A Terrible Job All Around

I disagree with the sentiment that off the field distractions will doom the Yankees in 2011. Anyone who lived through the 1978 season knows better than that. But, last night’s drama didn’t need to happen.

Girardi made a huge mistake in the way he handled Posada last night. He never should have dropped him to 9th for this particular game and I got the sense in his press conference that he realized the enormity of his screw up as he tried to tone things down. If Girardi had done this Thursday against KC or Monday against Tampa, it would not have been a story. But picking a National TV game against Boston, the day after Posada got a hit was just plain stupid. And worst of all, this will definitely impact the way the Yankees handle Jeter. Expect him at the top of the lineup for the entire season.

Cashman didn’t help things by eliminating the most attractive lie the Yankees and Jorge had as an explanation. When he went on FOX and proclaimed that Jorge was healthy before the game, he increased the story tenfold. Cashman has exhibited a tendency to spout off at the mouth this year. I am not sure if it is because of his expiring contract or internal factors, but if he comes back it needs to stop.

Posada blew it twice last night. Asking out of a game is inexcusable and Jorge should have known better. But, I almost think his claim of a back injury after the game was worse. Lying is always the easier road, but it also dishonors you. I wish Jorge had stood at his locker, admitted to being pissed off about hitting 9th and admitted to making a huge mistake. Making up a phantom injury doesn’t do anything for him outside or inside the clubhouse.

I suspect that phantom injury will carry over to tonight. The Yankees will announce this afternoon that Jorge is too banged up to play. Then, they will put him in the 9th spot tomorrow when the Yankees play a “regular” game. The problem is, you can’t put the cork back into this bottle.

How Not To Handle A Legend

Does Jorge Posada deserve to hit 9th? Yes, in fact, he probably deserves to not even hit at all. .165/.272/.349 is worthy of a benching.

But, Joe Girardi totally screwed this up by initially trying to bat him 9th tonight. When I saw the lineup tonight I tweeted “Why not bench him instead of embarrassing him? Is Joe Torre managing tonight?” (BTW- you can follow my tweets @nysportsfanatic if you like Twitter) That’s what this move was, a move to embarrass a proud player. You don’t make this move against the Red Sox on national TV. If you want to bench him tonight, say he tweaked something running out a ball or something like that. Better yet, wait until Monday to do it. Batting him 9th makes no sense at all. At least Torre hit A-Rod 8th in a do-or-die playoff game. Girardi didn’t have to do this tonight.

We will have to see what Jorge says after the game. I am not excusing Posada for not playing, but I simply can’t believe Girardi was this stupid in his handling of the situation. Jorge should be fined and should apologize for that part of this incident. I’m really just kind of stunned by all of this right now. Girardi made the dumbest move of his tenure tonight. Stay tuned for the fallout.

Something All Fans Can Agree On

You may have noticed Ken Rosenthal wearing bow ties during FOX games this year and wondered what on Earth he was doing. The answer is, raising money for charities. Each week he wears a different bow tie to support a different cause. This week’s cause is one close to this blog’s heart- beating cancer.

As you can read here, Saturday’s bow tie will represent Stand Up 2 Cancer, an organization which seeks to fund groundbreaking research in the battle to defeat this dreadful disease.

It’s a cause all fans, regardless of affiliation can get behind and you can read more about their efforts here.

Odd

I am not at all surprised that the Yankees brought up a new arm for tonight’s game. What does surprise me is that Buddy Carlyle got sent down instead of Sanit. Sanit threw 81 pitches last night, Carlyle threw 24. Obviously, Carlyle would be ready to pitch again a lot sooner than Sanit.

But, the Yankees must have something else in the works. Why else would they demote Carlyle and promote Noesi? It doesn’t make any sense unless they are going to DFA Sanit and promote an infielder.

Stay tuned to “As The Yankees Roster Turns” for more updates.

Running In Place?

When the Yankees and Red Sox last met, Boston took 2-of-3 leaving them at 2-7 on the season and the Yankees at 5-4. Since then, Boston has gone 15-13 and New York has gone 15-11, leaving them essentially in the same place they were in relation to each other April 10th. The problem is that in that same time Tampa has gone 21-7, surging from a 1-8 start into first place in the AL East.

