Sep
04

Collapsed: AL East lead vanishes with latest loss

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What was once ten is now zero. The Yankees lost to the Rays (again) while the Orioles beat the Blue Jays (again) on Tuesday, meaning the two teams are now tied atop the AL East with identical 76-59 records. Lost in all this is the fact that New York is now just two games up on the second Wild Card slot. There’s no more cushion, folks.

(J. Meric/Getty)

Two Runs Then Nothing

It was important for the Yankees to get out to a fast start on Tuesday, simply for their own peace of mind. Robinson Cano provided a pair of quick runs with an opposite field two-run dinger four hitters into the game, driving in Nick Swisher after he drew a two-out walk. That was exactly what the Yankees needed, a little breathing room early. Unfortunately, they never scored again.

Chris Dickerson managed to get to third base with two outs in the second (walk, stolen base, wild pitch), but Chris Stewart couldn’t bring him home. Derek Jeter (single) and Curtis Granderson (hit-by-pitch) reached base to open the third, but a strikeout and a 1-6-3 double play ended the threat. The Yankees were never really heard from again. Right-hander Alex Cobb retired 14 of the next 15 men he faced and the last ten overall, stifling the Yankees by generating ground ball after ground ball (13 grounders, three fly balls, five strikeouts) with his offspeed stuff. Sixteen of the last 18 men the Bombers sent to the plate made outs. If Cano’s dinger sparked the team, they sure had a funny way of showing it.

Bombs away. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

Two-Strike Freddy

The Yankees needed innings out of Freddy Garcia on Tuesday, both quality and quantity. Instead they got five runs in 5.1 innings, including three homers. The best part: all three homers came in two-strike counts. The other best part: the other two runs were scored by baserunners who reached base in two-strike counts. Garcia managed to get two strikes on 13 of the 24 hitters he faced (not counting hitters who put the ball in play in a one-strike count), and seven (!) reached base. That’s just abysmal.

Freddy put nine men on-base in his 5.1 innings, meaning he’s retired just 42 of the 68 hitters he’s faced in his last three starts. That’s a .382 OBP for the opposition and it’s terrible. He didn’t give his team much of a chance in this one, giving back one of those two first innings run in the span of two batters before the homerun derby started in the third. So much for the Rays struggling against finesse pitchers who change speeds and work the corners, eh?

Leftovers

(J. Meric/Getty)

Joe Girardi got tossed in the middle of the fourth after Dickerson appeared to call time before taking a called strike three to end the inning. I couldn’t really see what happened from where I was sitting, but Girardi didn’t go down without a fight. That much I saw. If it was an attempt to fire the team up, I give him credit for the effort even though it failed miserably. For what it’s worth, he declined to comment about the ejection and wouldn’t even acknowledge the reason for the argument after the game.

For the fifth straight game, the Yankees finished with no more than six hits. That’s their longest such streak since 1990 (!), and if you can remember back that far, that team was horrible. Like 95 losses horrible. They’ve scored no more than three runs in nine of their last 13 games, which is also horrible. The Yankees struck out nine times against three Tampa pitchers, walked once, and had the lone hit-by-pitch as well. Going back to the start of the Orioles series, this all-important ten-game stretch, the Bombers have a team .246 OBP. Stewart has a .273 OBP this season, for reference.

If you’re looking for some silver lining, pretty much the only thing I have to offer is that Cody Eppley retired all five men he faced while Joba Chamberlain threw his first 1-2-3 inning since coming off the DL. He actually looked pretty good, but one outing means nothing as far as his return to effectiveness. In between those two, Clay Rapada walked the only man he faced. It’s the third time in his last six outings he’s failed to retire his assigned batter.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights while ESPN has the updated standings. As you already know, they’re now tied for first and just two games up on the second Wild Card. So much for an easy September.


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next

The Yankees will try to salvage the final game of this miserable series on Wednesday night, when Hiroki Kuroda opposes Matt Moore. Save us HIROK, you’re our only hope.

