Yanks drop the weekend in Boston

Game 18 Spillover Thread III
Fan Confidence Poll: April 27th, 2009

On Friday, the Yankees were three strikes away from doubling up the Red Sox 4-2 when a Mariano Rivera cutter strayed too far over the middle of the plate. On Saturday, the Yankees had a 6-0 lead against the Red Sox when A.J. Burnett and the Yankee bullpen came unglued and surrendered 16 runs over five innings.

Those two losses hurt. They were painful to watch for different reasons, and they were games that the Yankees could have — and probably should have — won. They left me in a foul mood and with the proverbial bad taste in my mouth.

Tonight, though, the Yankees were simply outplayed. They were out-fielded, out-hit and out-pitched in what turned out to be a crisp and relatively quick game. What made tonight’s loss worse were the last two losses. When the dust settled tonight — when Johnny Damon flew out to end the game — the Yanks walked away losers of three straight to a team that has won ten in a row, and they could have easily taken two out of three.

To nitpick this game, we would point to Angel Berroa and his two errors. Prior to yesterday, Berroa had played a grand total of 0.1 innings at third base in the Majors, taking nary a ground ball. Tonight, he made two errors that cost the team an unearned run and allowed the Sox to turn over the lineup. But Berroa is the back-up to the back-up third baseman, and until A-Rod returns, the Yanks are up a third base creek without a paddle.

We would also point to Andy Pettitte‘s and the Yankee infield’s lack of focus with the speedy Jacoby Ellsbury on third. Pettitte, who a few years ago, allowed Aaron Hill to steal home in Toronto, is masterful at holding runners on at first but not at third. Ellsbury scored the game’s third run with that steal, and while the ESPN announcers made much ado of it, it was rather superfluous. One batter earlier, David Ortiz swung late on a 90-mph inside fastball to plate Jason Varitek, and that second run would be all the Sox would need.

At the plate, the Yanks could do nothing all night. They left eight runners on and went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position. For the weekend, they 7 for 42 (.167) with runners in scoring position. It’s tough to win with so many opportunities lost. Robinson Cano, Hideki Matsui and Melky Cabrera had two hits a piece, but a lone run would be all for the Yanks’ scoring.

The lone bright spot for the Yanks came in the 7th when Mark Melancon made his Major League debut. He retired the side on five pitches in that inning. When he came back out for the 8th, he allowed a walk, a hit and hit a batter before bearing down to retire three in a row. Not used to pitching from the stretch after dominating at AAA, he showed why the Yankees are high on him as a reliever and why he needs to be facing competition that will challenge him. Melancon could easily emerge as a bright spot in what has so far been a bad Yankee bullpen.

Right now, the Yankees are en route to Detroit where they will face a 10-8 Tigers team. The Bombers are 9-9 without their best offensive player and sure-handed third baseman, without a viable center fielder, without their erstwhile ace and without an effective bullpen. As the pieces fall into place, this team will become formidable indeed. For now, we’ll just lick those weekend wounds and move on. There is, after all, another game to play in 19 hours.

Site Note: If you’re looking for Sunday’s Down on the Farm, you can find it here. It got a bit buried amidst all of the game threads last night.

Game 18 Spillover Thread III
Fan Confidence Poll: April 27th, 2009
  • A.D.

    Silver lining, Melancon is in the bigs.

    • http://www.supertangas.com The man with 33 fingers

      And Juan Cruz looks great for the Royals.

      *sigh*

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    Mark Melancon.

    Maybe if I say it enough times fast all my troubles will go away.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

    Perhaps I should have gone with my alternate headline: At least the Yanks didn’t blow a 3-1 lead to the Capitols this weekend

    Too soon?

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

      My Devils didn’t fare much better, but then this series has been 1-0, 1-1, 2-1, 2-2, 3-2, and now 3-3.

    • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

      Arggggghhhhhh!!!!! Worst weekend ever!!!!

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

        I hear it’s particularly worse if you’re in Cambridge, MA. That’s the report from my sister at least.

        • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

          I’m not leaving my apartment tomorrow. Everyone here just exudes cockiness when the Sox win. I;m just gonna stay in and study for finals.

