There are almost as many Yankee haters as there are Yankees fans. The haters will gloat over this article while the fans will just lament over a team and a season gone awry. It has been very hard and extremely tedious spending around three hours a game watching this Yankees team as currently comprised take the field and ‘play’ nearly six times a week.
For those of you who have been to the old Yankee Stadium as well as the new one, the difference in the crowds and electricity in both ballparks is quite telling. 35,000 people in the old stadium sounded like 65,000 on any given night. 35,000 fans in the new stadium are not only barely audible, they’re hardly noticeable what with the addition of all the executive sky boxes, and the increased obscene prices which makes a typical night in the Bronx less noisy than a wake.
Part of the reason for this phenomenon is the product that the team has put on the field this season. They have added new meaning to the words pitiful and boring. Granted that the team has suffered its share of injuries but c’mon, every team does at some point in the season and injuries should never be the sole excuse for a team’s demise. The cross town rival Mets have had its share of changes in personnel as well, but the difference between the two clubs is that the Mets are exciting to watch. They play hard and give their all every night. Hell, they even have this writer rooting for them on occasion!
So just how far have the 2013 version of the mighty N.Y. Yankees fallen from grace? Plummeted is more like it. For starters, the team hasn’t hit a home run since gasoline was $1.50 a gallon! Okay, seriously, they haven’t launched one out of the park since the All-Star break. And to think that just this weekend Edwin Encarnacion of the Blue Jays hit TWO home runs…IN THE SAME INNING!!
Then there was Saturday’s game against the Rays in which the Yankees made a rookie pitcher by the name of Chris Archer look more like the second coming of Hall of Famer Bob Gibson. Just how good did Girardi’s boys make Archer look? He gave up 2 hits, pitched a shutout, and did it all in LESS than 100 pitches (97). That’s how good. Actually Archer became the third pitcher this season to throw a shutout vs New York with each pitcher tossing under 100 pitches and all of them in complete games. It was also the fourth time this season that the Yankees failed to collect more than 2 hits in a game. That feat, by the way is tops in the majors!
There are three reasons for the offensively challenged Yankees to be THIS bad and they all are surrounded by the word “Accountability”. Starting with reason number 1: Kevin Long. I mean why should the hitting coach get a pass when there are some nights that the Yankees team average on the field is hard pressed to surpass .243? In fact a couple of weeks ago, five of the nine hitters in one Yankees game had a combined batting average of .183! When is Long held accountable for the lack of offense on a day in and day out basis? Isn’t that the sole purpose for his employment?
Reason number two: CC Sabathia. He now has the distinction of being the only starting pitcher who has given up at least 7 runs a game in three games this season. (Sabathia didn’t give up 7 runs in a game in all of last season including the post-season) It’s true that like so many on the Yankees pitching staff there has been a lack of run-support, but Sabathia has lost games like 6-4, 10-4, 8-7, and 10-6. His season ERA is an inflated 4.65 while his career ERA is a more respectable 3.57. It would not surprise us if there is something physically wrong with the former ace and it surfaces over the next several games. Stay tuned…
Reason number three: Manager Joe Girardi. Ever hear him after a devastating loss or one that the Yanks got blown out in? His demeanor is the same if the team wins a 5-4 close one or lose a 10-4 blowout. His comments are like, “Well, we played hard and we’ll come back and try and win one tomorrow.” Or, ” It just wasn’t our night. We went up against a team that played better than us.” Really Joe? What a brilliant deduction!! Clearly he has not been able to motivate this club even with the second stringers that fill the roster on any given night. A great manager can motivate any group of ball players, at least to play hard every time they take the field. Billy Martin and Buck Showalter turned multiple teams around in their respective careers but make no mistake, Girardi ain’t no Showalter or Martin…
Granted Girardi lacks power hitters on this club as currently constituted. So what should be the game plan in that scenario? Manufacture runs. You have a speedster in Brett Gardner who has 154 career stolen bases and a future Hall of Famer perhaps in Ichiro Suzuki. And you’ve been shutout by three different pitchers so far this season? How many times in a game can you recall either one of these players trying to bunt their way on? How many double steals or trick plays have you witnessed? Makes no sense.
Derek Jeter returns on Sunday and strikeout specialist Curtis Granderson not long thereafter. Couple them with the newly acquired Alfonso Soriano, another strikeout king who, like Granderson who is an “all or nothing at all player” at this point in his career, and Yankees fans can only pray that that threse three somehow find a way to ignite a boring Triple-A like hitting ball club. Want another fact concering the team’s lack of power? Try this one out for size. Alfonso Soriano has hit 8 home runs in the month of July. The entire Yankees team has hit 7! Enough said.
One thing that you can count on is this; there will be no post season baseball played in October in the Bronx this year. For this group it’s already, “Wait till next year.”