Categories : Game Stories

139 Comments»

  1. Gonzo says:

    Sell the house. Sell the car. Sell the kids. Find someone else. Forget it! I’m never coming back. Forget it!

  2. Kramerica Industries says:

    The day after the regular season ended last year, I recorded Gary Thorne’s call of Robert Andino’s walk-off hit that knocked the Red Sox out of the playoff race on the final day of the season.

    I listened to that thing all the time. It was easily my favorite sound bite on my phone. Something that Yankee fans and Rays fans I know could both relate to and take far too much satisfaction in.

    Well, tonight I made my sacrifice to the baseball gods. I erased my cherished sound bite. I was obviously turning karma against me with that thing. As such, now that it is erased, now the gods can stop poking their Yankee voodoo doll.

    Now, there is no doubt in my mind the Yankees finish in 1st place, going away. However, if any of you feel the need to make any sacrifices to the gods, do so now. There’s no more time to waste.

    Long story short – Relax – we can all breathe easy now.

  3. JonS says:

    Hopefully Kuroda won’t pitch 8 innings give up 2 runs and lose. :/

  4. Brian S. says:

    I’m getting rid of the meme in my handle in an attempt to bring back our winning ways.

  5. Andy Pettitte's Fibula says:

    This is what we get for revelling in the Red Sox collapse last year.

    • jim p says:

      Well, on the cheery side, they are still in collapse.

      The not so cheery side, they’re in a position to actually rebuild over the next two years.

  6. Rey22 says:

    So many things going wrong so I don’t mean to pick on this one specifically, but off the top of my head, when Tex comes back, you pretty much have to bench Ibanez, no? He’s pretty much done for the year, looks beyond awful out there. Put Tex at first, Swisher back in right, and play Dickerson in LF against righties. That way Ichiro sits too, he’s been awful as well. Alternate A-Rod and Chavez for DH against righties.

  7. vnymfk says:

    agonizing..dreadful..yet to any new yorker, not incomprehensible

  8. Rivera Venue Blues says:

    Everyone make your sacrifices and repentances to the baseball gods right now, we can still turn this around.

  9. Mike Stanley says:

    Whatever. This whole thing is so stupid I’m not even mad.

  10. forensic says:

    Postgame had a list of the players and all of their terrible current slumps. Some amazing numbers, especially the longer streaks.

  11. your mom says:

    Is anyone really surprised??? They’re like ostriches, but instead of their heads in the sand, it’s up their fucking asses.

  12. johnnymac says:

    Hard to watch this past month but don’t throw in the towel. The Jeter led Yanks will keep playing all 162 as they have so many years in the past. It looks ugly now but keep the faith.

  13. Zack says:

    The Red Sox collapse will still be worse then this is. They still had a nine game lead in the Wild Card in September and could have retaken the lead at any time.
    Instead Beckett and Lester choked while the pretty healthy Red Sox lineup did nothing.
    The problem with the 2012 Yankees..there are simply too many old players on this team and too many injuries. The fact we stayed in first as long we did is a miracle in itself.

  14. Brian S. says:

    lol @ Kevin Long in the postgame. “We’re going to do a lot more bunting!”

  15. forensic says:

    Kevin Long’s solution to guys not hitting is bunting more and giving away more free outs.

    While I agree they need to change some things and try things, I don’t think giving away more outs is the way to do it (except for certain guys like maybe a Stewart or Ichiro).

  16. pat says:

    Thank goodness football Christmas is tomorrow.

  17. WHIPunk says:

    Updated % of us winning the division, wild card, making the playoffs via coolstandings.com

    According to them our chance to win the division is now below 50%

    Division- 49.4 %
    WC- 30.00%
    Playoffs- 79.4

    Again I will compare this to us on July 27th of this year:

    Division- 90.1%
    WC- 5.4%
    Playoffs- 95.6%

    And as of August 15th:

    Division- 91.7%
    WC- 7.1%
    Playoffs- 98.8%

  18. Gonzo says:

    I’m not worried. I don’t know why yo, but I believe me.

  19. Reggie C. says:

    Granderson is actually playing his way out of the team’s future plans. He’s just in so deep a swoon I fear Granderson may not find his way back to being a run producer. Cano’s homer is hopefully a harbinger of production to come.

