Via Bob Klapisch today -
Never, in the darkest regions of his imagination, did Joe Girardi ever conceive of this kind of stress.
His Yankees are losing games in a steady, careless stream. His catcher-turned-DH, Jorge Posada, isn’t hitting, and is instead engaged in a nationally televised war with the general manager, Brian Cashman.
The captain, Derek Jeter, will end up in Cooperstown. But the path is already littered with hard feelings, most of them directed at the front office. Not even CC Sabathia, the resident good guy and guardian against long slumps, has been himself this year. When the big left-hander had his chance to stabilize the Yankees in a Saturday night showdown against Josh Beckett, the result was an ambush — by the Red Sox.
Girardi is desperately trying to hold his club together, insisting, “everyone goes through stretches like this.” But the Yankees’ 6-5 loss to the Rays on Monday night was their sixth in a row, the longest of the season and most since Girardi replaced Joe Torre in 2008.
Question is, even if Girardi and Posada make real peace, do the Yankees have the kind of warrior ethos to recover from their current slide? The Rays, younger and more athletic, turned their 1-8 start to vapor; they’re 23-9 since then, the best record in the majors during that stretch.
Likewise, the Red Sox are gaining ground and confidence after sweeping the Yankees in the Bronx over the weekend — their first such conquest since 2004. The Yankees’ real test was supposed to begin Monday night at the Trop, and for a while it appeared the Bombers’ nightmare was over.
Not only were they getting good pitching from A.J. Burnett, they buried David Price in the process, jumping out to a 5-1 lead. But Burnett quickly got in touch with his inner 2010, self-destructing in the Rays’ five-run fifth inning which included two HRs.
Sooner or later Girardi will have to remind the Yankees there’s more to accountability than simply good sound bites — they’re going to need an extra gear on the field. So far the manager has avoided leaning on his players; he is non-confrontational by nature.
But the situation in the clubhouse — and now, the standings — is becoming critical. Does Girardi have it in him to actually lead?
Hey, maybe Brian Cashman can turn this around with a team meeting like he did in 2009 down in Atlanta?