Thursday nights have become somewhat of a catch-up night for sleep for me after a lot of mid-week late nights, so I was asleep but a few minutes after the dreadful, listless 7-0 loss last night. All the better, as far as I’m concerned. I didn’t catch the Girardi press conference about the team and team meeting until this morning, I didn’t think about how they let Lester–no slouch of a pitcher–off the hook.  Nor did I think about how the Yanks are again wilting at a key stretch, just before the All-Star break, to make a run.

What a disgrace last night’s game was. Talking intermittently with Mike Sommer at The Sommer Frieze last night, there was the distinct sense we shared that the game was over when it was 4-0, more so when it became 5-0, then 6-0. The team is not a good comeback team and, when it sags early in the game, it’s usually a bad sign for any Yanks fan interested in watching nine full innings. It really becomes a grind at that point. This season has been one long grind in my mind with this team. Despite a lot of potential and a potent lineup, the 2008 Yanks are not very good.

Five measly hits was all they mustered. They got consecutive lead-off walks to start the first, then had first and third with one out, but Lester fanned A-Rod and Giambi, and that was pretty much it. Three double-plays erased other threats. Lester threw 24 pitches in the first, but only 81 more through the next eight for the five-hit complete game shutout.  Lester only had to throw 4 pitches in the third, eight in the fourth.  Horrible. Pettite was atrocious, losing the fine touch he had the past four starts.

If there were two bright spots, the first was that Melky and Cano each had two hits, with Cano actually raising his average over .250 to .252. Nice for the kid, finally, but of course the rest of the team couldn’t hit. The other bright spot was the stellar relief work of Giese and Robertson, going a combined 3 1/3 perfect innings with four K’s, with Giese pitching 2 1/3 of those in the fifth through the seventh. How much to expect out of Giese, I don’t know. He’s a career minor-league journeyman, yes, and he’s little different from the Rasner/Mussina mold, giving the Yanks a lot of guys with similar, high-80s and off-speed stuff. But he’s been pitching very well, has done everything for them from start to provide long relief to one-inning stints, and has an ERA under 3. Unless he implodes or gets lit up, Giese stays. So does Robertson, who has an ERA of 1.80 only because he allowed a run in his first inning up, but nothing since.

I’m in an ensconced prove-it-to-me frame of mind with the Yanks the rest of the year. Too often I’ve been optimistic for a stretch paralleling their periodic success, only to see them revert to the same poor streaks, the same poor habits, and the same poor results. They need to show me that they’re capable of playing better ball for sustained stretches. After going up seven games above .500 a few days ago, the team has lost four of five, scoring 18 runs in the one win and four runs in the four losses. No consistency whatsoever, and that’s not a good sign after 86 games. In fact, it’s a bad one. This isn’t a bad baseball team. It’s just not a good one, either.

No need to apologize whatsoever, Mike my friend. I’m still pulling for this team. I’m just not that high on them, especially as the offense is looking so creaky. More and more, this looks like a down year for Jeter. Abreu’s average is down, and many of the rest of the starters are giving about what they can and can be expected to which, at for many their advanced age, is significantly less than before. Nor am I a fan of the big comebacks of the last few seasons, and not simply because they haven’t resulted in the ultimate success of a World Series championship. It’s also because they have probably tired an aging team with subpar benches. The team is looking old, not hitting as a unit, and won’t catch anyone with anemic games like last night.

Published in: on July 4, 2008 at 10:29 am  Leave a Comment  

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