It has been a bad week in Yankeeland. First, these brutal Bombers dropped a series against Kansas City at the Stadium, including an extra-innings game where they were 1 for 15 with runners in scoring position. Then the Red Sox came to town after being swept by the Blue Jays. Here was a chance for redemption.
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Nope. The Yankees got swept at home by their rivals. I’d love to say that they were beaten by a hot Boston team, but other than Josh Beckett and Adrian Gonzalez, the Red Sox, for all the hype that has been bestowed on them, have looked incredibly average this year. Yet the Yankees worked their magic as they’ve done of late against struggling teams like Detroit and Chicago. They made them look better than they are and helped inflate their numbers. Don’t believe me?
Sunday was the second straight day a Red Sox player hit a three-run home run. They had two all season entering this series. Jarrod Saltalamacchia is hitting .375 (6-16) vs. New York and .159 (10-63) vs. everyone else this season (he also got his first home run of the season when Joba served him up a meatball). Dustin Pedroia, owner of a .247 average, is 10-of-16 (.625) against the Yankees this season. Kevin Youkilis was 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position against the Yankees this season before his three-run blast on Sunday night. In fact, during this series Youkilis had two strikeouts in which he still managed to get to first base thanks to passed balls by catcher Russell Martin. Both times he ended up scoring.
The fundamentals are lacking. The Yankees have committed 13 errors in 10 games. A-Rod made one of the biggest bonehead mistakes when he evoked the spirit of Billy Buckner, allowing a run to score when he let a playable ball pass through his legs. That’s unacceptable whether or not the offense is struggling, which it is … mightily. Other than Curtis Granderson, the Yankee hitters look lost at the plate.
And then, of course, there was the “Posaga.” DH Jorge Posada, who has been hitting a whopping .165, was dropped to ninth in the lineup by manager Joe Girardi on Saturday evening. Instead of playing, Jorge took himself out of the lineup. This was not a Lou Gehrig for-the-sake-of-the-team move. This was pure pride and petulance. GM Brian Cashman then managed to make things worse by running to the press instead of dealing with the issue privately. These are the types of distractions a struggling team does not need. At least Derek Jeter got to answer a few questions about someone else’s playing problems for a change.
Perhaps the problem is a lack of clubhouse leadership. The Captain has been under the microscope since even before the season began with talk about his diminishing skills, giant new contract and march to 3,000 hits. Posada is trying to deal with a new role that has obviously not come easy. Then add in clubhouse clown Nick Swisher who looks overmatched every time he gets up to the plate and you have a clubhouse that may not be so fun to be in at the moment.
Now the Yankees are in Tampa playing the first-place Rays — a team that began the season 0-6 yet has managed to right itself. It’s time for the Bombers to focus, stop making mental mistakes and start playing the type of baseball they should be playing. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go take a swing at John Krasinski to make myself feel better.