        • Stephen

          Not much better here in Somerville, MA. I went to the game Friday and tonight. Neither ended up being a pleasant experience. On the other hand, it seems that the Red Sox crowd is not made up of casual baseball fans, families, and businessmen. I was in the bleachers both days and me and 3 of my friends were able to start “Let’s Go Yankees” chants that were louder than the “Yankees Suck” chants.

          • waswhining

            The building front desk has a guy that I have a good natured Sawks/Yanks rivlary with. When I left on Friday, he was talking sweep, which I felt was way out of line with the two 9-6 and, at that moment in time, I thought evenly matched teams.

            So this morning when I dragged my bone weary twelve hour savaged and scourged Yankee Pride before his gleeful hey I told you so inspection, all I could offer was, “Look, I don’t want to sound like a sore loser, but I hope your whole effing team comes down with mexican swine flu and dies.”

            That was brutal weekend. I need a CC big time Monday and a return of the Phil on Tuesday. Didn’t the Sox do this last year, went on a tear and went 15-20 game above 500 and then played crappy 500 ball till the end of the year?

  • Brooklyn Ed

    when will Girardi put Jackson in a game?

    • A.D.

      Well if it doesnt happen tomorrow, prob doesnt happen, since I imagine he goes down for Hughes.

      • Brooklyn Ed

        true, he’s been up all of last week which its a waste. Girardi needs to learn to trust the rookie like he did with Melancon today.

        • A.D.

          Yeah essentially dug themselves a hole with Jackson, it’s been so many days that he last pitched, they probably don’t want to bring him in unless its a blowout at this point.

          In addition with the pen in flux you’d think they’d give everyone a shot to perform.

          • Brooklyn Ed

            one would think Clagget’s outing had something to do with it.

        • Drew

          I don’t think it’s a matter of trusting his rook’s, ie; Brett Gardner. I think he trusts his starters to go deep into games. Which may or may not be a good thing, we’ll find out.

          • Andy in Sunny Daytona

            I think Joe has an affinity with Brett Gardner because he was the same type of player. Overacheiver, scrappy, terrible hitter, no fancy haircut, good speed for their respective positions, low OBP, no power and culturally relevant kids names. (Dante-Italian, Hunter-Redneck)

    • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

      When he’s not trying to win anymore.

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    I’m sure there’s a swine flu reference to be made here somewhere

    • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

      Why? Did the Fenway Faithful catch a cold?

  • M

    After watching a bunch of games, I do not think CF is as much of a problem as it seems. Grant it when you field a line-up with Berrora, Gardner and Melky, ( molina can be thrown in there), it is not strong. But Gardner in the 9 hole has not been a bad thing. He does a lot of the little things right and brings a ton of speed in which the Yanks lack. He has improved since last year, and looks to be slowly getting better. I like his play and think it brings a lot to the team.

    • AndrewYF

      Brett Gardner makes Melky Cabrera – sometime little leaguer lookalike – seem like Willy Mays. A .273 OBP with a slugging somehow LOWER than that will do that to you.

      Until he can show otherwise, and he hasn’t, Brett Gardner is not a major league player.

    • John

      the thing is, he can’t really use that speed unless he gets on base.

      It’s like having a Ferrari but keeping it the garage.

      It’s like having a strong arm, but never being able to use it.

      This line deleted by RAB. No homophobia please.

      You get the point.

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona

      You’ll see. The second time around at every level he shows vast improvement. oh wait……………..

  • dkidd

    this weekend was the first time i missed joe torre’s even-keeled, everything’s going to be fine, quiet confidence thing. berroa bunting in the 3rd inning felt like panic to me

    • AndrewYF

      You would rather have gotten zero runs out of that inning?

      • dkidd

        i’d rather they got 5 runs

        • AndrewYF

          And I’d rather they have Albert Pujols at the plate rather than Angel Berroa. You gotta play with what you have, and Berroa was simply not going to get a hit.

    • Joseph M

      Are you talking about the level headed manager who panicked in game 4 in 2006 against Detroit and batted AROD 8t,h is that the Torre your talking about. How about the Torre who blew game 4 in 2003 leaving the greatest relief pitcher of all time sitting on the sideline. Or the Torre that was the manager of the team that had the single greatest collapse in baseball history in 2004.

