Sunday, May 23, 2010

Unacceptable Baseball

I would recommend that Joe Girardi flip a table after the game tonight. I would also recommend that one of his veteran players flip one right back at him. This is mostly going to be about the players, as it should be because they aren't hustling, focusing, or executing. Whatever the managerial equivalent of those things are, that's what Girardi is doing. Most importantly, I know the team is short, but since the team has scored almost no runs off of starting pitchers since Tuesday that maybe mixing up the lineup just for the sake of trying something different (since this clearly isn't working) might be worth it? Should Brett Gardner, who has been ice cold for 3 weeks (average has dropped .50 points), and who has an OBP nearly ONE HUNDRED points lower vs. lefties this season, be batting 2nd against a lefty like Santana? Has Mark Teixeira done that much in his career that when he has the second lowest batting average in the AL he just gets to continue batting 3rd? Is there anything wrong with moving him around, and when he starts hitting moving him back? He can't be that fragile mentally. He is CRIPPLING this offense right now that is already short on bats. Gardner struck out, grounded into a crushing double play, and grounded out weakly to 2nd. Teixeira struck out, then grounded out twice on the first pitch. And the game isn't over. But let's just keep going with these guys up top. It isn't the managers job to adjust based on how his players are or aren't performing.

Ultimately this falls on the players though. Not performing is one thing. Losing is one thing. Over the course of 162 games, players are going to go through stretches of not getting it done and teams are going to lose. This is acceptable. What is not acceptable is doing either of those things in sloppy fashion. You should never play sloppy baseball. When you're winning and you slip on a few things, you can get away with it. Still shouldn't do it, but it happens. You should never, under any circumstance, be seen doing anything at less than 110% when the team is losing, you personally are playing bad baseball, or both. This team has all kinds of "both" going on right now.

Of the first 10 runs the Mets scored this weekend (though the middle of tonight's game), all 10 came with 2 outs. That is such an incredible lack of bearing down (especially since 9 of them were off Rivera, Hughes, and Sabathia) it is tough to take. Cutoff men are being missed, allowing runners to take extra bases. Flyballs are dropping inbetween outfielders and infielders, some of whom do not seem to be doing everything they can to catch the ball. People are going into home run trots on balls that do not end up being home runs. Very few people are grinding at bats. Just as few are bearing down and getting the job done with runners on base. They don't tack on runs. The hitters basically mailed it in against Santana tonight after they went down 4-0, and that resulted in him getting through 7 innings on 90 pitches, which is perhaps most frustrating of all considering how frequently Sabathia has picked them up over the last 1.5 years and it was him who needed them to pick him up tonight. That has actually been largely true all week, the offense has not done much to pick up the starting pitching the way the starting pitching has often picked the offense up this season. All of this is unacceptable to varying degrees.

Again, this is primarily on the players. They have to perform, especially as far as the hustle and focus stuff is concerned. But when they aren't, it's the manager's job to make the changes he can to try and put the team in the best position. The players are not performing and the manager is not doing this. That has resulted in the team going 5-10 in their last 15 games. The Yankees finally had a good April, their first in a while. That doesn't make it okay to give it all back in May. Everyone was going bananas over Boston's struggles early, and the Yankees now have a lousy two more wins and only three less losses then them. Which would all be semi-okay if the best team in baseball in Tampa Bay wasn't six games ahead of them. The Yankees are coming dangerously close to giving most of their good April back considering the circumstances. I understand they have been injured, but every team gets injured. The players need to perform and the manager needs to start putting the team in a better position to win.

That starts Tuesday in Minnesota, a series I view as a big test against a tough team on the road. The Yankees need to regroup on the off day tomorrow and get back to playing at least tough baseball if they aren't going to play good baseball. The lack of effort and focus has been unacceptable for over a week. Hopefully they will start getting some of their injured players (Granderson and Posada) back soon. Until then they need to play better, more driven baseball in order to not let the team in front of them get further away as well as the teams behind them gain ground the way these teams have been on both counts.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pat,

I think you should have flipped a table after last night's game.

