Tuesday, April 24, 2007

This Sucks

I haven't posted in a few games, because frankly I have nothing positive to say about this frightfully hideous turn of events to start the season. I know there are kernels of positive points to the Bombers' daily proceedings, but they are greatly overshadowed by the garbage that we've witnessed.

The starting pitching is an absolute joke. Okay, Moose is out. Wang has been out and was pretty good today. Pettitte has been great. Pavano is out. We've had to make patchwork of Karstens, Rasner, and Wright with a sprinkle of a largely awful Kei Igawa. The bullpen is overworked. The bright side is that the starters will be lined up and ready soon. Phil Hughes is getting the call and could be here to stay. It still doesn't change the fact that we can't buy a win. Something has to give soon.

This may or may not be a knee-jerk reaction to my frustration as a fan, but I am also a person with experience in the professional world. I've been held responsible for million dollar budgets, and I've had the eyes of an industry turned on projects I've handled. The companies that have employed me over the years have paid for results. I've delivered with bright shining gold stars on almost every occasion, but I would be lying if I said there haven't been times that I've made mistakes or bungled something important. It happens, and we earn our reputations based as much on how we turn lemons into lemonade as we do for the fireworks and champagne that come with a job well done.

That's what I'm looking for with the Yankees. Accountability. The team was great last season, and fell through the floor in the playoffs thanks to a combination of poor hitting and a poorly constructed rotation. This season we are seeing great hitting and simply dismal pitching. Who should be accountable for the mess that is walking around in Yankee uniforms. The offense is amazing again. The bullpen was great until it was overworked. The starters have all been injured at some point. Is it in game management that is killing us? A bit. Some of this lands on Torre's shoulders. Is it poor conditioning? In part. The new trainer has been loudly criticized for his methods. Have we made the wrong roster moves? You could point to the BUC situation and the Mientkiewicz platoon as poor, but neither of those things is an issue with the current woes. What's most to blame for this poor start? I propose the following:

1. Injuries
The starting pitchers have had an inordinate amount of small nagging strains and aches. This is not an isolated issue to be pegged on aging starters. This is clearly a residual effect of the stupid training routine brought to the club by the new workout guru. Fire him. Pavano's problems are beyond help. Cut him. Seriously, just cut him. Even if he comes back I dont' want to see him wearing our uniform again. He's a fraud and a bum. It's time for him to go.

2. The Pen
The starters lack of endurance and effectiveness has had these relievers going virtually everyday. Some of that can't be helped. Torre is a very bad bullpen commander and it needs to be taken out of his hands. I see part of this problem with Ron Guidry. Gator is a legend and a hero, but he has no pitching coach experience whatsoever. How does that happen on the Yankees? Why didn't we get another man with a bit more experience and a stronger reputation for managing a staff? I think the point is not that Guidry is incompetent or unqualified, but rather that a big name guy would be able to take charge in the dugout and relieve Torre of some of the flaws in his own managing style.

We all have weak points that should be complimented by someone better able than ourselves. The pen is Torre's albatross and therefore we need a stronger voice in the dugout. I actually have no knowledge of what's said in there, but I don't believe that a stronger, more experienced pitching coach would allow the pen to be misused as it is. Just an opinion. (Taking Wang out when he did today was an example to me. The guy was at 81 pitches and is known for creating ground balls. Let him get out of his own mess with a double play. It would be much better than watching our pen shit the bed yet again.)

3. The Personnel
Cash Money is alright in my book. I like the direction he's taking our team. I don't like the pussyfooting around that we see with call ups. We have the talent and we need to pull the trigger. Melky is clearly playing poorly, and we've given him a month to show something. He hasn't. Send him down. Thompson? Tabata? I don't care who you give the roster spot to, but it has to be someone who will produce. Tabata seems crazy, but why not? He was nutso in Spring Training, and he might just be able to handle the job. If he can, he stays. Problem solved. If he can't, he's too good to be crushed. These are not all fragile psychological creatures that can't handle a little adversity. They are either mentally tough, competitive, and driven, or we probably would be better off without them on the Yankees. See my point? Hughes is the same thing. Either he can take it, or he can't. Either he's fragile or he's tough. If he's tough, bring him up, plug him in, and let him adjust. If he's fragile, he'll never survive New York.

I have no patience for a team that is struggling and turns to AA Wright, Karstens, and Rasner when Phil Hughes is at SWB. Just call him up. If Melky can't hit and you insist on playing Mientkiewicz every day, give the job to another player. This is the Yankees.

I don't mean to sound impatient, but there is a time to wait and see, and there is a time for action. Fortunately, I think the Yankees have moved quickly to call up Hughes. That's action. Firing the conditioning guy, replacing Guidry, and calling up a different outfielder would be a good series of follow up actions if things don't get handled better soon. Again, just my opinion.


Pete said...

I never liked the Guidry move - hiring a first-time pitching coach for a staff that was destined to be in flux for the entire 2007 season was just ludicrous IMO.

I understand Mazzone was out of the picture, but you mean to tell me Guidry was the BEST option?

Loyalty to former players doesn't always mean handing them a coaching job, after all. It also remains a problem when said former player has the level of popularity such as Guidry (or Mattingly for that matter) - there's going to be bad feelings all around should they have to be fired.

Yankees Gossip said...

great post. I feel your pain. I really do. I still have a lot of faith in this team and over the last couple of years, we have always struggled with injuries and in April and we always pull through. Besides the first base situation and the resentment I have to Bernie not showing up and earning his stop (that would be huge right now), the pitching is really what drives me nuts. This quote from MLB.com, "Pavano, sidelined with a mild strain in his pitching elbow, threw on flat ground on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium. He said that he feels no pain, just soreness." WHAT IS THAT! How, when they have a team of walking wounded does a guy like Pavano get to sit out, collect money, and watch his team struggle with AA guys! Also, this lack on backing up or guys when they get beamed. I personally think this is a Torre era move, but when Arod and Jeter get hit in a RS game by Dice-K, you need to show the RS that we won't take that. Clemens or Petitte would have showed some back bone, but these kids won't. They need to earn the teams respect and going inside on Ortiz or Manny would have shown some big back bone and earned some respect. I just want to say, I really enjoy this blog. It is up there with some of my favorites, Pete Abraham, Mark Feinsten, MLB.com, Etc..Keep up the great options! GO YANKEES.
ps. i'm going to the game Saturday so lets hope Karsten or Igawa pitching well!

Jim said...

I have to agree with Yankees Gossip on the hbp situation. Even if it wasn't deliberate, after hits on both Jeter & A-Rod some retaliation was needed. The Sox staff will be coming up & in on Yanks hitters all weekend now. The answer will be to plunk Mike Lowell the first time a pitch comes even close to one of our guys, and again the next time, and again the time after that.
Why not Manny or Ortiz, you ask? Simple, Lowell at third base, slowed down by a few good bruises, plus Manny being Manny in left, and we've got half the field open to our hitters. Plus Lowell (who I'm actually a big fan of -- helluva player) is a great inside pitch pull hitter, so moving him off the plate to where he can do nothing but ground out weakly to second is a good strategy.