  • dkidd

    3 things need to happen: a-rod gets back, tex starts hitting, the rotation starts giving the bullpen more of a rest

    all 3 are locks

    • Angel

      and DFA Berroa!!

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

        Once A-Rod comes back, I’d imagine Berroa will stick around as the backup infielder. That’s just a cold hard reality of losing Cody Ransom right when he was showing some signs of offensive life.

        • Brooklyn Ed

          i’m pretty sure Berrora will be gone and have Pena being the defensive sub instead when ARod returns. I think the 2 errors today pretty much states Berrora is a goner.

        • John

          I’d rather keep Pena as he at least bring superb defense

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

            Pena’s gotten 16 plate appearances. That’s not helping his development.

            • Brooklyn Ed

              hence why he should play everyday instead of sitting on the bench.

            • John

              hmmm you’re right. But Berroa should in no way be even a back-up, he is not even sub-par at 3rd, he seriously looks afraid out there.

              • Rich

                That Berroa was even signed, let alone that he starts, says something very troubling about this organization’s decision making process.

                • John

                  we never anticipated he’d be starting after Ransom also got injured. It was a low-risk move and he tore it up in ST.

                • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

                  Disagree.

                  Berroa was signed to a Minor League contract and given a Spring Training invite. The Yanks didn’t like what they saw enough to keep him around and assigned him as a body to fill a space in AAA. He’s the back up to the back up (Pena) to the back up (Ransom) infielder playing only because both A-Rod and Ransom are out. I guarantee you that Brian Cashman would have preferred 0 MLB ABs for Berroa.

                  The decision-making process at an organizational level is fine. I’m far more concerned with the decision-making process at the line up-creation level. Why Peña doesn’t get to start over Berroa is beyond me. It’s just like Joe Torre and the Proven Veterans™.

                • Brooklyn Ed

                  lets hope Pena is in the lineup tomorrow.

                • Rich

                  The reason that I opposed the signing is that I think any potential candidate for UI should be good defensively. Berroa’s UZR/150 is negative at SS, the only position at which there is a sufficient sample size to make an assessment.

                  Maybe Cashman has trusted Girardi’s judgment too much, and now feels that his trust, at least in this instance, has been misplaced. That’s the risk that accompanies signing players with very limited skillsets to even mL contracts, which again, is the reason I think the decision making process in this instance was flawed.

              • Angel

                Let Pena play loke a month in AA o AAA, later DFA Berroa, call-up Pena, later Active Ramson, sent down Pena

                • B.George

                  it really makes zero sense of not having pena play….if Girardi felt that Berroa is a better option to play then Pena he should have been on the team from day one….we are wasting a guy who can field the postion well and wont give you anymore outs which wins ballgames.

                • jmas12

                  Completely agree. Unless we’re going to move Jeter to left or DH (which should happen eventually) there’s no reason for Pena to stay on the roster once Arod comes back. He needs to get at-bats. His bat is shaky right now as it is, and the fact of the matter is this team is going to need a defensive upgrade at shortstop and soon. Let him go back down and play everyday so either he can get better, or if he doesn’t we know we have to go a different route.

                • John

                  Ransom’s on the 60 day…so it’ll still take a month away from Pena as A-rod will be back soon.

  • Victoria

    hear hear to the pieces falling into place for a formidable team, and here’s hoping the sox burn out quickly

    • Victoria

      p.s. being a yanks fan in boston sucks.

      • jonathan

        Amen Victoria, I am at work right now and I am afraid to open my inbox. I its not the losing, its the way we lost…we just gave these games away. We have been doing that alot and I wonderhow long its gonna take before people start looking at joe.

  • Matt

    I’m really starting to think that it is time for Hank and Hal to fire Eiland. On paper our pitching staff is rediculous. But it seems like they can’t locate fastballs to save their lives and they are averaging 4-5 BB a game. So our pitchers are averaging almost a walk per inning, and I feel that Eiland is to blame. Plus, I’m becoming less and less of a fan of Gerardi everyday. He is the exact opposite of Torre. He uses every pitcher in the bullpen, but it will be 0.2 ip here, but then 1.2 ip there. He cannot manage a bullpen! If I had to pick either, it would to be fire Dave Eiland. Does anyone agree or am I just irrational cause of our being swept by the sox?

    • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

      You’re just being irrational. Firing a pitching coach in April is an irrelevant, Boss George in his heyday panic type of move, and those teams never went anywhere.

      As tough as this weekend was to take, think of it this way. We are in the first leg of a 1 1/2 mile horse race. You don’t fire your Jockey or trainer at this point, its absurd to even consider it.

      • BigBlueAL

        Actually the Boss went through a couple of pitching coaches during the 1977-1978 seasons and they did win the WS both seasons.

        • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

          He fired Martin in the middle of 1978, but that was a completely different situation. The team and manager were spinning out of control. That’s not happening here.

          Have you heard any of the pitchers complaining about Eiland? I haven’t.

  • Matt K

    Is there any news on Bruney?? Other then 15 day DL and MRI being worse then they thought I haven’t heard a thing. Did I miss something??

    • Joey

      This is from yesterday or a few days ago (PeteAbe):

      “Bruney has what they are calling a strained flexor mass. His ligaments are fine, it’s a muscle injury. He will not throw for a week and they’re hoping that takes care of it.”

      He said later he talked to Bruney who believes he’ll be back/ready after the 15 days

      • Matt K

        Thank you so very much haha

  • Rich

    If Girardi handles it right, Bruney, Melancon, Robertson, and Coke should be an air tight bridge to Mariano (who should not be asked to do four out saves until at least July, if at all).

    • DCR

      Robertson isn’t good.

      • BigBlueAL

        Im still not sold on Coke either, although at least he has had some success in high-leverage situations, unlike Robertson who has excelled in mop-up but has been killed when he has pitched in somewhat meaningful situations.

        • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

          He has similar stuff and reportedly a better makeup than Marte. I’ll keep running Coke out there.

      • Matt

        Yea…… I’m gonna have to put a big negative there….. Robertson is FAR from sucky

      • Rich

        His mL stats: K/9: 12.6 WHIP: 0.92 demonstrate otherwise. He’s had 33 IP while being used irregularly in the MLs. It’s really premature to reach that conclusion.

  • desus

    On the plus side not only did i get to see Melancon pitch, I finally heard the correct pronunciation of his name.

    Small Victories.

  • Brian

    Brett Gardner/Melky Cabrera = AUTOMATIC OUTS

    Mark Teixeira only tries to hit home runs….

    Should have signed MANNY who is clutch unlike AROID and Teixeira

    This team is terrible. No bullpen whatsoever

    • desus

      IDNETC

    • Rey22

      Oh God, stfu

    • BigBlueAL

      Well I cant disagree with your first point….

      • Rich

        Over a small sample size this season, the facts are otherwise with regard to Melky: .303/.378/.667/1.045.

        Obviously, I have better chance of stealing Bundchen away from Tom Brady than that continuing, but at this point, there is very little reason to have a complaint about Melky this season, other than that he is not playing enough.

  • Drew

    Since I’ve been a true fan, probably about 2002 ish, We haven’t won, is it my fault?

  • http://thebronxzoo.wordpress.com iYankees

    The Yankees will be fine.

    The Red Sox have hit a collective hot streak (e.g., Nick Green, Mike Lowell) and the Yankees have hit a collective lull. It happens. I am somewhat worried about Gardner, though. His AB’s seemed to have gotten worse.

    • Drew

      BG is hard to watch. At least Melky swings and misses at balls out of the zone, Brett can’t hit a fastball right down the middle.

      • RustyJohn

        It would be nice to have a choice other than “Can’t hit pitches in the zone” and “Swings at pitches out of the zone.” Neither of those would be particularly bad if they weren’t average to below average fielders. Thank god Ken WIlliams is a crappier GM than Cashman, otherwise Swisher wouldn’t be around to save the outfield.

        • Andy in Sunny Daytona

          Speaking of Swisher……remember when he was hot? Boy, those were good times.

  • jonathan

    Is it just me or do the red sox only play at fenway? It seems like they are never on the road.

    • A.D.

      well they have played 12 of the first 18 there.

  • Steve B Ball

    wow , did we stink or what

  • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

    May 10th

    Bruney is back, A-Rod is back and Melancon has a few MLB innings under his belt.

  • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

    For anyone who needs to change the subject right around now

    http://www.theonion.com/content/news/first_homo_leagues_player_shatters?utm_source=a-section

    Wow, history is made.

