Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Does Anyone Here Want to Win this Game?
2008-08-17 06:05
by Alex Belth

"What can I tell you?" Royals DH José Guillen said. "That was the kind of game you haven't seen from us in a while. We didn't do any of the little things. A lot of wasted opportunities. Both sides, too. They were the same."

It was a gorgeous afternoon in New York, unseasonably reasonable. The sun dipped in and out of the clouds but it was a terrific day to be outside. The Yankees and Royals played a long game, close to five hours, that lasted thirteen innings. It was another Yankee game filled with aborted offensive rallies, strange managerial moves, good starting (Sir Sidney, once again) and relief pitching, and plenty of frustration. The crowd was mostly silent for the last hour or so; I was fighting off sleep watching from the comfort of my couch. In the end, Brett Gardner slapped the game-winning single to left giving the Yanks a 3-2 win.

According to the Times:

"To be quite honest with you, I don't care who ended it," said Derek Jeter, the Yankees' captain. "We needed to win a game. This would have been a rough one to lose, with so many opportunities."

"It doesn't matter how we win as long as we win," Manager Joe Girardi said. "This was a big win for us today because we've been scuffling, and scuffling to score. Maybe this is the game that gets us back on the winning track and we win a bunch in a row."

The Yankees are going to have to start playing a better brand of baseball to generate any kind of winning streak. They were fortunate to win yesterday. Let's hope the bats finally bust loose today.

2008-08-17 07:00:08
1.   OldYanksFan
I am a big optimist here... but that game was PATHETIC! Ugly, terrible and the worst sin of all.... BORING.

For me, the season was over after Monday. The next four games only reinforced my despair. It is literally beyond belief how poorly this team has played. I mean I can't believe it! And if not for multiple errors by KC in last nights game, we would have lost that one too.

I have always believed fans do not give enough weight to how much the mental aspect of the game plays in the outcome. We must have quite a few head cases on the Yankees for them to perform so far below their talent level.

We know our MVP tends to squeeze sawdust from his bat and swing wildly when he gets tense. Cano? It's the old joke about a doctor examining his head and finding nothing. Melky? I mean, I feel badly for the kid, but just how badly did he think he could roam the grounds and Joe and Mickey and not be called out? How could he be SURPRISED he was sent down? HOW COULD HE BE SURPRISED?

These games all have the same smell as the last few post seasons. The smell of fear.

Statistically, they can still win. But their play reflects a team in total disarray. I think our odds of finishing 4th are much better.

Aura and mystique and been replaced with neurotic and phobic. It's painful to watch.
I don't know what it is, but this team is sick.... in the head and in the heart.

2008-08-17 07:41:51
2.   flycaster
Thouche, OYF. We're seeing the end result of a process that began after the '01 Series, as the hard-as-nuts grinders that made up the late '90's Yanks began to grow old and retire, and were replaced with guys who lack that quality. I mean, just compare the mental make-up: Bernie vs Melky, O'Neill vs Abreu, Tino vs Giambi, Brosius vs A-Rod etc. Same with the pitchers. Who on this staff has the guts and desire of Coney? Pettitte. Oh yeah, he was one of them too.

Then, Melky and Cano were brought up and we all reveled in the wondrous youthful energy they brought to our old, moribund team. They have basically been allowed to take over the team culture. Problem is, they channel that energy into stupid, self aggrandizing pettiness like wild handshakes and leaping chest-bumps instead of into grinding out every at-bat, and never taking a play off in the field.

Cashman gets beat up pretty good here (hey, what are blogs for?), but I think he's extremely bright and has (or is in the process of) figured out what needs to be done. The team needs to be rebuilt the same way it was in the early 90's by Stick and Buck: identify high OPB guys with steely make-up and acquire them. Sending Melky down was the 1st indication for me that this process has begun. The Melky/Cano culture will be extinguished as a first step. Mentally lazy guys will be given a ticket out of town, and that means you, Robby. I don't care how smooth your swing is, or how much "potential" you seem to have. You can't win like this and we've seen it for long enough to figure it out now.

This, of course, will take longer than most folks on this blog will like, but at least we seem to have the nucleus of an effective young pitching staff to build around. I'll enjoy the process.

2008-08-17 08:33:41
3.   weeping for brunnhilde
Well, here it is, Team, why Joe didn't have Damon bunt in in the ninth with no out first and second:

"We tried it [Friday] night," Girardi said. "[Damon] wasn't comfortable doing it. I mean, it is what it is." (from the Post piece Alex linked to above.)

If this doesn't tell you everything that's wrong with baseball in the (post-)steroids era, I don't know what does.

A fucking leadoff hitter, nay, the game's preeminent leadoff hitter over the last decade is not comfortable laying down a motherfucking bunt????

Is it just me? I realize I'm sabermetrically challenged, but I mean for the love of Pete.

2008-08-17 08:45:37
4.   JL25and3
I'll repeat what I said yesterday night, after I got home from that travesty. Girardi did a brutal, brutal job of managing that game. Everyone's focused on whether Damon should have bunted, but honestly, I thought that was nowhere near the worst of Girardi's mistakes yesterday.

For one thing, Christian should have been in there running for Pudge. Yes, if the run didn't score Molina would have to come in and there would be nobody at all left on the bench - but when exactly was he planning to win the game?

And he would have had more of a bench if he hadn't taken Giambi out for Ransom - in the 8th inning of a tie game, when you know you're not going to let Ransom bat anyway? So he used two extra players when the situation didn't call for a defensive replacement in the first place.

Girardi's much-praised bullpen management was also, frankly, piss-poor. The way that game was going, he absolutely had to leave either Bruney, Veras or Ramirez in for another inning, at least to start. He squandered his bullpen too early, just as he did his bench.

Bad, bad job.

2008-08-17 08:48:53
5.   JL25and3
Best moment that you guys didn't see: when Betemit came up in the 8th, the DiamondVision said, "Hitting for Ransom."

"OK, Wilson, listen carefully. You get a hit and we won't hurt the kid. And no cops."

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