Argh!!! That was what I thought last night, and it was last night for me, because as I listened to the final humiliation of defeat for the Yankees, it had turned in or around half three in the morning. That is how one operates at that hour of the morning listening to their team getting smashed by their main rivals for the division. Time kind of merges into one blurred image. They eyes didn’t work. How I wished the ears didn’t. Especially after tying to lay down some thrash talk to an aunt from Toronto. I shouldn’t have been so stupid.
There has not been any reason why I should have pre-empted the make or break series with some thrash talk because while Toronto has been blazing hot and Josh Donaldson should be the American League MVP. If he isn’t then there is something wrong with how these things work. But while Toronto have been dominant all season, and especially since the trade deadline when their GM went out and got players that have added to the teams breathtaking performances, the Yankees have stumbled. They should have won the series against Baltimore.
They really ought to have done, the Orioles have been poor this season. They are listed among this season’s biggest busts. But the Yankees lost to them for the same reasons that they have lost most of their matches this year. Pitchers not pitching well and leaving the ball over the middle of the plate. Then the hitters have not hit well, and they have left men on the bases. Just not making the runs when they had the men on, it is unacceptable to do that. I keep hearing how the Yankees have been built for hitting out of the park home runs. But I see very little evidence of that at all. In fact for the most part the Yankees have seen home runs from the bat of a 40 year old player who had missed a whole season, and in the last while Didi Gregorius who was brought to the team for his fielding and not his hitting, has been the main man. That’s not to say that we have not had hits from the other batters of course McCann, Tex, and Gardner have contributed. But all too often the Yankees have failed to do it with the bat. The games that they have done it with the bat have been a case of flattering to deceive. They need to start thinking along the lines of in-the-park homers, manufacturing runs and getting clever outs that move men around the bases.
So when the big series began, for some reason I had hoped rather than believed that they would get off to a roaring start, and beat Toronto. Let’s face it, if they are to win the World Series they will first most likely have to find a way to get the better of the Blue Jays. That appears to be easier said that done.
Here is one reason why the Yankees have failed to get a firm grasp on the division’s first place position which we must remember was theirs in July when they had 5.5 game lead over the Blue Jays. So what happened to change all that? Here again it comes down to the difference between the Yanks and the Jays. The GMs. There I have said it. I know, it is easy to take a shot at the GM when things are going wrong in any sport. But in this case I think the condemnation is more than justified. The Toronto GM went out and got it done. He chased after players that would add to the team. They got Tulowitzki, Price, Revere, and other players who have been a big part in keeping the Torontonians’ drive for the division title going. While Cashman who has often signed the players with big reputations, old age, injury, who have a long career behind them rather than ahead of them, mostly snapping up players that come available between the seasons. This year he refused to trade away any prospects for players available that would have helped the team now. In the end the only trade he made was to bring in Dustin Ackley from Seattle. Giving two players for the sub par hitter. It later turned out that he had a herniated disk in his spine and would miss some time on the DL. How they hadn’t picked up the injury one cannot fathom but it raises serious questions about the front office who must surely answer for the fact that the team has tired out and fallen from the five and half game lead of July to being two and half games behind now in September.
If George was around now this kind of failure would be rewarded with the firings needed. Though I stand by Joe Girardi as a coach. He is good at his job and manages to keep the team going despite the front office’s failures. Just think though, Gene Michael was fired after 1995 despite the fact they got to the ALDS via the first American League Wildcard game. This being their first trip to the post season since 1981 when they lost to the Dodgers in the World Series. Surely this has to be the last chance saloon for Cashman who has stumbled along in a sort of sleep mode with a sense of security in his job that seems to say, “hey Hal isn’t bothered. Don’t worry about it.” Well Hal this season we have seen what a good GM can do to a team, just look at Toronto. This series already feels like it has been a long one, and we are only one game into it. The Yanks need to start winning again. If they do not start winning then they stand a chance of losing their place in the Wildcard game, and the home field advantage that being in the first wildcard spot entails. This is a time when consolation of where we are is important. They need to win as many games and not get bogged down in thinking about winning the division. If that happens then good enough. The Yanks must not fail to make the post season. If they do then it must be time to get rid of Cashman and bring in someone with better ideas and more willing to attack the trade market.
Click here for the highlights of the first game against Toronto. Not that there were many highlights for the Yanks in this game apart from Didi’s big homer.