• May 22nd @ The Red Sox

    Posted by on May 22nd, 2006 · Comments (20)

    When you factor in Schilling’s recent issues, the Yankees having Wang on the mound, Wakefield pitching for the Sox tomorrow, and Randy Johnson pitching for the Yankees on Wednesday, tonight was the Yankees best shot at a win (during this series at Fenway).

    So, despite the nice little two-out rally in the 9th this evening, this was not a good game for the Yankees. And, I expect the Red Sox to go on and sweep this series.

    When that happens, what will it mean?

    Think about it – losing two of three to the Mets where you could have won all three games and then going into Fenway Park to get swept.

    Yes, it’s only two months into the season. But, losing badly to either the Mets or Red Sox is a Big Stein hot button. Doing it in back-to-back series is a really big and hot button for Stein.

    Sure, even George must realize that the Yankees are not at full strength now. (Up until tonight, did you ever think the Yankees would be playing Terrence Long in LF, Bernie Williams in CF and Melky Cabrera in RF against the Red Sox and Curt Schilling at Fenway Park this year?)

    Nonetheless, Big Stein will want to mix things up somehow – to try and spark the team. But what?

    He cannot fire the hitting coach – ever. Would he fire the pitching coach? That’s highly doubtful. Same goes for the rest of the coaching staff.

    How about Brian Cashman? Has Stein ever let a G.M. go during the season?

    There’s no one to trade from the starting nine, the rotation or the pen. They’re either too stinky to trade, make too much, or are pieces that you don’t want to move.

    There’s really only one piece to this puzzle that can be touched that would really shake up the team. But, I cannot see that happening just for losing 5 or 6 to the Mets and Sox. However, if the losing carries into the series after the Red Sox (when the Royals come to town), then I think it’s going to get very hot for Mr. Torre. Stay tuned.

    Paging Mr. Piniella.
    Mr. Lou Piniella.
    There’s a call for you at the front desk.

    Comments on May 22nd @ The Red Sox

    1. MJ
      May 22nd, 2006 | 10:49 pm

      Seriously, is Lou Piniella the answer? For years the book on Piniella is that he can’t handle pitchers (at least that’s what I remember from way back). Plus, and this is a big one for me, he sabotaged himself last year to get fired. I don’t care that it’s “only” Tampa, winners don’t bail out on the ship and talk a lot of crap to the owner to get fired. That’s not a professional way to handle things and it wouldn’t play well in New York where people actually pay attention to this stuff.

      The things going on with the Yankees right now are beyond Torre’s control. With the number of injuries all falling at the same time, not even [NAME YOUR FAVORITE MANAGER HERE] could realistically do much with the cards we’ve been dealt the last two weeks. I’m not making excuses but jeez, let’s not be ridiculous about blaming everything on Torre for once. Injuries happen, they’re part of the game.

    2. Joel
      May 22nd, 2006 | 11:27 pm

      Let’s all just chill out. This is just a rough patch right now. Sheff is coming back soon, and we can play with a journeyman in left field.

      Randy will rebound. His entire career is not suddenly coming apart at the seams over these last 5 starts. Is he the Randy Johnson of 1998? No. Will he post very solid numbers when all is said and done? Absolutely.

    3. baileywalk
      May 22nd, 2006 | 11:37 pm

      Um, Steve, maybe we should let the Yankees get swept before we start predicting the outcome of the sweep. I agree that this was the best chance to win, but nothing is written in stone, and sometimes this team hits Wakefield. Plus — and I’m going out on a limb here — I think Wright is going to have a decent start tomorrow. I don’t expect much from Johnson, though.

      Wang is a good pitcher, but for some reason he can’t pitch to this team. They tear him up.

      I hope Colter Bean liked the big leagues. Because his shuttle back to Columbus is waiting.

      I’m not going to kill Torre for this — and I’m NOT bashing him here — but he packed it in too early. I’m not saying he should take anything from the fact that his team came back 9-0 and 4-0 recently, but did he have to leave Bean in there to get killed and did he have to put in Phillips for Giambi? Jeter, A-Rod, Posada, Cano and Bernie crushed the ball off of Foulke. What would Giambi have done? Again, not killing Torre for this, but he did sort of wave the white flag a little early. I think they would have lost anyway, but it would have been nice to force them to bring in their closer.

      Hopefully that pitiful performance will get Long sent down. What a disaster. I can’t believe Kevin Thompson is hurt. It’s sad, but we need the guy. Hopefully they quickly sign Hidalgo and bring him up. He has to be an improvement over Long.

