Thursday, April 26, 2007

Same Old Same Old

This is getting old. A Yankee starter can't finish 5, the bullpen gets overused, Yankees lose, thuhhhhhh Yankees lose. 6 in a row. Dead last in the AL East. Not a good place to be. But it's still early. They've been here before. They've battled back. They can do it again.
As I wrote earlier, I thought Phil Hughes had a good outing. It wasn't quite the 7 inning shutdown performance we all hoped it be, but it was pretty solid all things considered. He started out a little shaky but he settled down and kept the Yankees in the game. Perhaps he was a little nervous. I can understand that. Bright lights. Big city. A starry-eyed kid getting his first crack at the show for arguably the most storied franchise in professional sports. It can be a lot for a 20-year old to handle. I've heard it mentioned that Hughes is more mature than the average 20-year old. I can see that. He carries himself well.
I'm still on the fence though with the Hughes call up. The move has negatives and positives. He may be the best internal candidate for the job, but you know the odds of him pitching deep into the game are slim. He's not even doing it in the minors. I understand the kid is the future of the franchise and they want to reduce the risk of injury by keeping him on a pitch count, but what good is it to have another starter that can't pitch 5 innings, and then use 4 relievers to finish the game? The Yankees need innings from their starters. They won't get that consistently from Hughes. Maybe in a year or two. He's definitely the future of the franchise.
The bullpen has to stop walking people. Hey, I've got a great idea! Let's walk the bases loaded and pitch to Frank Thomas. Come on, who's with me? Now they might have gotten Thomas to pop out, but giving up 2 runs on no-hits. That's brutal. The free passes have to stop. The Yankee relievers lead the AL in walks issued by a bullpen. The pen walked another 5 tonight. It's getting to be ri-gosh-darn-diculous. I cleaned that up for the kiddies. Going into tonight, opponents were hitting .205 off the Yankee pen. That's 2nd in the AL behind Cleveland. This bullpen can be dominant. We've seen it. They just need to stop walking people!
What the heck was Torre thinking batting Mientkiewicz second? Anybody have a clue? I sure don't. 2 words: Robinson Cano. C'mon Joe. My unborn baby could have gotten that right. Unfortunately, I don't really think it would have mattered. The offense was extremely flat. The top of the order isn't doing a very good job at setting the table for the big boppers. Over the 6 game losing streak, Damon is 2-for-19 and Abreu is 2-for-20 . That's horrendous and quite frankly it's unacceptable. The Yankees continue to get solid production from the middle of the order, but what good is it if no one is on base?
I hate to say this but this weekend series with Boston is shaping up to be do or die. I know it's early, but the Yankees can't really afford to drop 2 or 3. Anything less than winning 2 out of 3 would be unacceptable. You know Big Stein can't be too happy right now, and I can't blame him. If the Sox come in and sweep the Yankees, I shudder to think what kind of shake-up we might see. But it might just be what this team needs to turn things around.
What's really sad is that I wrote the bulk of this post well before this game ended.