Saturday, May 14, 2011

Girardi, Disappointed With Yanks Play, Calls A Team Meeting

From Joel Sherman:
The Yanks' play had been disturbing enough recently -- sloppy on defense, not opportunistic on offense -- that manager Joe Girardi called a meeting last night of the whole team, including coaches, to stress the need to clean up the play.

"We have not played very well for the last week and half to two weeks," Girardi said.

The problems persisted last night. Even after Girardi's powwow. Even with The Rivalry renewed, a factor Girardi had hoped would jolt his club. Even with the new Stadium filled (48,254) and as loud and into a game as it had been perhaps all season.

The Yankees permitted an unearned run in the fourth via a Russell Martin passed ball. The failure to complete a makeable double play in the seventh -- Robinson Cano never threw to first after taking a feed from Jeter -- contributed to three Boston runs that broke a 2-2 tie.

Meanwhile, on offense the Yankees were just 2-for-14 with men on base. The Yankees over the years have made their reputation by doing damage when working into favorable counts. But against Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz and reliever Daniel Bard the Yanks generated 13 hitter's counts -- 2-0, 3-0 or 3-1 -- and went 1-for-11 with two walks, three strikeouts and not a single ball driven into the outfield in those situations besides Posada's ground single that preceded Martin's homer in the fifth.

Is it possible that the offense that was supposed to carry the Yankees is what you see: Hit or miss, homer dependent, loaded with dead spots.
It seems that there is at least one point in every season that this team falls into the same sort of rut where they sit around and wait for the 3-run bomb. Hopefully, like they've been able to in most years, they'll get passed it and start hitting like we all know they can. I don't think this is a lineup "loaded with dead spots", and it's going to take more than a couple months to convince this Yankees fan of anything different. That said, this is something that needs to be fixed soon.
The bigger question, though, might be about regret. Suddenly, Carl Crawford and, especially, Adrian Gonzalez (homer and two RBIs last night) are hitting, which augurs well for Boston being what was expected: the AL East favorite.

The Yanks are now two games behind Tampa Bay, watching the Red Sox creep up in the rearview mirror. The schedule will not be as favorable the rest of the way; and can the Yankees really expect A.J. Burnett, Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon (who pitched well last night) to maintain over the final 20 weeks what they have positively offered in the first six?

Have the Yankees already fumbled their best chance to control the AL East?
Did the Yankees blow a chance at putting some room between them and their AL East competitors? Absolutely. That in undeniable. The fact that they're a full two games behind the Rays and just 3 up on Boston is very disappointing.

At the same time, we all know divisions aren't won in April or May. If that were the case, the Red Sox would have won a lot more division titles over the last 10-15 years than they have. So, while it is a blown opportunity and it is disappointing to see, there is no reason for panic on May 14th. Just turn things around now so we don't have to have this same conversation in June, July, August, or September.

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