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29 September 2012 @ 05:12 pm
Discomfort  


During today's Yankees loss, it was mentioned that the Bronx Bombers have held at least a share of first place for 109 consecutive days during this season. That's a pretty terrific accomplishment, but the fact of the matter is, this season has been anything but a joyride.

Between the injuries to key players, beginning with Brett Gardner back in April, through many of the rest of the team, Pettitte, ARod, Teixeira all missing significant time, and the players that weren't injured but have slumped at key moments, like Cano and Granderson, as well as pitchers we have counted on who haven't performed up to expectations: CC and Nova especially, this has been a season that really couldn't be "enjoyed." Certainly Joe Girardi has literally managed to keep the team moving forward which is a significant reason of why we are where we are.

The Captain provided a huge bright spot, being as solid a hitter as he has ever been in his career, and Jeter continues to prove his worth to the team, and the addition of Ichiro Suzuki was an amazing surprise and a crucial plus to the squad. He's hitting just when we need.

But really even though they have been dwelling in or near the basement for nearly the entire year, it somehow still comes down to the Boston Red Sox. They have two games left against Baltimore @ Camden Yards, and three games remaining at Yankee Stadium.

We just know how it's going to go. The Red Sox will roll over and play dead at Orioles Park and then play like they're trying to win the Championship when they get to the Bronx. This is all that's left for them now. One final series of discomfort to deal with in a very uncomfortable new formatted season.

First, though, let's focus. A problem has been starting pitching. Pettitte is about as good as it gets right now, and he pitched very well despite not having his best, but he likely won't pitch again. Sabathia looked better recently, but he's been up and down all year, and no one seems to have the answer as to why, not even CC himself. Nova has been terrible lately, so any time he gets the ball, it's a roller coaster ride. And even Kuroda who has been solid for the bulk of the season, at times looking more the ace than Sabathia, is showing some signs of wear.

But on the other side: RISP. The Yankees, almost from the very start of the season, have not hit with runners in scoring position. And that hurt them big time today when they had the bases loaded several times and didn't come up with anything. Granderson's plate discipline has completely evaporated as he is swinging at shoulder high fastballs and pitches that bounce!

Yes, there have been several costly bad calls by umpires during this season, at least one that cost us a game against the Orioles, and cost us a first baseman for several weeks all on that one play. But the point is we needed to throw the knockout punch that puts these teams away, that takes the game out of the hands of an ump that can flick it to the other team in the blink of a blind eye. That's what's been missing.

How do I see it going from here? The Red Sox will lose tonight. They might accidentally win tomorrow, but I wouldn't count on it. I do expect the Yankees to win on Sunday. It'll likely come down to the final three games, with the Yankees and Orioles most likely tied for the lead. We still have an advantage: we are at home while the O's are in St. Petersburg for the Rays.

The issue is that Bobby Valentine's Beantown Boys, who have been so miserable and angry and jealous and with their whole season of frustration beginning with how we went up to spoil the 100th Anniversary of Fenway Park back in April, through their closed door meeting with the front office, to off-loading all that payroll, to them falling out of contention, can march into our house now and try to take all of that out on us. This is the Red Sox' October baseball moment. You know they plan to do their worst.

It's time for us to play our best.
 
 
 
Give An Answer To The Why: Yankees logonew_world_smurf on September 30th, 2012 03:55 am (UTC)
Do you play for the Yankees?
Do you work for the Yankees?
Do you own stock in the Yankees?

If not, PLEASE do not refer to the team as "we", "our" or "us." or to Yankee Stadium as "our house." Trust me, I bitch out my own brother (a Mets fan, poor bastard) when he talks about the Yankees to me and says things like "You need pitching." The YANKEES or the TEAM needs pitching. I have no personal stake in it.

With that being said, there's a better chance that the Orioles will get cleaned out by the Rays rather than the Yankees getting cleaned out by the Red Sox. There's a reason Boston's in last place. No one's hitting well, no one's pitching well, they just don't care anymore and I seriously doubt anyone's listening to Valentine. The personal vendetta is in the minds of Yankees and Red Sox FANS. The Yankees are in the postseason and anything can happen in October. Period.