  • Sweet Dick Willie

    The Bombers are 9-9 without their best offensive player and sure-handed third baseman, without a viable center fielder, without their erstwhile ace and without an effective bullpen.

    The first two items are irrelevant. The Yanks are averaging over 5.5 runs per game. Their mediocre start is totally due to the ineffectiveness of the pitching staff, both the startrers inability to pitch deep into games and the Jeckyl/Hyde bullpen.

    So unless Girardi (whom I’m liking less and less) plans on pitching Alex, his return won’t do much for the Yanks current woes.

    • A.D.

      The first two items aren’t completely irrelevant, being able to score even more runs because A-Rod is back in the lineup will help hide some issues by providing a buffer for the pitching.

    • hamburger helper

      What’s more…getting the “real” Wang back will not solve our starting pitching woes. Even if he pitches effectively, we still have to get the rest of the rotation pitching effectively/consistently. I’m only comfortable with Burnett (giving him one free pass for Saturday’s mess) and Pettitte (when he pitches from the stretch with a runner on 3rd, ferchrissakes!) at this point.

      Similarly, the return of Bruney won’t make the bullpen effective. Only effective pitchers can make the bullpen effective.

      This post was brought to you by the word “effective” and all its forms.

  • JimT

    Acknowledging that David Ortiz is off to a slow start, for those of you that insist that he is “cooked” then the same could logically be said about Mark Tex. Papi actually has two more extra base hits and one more RBI. That RBI double to left was a thing of beauty, because once Papi starts hitting the ball with authority to left the HRs soon follow.

    Papi is off to a slow start, Dice K is on the DL, both SS are hurt, niether Lester or Beckett have found their groves and they have one of their west coast trips behind them yet they are 12 -6. It would appear that the best is yet to come from the Bosox.

    PS
    Robinson Cano is a foarce of nature. I’ve been critical of Cano in the past, got to give him cudos now. He seems to be on a mission to be the best he can be.

    • Rich

      I’m not saying Ortiz is done, but last year’s stats have to figure into any analysis:

      2008 OPS+

      Tex: 151
      The other guy: 123

      So your logic is flawed.

      CC and Joba haven’t been particularly great (Wang may have been pitching hurt), and we have #13 coming back soon. I’m not worried at all.

      • JimT

        True, I didn’t single you out as someone that claims Big Papi is “cooked”. It has been a common theme however. I’m just useing Tex as a Yankee example to point out that players get off to slow starts and suffer through slumps. I don’t believe that any accurate conclusions can be made for either of these players based on the early returns.

        I’m very happy that you aren’t worried. You will sleep better that way. But you should understand that the Yankees aren’t the only team with injured players returning and expectations of better performances from select players. I dare say that every team in baseball can make similar claims. Is it a given that Lester and Beckett will pitch their very best, that Papi will heat up and the SS situation stabilize when Lugo returns. Nothing should be assumed. CC may continue to struggle, other players may get hurt, Joba may not be suited to the starting role, and CMW may not be healthy again this year, who knows. To paraphase Bill Parcels “You are what you are”. Until the Yankees improve and climb upm the standings they are a .500 team.

    • Confused Axl

      The Red Sox have had a revolving door of short stops since Nomar left. Literally. I don’t see how it’s a factor now. If anything, Nick Green is performing better or at the same pace Lowrie or Lugo could have done. Dice K has a pseudo injury…he felt fine. I don’t see how 4 or 5 starts in the WBC creates fatigue…but 4-5 starts in the regular baseball season has no ill effects on anybody. Beckett found a groove only once for the Red Sox so far. In 2007. Other than that he’s been entirely mediocre. You take out that 2007 season and his career win-loss percentage is about .500. As for Lester, he’s had one good season (last year)…to say he hasn’t “hit his groove” is a wild assumption based on that one year alone. Players could have made adjustments…anything could have been done.

      The Yankees are missing arguably the best hitter in all of baseball, we have a slew of notorious slow starters (including Cano) although Cano seems to be on a complete tear right now. We have Wang out with we don’t even know. And our bullpen has been over-used, at least it seems, even more than any other year in recent memory…which..if you can recall the other years, is absolutely ridiculous. These bullpen guys aren’t veterans by any means either…we’re tossing several innings to these inexperienced young guys…and for the most part…on some days (like yesterday for one) they seem to look pretty good. On other days, like Saturday, or any other Wang start…they become exposed and look so bad that their good performances aren’t given the look they should.

