of free agents is awful thin this offseason. and the yankee farm system — for all the enthusiasm it draws around here — is basically devoid of any MLB caliber positional talent.

      how cashman can spend $200M a season and seemingly make the team worse every year is mindboggling.

  • Axl

    Cano is 25 years old. He won’t be dogging it and showboating for the rest of his career. He’s a cocky 25 year old with a lot of talent…and he knows it. Once he matures and gets older….you’ll start to see some wonders that we haven’t seen before.

    He has one of the best swings in the game. The Yankees as a whole stunk the whole year…we can’t pinpoint any one person and blame them or pick apart their offense because they’re all terrible. Arod is now hitting .204 with RISP and 2 outs?

    Once this club get a little more younger…gets rid of Giambi, Pavano, Mussina, etc. Trade away Matsui and/or Damon…and get some younger hungrier guys who aren’t making millions and trillions of dollars….we could have a chance.

    With this same old lathargic group of underachievers…I dont think we can get it done next season…I just don’t.

    • Setty

      Are you a fan of this team? It doesn’t seem like it’s the case considering you’ve written off a season that’s only been 3/4 played AND next season. Don’t be a frontrunner – stick with your team through ups AND downs. It’s not possible to win a championship every single year, although some fans tend to think they deserve just that.

  • pounder

    NO HAS QUIT ON THIS TEAM….EXCEPT THE PLAYERS THEMSELVES.

    • Setty

      Well the owner gave them a free pass to quit, so what do you expect?

  • pounder

    Matt says:
    August 14th, 2008 at 11:42 am

    Things may not be goin so well, we may not make the playoffs, but at this very moment I have never been more proud to be a Yankee.

    HUH ???????????????

  • pounder

    Setty says:
    August 14th, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    Well the owner gave them a free pass to quit, so what do you expect?

    Correct. We need new ownership and upper management.If the Steins want topreserve their familys(read, their Daddy’s )legacy,they should sell now before any more damage is done.I wonder if Joe Torre would be interested in joining a consortium to buy the Yankees.?

  • Axl

    Setty,

    I’m not quitting on this team but have you watched these games? These guys are getting paid over 200 million dollars to play LESS than mediocre.

    Not only are we getting injured everyday…but absolutely NOTHING is going our way. Rivera is blowing a save if it’s going well, we have our bullpen doing the EXACT opposite of what they were doing in the 1st half…our management has been taking these gambles on Kennedy, Hughes, trading Farnsworth, etc….and EVERY SINGLE GAMBLE has come back to haunt them. None of them have worked out.

    And I can only imagine how this is taking a toll on the players…because its taking a toll on me.

    It’s embarrassing watching this team. Everybody is steamrolling over them…even when our 7th, 8th, and 9th starters are actually pitching well….we’ll go sour with our bats at the perfect time.

    Just seems like everything is perfectly orchestrated for us to lose. It’s VERY aggrivating and doesn’t make any sense.

    I also live in Massachusetts now and never hear the end of it from my friends. I want to ring peoples necks.

    • Setty

      Poor you. Your team has only made the playoffs 12 out of the last 12 years and is going through a losing streak, but how dare they go through a losing streak with such a large payroll! Sorry they’re causing you such embarrassment and shame. It’s tough to be a Yankee fan

      • Axl

        You’re right. It is tough to be a Yankee fan…and like I said. Especially when you live in Massachusetts. How would you know…NOT living there?

        It seems to me like you like to not only point out the obvious…but you like to just act oblivious to all things bad because of the past.

        I don’t exactly have a “what have you done for me lately” attitude, but when the team is getting paid so much…and hasn’t won in 8 years…I get a little frustrated.

        And yes, even more so when I live where I do.

        • Setty

          All things bad? What exactly is so bad right now? If this team doesn’t make the playoffs (gasp!), even though they still can, you know management will bring in the necessary talent to ensure they’re playing postseason baseball next year. Just think about what you’re saying – the team hasn’t won in 8 years! Talk to a Cubs fan, or a Phillies fan, or a Royals fan. APPRECIATE what this team has given you for over a decade

    • mike

      The issue I have is not that the trades didn’t work out – but the scouting of our own team is horrible..

      I have been saying this all season – we need to first scout our own team and know what we have.

      Moose was projected to be a #5, big season from Abreu on walk year, Cano is worth a big contract when there is no compelling reason to do so, melky can survive in a ML lineup, lineup will score 900 runs, Kennedy is a #4, Hughes is going to contribute, we do not need Santana, Ensberg is a good bench guy….

      These are just some of the opinions of Yankee brass which have been proven 100% wrong, all of which the Yanks had more information than anyone else at their disposal to make these decisions.

      I am going to give them credit for Giambi and 1/2 credit for Farnsworth, but I will take away Moeller ( keeping 3 catchers on roster), Sexon and AG – all of whom clogged up the roster at one time or another.

      We cannot expect great decisions all of the time – but when the stated point is to have a young, developing team – and managment has been WRONG on all above points as well as leaving the cupboard bare with 0 positional talent in the minors ( im not going into Joba’s workload, drafting injured Brackman or Melancon, getting Sanchez (injured) for Sheff etc) its frustrating – and the one hop[e is Ajax – an ordinary talent who is still at AA.

      If other teams didn’t CUT Geise, Rasner, Brunney, Veras, Ponson and Ramirez before the Yanks signed them- would the Yanks have won 70 games this year???

      I like Cash, I liked the tradeline moves, but someone’s gotta pay