    4. Yu Hsing Chen
      May 23rd, 2006 | 1:27 am

      Wang really didn’t have his stuff today :/ splitter was no where near the plate and everything else was hanging a lot (save maybe the change up)

      seriously though, hope he can get his pitches together soon again…

    5. MJ
      May 23rd, 2006 | 9:39 am

      Terrence Long really is bad, isn’t he? Is it possible that Bernie’s better than Terrence Long? How scary a thought is that?

      I agree that Torre probably mentally moved onto the next game a bit too soon. Making Papelbon throw would’ve been nice. Wang can’t beat the BoSox to save his life. Each start gets worse for him every time they face him.

    6. May 23rd, 2006 | 10:11 am

      I should clarify/add-on to what I said/meant.

      The big part is the “if statement” – meaning I’m saying, “if the Yankees get swept by Boston” AND “if they then do not play well against KC” then Torre should be worried – not because it’s the right thing to do (fire Torre), but, because it’s the way Stein reacts (and it’s the only thing that Stein can do, personnel-wise now).

      Is it right/fair? Probably not – but, I predicting Stein here (and not saying “this is what I would do”).

      Then again, yes, the team is w/o Sheff, Godzilla, and effective Unit, etc. – and that goes in Joe’s defense. But, this team still has A-Rod, Jeter, Giambi, Posada, and some good pitchers in the pen, etc., and I can see where some would think that should be enough to win some games.

      As fas as Piniella, say what you want about his pitcher-handling, temper, etc. But, the guy is a winner. He won in Cincy He set a season win record in Seattle. He’s Bacardi & Cola – he gets the job done.

    7. Raf
      May 23rd, 2006 | 10:22 am

      Hopefully that pitiful performance will get Long sent down. What a disaster. I can’t believe Kevin Thompson is hurt. It’s sad, but we need the guy. Hopefully they quickly sign Hidalgo and bring him up. He has to be an improvement over Long.
      ============

      In the postgame report, Torre said Long looked good; I guess we’ll be seeing more of him.

    8. MJ
      May 23rd, 2006 | 11:27 am

      As fas as Piniella, say what you want about his pitcher-handling, temper, etc. But, the guy is a winner. He won in Cincy He set a season win record in Seattle. He’s Bacardi & Cola – he gets the job done.
      ====================

      Isn’t all of the above the sort of stuff Torre-bashers use in their defense of him being overrated? That the WS wins were because of great talent, luck, and Don Zimmer? I mean, Torre’s a winner too, if you’re willing to throw out all of his faults (of which there are many).

      The point I’m trying to make is that the grass is always greener. You’ll get Piniella in here, he’ll be the same Lou he’s always been – he’ll screw up the pitching staff, he’ll create his ego-boosting media firestorms, he’ll behave like a complete jackass and he’ll ultimately be judged by WS rings produced in Pinstripes. Don’t be so quick to scream for him, there’s a lot of bad that goes with some of his good.

    9. Josh
      May 23rd, 2006 | 11:34 am

      Hey Steve,

      Thanks for retaining your usual positive outlook! Since I now know the Yanks will get swept I don’t need to watch the next 2 games. You’ve just saved me a tremendous amount of time! And why stop at Pinella? Maybe Dallas Green is available?

    10. May 23rd, 2006 | 11:41 am

      Am I the only one who’s been watching Wakefield kill the Yankees every game and watching the last 7 starts by Randy Johnson? Com’on, I’m a diehard as much as the best fan, but, the odds of the Yankees winning either of the next two games are very remote – if you look at it objectively.

    11. MJ
      May 23rd, 2006 | 11:55 am

      Steve, they could lose the next two in Boston, get swept by KC (like last year, remember) and STILL be fine for 2006. The negativity should start only after we’ve been eliminated from post-season play, something that isn’t scheduled to happen until the last week of September, based on our current pace. So lets just all relax and step away from the ledge. Lets put down the phone and leave Lou Piniella alone. The Yanks are still OK and nothing bad has happened. We’ve got injuries coming out the ying-yang. We’re in the middle of a bad spell. Didn’t April-June 2005 teach us ANYTHING??

    12. Raf
      May 23rd, 2006 | 12:20 pm

      As fas as Piniella, say what you want about his pitcher-handling, temper, etc. But, the guy is a winner. He won in Cincy He set a season win record in Seattle. He’s Bacardi & Cola – he gets the job done.
      =====================
      So did he forget how to win with the Reds in 1991 & 1992?

      Where’d he learn how to win? Don’t remember a division title from 1986-87. I remember a collapse in 1988.

      That season win record, in 2001… What happened all those other years he was in Seattle?