      The team is incredibly streaky and inconsistent right now. The pitchers will have one good start then 2 bad ones…and so forth…the hitters will hit a bunch of home runs and RBIs in the first 2 innings and then become anemic (all together) in the next 5 innings. The bullpen will come in and hold the Yankees in it one game…and be absolutely atrocious the next.

      The team needs to start putting things together. And it doesn’t seem like it’s anything batting practice or a bullpen session can fix. They need to string hits and good starts together fast. How? I’m not sure…but they need to find a way.

  • Confused Axl

    I love how I always say the same things that are written the next day DURING the game…but I get ganged up on and hated on…while writing it the next day is somehow “better”??

  • MottPott

    So, maybe this is unfair and a bit biased based on the last three days of baseball, but here’s my observation:

    Seems like the Yanks have lost their Mystique.

    Buster Olney had an article about this a couple of years ago, but I never really bought it until this past series in Boston. What I saw was a team that never showed any sign of fighting back. I saw a team that was waiting to lose, instead of confident that they were going to pull out a win in the end. I didn’t see any fire or swagger.

    Now, bad pitching and an inability to drive men in makes every team look bad. And as I said, it’s probably unfair with the sweep clouding my perception. But I couldn’t help thinking about all the Yankee teams that really made me excited about watching them. All those late 90’s teams that just KNEW they were better than you and would find a way to get it done.

    The Yanks could very well rebound and make the playoffs. CC has been awfull and will turn it around. ARod will be a world better than anything that’s manned the hot corner so far. The pen could come around and provide actual relief instead of russian roulette. But I really can’t help feeling that the Yanks are a team that’s afraid of losing, and brings little if any fight, excitment, or that indescrible SOMETHING that makes it feel like you’re watching a team of destiny.

    Once again, it’s early in the year. And they were horrible last season. But that’s been my experience watching them the last few years.

    • hamburger helper

      Up until this year, I would have countered you with “It isn’t mystique they’re lacking…it’s pitching and guts.” Now, it might just be guts. Until we dominate and win the WS, we’re going to be comparing each team to the Yanks of 96-00. That’s just the way it is. When I do that, I observe a lack of fighting spirit (Where have you gone, Tino and Paulie O?) and an inability/unwillingness to do whatever it takes to win. I think the latter can be in part attributed to the front office (I’m starting to get a little tired of Cash), who has assembled an expensive array of talent whose collective value is not greater than the sum of its parts, a fact made very obvious in each poststeason. This has been repeated year after year starting with 2002. It’s early to tell if 2009 will end up the same way. I think guys like Tex and CC could help buck the trend, though.

    • Confused Axl

      Mott Pott,

      You’re absolutely right. This team has lost it’s swagger. It used to go out there and everyone would feel confident that they were going to win. The players AND the fans. Now I can see it on the players faces that they’re aggrivated and don’t have the same feel or look that they can win any longer. As a fan, I feel the same way. The Red Sox on the other hand seem to have enheritted that swagger. I hate them with a passion but they are pretty much the new Yankees. They will be down a bunch of runs and come back and win…they won’t die. Just like the Yankees used to be. Now, it seems the Yankees will score a few runs in any certain inning…and that could very well be it for the most part. The pitchers will pitch mediocre and rely on the hitters to bail them out…the hitters will nonchalantly strike out and sit on the bench thinking the pitchers will bail them out. It’s just not the same anymore.
      Even Derek Jeter. I don’t know if it’s old age or something in his private life…but he doesn’t seem to smile anymore. It’s almost as if he had a tiff with some of the management on their moves that he disagreed with…and he’s just going out there playing because he has to now. Not because he loves his team and loves the game. He just doesn’t seem the same. Although, he is hitting very well with RISP…but that’s not the point.
      Mystique and Aura were just irrational kid stuff that made part of the game fun and took it to anotehr level. There was never a curse of the Red Sox…we were just that much better. Perhaps now, they’re just that much better than us. It seems like every player we sign in the off season or bring up from the farm system is either a “slow starter” or extremely inconsistent. Year after year we dig ourselves into a hole and fight so hard to climb out of it…coming ever so close…but falling shorter and shorter as each year goes on. I don’t know what it is. I don’t know how to explain it. I don’t know how to cure it. Maybe it’s the management? Maybe it’s the players? MAybe the last remaining 4 from the Dynasty Years are just tired of it all…and don’t feel the same click they used to with the other guys…
      Whatever it is…somebody needs to step up and figure out a solution. The Red Sox payroll is just over 100 million right now and they’re amidst a 9 or 10 game winning streak…sweeping 3 teams in a row. We just spend nearly half a billion dollars for “slow starters” in a time when we need somebody to step up and take Arods place. And it’s always seemed to me that no matter WHO we got for pitching…they were unsuccessful or patchy and inconsistent at best…I just don’t understand it.

