20 May 2008
Some will credit Joe Girardi for standing up after Sunday night’s disaster and taking the blame for the Yankees’ performance. For me, it was more an act of stupid heroism. I think trying to assign blame now is a pointless exercise and it won’t make the Yankees hit any better, but maybe it will motivate the team. We have seen countless examples in sports of teams rallying around their coach and maybe this was Girardi’s attempt to instill that. If it works, he will look like a genuis, but it got me to thinking about where the real blame for this season’s stumble (and that’s what I am calling it for now) lies.
When I thought about it for awhile, it came down to three different entities. I say entities because I cannot speicifically name two groups. Anyway, here are my three and please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.
#1 is the Yankees’ doctors/trainers. Last year it was Marty Miller who walked the plank for all the injuries in April and May because of his "new-age" techniques. You could argue that this season is simply bad luck, but how about the way the team has handled some of their injured players. How did A-Rod and Posada get back into games long before they were medically cleared to do so? If I am going to lay some blame, I am going to start here.
#2 is Dave Eiland. Eiland replaced Ron Guidry, a guy who won 168 more games as a Yankee than him, becasue he was supposed to be the key to handling the young pitchers. Kennedy and Hughes have been disasters and I don’t know if you noticed, but Joba isn’t blowing people away the same way he did last year. Do we give Eiland credit for Edwar Ramirez? Maybe, but I would like to see more than 8+ innings from him before I call him a success.
#3 is the bench as a unit. Losing A-Rod and Posada would have been bad under any conditions, but the utter lack of performance from Ensberg, Molina, Gonzalez, Moeller, Duncan and Betemit has made them killer injuries. There have been two large holes in the lineup for the past three weeks and nobody from this group has stepped up to fill them.
Those would be my choices for the three biggest cuplrits in the season. I thought of some others but I felt these were the biggest.
But, as I said, I think the blame game is stupid. Look at things right now, 20-24 exactly where they were in 2007. The difference is the 2007 team had scored 57 more runs at this point but was also 4 1/2 games further out of first. I will take that trade, because the games are more significant to me. A-Rod is back tonight and stop and take a look at the schedule from now until the end of June. If the Yankees are who we think they are, they will make a big run over these next six weeks.
UPDATE: Well, that sucks a lot of hope out of the air, the Orioles score a touchdown in the first.