      How’d “the winner” do in Tampa Bay?

    13. May 23rd, 2006 | 12:26 pm

      TB? Is that really fair?
      But, FWIW, how did NY do against his TB team last year?

    14. May 23rd, 2006 | 12:29 pm

      MJ – didn’t last year teach us that every game that you win from April to June is one less that you’ll need to win in September? I don’t think this team has learned that. And, yes, they’re down two players – but they still have several all-stars in the line-up now – and have been stinking.

    15. MJ
      May 23rd, 2006 | 12:38 pm

      It taught us (or at least it taught me) that the Yanks shouldn’t panic just because they’re not on pace to win 125 games right now. Every team goes through a bad spell and that’s all this is right now.

      As for being down two players, not to split hairs here but our #1 starter is MIA, our #3 starter is on the DL, our starting catcher missed the weekend series and left the job to a guy that doesn’t belong in the big leagues, our backup OF is on the DL which left the job two a couple of bums (Reese, Long) and our starting CF is playing with a broken foot and would otherwise be on the DL if not for the previously-mentioned injuries to the other 2/3 of the starting OF.

      And as for how we did against Tampa in 2005, check how they did against us in 2003-2004. For that matter, check how your boy Piniella did against the Yanks in 2000 and 2001. Winner, my foot.

    16. May 23rd, 2006 | 1:26 pm

      MJ, here’s Sweet Lou’s resume BEFORE taking the TB job:

      He had wire-to-wire champs, the 1990 Reds.

      He’s had four 1st place teams and four 2nd place teams. He’s had four 3rd place teams. In total, he’s been win-place-or-show 12 times in 15 full seasons.

      He had a team that won 116 games in a season.

      Only four times in 15 full years has his team not had a winning record.

      He’s won 90+ seven times – - missing an 8th by 1 win.

      Smells like a winner to me.

    17. JohnnyC
      May 23rd, 2006 | 1:51 pm

      Steve, I don’t think anything’s happening to Torre. If there were any year in his tenure when he was completely safe, it’s 2006. It’s his swan song whether the Yankees win it all or fail to make the playoffs. I really believe that was the upshot of the “little chat” he had with Steinbrenner last fall. The return of Bernie, Cairo, and Tanya Sturtze (and the parade of veterans like Erickson and Long and many more to come)are key indications that Cashman’s been told to accomodate Torre’s wishes one last time. You are correct in not whitewashing George’s intense dislike for Torre but the money and the hostility of the press and fan base made firing Torre a remote choice even after 2005′s mediocre outcome. This is the compromise. We can only hope the team turns it around (and the fact that the core of the team is still better than the majority of squads out there is one ironic factor in Torre’s favor). People have begged Cashman to rein in Torre’s admitted “eccentricities.” I’m positive that the only one who can keep Torre from being Torre is Torre himself. Not the managers-in-waiting line-up of coaches, not Cashman, not Tampa, not even George…it’s up to Torre. I think he realizes this is the season he can show what he’s really about, without Zimmer, without Stottlemyre, without the hail mary mid-season trade for Barry Zito or Dontrelle Willis or Bobby Abreu. Is he up to it?

    18. Don
      May 23rd, 2006 | 2:25 pm

      Wang sucked big time. I think Wang is a number five maybe a number four, that’s it.

      Of course it may all be Joe Torre’s fault.

      And JohnnyC, that’s some crazy conspiracy theory. Your Torre hatred/obsession is affecting your mental process.

      What’s next? Joe Torre shot JFK?

    19. JohnnyC
      May 23rd, 2006 | 2:41 pm

      No, I don’t believe he did. Although…he was in Dallas that week. Hmmm. Get Oliver Stone on the phone. Thanks for the tip, Don.

    20. MJ
      May 23rd, 2006 | 2:42 pm

      Steve, as any Knicks fan knows, it doesn’t matter what the resume says, it only matters what you bring to the job going forward.

      If you’re going to cite Lou’s resume as proof-positive that he’s a great manager and otherwise neglect all of the bad things he brings to the table then you have to do the same for Torre. As far as I’m concerned, Lou Piniella did such a bad job handling himself in Tampa last year that I don’t think he deserves to be given the chance to manage here again. The Yanks don’t need to sign a guy that wages political wars in the press, ripping everyone and doing and saying whatever it takes to make sure he gets his.

      Lou Piniella is too much like Larry Brown for my taste. If the Yanks wanted a winner, they should’ve gone for Jim Leyland. In the meantime, what on earth do you really think firing Torre next week will accomplish? What ails the Yanks isn’t anything more than a rocky patch with injuries and tough opponents.

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