The Yankees seem to be in reverse right now, dropping six-of-nine and playing some very lousy baseball. They blew a winnable game Wednesday night and followed it up with a miserable performance last night. Throw in Sunday’s win, which probably shouldn’t have happened, and there is not a lot to like about this team right now.

You would have to think that Boston has the edge in the pitching matchups, especially Sunday when they throw Lester against Garcia. But, the Yankees’ offense has certainly been better in 2011 than the Boston one. This is a weird weekend series as none of the games are day games, I can’t recall the last time that happened. Will playing Boston wake the Yankees up? We shall see.

Argggh!

Every year we hit a stretch where the Yankees decide they absolutely have to have 13 pitchers on their roster. Today is that day as they have called up Amaury Sanit from AAA and sent Ramiro Pena down.

I have nothing against Sanit. In fact, I am curious to see his stuff since he has struck out 24 in 16 innings. But, carrying 13 pitchers absolutely cripples your bench. It’s bad enough that Eduardo Nunez is now the only guy on the roster who could cover three infield positions, but the Yankees are making it worse with tonight’s lineup. For some reason, they have decided to DH Derek Jeter. So, if something happens to one of the infielders, they will have to move Jeter into the field and lose the DH.

How a team that had to remove its second baseman from the game last night and run him through neurological tests can make these moves is beyond me. Why didn’t they just option or release Carlyle and protect their bench depth? I have no clue, but I hope someone asks Brian Cashman that question.

Tough Times

Each time the Red Sox get to within a game of .500, they blow is and find a way to remain sub-.500.

In trying to find a silver lining in an otherwise forgettable start to the season, it is nice to see Adrian Gonzalez show his opposite field power. In the 2 game mini-series just completed in Toronto, he hit 3 HRs to left field. It is amazing the amount of power he can generate to all fields.

David Ortiz has 6 home runs and he too has been using the whole field. I’ve seen more hits to left for him this year than I can recall in year’s past (I understand my memory is quite likely shoddy, but that’s the impression I have).

Jacoby Ellsbury is having a nice bounce-back season.

Josh Beckett has been other-worldly and has forced me to do a 180 on my feelings about him (as a player…not a person). 2011 is year one of a four year deal at $17mm a clip and I really thought we’d be flushing money down the drain.

Jonathan Papelbon has also found his magic and has looked very good (2 bb/19 K in 14.2 IP).

There have been some other nice performances too, but as a whole, this club still stinks.

2011:
Offense: .256/.333/.400/.733
Pitching: 4.40 ERA/1.34 WHIP

2010:
Offense: .268/.339/.451/.790
Pitching: 4.20/1.361

2009:
Offense: .270/.352/.454/.806
Pitching: 4.35/1.409

So while the pitching isn’t terrible compared to years prior, the offense is terrible. Guys like Kevin Youkilis (.850 OPS vs. past 3-year average of approx .965 OPS), Dustin Pedroia (.672 OPS), Carl Crawford (.558 OPS but definitely swinging a hot bat now), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (.517 OPS), Jason Varitek (.453 OPS) and Marco Scutaro (.625 OPS) all need to do more and do it soon.

The Red Sox have yet to score 10 runs in a game. The Yankees have done it 4 times, The Orioles have done it 2 times, the Rays have done it 2 times, and the Blue Jays have done it twice.

I mean come on!

There is certainly something missing from this squad. HOFer Peter Gammons recently said in an interview that the Red Sox are missing a “personality chip.” Whatever it is, it needs to be fixed.

Lastly, shortstop of the future, Jose Iglesias, is here today taking the place of injured Marco Scutaro. While his fielding might be slick, he needs a ton of work with the bat. He has been swinging at everything and doesn’t seem to have any pitch recognition. Not so much what kind of pitch, but whether it’ll he a ball or a strike. He literally swings at everything. Let’s hope he can go back down to Pawtucket and learn a few things before we see him again. He needs more seasoning.