    Just look at the names below Arod in the lineup … Six hits is about on par with the healthy talent that is on this team right now.

  20. Kempire Strikes Back says:

    Michael Kay made a point about this team in one of the games immediately following the All-Star break. He stated that if the team played .500 ball the rest of the year they’d still win 91 games but that they’d probably exceed that because they just have too much talent and that they’re quote unquote “a better team than that”.

    Not only have they managed to play BELOW .500 ball since the ASB, but the Orioles AND Rays have gone on wicked hot streaks at the worst possible time. They’re beyond the point of blaming it all on injuries and stand a decent chance of not making the playoffs at all. The last time I felt optimistic about this team was that 5-2 stretch against the Rangers and Red Sox. Taking two out of three twice from the Mariners is no great accomplishment. Just an observation (and I’m not trying to play armchair psychiatrist), but I think something psychological happened to this team after that godawful Oakland series. They lost their -ahem- “swag”, so to speak.

  21. Effthisnoise says:

    The jays have been shut out 2 games in a row in Toronto??? Something smells of laying down so the orioles could get into 1st place. Bet when they play the Yanks those bats will come back to life. Fuck everyone rit now, come on yanks step the fuck up and fight back!

    • Zack says:

      they played with more effort against the Rays then they have the O’s.

    • Kempire Strikes Back says:

      That’s kind of what the AL East (including the Yankees) was doing to the Red Sox last year. Complaining about it is almost hypocritical in that sense. Just win the games against your division rivals, that’s the bottom line. It doesn’t matter how hard they’re playing you, you’ve still got to win these games against the Blue Jays and at least half or so of the games against the Rays and O’s. The Yankees just arent getting the job done. As of right now their destiny is in their own hands but is precariously close to being in the hands of the gracious teams that will have the pleasure of playing the Orioles and Tampa for the next month.

      • Effthisnoise says:

        That was actually my point, just not articulated that well I guess. Because the entire AL east and rest of baseball for that matter would love to see the yanks out of the playoffs, the yanks have to handle their business and start punching back

    • AdamC6 says:

      Really? It’s really the Jays fault?

      Thank goodness it has nothing to do with the Yanks.

      I was almost worried about this team.

  22. DT says:

    Well when the Sox choked they had no more games left. At least this team still have a month left to try and salvage themselves. Still some hope left.

  23. Anthony says:

    Not giving up hope just yet….

  24. Jack says:

    As the Menzingers said (I saw them open for the Bouncing Souls this summer-(The Souls are a Punk Rock from Jersey)- “Climb The Wall Before the Fall.” At least there’s still a month left- they get healthy, even with two weeks left, then something could happen. Though I don’t know how confident I am in that right now.

  25. rogue says:

    River Ave Blues…

    That’s accurate.

    • Kramerica Industries says:

      I remember the days when the banner title here was…oh God, what the hell was it Mike?!

      Something about not forgetting the old Yankee Stadium.

  26. Bob Michaels says:

    The Steinbrenners have any of Georges DNA left? Strangley silent if they do.

    • DC says:

      Of course, we don’t know what goes on behind closed doors, but I’m glad they don’t make some of the ridiculous statements in public that George made. Leave the airing of dirty laundry and publicly bashing players to the Red Sox.

  27. Favrest says:

    If George was here, he’d at least yell at them, which is a good start. 6 am suicide drills would also be a damn good idea. And enough w this injury shit. F’n play till you drop.

  28. mustang says:

    Don’t know why, but I’m still not worried.

    I think they might lose tomorrow, but they have 7 games after that on the road with the O’s and Red Sox I call a winning streak.

    No facts to back it up just a feel.

  29. James A says:

    Get Cervelli in the lineup, not like anything else is working and we could use some fist pumps and maybe a big hit. Also, Girardi better not stack the lineup with righties, Moore has a reverse split for this year. Actually, can Tony Pena manage the team for awhile, I think they need his fire.

