Monday, July 02, 2007

Up In Flames

Friday night provided a glimmer of hope for salvaging the 2007 season with another major win streak. A vintage Yankee win, solid pitching, clutch hitting, Rivera slamming the door on a one run win, still had a sour taste thanks to the Kyle Farnsworth outburst. Any thoughts of carrying the momentum through the weekend and putting together a big homestand, quickly ended on Saturday.

Prevailing thought says the team comes out fired up Saturday after a big win, still in a must win situation. Quite the opposite, as the Yankees played with no life, looking more like a group of people with early dinner plans than a team of baseball players on the most prestigious team in the world. There was no sense of urgency from anyone. The stadium was lifeless, half empty after Dan Johnson’s moonshot in the sixth inning extended Oaklands lead to 4-0.

At one point during the seventh inning, as the Yankees bullpen imploded yet again, I leaned over to my friend and concluded, this is what the late ‘80’s and early ‘90’s must have looked like, pointing to a morbid half empty stadium, a smattering of boos, and a scoreboard lopsided toward the visitors. For an afternoon, and possibly the next three months, Yankee fans and players will feel the pain that Royal and Pirate fans and players feel every season.

Jorge Posada’s comment on Saturday summarizes the state of affairs perfectly, “It seems like, at times, we just go through the motions”. Saturday’s game was so poorly played it is not even worth analyzing. One Johnny Damon seeing eye single up the middle, that is it, the Yankees offense for the entire nine innings. One measly hit.

Sunday the disaster continued. Andy Pettitte did not have to worry about holding a one run lead or keeping the team in the game while waiting for the offense this time, allowing 8 runs in less than two innings. Even the punchless offense scratching out 5 runs against the AL ERA leader proved useless.

The problems are countless. Abreu, outside of one two week stretch, is possibly the worst $15 million player ever. Yet, defying logic, Torre still bats him third most of the time. Damon needs to go on the DL. Matsui, a class act all the way, is simply not as good as everyone thought. Robinson Cano still has a bright future, and a sweet swing, but the Rod Carew comparisons are an afterthought. That is four left handed hitters providing no consistent production. Throw the injured steroid king into the mix, and its clear why the Yankee lineup, historically built around left handed power hitters to take advantage of the Yankee Stadium dimensions, only goes as far as Jeter, A-Rod, and Posada can take them.

I counted the Yanks out on Memorial Day, unable to imagine a team playing that bad turning it around. A month later that prediction proves prophetic. There is no chance this Yankee team makes the playoffs. Simple math, they need to go 55-28 from today on to reach 92 wins, a total that still likely falls short of the AL Wild Card in 2007. No chance. Not only are no trades out there to save this team, making a hasty trade to try saving a sinking ship would prove disastrous. Though unlikely, Cashman should evaluate selling players, rather than buying. July provides a full month to discuss trade rumors, since pennant race discussions are all but over.

Scott Proctor set his equipment on fire after Saturdays game. The Yankees season went up in flames with his uniform.


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