Catching Up

Yesterday was my son’s birthday and we had a good day and party with my father and stepmother, so I didn’t see any part of the game until highlights at night.  After being ahead 7-2, a loss would have been nothing short of terrible, so the Yankees’ pulling out the win after Cano homered in the seventh was vital.  With Boston’s extra-inning win, the Yankees are still five back in the Wild Card.  Rasner struggled, the errors certainly hurt, but the Yankees hit the nemesis that is Cabrera well.  Five players had multi-hit games, including Cano with four and the game-winning homer (more about him below), his 12th of the year, JD with a three-run shot in the second, his 9th this season, Nady with a double and 2 RBIs, Abreu with 3 and A-Rod with 2.  Among the starters, only Jeter (0-5) and Giambi (0-4 with a sac fly) went hitless.

The Yankees really need a sweep of Boston in the series that starts tomorrow.  Winning the series wouldn’t exactly be awful since they’d gain a game, but due to their struggles and current position, it’s really not enough to win series against teams ahead of the Yanks in the playoff race anymore.  In fact, the Yankees need to win at least 5 of the remaining 6 games against both Boston and Tampa, and to sweep the White Sox in September.  There’s really no way around it.

Pete Abraham gave a heads-up over the weekend about a brief but excellent piece on The New York Times “Bats” blog by Jack Curry on Larry Bowa’s impact on Cano.  It’s really something and illustrates how crucial Bowa was not only in being a great third-base coach (and note how Bowa reacted to Cano’s not following his sign) but also his being a tough-love mentor.  Coaching is hard work and takes consistency in effort over time as well as in approach.  Bowa undoubtedly had a huge, positive impact on Cano, and the Yankees have missed him in more ways than one this year.  Mike Sommer has said that the president of the Lehigh Valley Yankee Fan Club has it from a very good source that part of Melky’s being sent down was his negative influence on Cano, with the two of them doing a lot of late-night partying together.  Some things don’t change in sports.  More importantly, it’s a poor habit for a kid to be in, and one that the Yankees have ill afforded this year.  I sure wish Cano could have gotten a loud earful or three from Bowa after one of his late nights on the town.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and again, Joe Girardi and the Yankees routinely lie about injuries, as this hilarious exchange illustrates.  Sorry, there’s just no need to lie about a guy being hurt.  What benefit to the team and public is there in lying when anyone speaking to Marte, as Pete Abraham and Ed Price did, and seeing his arm packed in ice knew that Marte hadn’t been “fine” as Girardi falsely said?  Trying to delude an opponent into thinking they might have to face someone and plan accordingly, as they would anyway?  Smart, well-prepared teams can handle such possibilities regardless.  It’s just dumb and engenders distrust.

Published in: on August 25, 2008 at 10:26 am  Comments (8)  

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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. i wonder if girardi makes a full confession to his priest every sunday?

  2. C’mon Alex

  3. Maybe he treats it like George Costanza, Mike. “It’s not a lie (or a sin) if YOU believe it.” Girardi just might believe his lies, even if the pronouncements of his own players contradict him.

    I too was rooting for A-Rod last night in the situations Leo, and he utterly failed every time. I don’t like people booing him, but understand it and their frustrations. The season–and last in the original Yankee Stadium–is fading away, and the team and its biggest stars are failing. I wouldn’t doubt it if more than a few Red Sox fans on hand joined in the A-Rod booing, either.

  4. love the costanza reference—

    i just think girardi is a phony–
    and i dont understand how some people say he manages the bullpen well- clearly there are guys who’s arm he has no regard for-ohlendorf was his first casualty—i think marte has been astonished at the way girardi has abused him.

    happy birthday jonah

  5. My son said thanks, Mike.

    On Girardi, he’s done a poor job with the, for lack of a better term, diplomatic side of managing the Yankees. Lying to the press has been an egregious and frequent offense from Girardi.

    On his handling the bullpen, I think Girardi has on the whole done well. But you’re certainly right in how he mishandled Ohlendorf, swinging him between short and long relief, which was a disaster. He worked Marte hard–then lied about his having arm soreness. Maybe Marte has a history of getting worn down, maybe his arm flaring up was unusual. I don’t know enough about him.

    On the whole, I still think Girardi’s done well and has for the most part been cognizant of and restrained in the bullpen’s use. But it’s impossible for me to contest the examples you cite. It’s a good point, Mike.

  6. managing the pen and constructing a line-up are very important as should be obvious to anyone. some might say girardi has managed the bullpen very well- better then torre–fine . i won’t argue the point.
    i’d like to talk about what i consider to be the most important job of managing a baseball team- getting the most out of your players day in and day out-when the team is doing well or when things are in the weeds. i see a yankee team with mostly the same roster as last year- i also see a yankee team that in no way resembles the yankee teams of the last 12 years or so. maybe it was time for joe torre to move on–but he knew how to get the most and the best out of his players. i’d like to hear someone make an argument that joe girardi has done that. in my opinion he has failed miserably.

    ( and it’s not because they aren’t taking speed anymore)

  7. It’s a good point, he hasn’t. In fact, as I write the wrap for this atrocious game, that will constitute some of it. The point at The Sommer Frieze was about trying to account for an old team under-achieving. It’s something that’s hard to figure, just as with steroids, but something I won’t discount for a second. Uppers had been prevalent in the game for a long time. Clearly there’s a lot more to it than that. Managing has something to do with it, attitude does as well, approach to the game, leadership, lots of things. I wasn’t going to deny what Mike said as invalid because, 1.) I don’t think it is invalid, and 2.) it’s a difficult variable to judge, but one that has been prevalent in the game.

    Do I think that other factors matter more? Yes. Do I think it factors in with all teams to a degree? I wouldn’t doubt it for a second.

  8. […] gotten results, and those results have gotten steadily worse. Various people, from Sam Borden to regular reader Mike have questioned, rightly, what job Girardi has done especially compared to what Torre had done. […]

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