  • MottPott

    “Mystique” and “Aura” are completely fabricated terms…But I’m not sure what else to call that fighting spirit and that ability to come from behind again and again. I’m not sure what to call that feeling you got watching the 90’s team come from behind against teams that should have beaten them. What else do you call that inability to roll over and die?

    I completely agree that the Sox seem like the new Yanks. Over the weekend, you saw them behind countless times, but they always seemed confident that they were going to win. Down by two with two outs in the 9th against Rivera? We’re winning. Slugfest and a battle of the bullpens after extra innings last night? We’re winning? Match-up of small ball and defense? You have no shot.

    It’s depressing that the Sox crushed the Yankees in every type of game possible.

    • Confused Axl

      What is the most aggrivating part is that the Red Sox add new players to their team every year…and they always seem to fit in perfectly. Bay hits a 2 run shot off Rivera to tie the game. Mike Lowell is hitting clutch hits. JD Drew hits the grand slam in the ALCS or World Series that time. All their young pitchers perform decent…all their young prospects are doing well. Even Nick Green comes up and performs beyond his ability. Which makes me think it’s not the players…but perhaps the atmosphere or something. Who knows. Everybody we seem to get starts out slow or is inconsistent…can’t hit in the clutch. Every young pitcher we bring up is inconsistent beyond belief…same goes for the young position players we bring up. Any new pitcher we either bring up or sign seems to fail or become spiratic all year long…back and forth. It’s just like the total opposite. I don’t understand it.

      • hamburger helper

        It’s definitely not just the players. I don’t think you can underestimate the difference in philosophy/performance of the two front offices. Probbaly more emphasis on philosophy. Cashman is good at executing what he sets out to do, but is he setting out to do the right things?

        There’s also the expectation levels and pressure to win. I actually think guys like Jeter/Posada do a disservice to such a mixed bag of guys when they go public with things like “anything less than a title is a failure.” It’s been 8 years, guys. Let’s set some interim goals, huh? Set some achievable goals that folks can see in a shorter period of time and use for motivation instead of setting them up for a death march.

        • Confused Axl

          Again, I absolutely agree. When you have the “anything less than a championship is unacceptable” hanging out your head…especially as a new guy…you start trying too hard and you try to do certain things you normally wouldn’t do or have done in the past which made you so successful to the point where the Yankees wanted you in the first place. Possibly, what made the mid-to-late 90’s Dynasty so successful was that it was a bunch of young talented guys who loved the game and didn’t have that “you need to win or else” demand hanging over their head. Mainly because before 1996, the Yankees were pretty terrible for 15+ years. And by the time they won…they kept winning…so the slogan wasn’t exactly necessary at this time. It only came out when they started losing in the playoffs. And since that slogan has been used…the Yankees have won less and less games…and lost sooner in the playoffs. You can’t NOT think that the pressure is EXACTLY what’s hurting these guys. The guys like Jeter, Rivera, Pettitte, and Posada have a seemingly free pass for their past contributions to World Championships…which could be a reason why they are (usually) not as wish-washy in the playoffs. They presumably have nothing to worry about. They already established their name in Yankee-lore. The rest have the slogan hanging over their head…and strive for that name in Yankee-lore. Ironically…the combination of that and the pressure seem to create the opposite result.

          If it’s any consolation, the last few teams who have made it far have all been young with literally no expectations at all. It seems like the ones with the expectations (Yankees, Tigers, etc) with the teams loaded with billion dollar talent…are the ones who aren’t performing up to the level they should.

