So, where do we go from here?…
The Yankees have definitely been stopping and
starting lately. They go into a funk,
rebound, and then go into a funk again.
After a succession of losing or tying series, they’ve started to win a
few but it has been easy. In the most
recent series with Seattle Mariners, they were dominated in the opening game by
Felix Hernandez, as the M’s won, 6-0.
They rebounded to take the next two including a 10-0 annihilation on
Sunday that feature a grand slam and 6 RBI’s by Robinson Cano.
As Sunday’s game got underway, Yankees radio
announcer John Sterling made a comment about whether Cano could reach 100 RBI’s
(he had 80 at the start of the game).
With simple math, he deducted that Cano had been averaging about 20 RBI’s
a month so with that reasoning, it would appear that Cano would have a shot
after nearly making the milestone in 2008 with 97 RBI’s. Cano must have heard Sterling because he
promptly went out and reduced the “magic number” to 14 RBI’s with a little more
than a month to go in the season.
Then Monday, the Yanks were back in the doldrums
when Jose Bautista hit home runs 39 and 40 as the Toronto Blue Jays downed the
Yanks 3-2. The Red Sox own the Jays, but
the Yanks and Rays struggle against them for whatever reason. With Dustin Moseley on the mound for Tuesday’s
game, there’s not much optimism unless the Yankee bats can come around.
Of course, it doesn’t help with names like Eduardo
Nunez, Ramiro Pena and Francisco Cervelli among the starters and Ivan Nova on
the mound. To Nova’s credit, despite
allowing one of the Bautista homers, he pitched very well, going 5 1/3 innings
and allowing only 2 runs (courtesy of the Bautista home run) despite 6 hits and
1 walk. He struck out 3. Nova showed that although he is not a talent
like the Rays’ Jeremy Hellickson, he can pitch at this level.
It was sad to see former Yankees and current
Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella step aside after Sunday’s game, a rout by the
Atlanta Braves. Lou opted to depart now
rather than at the end of the season to tend to his ailing mother. At 66, Sweet Lou is most likely done as a
manager, but given his intensity and desire for the game, I’d have to put this
one in the “we’ll see” category. It
would not surprise me to see him return to the dugout at some future date. As for now, it would be good for the
Steinbrenner family to reach out to Lou for a consulting role. It would be nice to have him back in the
As the speculation grows for the next Cubs manager,
which inevitably includes current Yankees manager Joe Girardi, I can’t help but
wonder if the Yanks would reach out to icon Don Mattingly or if they’d go for a
seasoned vet like Bobby Valentine if Girardi left. I’d prefer to see Donnie Baseball don the #23
pinstriped jersey if I had my preference.
With the Yankees most likely in a first-place tie
after tonight’s game (assuming the Rays hold their lead against the Los Angeles
Angels), it’s time to kick it into gear.
Now is the time that separates the men from the boys so hopefully the
Yanks are up to the challenge. If not,
they’ll be looking at the backside of Tampa and Boston jerseys.
So much for the idea of a day of rest doing some
After an off day on Monday to recover from the
events of the past week, the Yankees came out with a thud on Tuesday. Facing bitter rival Los Angeles Angels, the Yankees
took an early 2-0 lead and closed the book on their offense, while the Angels
pounded out 10 runs to take the first game of the series. It was another disappointing performance by
11-game winner Phil Hughes, who has looked pathetic since he was skipped in the
rotation back in June. Of course, he was
also the loser in the All-Star Game.
Sipkin/NY Daily News
Hughes went 5 innings, and gave up 9 hits and 6
runs. Maybe it’s just me, but that doesn’t
qualify as a quality start. With A.J.
Burnett’s flare up, Andy Pettitte’s strained groin, and now the stinker laid by
Hughes, the last three games have been very disappointing from a pitching
standpoint. And just think, we have
Sergio Mitre to look forward to on Saturday.
None of the other pitchers in tonight’s game fared
any better as the three relievers (Jonathan Albaladejo, Chan Ho Park, and Chad
Gaudin) all gave up at least a run. For
Albaladejo, it is a disappointing start to his return to the majors. For a guy who has been unhittable in the
minors (0.96 ERA with 31 saves), Albaladejo showed that he is still quite
hittable at the major league level.
Hopefully, he’ll shake the nerves and show New York what he has been
showing Scranton/Wilkes Barre. Park and
Gaudin are my favorites to be ex-Yankees should the team make any moves to
bolster the pen by the trading deadline.
No home runs for Alex Rodriguez so he stays at 598
home runs. Congratulations to the Angels’
Hideki Matsui who did homer. At least it
occurred in a rout and was not the difference maker.
William Perlman/The Star Ledger
If the Tampa Bay Rays win tonight, the
Yankees lead in the AL East will be cut to just 1 ½ games. Cliff Lee would have really looked good in
pinstripes about now…
Louis DeLuca/The Dallas Morning News
I am not enamored with the idea of using Sergio
Mitre as the replacement for injured starter Andy Pettitte. Personally, I’d probably be more willing to
consider Dustin Moseley. Mitre, or “Meat
Tray” as I frequently see his name on other blogs (a very appropriate nickname,
I might add), just isn’t the consistent starter that I’d like to see in that
spot. Behind Moseley is Chad Gaudin,
although I’d be more inclined to try a minor league starter like Ivan Nova (7-2,
3.21 ERA, and 78 strikeouts in 103 2/3 innings for AAA Scranton/Wilkes Barre). Externally, I’d want a short term rental like
Ted Lilly or Jake Westbrook (guys who know New York) over long term
possibilities like Dan Haren or Roy Oswalt as I want the Yankees to be in good
position to go after Cliff Lee at season’s end.
It is bittersweet to see Lou Piniella announce his
retirement after fours years as the manager of the Chicago Cubs. If Sweet Lou’s availability had coincided
with Joe Torre’s departure, I am convinced there was a good chance that he
could have been the current Yankees manager rather than Joe Girardi. I am happy the way it worked out, but still
it would have been good to see Lou enjoy success in Pinstripes for one last
For as many years as Lou played (18), it’s hard to
believe that he has managed longer (22) .
He had the misfortunate of managing the Yankees when George Steinbrenner
was his most volatile, not a good combination considering Lou’s temper. Lou managing for Hal Steinbrenner would have
yielded an entirely different result. I
don’t know what life after baseball will mean for Lou, but hopefully #14 will
be a fixture at future Yankees Old-Timers Games. I wish Lou the very best in his final season
with the Cubs.
As for a Cubs replacement, I have to believe that
favorite Ryne Sandberg is a shoo-in given his history with the organization and
status as manager for the team’s AAA in Des Moines, Iowa. It would be like Don Mattingly being named
manager for the Yankees, which of course will never happen since Donnie
Baseball will be the next Los Angeles Dodgers manager but it would certainly
have that type of impact.