Great post. You are much more entertaining when you get fired up. Obviously, I didn't see any of the games you are talking about so I can't make a judgment about whether or not your analysis is reasonable.


Bandi

the gm at work said...

Agree with all of those things. I also haven't seen the games but I will make a judgment anyway.

Congratulations on crushing Teixeira. As you have come to his defense probably too quickly when I have crushed him, it's nice to see that you're not going Coco Crisp style on him.

But Texeira, Gardner, and all these guys, if they are indeed packing it in (which it sounds like they are), this is certainly something the manager has to do something about. I think even with the injuries, this team is the best--by far--in the league. They blew out the field as far as I'm concerned last year, and they are still by far the most talented. Maybe they're thinking "we turned it on later last year, we're ahead of where we were." Maybe they're seeing the Celtics, or maybe there's no pressure because it's not Boston ahead of them. But even the old Yankee teams that struggled early didn't just coast when they were up. The fact that they didn't work counts and pretty much did coast during that Boston series is an un-Yankee thing to do. Even when they struggled in previous Aprils, they didn't do anything like this. They didn't punt games with 4-0 deficits. Plus, didn't Santana get shelled for 10 runs a few weeks back?

This isn't the NBA, it's the AL East. You can't coast and still make the playoffs. Hopefully for you guys the Yankees realize this soon.

Anonymous said...

Pat

Because the Yankees have played the Sox and been on national television two other times in the past week (maybe more, I only saw the Rays Wednesday night and the Mets last night) I have seen a lot of Yankee baseball lately. The term that comes to mind right now is sloppy. I think that's really what you're seeing. And it is frustrating to watch. Sox fans have seen a lot of that thus far (though lately it's been moving in the right direction). But at the end of the day, you're talking about a 15 game stretch. That's not to discount your concerns, but I don't think anyone really thinks that this 15 game stretch is going to turn into a 30 or 50 game slump. If it does, then you have real problems. But guys like Granderson and Posada won't be on the shelf forever and it won't be long before the Yankees are back to having their typical squad (and that's with Posada missing about another three weeks).

As for this series coming up against Minnesota--no team has owned the Twins over the past decade more than the Yankees. Whether the Twins are division winners or scuffling, the Yankees dominate them. I expect more of the same this week.

--the Gunn

the gm at work said...

Gunn,

McCarver would use the word "blase."

PF said...

Bandi -

Thanks. Trust me, flipping a table was on the radar screen. What's been even more infuriating about the offense is that when the 7th or 8th inning rolls around they are like "shoot, we don't have enough runs to win, maybe we should start scoring." So then the switch the light on, which shows they are capable of doing it, it just ends up being too little too late. They put together late inning rallies in 7 out of 7 games this week. If they had done more during the early and middle innings, they probably would have won more than 2 of them.

Gunn -

Sloppy is the word. You are also correct in alluding to this being a funk. It is very rare to go through a season this long without at least a few of these. As I mentioned you can accept funks. You just can't accept sloppy play that goes with it, to go back to that word.

GM -

When it comes to my team I think I'm pretty middle of the road in terms of praise and criticism. Sure I have my favorites and guys I don't like as much, but for the most part there is justification for praise and criticism I hand out. I save my irrational stuff for guys not on my team. You may think I've been too quick to defend teixeira, but I can assure you that is only because your analysis has been so off base that it tips the scale in that direction. Nobody on this blog goes coco crisp/brett gardner except for you and bronx. Everyone else pretty much calls them as they see them (especially since some of the old pro red sox crowd has dwindled). Teixeira gets heat from me now because he deserves it - he's been terrible. But outside of a bad April last year (when I wasn't going to get on him or sabaathia because I don't really get on anyone that early) exactly what would I have to get on him about, or why would I do anything but defend him? Go check out his may-september 2009 numbers, or some of the hits he got in october. I'm sure it tickles you that I finally have something to get on him for now, but be real, your criticisms were way out there to the point where defending him was easy.