Red Sox 11 Yankees 3: Kiss The Playoffs Good-Bye

After tonight’s stink bomb, you can officially forget the post-season because it ain’t happening. No way. It’s been at best a small chance for some time, really since Joba got hurt. But watching this team not only fail to hit, not only fail to hold Boston down, but to absolutely roll over and die seals the deal. The biggest series of the year, the last time the Yankees will play Boston in the old stadium, and the Yankees played poorly then, near the end, indifferently. Yet again this year, the Yankees have disgraced themselves. Sadly, they have 14 games left in Yankee Stadium before moving into the new one next year. Sadly, they won’t have any more playoff games in it. Sadly, they often played like chumps the last year the Stadium is open. Sadly, I’ve watched most of it with the expectation, then hope, then desperate hope, then mounting unlikeliness, then in futile helplessness that they would play well, make the playoffs, and make a run to the Series.

Forget it.

Injuries have mattered a lot, as I’ve consistently posted. But come on now, this is a team with tons of talent and most of the same core, plus some new and good talent added late with Nady, Marte, and Pudge. Don’t tell me that this team, with those players, couldn’t at least be a playoff team, couldn’t at least outscore teams and keep up, injuries notwithstanding. The poor start was an early killer, but the grotesque inconsistency, well before the injuries piled up so badly, before Wang and Joba went down, call the injury excuse seriously into question.

Start with the star-laden roster, for they are mainly the same guys who have at least made playoff runs before. A-Rod seems to have focus every other year and, while he’s having a darn good statistical year, is a joke with RISP. Giambi’s contract can’t expire fast enough for me, that two-trick steroid shooter who lived up to his massive deal all of one year and in blazing spurts in stretches of a few others, but never consistently, never for average any more, never for a whole year. His swing-for-the-fences approach is just the bane the Yankees need to eviscerate from the roster and fast. He’s deserved to be yanked from the five-hole for the last few weeks, but there he sits like so much non-clutch excrement, not to mention his so-called brain taking a powder in the 7-3 loss in the field. Pathetic through and through.

Cano had one of the worst first-half runs I’ve seen for such a talented player, looking clueless, pouting, and lacking any discernibly intelligent approach at the plate for over three months. He’s needed Bowa, whose loss is one of the great casualties of the last off-season. He’s needed a Red-Ass, and Bowa was that to a tee. Melky was a joke when he was up, making stupid mental mistakes in center field–and Melky is NOT the Yankees’ center fielder of the future–and looking even more clueless at the plate than Cano as the season wound on. Melky clearly regressed and, if rumors of his partying with Cano are true, Melky needs to shape up or be gone, and might be banished in an off-season move. Cano too.

Speaking of Red-Asses and the excesses and mistakes of youth, exactly where has the veteran leadership on the Yankees been the last few months? Other than trite platitudes from Pettite, whose wearisome apologies for his poor starts are nice and the right things to say (since he assuredly cares about winning) but nonetheless increasingly bothersome, and shallow banalities from Jeter about picking up the play, where has the leadership come from? Last year, I heard a lot about how Mariano increasingly became the voice of veteran leadership. From whom has it come this year? I realize there’s only so much we as fans can know about what’s happened behind closed doors. But I read the same blogs and papers that I did last year when so much was made of veteran leadership, and I have heard precious little in them this year about who has stepped up to lead this team, especially without Posada, the guts of the team in my opinion. That’s pathetic. Losing seems to have snowballed on the Yankees and engulfed them.

I’m not impressed in the slightest with how the team has responded to the latest stretch, utterly failing to show against Boston. I’m also not impressed with how Girardi has handled the team. He’s well prepared, he works hard, he means well, and he was the best candidate for the job of the three interviewed. I believe that and the rest above. But he hasn’t 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. Whatever his other faults, Torre successfully motivated similarly built Yankees teams, and certainly the offenses were not this woeful, not with this much talent. Whatever the issue, whatever he has or hasn’t said and done, Girardi must bear a good deal of the blame for this team’s routinely wilting. And wilt they have, many times throughout the year and without question now. They seem to have quit.

Jeter bears responsibility as well. With being the captain comes accountability, surely that’s no surprise to him. I’m sure he and others play important roles privately with players, and likely say and do more than we as fans know, and much we’d want them to say, do, and more. But this team has wilted on his watch as well. He’s picked it up of late, but whatever he’s done as captain and leader hasn’t come close to being enough. Again, I hear nothing about who has stepped up. This team has lacked leadership, and I’m sick and stinking-ass tired of watching this team get stomped as the players sit quietly in the dugout. I don’t need water coolers smashed, just some good vocal leadership, some rooting each other on and not just when things go well. The morale on the Yankees appears to have been muted, or downright stunk, most of the year.

The 2008 Yankees have been downright poor for a lot of reasons and in some key situations. They’re not mathematically eliminated yet, but only a miraculous turnaround–something they haven’t shown all year–and the outright collapse of Boston and Minnesota can prevent them from missing the playoffs. I don’t see that happening. I’m not a believer of flipping a switch and playing, getting, doing better at anything. The last games, days, weeks–months–have seen plenty of opportunities and necessities for that and it hasn’t happened. It won’t now simply because the level of desperation and necessity has increased.

I don’t say it because I want the Yanks to stay home this October, because I don’t care, because I don’t believe in them. I say it because there are no signs that this woefully under-achieving, overpaid group will achieve such a historic turnaround. I’ve watched, analyzed, waited, and hoped for 132 games through a lot–A LOT. I’ll be there for the final 30, but the final 30 they will be for 2008, sad though it is to say.

