The Yankees scored one run on Tuesday. They scored one run on Monday. They scored one run on Sunday. If they score one run (or less) on Wednesday night at the Stadium, I might finally go through with my threat to move to Europe and become a soccer fan.
Nine days ago I wrote about the “Final 14 Games” for the Yankees and how the 14 games against the Twins, Orioles and Royals would make or break the 2013 season and the Yankees responded by winning six in a row and nearly seven before a rare blown save from Number 42. But now that near-seventh win that turned into a ninth-inning loss has turned into a three-game losing streak with five games separating the Yankees and the All-Star Game (aka Mets fans’ World Series).
On top of the Yankees’ inability to score runs, Derek Jeter is ready to return to the majors and hasn’t yet because of this unnecessary need to have him play back-to-back full games.
Things are bad in the Bronx right now though it’s not burning just yet. But if the Yankees can’t find a way to win three of the last five games of the “first half” then we might have a five-alarm fire when the “second half” starts with the Yankees facing the Red Sox, Rangers, Rays and Dodgers to end July.
The “first half” is over in five games and I have yet to write an episode of The Joe Girardi Show. This has to do with Girardi actually doing a great job with the Makeshift Yankees through 90 games and it being extremely hard to get on Girardi or the Makeshift Yankees for underachieving of late (because are they really underachieving?) when they have overachieved all season. So while it might be long overdue, here’s the fourth season premiere with analysis of Girardi’s quotes from Tuesday night rather than me asking fake questions to Girardi.
“We’re going to have to score more runs. I believe they can do it.”
This quote shows that Girardi does understand that it’s going to be difficult to win games when you score just one run, even if your $23 million “ace,” making $676,470.59 per start can’t hold a lead or hold a No. 9 hitter with 215 career plate appearances and two career home runs entering Tuesday night in the park.
“Believe” is a strong word to use, especially if you’re the manager of the Yankees talking to the New York media and using the word to describe a lineup that aside from Robinson Cano (who is streaky and can’t really be trusted), Brett Gardner (who is every bit as streaky as Cano) and Ichiro Suzuki (who has transformed into streaky from consistent) is the worst contending lineup in the American League.
“Any time you get four hits in an inning, you think you’re going to get more than one run.”
James Shields has been called “Big Game James” throughout his career despite his 2-4 record and 4.98 ERA in six postseason starts, including two of the Rays’ three losses to the Red Sox in the 2008 ALCS. But on Tuesday night when the Yankees had Shields on the ropes with the bases loaded and one out and one run already in, they couldn’t score another run. Forget about trying to score the rest of the game as the Yankees would record just two more hits (both singles) the rest of the game.
“As I’m asked that question on a yearly basis, what you’re asking me to do is kind of put down the guys in that room and I’ll never do that.
Since you won’t, I will with the next quote and the following analysis …
“We have not scored a ton of runs all year long. As I said when we left spring training, we were going to have to win a lot of close games. We weren’t going to score the runs we probably did last year. And that’s what we’re going through.”
The Yankees have been shutout seven times. They have scored one run 11 times. They have scored two runs 11 times. They have scored three runs 15 times. That means in 44 of their 90 games (49 percent) they have scored three runs or less. A team that used to be on pace and challenge the 1,000-run mark is now averaging 3.9 runs per game and is on pace to score 630 runs this season, which would be the franchise’s lowest total since 1990 when they scored 630 runs (an average of 3.7 runs per game.).
Is Girardi responsible for the offensive slumps of the Makeshift Yankees and this current offensive drought? Of course not. But he’s not fully off the hook for this debacle either. Girardi has no one to blame for the Yankees’ one-run effort on Monday night after he posted this lineup in the Yankees clubhouse:
1. Brett Gardner, CF
2. Zoilo Almonte, LF
3. Robinson Cano, 2B
4. Travis Hafner, DH
5. Vernon Wells, RF
6. Travis Ishikawa, 1B
7. Luis Cruz, SS
8. Alberto Gonzalez, 3B
9. Austin Romine, C
The Yankees’ lone run didn’t come until Girardi had Lyle Overbay hit for Ishikawa in the seventh after the newest Yankee had struck out swinging twice in his debut and made Steve Pearce look like Babe Ruth at the plate. Ishikawa, Gonzalez and Romine combined to go 0-for-6 in the game and all three were replaced for offensive reasons before the game ended.
So if there was a chance that Ishikawa, Gonzalez and Romine could be hit for by Overybay, Ichiro and Chris Stewart respectively, then why was that trio ever allowed to start the game? Isn’t the purpose of a day off to actually get a day off? Did Girardi think he could steal a win from an actual Major League team with Phil Hughes on the mound and a lineup that recent Padres teams would laugh at?
This idea that Overbay needs rest is about as good of an idea as trying Eduardo Nunez at catcher. Overbay is 36 years old and is signed to a one-year, $1.25 million deal, which the Yankees made in beer sales from the bleachers alone before the third inning on Tuesday night. If Overbay breaks down or gets injured it doesn’t matter because he’s expendable and there is nothing at all invested in him. The Yankees should be riding him at first base until he does break down for the very reason that he’s only making $1.25 million and is worth nothing to them after 2013.
Ichiro also doesn’t need rest. He might be 39 years old, but he’s in better shape than just about every other player in the league and very well could be the most physically fit player of the 750 players in Major League Baseball. He played in all 162 games last year, 161 in 2011 and 162 in 2010. He has played at least 146 games every year of his career. He DOES NOT need days off.
It’s scary that the Yankees need Eduardo Nunez right now and they will continue to need him even after Jeter returns. But Nunez is no longer on the team to give Girardi a right-handed option off the bench or to give Jeter or A-Rod a day off. He’s on the team to play and play every single game. But on Monday night, Nunez started the night on the bench after playing two games since coming off the disabled list, which he was on for TWO MONTHS. It’s impossible that a 26-year-old Major League athlete could be tired, fatigued or overworked after playing 18 innings of baseball after having last played in the league 62 days ago and it’s impossible that Girardi could give him a day off after two games back.
“I think his (Derek Jeter) presence is going to help us. He’s used to so many things that happen in New York and understands the landscape here. I think his attitude will help us.”
Oh, you think Derek Jeter will help you? Get the eff out here! Derek Jeter will help the 2013 Yankees? Come on!
My favorite part about this quote is that Girardi talks about Jeter like he’s some free-agent signing making his return to New York and he needs to sell his abilities to the media and the fans. It’s Derek Effing Jeter, Joe. Derek Effing Jeter.
Jeter has said that he’s ready to return to the team (though he probably also said he was fine to play in Game 2 of the ALCS), but he’s still playing rehab games at Triple-A. Meanwhile, Girardi is using a shortshop platoon of Eduardo Nunez, Alberto Gonzalez and Luis Cruz to fill the void left by Jeter, which was then left by Jayson Nix. No big deal. These games don’t matter.