The Yankees Comfortable Lead Is Gone- Bruce’s Thought Of The Day
It only seems like last week the Yankees enjoyed the biggest division lead in all of Baseball. That's gone now. It was only a short time it appeared the Yanks would run away with the AL East. That's gone now. It seemed manager Joe Girardi would be able to rest his strters and get his playoff rotation in order. That's gone now!
Also gone is the Yanks 10.5 game lead in the standings. The surprising Baltimore Orioles, unlike last year when they went in the tank have righted their ship and on the outside here come the Tampa Bay Rays. Tampa just got back their top offensive threat Evan Longoria. He missed 85 games with a torn hamstring.
So what exactly is wrong with the Bombers? The starting pitching has been erratic. CC Sabathia has his game back but Ivan Nova has given up 15 runs in the last 2 games,8 to the Orioles and 7 to the Tigers. The O's bashed him. The Tigers bled him with single after single. I personally can't blame the pitching, starting or the bullpen.
The lineup continues to scuffle. Here is the most amazing stat-The Yanks are 0-38 when trailing going to the 9th inning. The YANKS have no late comebacks the entire year!!!!!!
Injuries would be an excuse. The Yanks proved they can win without Mariano Rivera. Eric Chavez is swinging a hot bat so the loss of Alex Rodriguez has been a non factor! Chavez had 3 more hits Tuesday night vs Detroit.
1 factor is the Yanks look kinda listless right now. It is the so called "dog days of August" which I personally don't buy. To me the old "you will win 60, lose 60 and it is the other 42 that matter is old and outdated. It should be changed to 50 and 50 and the other 62 count, meaning the dog days are July as the last 62 games take place in August and September.
The Yanks are also struggling against the better teams in baseball. Oakland handled them pretty good, taking 3 of 4 in Oakland. The only series the Yanks have won lately has been against the Mariners, who came into NY hot but lost the series 2-1. The Redsox took a series from NY, the Tigers are taking it to them, the A's won 3 of 4.
Last night Joe Girardi made a few questionable moves. Allowing Russell martin to hit in the 9th was a risk, even though Martin came through with a double that knocked in the 5th run. However Andrew Jones was left on the bench, and possibly a 3 run home run from tying the ball game. Martin is hitting .191. The Yanks continue to struggle with men in scoring position which is remarkable considering that lineup. However the Swishers, Teixeiras, Arods, Martins, Grandersons and others have failed and failed badly in the biggest spots. For my money this remains the biggest problem. I might try something drastic, like moving Derek Jeter down to the 3rd spot. Move Ichiro to leadoff. Robinson Cano to 4th. Girardi keeps sending out pretty much the same batting order every night, save for a cosmetic change here or there. It isn't working!
The Yanks lead the AL east by 4.5 games over Baltimore and have a game in hand on the O's. If the Yanks were fighting for the wildcard, and who knows at this rate they might, their lead would be 4.5 over Oakland and the Athletics are red hot.
Of the 50 games left for the Yanks, 32 are against "good teams" and that includes the Redsox. 7 games remain with the Orioles. 6 with Tampa and Boston. 4 with Texas. 3 with Oakland. 3 with the Whitesox.
I wouldn't go so far to say the Yanks are in major danger of choking their way out of the playoffs, but they are old, unproductive, and scuffling.