Anjali.: derek: batting cageanjak_j on October 2nd, 2012 12:59 pm (UTC)
"...there's a better chance that the Orioles will get cleaned out by the Rays rather than the Yankees getting cleaned out by the Red Sox."

Totes agree. While I'm sure the Sox would like to play spoiler, I just don't see it happening given how their year has gone and how their team has been depleted by that massive trade with the Dodgers. I think it could be a couple of years before the Red Sox get back to being the rival they once were - I don't see the rebuilding happening quickly. 2013 is likely going to be a rebuilding year, bringing new players who'll need time to adjust... and it'll probably bring a new manager too, given the Sox GM has admitted he's conducting a search for a new manager this offseason...
karaohki: pic#95931648karaohki on October 1st, 2012 11:21 pm (UTC)
I do agree - Boston would love to come in and kill the Yankees. I don't believe they're capable of it.
Anjali.: derek: batting cageanjak_j on October 2nd, 2012 12:52 pm (UTC)
TBH, I've found the Yankees' one-dimensional gameplay this year to be fucking tedious to watch, and I think that the obsession this team has with the long ball will be its undoing in the postseason. I really did not understand Joe Girardi's comments about this being a team built for home runs; when your sluggers aren't hitting worth a shit, you find other ways to score - something he should know having been an NL manager. It's pure insanity to do the same thing over and over and expect a different result. I honestly believe that the Yankees wouldn't have lost all of that ten-game league if they'd just concentrated on stringing hits - any hits - together to score runs, rather than having guys swinging for the fences and more often than not, striking out.

I agree that the injuries have hurt this team, but some of the replacements from the bench have hurt the team too - Andruw Jones especially. While I'd hold on to Eric Chavez if it were my choice - he's done good for this team this season - I'd definitely like to see the bench get younger in 2013, so if there is injuries like there has been this season, the guys being replaced aren't replaced with even older guys.

While I agree that the pitching has been problematic at times, I really do think the RISP issue is the bigger of the two, which I why I think the Yankees need to get back to the fundamentals and start using small ball too. Better to have the bases loaded and have the guy hit a single to score a run than to have him swing for the fences and strike out; this team seems to have forgotten that you score runs and win games by keeping the line moving - the type of hit is of less consequence.

I don't even know what to say about Granderson other than if it comes down to a choice between him and Nick Swisher being resigned, right now, I'd rather have Swisher. Granderson might have hit 40HR and have 100RBI, but his hitting recently has been without any kind of plate discipline - he swings at every shit pitch made - and if that is a sign of things to come, I'd rather the Yankees didn't resign him and get stuck with him for years; one albatross contract is enough for any team, and the Yankees already have Alex Rodriguez. No doubt, Granderson will be looking for a pay rise - I just hope he gets told to drink the reality potion like Derek Jeter was.

Speaking of the Captain, watching Jeter shut his detractors up with hit after hit, to the point where he leads the Majors in hits and has broken into the top ten of all-time MLB hitters, has been one of the few highlights of this season. And he's done that whilst injured for part of the season; a bone bruise is just one step below a fracture and they often hurt as much as a fracture would - and it is not going to heal until baseball is done for the year and he can rest it properly. The fact that he's just gritting his teeth and getting on with it - that deserves some props. A lot of other players would have gone on the DL with such an injury.

The Red Sox are obviously going to try and play the "spoiler" role. However, I just don't see them having enough to beat the Yankees right now. They've been worn down all season by the soap-opera-like goings on in Beantown. Then they made a trade that essentially reduced them to a 4A team, though it did at least give them salary relief for the coming offseason. I think they'll be in rebuilding mode next season, even with all that payroll flexibility they now have. They really need to find guys who have a "team first" attitude, rather than egos they have to force to play together.