  30. nord says:

    Youse guys got it wrong. Long said “punting” NOT bunting.

    ;-)

  31. dkidd says:

    if i were joe g, i would take the team to a strip club tonight and get everyone hammered, try playing hungover tomorrow. why not?

    /insert joke about the team going 0-40 with strippers in scoring position..

  32. Andrew says:

    The Orioles are flying and the Rays will be in every game with their pitching. The Yankees have been doing it for what, 90 years, they’ll bounce back. Kuroda will be the stopper tomorrow.

  33. The Happy, Optimistic Zen Troll says:

    May the odds forever be in [the Yankees'] favor.

  34. dkidd says:

    i’m sitting here rooting for the angels to beat the a’s

    it’s a world gone mad

  35. Betty Lizard says:

    I’ve broken it off with Baseball Boyfriend Russell Martin.
    Desperate times, disparate measures.

  36. pistol pete says:

    This team stinks now, nobody’s hitting, the starting pitching stinks, middle relief is weak, the bench is overexposed and we can’t get the ball to our closer. Only chance the Yanks right the ship and pull this thing out is if Arod Tex and Cano are healthy to put together a great September. Most of all if CC finds his No 1 stuff which don’t think he will because I think he’s hurting and Andy returns for 3 or four starts. A lot to have to come together, for my guess it ain’t going to happen.

  37. Rich in NJ says:

    Change for the sake of change is becoming more and more appealing.

  38. FIPster Doofus says:

    This shit is depressing.

  39. The Happy, Optimistic Zen Troll says:

    HAKUNA MATATA!

  40. stuart a says:

    same old same old..

    they suck.. the offense is joke. they simply suck… name 1 guy who has earned his money??? Chavez…Anyone else? Ibanez because they expected so little. ANyone else? Nah…

    cano sucks, swisher sucks, tex sucks, grandy sucks, arod sucks, martin sucks, really tell where I am wrong. Jeter gets a pass he is 38 and hitting a soft but 315…

    they suck.. freddy cannot go out on the mound any more. the guy is a 4 inning pitcher. ENOUGH..

    • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

      you really have an expansive vocabulary….it kinda sucks….because everyone sucks…..it’s best player in baseball or sucks…..no in between….they all suck….is there anything else that sucks….. i think you left out some other things that suck…..

  41. stuart a says:

    no way to sugarcoat this epic implosion..

    the homerun lovefest is over… if they cannot hit a homerun they are so inept they cannot score a run…

    2 on and no outs. swisher who thinks every pitch is a fastball strikes out . shocker and then superstar cano hit into the DP…

    cano sucks end the story, he is a overhyped piece of you know what…

  42. Guys…I think I figured it out. Right around the all-star break I cut my hair for the first time in about six months (maybe longer) so I stopped wearing my Yankee cap. The only reasons being: I don’t look great in a cap and I didn’t have a mop of hair to hide underneath it. Since then we’ve all seen what’s happened. I cannot believe that I didn’t draw this parallel before. Starting tomorrow I break out the cap again.

  43. stuart a says:

    good news i get to see andruw jones back leg strike out tommorrow maybe 2 times… nothing like watching a slow, overweight, washed up player smile as he strikes out…

    this team is a wreck………

    if the yanks resign swisher or extend cano and grandy they are insane….. let them walk, who gives a crap. cano will be 30 after next season, he can carry nothing. he can carry his bat and mitt after the game. he folds at the thought of him carrying the team.

    arod with his 2nd powerful hit that barely left the infield, he looks like he is in midseason form. counting on arod is a joke. the guy has been here 8 years or so, got 1 title, and if you have not noticed he is in steeep decline.. another 5 years of his act, WOW………

    • Jimmy McNulty says:

      2009 was one of my finest sports memories ever. The one title’s enough, but that being said the homers fooling themselves if they think he will do anything except be an overpaid albatross for the next five years.