This And That

I woke to the news that Bill Gallo had died. For anyone who ever opened the Daily News, Gallo’s cartoons were a staple of the sports section. General Von Steingrabber was the perfect parody of the real man. Gallo’s humor and insight will be missed and the Sunday News will never be the same.

Gene Monahan announced that he will retire at the end of the season. I sincerely hope that the Yankees put a plaque in Monument Park honoring “Gino”. He has worked for the team since 1962 and actually became head trainer before Steinbrenner bought the team. He never got a hit, made a pitch or called a game, but the Yankees wouldn’t be the Yankees without Gino.

We also have player news. The Yankees have activated Luis Ayala and sent Lance Pendleton to the minors. Now Pendleton isn’t much of a prospect, but he is 27 while Buddy Carlyle is 33. Which one do you think has a better chance of becoming a long-term asset?

And finally, Brian Cashman announced that the Yankees will not discuss a contract extension with CC Sabathia during the season. This makes a ton of sense because as great as CC is, you don’t want to extend a pitcher’s contract unless you have to. It also is a somewhat informal policy of the team as the Yankees never seem to negotiate with upcoming free agents. That being said, wouldn’t it make sense for them to talk to Robinson Cano and see if they could extend him for the next 5 years or so?

This Wasn’t A Mistake

A drumbeat that has sounded louder and louder the past few weeks is that the Yankees made a mistake declining their option on Lance Berkman. They could have kept him in pinstripes for $15 million and since he is tearing the cover off the ball so far in St. Louis why didn’t they?

But, the Yankees never could have exercised that option. Not after Berkman came to New York and hit .255/.358/.349 while getting hurt and looking TERRIBLE in the field. Not with Jorge Posada already headed to the DH spot and due $13 million himself. It’s easy to criticize the move now, but think back to the end of the season and find me anyone, anyone, who would have predicted this kind of season so far from Berkman.

As for Posada, his season seems to be going in reverse. He hasn’t hit a homerun since April 23rd and his numbers are down to .152/.257/.354, positively anemic. Getting him going has to be a priority for the Yankees and I can’t help thinking that putting him in the field for a game or two just might do it. Consider these numbers. For his career, Posada has put up an OPS .868 behind the plate and .938 (admittedly in only 68 PA’s) at first, while only putting up a .674 OPS in 474 PA’s as a DH. That’s almost a full season at DH and the numbers are not encouraging.

So, maybe the Chavez injury can be a blessing in disguise. The Yankees could use Posada at first and give Teixeira a rest and maybe even let Jorge catch a game now and then. Posada put up an .811 OPS last year, it’s hard to believe he is as bad as his 2011 stats would lead you to believe.

How Did That Happen?

I’ve watched a lot of baseball, but I can’t recall ever seeing a player break a bone in his foot running the bases without colliding into anyone or anything. That’s what Eric Chavez did in the fourth inning today, breaking his 5th metatarsal somewhere between second and third. From what I can gather on the internet, he is probably out at least six weeks and possibly much longer. I feel really badly for him. Breaking a bone in your lower body stinks.

The question becomes, what do the Yankees do about replacing him? There are three real candidates Pena, Russo and Vazquez, but each one of them is flawed in some fashion. Ramiro Pena has taken his inability to hit with him to Scranton where he is putting up a line of .233/.313/.384. As bad as that is, it looks great compared to Kevin Russo’s .227/.299/.299. So, neither one of them would do much offensively. If the Yankees want offense, Jorge Vazquez is the way to go. Vazquez is mashing the ball, hitting .302/.321/.585 at Scranton. The problem is, Vazquez is really only a first baseman and the Yankees would need to open up a 40-man spot for him.

Add in Eduardo Nunez’s defensive troubles and my sense is that Pena gets the call. Girardi loves his defense and with Nunez bringing back memories of Bobby Meacham at short, it makes a lot of sense. Anyway you slice it, the Yankees just lost a very valuable player that they don’t have an obvious replacement for.

UPDATE
Pena was pulled from the Scranton game before getting an AB tonight. That’s a pretty strong sign that he will be on a plane to Texas.