Saturday, May 12, 2007

Sleeping Bats

Jarrod Washburn will not contend for Cy Young awards anytime soon, but the Yankees hitters may have fooled you into thinking that. They lead the league in runs scored, but last night marked the third game in a week they scored two runs or less and lost. The .500 mark seems to be a hot flame, every time they put their record close to it they immediately pull back.

This week shows why Clemens is not the answer to all the problems, or even the biggest ones for that matter. They received good starts every day, outside of Wang on Thursday, but the bullpen blew a game on Monday, and lack of hitting lost a game last night. We all know the Yankees will score a ton of runs this year, but its evident they have more holes than most people admit. Call it coincidental, call it an aberration, the reality is more than half the lineup has gone stone cold at the same time, and most of these players have been sub-par the entire season. Starting with Bobby Abreu, who there are not enough negative adjectives to describe the play of, to Hideki Matsui, who seemed to get it going in Texas last week but has slumped again, to the next superstar Robinson Cano and his under the radar poor offensive start. Outside of Posada, Jeter, and A-Rod, no Yankee has hit consistently well this season, and Doug Mientkiewicz is the only other Yank to hit the ball well this week.

Of course, Torre sat the hot-hitting Dougie last night, and like most of his moves this season, it backfired. The offense needed the spark that Mientkiewicz has provided of late, and his replacement, Josh Phelps, looked worse than Jason Giambi on two different plays at first, one contributing to a run. Joe, just stick with the hot hand, please. The reverse applies to Abreu. Bench him. Maybe its just a day or two, but he looks lost at the plate, and by the way that would be zero walks in the last twelve games, so his eye is not keeping him in the lineup. Continuing to bat Abreu third, and now second, is not doing the team any favors. Torre needs to cut his losses, drop him in the lineup, and let him work this out.

Unfortunately, this week the Yanks do not have Jeff Weaver to bail them out after a tough loss. Seattle mysteriously jettisoned the $8 million man to the DL after another disastrous start on Thursday, a move probably more to do with performance than injury. That’s 0-5 with a 14.32 ERA for those scoring at home.

On another note, baseball needs to revisit this scheduling. Teams should not play each other twice in a week. Repeat pitching matchups, seeing the same players for one week and not again for another year, and traveling west three or four times a year, is not fun for the fans and players. I can go on about this, the fact the Yanks and Sox play 2/3 of their games by the first week of June, that we do not see some teams after mid-May, or until July, and the terribly imbalanced interleague schedule, but lets leave it at the fact that the scheduling is poor.


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