    • DT says:

      In those 8 Years for 6 of them he was one of the best players in baseball, Maybe the best depending on how you look at it. The Failure to win championships with him is not his fault alone. He has had good postseasons other than 2009, but winning a WS is not dependent on one guy. People tend to forget that in 2004 he carried the team up til game 5 of the ALCS. His stat line for that post season was .320/.414/.600, compared to Captain clutch’s .245/.339/.347 , Bernie’s .296/.309/.556 and Jorge’s .244/.352/.267. Even in decline he’s a good player, even if he’s grossly overpaid.

  44. Paul VuvuZuvella says:

    yeah, kinda brutal, i’m at a loss, speachless, don’t actually know what to say…

  45. stuart a says:

    cano has less rbi’s the ntex, swisher, and granderson and has at least 65 more ab’s against tex and swisher and granderson is hitting 230..

    Cano has been horrible with RISP and that is just the truth…add to this fact he does not run hard all the time and people get pissed at him. if he drove in 125 rbi’s like miguel cabrera you put up with more BS but at this production forgetaboutit….

  46. David K. says:

    Cashman has had this thing going backassward for a few years now, so this losing skid is no surprise. The team just keeps getting older and stupid acquisitions and trades just keep piling up. Virtually the whole lineup is made up of .180 to .220 hitters, how can you score runs with that kind of hitting? Oh, I know, swing for the fences just in case you make contact….Our hitters are power hitters and they’re here to drive in runs, not hit singles through the big holes in the shifts. Granderson, Swisher, Teixeira, Andruw Jones all need to go.

  47. Jimmy McNulty says:

    The fall is complete. To be honest I’m not at all surprised, I was killing this team left and right BEGGING for some reinforcements at the deadline knowing that there’s no way that this line up and this staff could put together a pennant run. So what happened? Well A-Rod got old and hurt, Granderson slumped, the “old vets” that were contributed started looking like the old has beens that they actually are, Phil Hughes’ .474 slugging against came back to hurt the club, Ivan Nova’s 3rd in the majors’ OPS against also bit the team in the ass, Pettitte did what pitchers in their 40s do…he got hurt, and the injuries to Gardner, Rivera, and Sabathia ended up being the death knell to the team. It didn’t help that the team’s best trade chip was dealt for a player that won’t pitch until May at the earliest, nor did it help that the team’s other valuable trading chips completely shit their pants. The team’s being carried by Jeter, Cano, Kuroda, and from time to time Sabathia. They’re getting absolutely dick from everyone else after the break.

    All things considered I’m going to say it, and I know I’ll get killed for it but: The Red Sox had a better 2012 than the Yankees. They had a killer year down the farm, they got an awesome draft position, they cleared some shitty contracts, AND they got a boost in the farm. The Yankees, on the other hand, still have shit contracts, Slade-Runner had a lost year as did Manny, and oh yeah Betances’ value completely tanked. Shit year on the farm, shit year on the field, and the most they’ll show for it is a first round exit. Fucking pathetic.

    • Brian S. says:

      It was not a down year on the farm. It’s as deep as it has ever been and will start to bare fruit as soon as next season if the front office allows it.

      • DT says:

        The Farm is deep in AA and high A. And Campos should return next year which adds another high potential arm. The AAA farm is barren right now because guys like the killer B’s have been busts outside of an injured Banuelos and Montero was our only hitting prospect close to the MLB level. Once the guys in AA and A mature, the farm might be one of the best it’s been for a while.

      • Jimmy McNulty says:

        Not saying the farm sucks, but when Mason holds steady, Betances explodes, Banuelos and Slade have lost years then it’s a shit year on the farm.

    • DT says:

      I think your comparison to the Sox having a better year is fucking pathetic. Your right it’d be so much better to have a dysfunctional team with a manager all the players hated and go through the next few years in the bottom of the AL east hoping that all the prospects in the farm turn out to be studs.

      • Jimmy McNulty says:

        You can fire a manager, if Bobby V is the biggest problem on your team that’s an easy one to fix. You can’t magically rid your self of A-Rod’s contract, give Betances his fastball command back, or raise the luxury tax. The Yankees have several problems, the biggest of which is getting under 189M and still fielding a competitive team. They’re going to have to replace Swisher, Kuroda, Granderson, and Cano by that date. Not to mention trying find some production out of first base and third base or mitigating the decreased performance from another position. They’re fucked long term.