It’s not mathematically so yet, but it’s painfully obvious and–let’s be honest–has been so for a while this year. The Yanks are done for 2008, and they’re playing like it more than ever. They’re playing out the string regardless of what pronouncements to the contrary they make.

[Edit: I added a link to Mike’s comment from last night, which I forgot to do.  It’s well worth reading.]

Published in: on August 28, 2008 at 12:52 am  Comments (9)  

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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. You just say what many of us have felt for a long time. The REAL leader and captain of this team has been and remains Posada.

  2. Hey Jason,
    Almost done with the Business System at work. Sorry I have not been around. I’ve been reading just no time to post. Your right it’s not mathematical but we have to be realistic. Given the schedule and last night’s loss dropping the Yanks seven games behind the Red Sox. With 30 games to play, the Yankees (70-62) would need to go 21-9 to finish with 91 wins, while the Red Sox (77-55) would need to go just 14-16 to reach that number. Possible yes probable no. Sad state of affairs with Hank being spotted in the box for the first time since the beginning of the year? Roughly the same offense as last year will score at least 200 less runs.

    Off with some heads after this season…

  3. Jason …

    Not much more to say …

    You summed up the “very disappointing” 2008 Yankees season, perfectly.

    Many changes need to take place next year; and, I think, the changes have to start with the Yankees replacing Brian Cashman !!!

    In my view, the Yankees should bring Buck Showalter back to New York as the new GM !!!

    But, whatever the Yankees do, their two top priorities should be the signing of: Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia — at any cost … and, then go from there !!!

    Until the numbers say otherwise, I still hold out hope. But, that hope looks more and more like it will be for a great season by the Yankees in 2009.

    — Jimmy [27NYY]

  4. I hope Jorge’s presence next year–presuming his eventual healthy return–can boost the offense and stave off any future possibility of another tail-between-the-legs collapse, Mike. You and I are on the same page about Posada.

    Mike W! Good to see you by, and I hope you’ve been well in the meantime. As long as the Yankees are mathematically in it, they have a shot. I don’t see it happening without divine intervention or some incredible collapse of the teams ahead of them. They’ve given no sign of that, and teams such as Boston have weather many injuries themselves, to their credit. Don’t be a stranger, buddy.

    Thanks, Jimmy. That Showalter for Cashman move is a very interesting call, Jimmy, and might have some traction after this year, the lack of an adequate contingency plan for the pitching woes (not necessarily the injuries but the struggles of Hughes and Kennedy), not making the trade for Santana (albeit a hindsight criticism since, to me, no one could have foreseen the kids’ struggling THAT badly) and, as was the case with Torre, the lack of a championship since 2000. If it mattered in how the Steinbrenners judged Torre, it should matter about Cashman, who has done some things well but deserves some criticism. Sabathia seems more tenable than Teixeira, whom I’d love to have but don’t imagine the Angels trading Kotchman for him just to be a rental. Either way, there’s no way I’d re-sign Giambi–not for free. Some nice moments and plenty of homers, but a poor average, poor defense, steroids–good riddance.

  5. sommer is quite right about jorge–and you can see how we’ve missed him-maybe more off the field than on–

    you know i agree about bowa–but if girardi is such a tough guy, why isn’t he on cano’s ass?

  6. and yeah–the absolute stubbornness of having giambi hit 5th. WHY? he hasn’t been hitting at all.

    oh well lets not forget girardi’s addiction to R, L, R,L etc… god forbid someone who could hit like nady should protect alex.

  7. Yeah, the season is done. By my count they can afford 6 more losses. I’m assuming the Sox will play to their current winning % and finish with 94 wins. The Yankees have to now go 24-6 the rest of the way to win 94 games. So 6 losees and that’s it. Oh, and they have 5 games with the Sox, 4 games against the Pale hose, 6 against the Rays, and 3 with the Angels. 18 games against the 4 best in the AL. And they have 6 with the Jays who aren’t exactly slouches. Ponson, Pavano, and Rasner probably have 17 starts left between them. Can anyone honetsly see the Yanks going 11-6 in those starts, while hoping Moose and Pettitte run the table? No shot.

    They need a miracle and that miracle would be a total meltdown by the Sox and Twins. We’re done.


  8. Mike S., others, you, and I have felt that way about Jorge for some time, Mike. I’ve never felt that Jorge has gotten his due as a catcher, especially considering the enormously–and I’d say costly–turnover of the Yankees’ pitching staff. That the team and staff constantly in flux had measures of success had as much to do with Jorge as the pitchers themselves, especially since so many guys came from the NL–Johnson, Brown, Lieber, Vasquez, with Clemens and Pettite returning from the NL later. Jorge has been a constant, and my long-standing sense is he’s been the emotional barometer of the team for some time. They’ve missed him a lot.

    I agree, J-Boogie, and think your numbers are pretty accurate. It would take a monstrosity of a hot streak that just hasn’t appeared possible in any way because the team hasn’t shown itself capable of any prolonged hot streak. they’ve had one–right after the break. Other than that, they’re literally a .500 team. I agree, forget the playoffs.

  9. It’s been almost over for some time this season, but it’s obvious that it’s alll over and then some now. If Boston manages a collapse similar to that of the Mets last year [doubtful] I will be more than happy to admit that I’m wrong for giving up on them but it’s unrealistic to think they have any chance what so ever.
    The only reasons I have to keep watching is 1) to see if Mooose gets 20 this season [I really hope he does] and 2) to see how this whole replay thing works out.
    I honestly can’t believe what a waste this season has been. New stadium next year so I hope better luck comes along with it.

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