          Perhaps we’ve been heading in the wrong direction for a while now…

          • hamburger helper

            No doubt…the offseasons and early spring/summer periods are exciting when you’re out there plugging holes with big names, but invariably, we fail to win when it counts. I can’t help but think back to my criticisms of the Rangers in the Messier era – lots of talent, no ability to play as a team. Bigger deal in sports like hockey, football, basketball, etc., but it still matters in baseball, too.

            Ironically, with Big Stein now taking a back seat, this team acts more like classic Boss every day.

            I’m going to see the SWB Yanks on Sunday and I can’t tell you how excited I am to watch a talented bunch of guys with heart, both individual and collective.

            • Confused Axl

              It’s no coincidence that our Triple A club won the championship last year and started off like 12-0 this year. WE HAVE THE TALENT!!! It’s care-free down there…they just play to have fun and they win. Once these guys get up to the Yankees? It’s not anywhere near the same mentality…the pressure is monstrumental. If you don’t perform to the best of your abilities and help the Yankees win every single day…you’re no good. And here in lies the problem. It’s a shame.

  • JackC

    The team, it hardly needs to be said, looks as lost and beaten as a team can be right now. It’s April, it’s three games and the Yanks are scuffling and the Sox streaking, granted. Having said this, the fact they were swept in APril by the Sox doesn’t really worry me, but the manner inwhich they were swept deeply troubles me. The steal of home was emblematic and bothers me no end, as a) it shows how back on their heels the Yanks are and b) Ellsbury shrewdly took advantage of hideous positioing by Berroa, who was too far from the bag, especially against a dead pull hitting lefty such as Drew. McCarver commented YESTERDAY that Berroa was playing too far away with runners on 3rd, and I don’t blame Berroa, as he’d played 1/3 of an inning at third inhis life. I blame the manager for not noticing it and making andjustment and, of course, for putting him out there to begin with. It’s not as if Berroa can hit. Why not put a good fielder out there, at least?

    I’ve never been a believer in firing the manager, especially in April, but I’m struck by how much of what seems to ail this club is traceable to thigns that would normally be attributable to the manager. He, like the team, is wrapped waaay too tight.

    It seems to me, too he has lost faith in himslef — why else would he wait on Friday until after an 0-1 count to bring in Rivera? It’s as if he lacks the cuorage of his own convictions.

  • JP

    It’s pretty sad watching the Yankees right now. Mike Francesa on the radio today made lots of good points on how many, many things could have gone the “other way” for Boston: Theo Epstein didn’t want to make the Beckett/Lowell deal, which has probably been the best deal they made…Schilling wanted to go to the Yankees and A-Rod was essentially on Boston, until the PA killed it.

    Boston has obviously been better with young players in the last 5-6 years (Youkilis, Pedroia, Ellsbury, Lester, v. Cano, Melky, Wang…also the other examples like Masterson, Lowrie, etc.), although I’m not sure how much of that is anything the organization did so much as just getting fortunate in having the prospects who work out well, v. those prospects who fizzle. Either way, they’ve been on top there, too.

    Boston has shown the ability to cut ties with stars and move on (Pedro, Manny, Lowe, Nomar), while, arguably, the Yankees have held onto players or opted for older players rather than developing youth.

    I’ll get flamed for this, but Derek Jeter should not be playing shortstop, he’s been terrible there defensively for the last several years, and they should have moved him to the OF and began developing a SS sooner. The deals with Damon and Matsui have clogged the OF/DH slots and made it impossible to develop a new catcher, as there is no room for Posada to play elsewhere.

    In short, we’re getting it handed to ourselves, and we deserve it. That great 1990s team was built by Gene Michael, Bob Watson, and Buck Showalter had a hand in developing them. Torre was great, and Cashman seems like a great guy and a hard worker, but with all the resources available to them, to be so outclassed by Boston is sad, and a little embarassing. I think it’s time for a change, and Cashman and Girardi should be on the chopping block.

    Here’s hoping that the young Yankee pitchers DO in fact bloom, and that Cano and Melky improve, and things turn around and make me a liar. But for now, all you can do is tip your hat to Boston. They are the class organization right now, not the Yankees.