    • dalelama says:

      This team takes after its grossly overpaid Purple Lipped under performer–heartless, gutless, and spineless. My year long confidence level 6 is proving prophetic.

  48. Bavarian Yankee says:

    another well deserved loss. At least I knew it this time and put a good amount of money on the Rays. So yeah, thanks Rays for paying my dinner for the next 2 weeks ;)

    the funny thing is that the AL East hasn’t been that weak for years and we even managed to blow a 10 game lead. “LOL” is probably the only appropriate answer to that.

  49. Andy Pettitte's Fibula says:

    The scary thing about this is that the Yankees actually are planning on cutting payroll from this team in the next few years and I don’t see cheap young quality replacements in AA/AAA ready to step in before 2015 at the earliest.

    I fear this is going to get worse before it gets better.

    • Bartolo's Colon says:

      the whole payroll thing is annoying. i can’t wait until the steinbrenners pass their savings onto fans in 2014.

      i know that $189M is still a lot, probably will be the most in baseball, but that is a huge competitive advantage for the yanks.

  50. dc874 says:

    …I lost confidence in this team 3 batters into the season when Girardi is intentionally walking someone…

    • Bartolo's Colon says:

      that is just wrong. this was an awesome team in the first half, arguably the best team in baseball. they are no longer a good team right now. two games under .500 in two months. A lot of things have contributed: injuries, playing people like ibanez everyday, bullpen implosion, and just underacheiving in general. it is just odd that it all happened after the all star break. at this point, they are not a playoff caliber team. if tex and andy come back strong, the pitching picks it up a little bit, and granderson decides to begin playing baseball, they will be dangerous. the problem is that is a lot of stuff that needs to happen

  51. Defensive Indifference says:

    Perhaps what we are witnessing is a changing of the guard. Teams that stuck with youth and potential over signing players to giant, long-term contracts (that include big money for years well beyond their prime) are starting to reap the benefits. Look at the teams that signed big-time players over the past few years: Philllies, Angels, Yanks, BoSox. Compare that to the new guard: The O’s, the Nats, the Rays.

    The season is not over, and maybe this is just an odd year. But I think the tide may have turned. We’ll see how the big market teams rebound, but the Rays don’t seem to be going away, and the Nats look like they are built for the long-haul. The fighting Showalter’s might be overachieving, but they also have talent.

    The Yanks had a good run, and I hope they snap out of this funk. But watching the likes of The Ancients (Ibanez, Jones, and even the creaky Chavez) and the fading likes of A-Rod, Tex, and Granderson, reminds me that the heyday of the 1990s dynasty was built on youth, and ushered in after a string of down years.

    Can the Yanks rebound without tanking it for a while? Evaluating young talent sure does not seem to be Cashman’s strength (see: A.Jackson v. Kurtis G.), but the old guard clearly need reinforcements. Buckle your seatbelts, it’s likely to be a bumpy ride.

  52. John Bonanno says:

    I am a Red Sox fan. Welcome to the club. The Red Sox and Yankees are learning the hard way about elderly over paid players. They lack the hunger, spirit and the energy of youth to compete at the end of the season. Even if you hold on to a playoff spot, all that will happen is a delay of the inevitable. This is the first time I almost feel sorry for the Yankees if only because this situation is so familiar to me. Both teams have brought this on themselves. Both teams lack confidence in their scouting, drafting, and coaching abilities to prepare young players for the major leagues. They somehow think a guy approaching thirty who was good for another team is more deserving of huge money and playing time than their own young player.

    • LarryM.,Fl. says:

      Your last sentence to me is more on target IMHO. The Yankees do not develop as some teams do. The Rays, Royals and A’s because we have made the playoffs so often in the 18 years that our draft choices have not been on top of the food chain. So there is a catch to making the playoffs practically every year and drafting FA’s and losing a draft choice. But what would you have playoffs or draft choices that are a long shot to begin.

      Our older players are still better than average ball players who can still post wins for us. The trick is staying healthy which has been a failure this year. There are a group of Yankee fans who advocate for developing within as our core four displayed its ability, desire and leadership to win. Will the Yankees get back to developing and acquiring reasonable Fa’s in length of contract and price. I sure hope so.

      We will see if the Yankees both the owners and FO have learned any lessons when we see the direction during the Hot Stove season. Swisher is the first project but by all accounts may have priced himself off the team. I believe he played himself off the team. I have seen him hit fastball after fastball but the last two weeks cannot hit a change-up or breaking pitch. Great guy to have in the clubhouse but we need him on the field.

      The Yanks need to promote and obtain younger talent. Mr . Trout in LAA is the exception to the rule but given oppts. young guys can get the bat on the ball for productive outs and hit .275 and drive in some runs.

      As far as the Red Sox’s I think getting rid of A Gon and Crawford was way to quick on the trigger. Youklis is a good ballplayer and gone. Maybe the desire to change the chemistry went a bit too far.

      • John Bonanno says:

        In the age of PED testing, it is a trickier proposition keeping older players healthy. When I first started following baseball in 1955, it was extremely unusual for a player to be useful at all after the age of 35 and most players showed a steep decline well before that. The DH was instituted because it was believed it would keep in the league older, broken down players who had no fielding position in the league anymore because it was believed they could still hit. There were select pinch hitters who were useful at 40 or older (see Smokey Burgess), but not many. Yes, diets are healthier and players don’t smoke (much) anymore but that doesn’t stop nature from doing its work like drugs do. Good players hit free agency usually just before their expected natural decline. Teams sign them hoping they will be an exception. Yes, they are better than the 23 year old young player establishing himself, but they are not as good as the 28 year old player they were when they made their reputations.

  53. goterpsgo says:

    It feels almost like 2008 all over again. The players are old and don’t seem to hustle, the starters are injured and the bench is overexposed, and there may not be enough left in the tank to take them over the hump.

    I hope I’m wrong, but if they’re not going to make it, I hope NYG kicks some ass in the meantime. *sigh*

  54. Yank The Frank says:

    We still have at least another winning streak left in us. I just hope we don’t run out of games.

  55. The Yankees were a .500 team before May 27 and they’ve been a .500 team (or a tad below) since the All-Star Break. Perhaps instead of asking what’s wrong with them now, it would be informative to consider what was *right* with them between 5/27 and the middle of July? Three things, as it happens, only one of which can be corrected by the team now: First, there was interleague play, on which the entire AL-East got fat dumb and happy, but nobody like the Yankees. Second there were a series of really fluky wins. At the time we didn’t want to call them that because we’re Yankee fans, but during that stretch the team was over .800 in one-run games, and that just duddn’t happen. Not even to great teams. Third, Andy Pettite was nothing short of brilliant. If Pettite comes back as dominant as he was, the team will do better — but not *that* much better, and in the meantime the quartet of Ibanez, Jones, Suzuki and Martin are a gigantic boat-anchor on the lineup, with no time left to engineer even a waiver-clearance-dependent trade, at least for anybody worth giving away prospects for. Point being, the Yanks are playing this way now because this is the team they’ve been all year. I was at the first series of the season in Tampa, and this is what they looked like then. They’re an old, tired, brittle, homer-dependent team in a league that punishes those things and rewards just their opposites. And I don’t see any way they turn this around in time to make to the playoffs because there’s nothing to turn it around *with*.

    • goterpsgo says:

      They’re an old, tired, brittle, homer-dependent team in a league that punishes those things and rewards just their opposites.

      And to think people thought this team could just slug their way to the playoffs… (I’m looking at you, Mark T.)

    • Kingslayer says:

      I, unfortunately agree with you Dave. Everything you say is spot on. Your last comment is the most revealing; “And I don’t see any way they turn this around in time to make it to the playoffs because there’s nothing to turn it around *with*.” They certainly will not do it with the likes of Ibanez, Martin,Suzuki,Jones,Sweaty Freddy,Ivan Nova, and their horrible middle relief.

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