The New York Yankees have looked much better than this. Even if the Yankees’ record gets them to the playoffs, losing six of seven games is not going to cut it.
It used to be the Yankees’ AL East division to lose, but now the Yankees are struggling.
Questions need to be answered, and tonight against Tampa Bay, the Yankees will start to give those answers.
What answers would Yankee fans like to see? Here are five questions that come to mind:
Is This Just a Normal Team Slump or Not?
If it was June or even the beginning of August, a slump would not be such a concern for any team in a division race. But it is mid-September with 20 games remaining, and the Yankees have no cushion if they want to win the AL East.
Can the Bats Start Doing Their Jobs?
Striking out is not Yankee-like, as the team’s M.O. at the plate is to drive up pitching counts and draw walks. Derek Jeter is not helping the team right now, except for Sunday against Cliff Lee when he displayed signature Jeter-like form. This has to stick for both the Captain and the team.
Ask the Yankees certain questions, like about innings limits or injuries, and the answer usually leaves you pondering the truth. For example, Brett Gardner is getting an MRI on his wrist, but it is nothing to be concerned about, which was the answer to why Gardner left mid-game on Sunday.
A-Rod just returned from the 15-day DL, and obviously he is not feeling his best still. Why did A-Rod get taken off in the first place? Would A-Rod rather take extra rest than return too soon?
The Rangers took all three games, which gave the Yankees a reality check and did it sans slugger Josh Hamilton who was out of the line-up with a sore back.
Friday night’s 13 inning battle ended on a Ranger’s walk-off home-run off Nelson Cruz’s bat.
Saturday night things got even worse.
Starting with having to endure Derek Jeter watching be benched. Still, at the same time I respect Skipper Joe Girardi’s decision, as Jeter has hurt more than helped lately and something had to be done.
At the bottom of the night inning the Yankees were leading 6-5 and Girardi called on Mariano Rivera to close out the game.
Rivera not only allowed the tie run to score, he loaded the bases and proceeded to hit a batter resulting in walking-in the winning run. Yankees lost 7-6.
Sometimes it is easy to forget that Rivera is not immortal, but so rarely does this happen. No reason to get to alarmed or worried about Mo down the stretch just yet.
Sunday vs. Rangers Cliff Lee, plus the Yankees were without the bats of Nick Swisher, Brett Gardner and Alex Rodriguez. Lee has just come off a ruff August but you wouldn’t know it after going eight innings and Rangers won 4-1.
There was plenty to be concerned with regarding the Yankees before the Rangers sweep.
Now, nothing is working too it’s potential, and either the Yankees figure it out or it could get really ugly fast.
Heading to Tampa Bay, Florida must have been a depressing plane ride, as the Yankees embarrassed themselves all weekend.
Monday night, the Bombers start a three-game set against the Rays who are just a half-game back in the AL East.
Yankees CC Sabathia will take the mound, which couldn’t be more needed.
Sabathia struggled, losing his last start, a first for CC in a year at Yankee Stadium. He was also trying to win #20 on the season for the first time in his career.
In 2009, Sabathia had the same opportunity to reach 20 wins, at Tropicana Field against the Rays. Sabathia imploded but the team could afford it back then.
Minus his last outing, Sabathia is the teams, if not the league’s ace. Expect his mentality to follow, as the team needs a win and CC will be solely focused on that.
Sabathia is not a one-man team and the Yankee bats will have to bring their A-game facing Rays David Price.
Price is the other front-runner with Sabathia for the AL Cy Young award. Price has a 2.87 ERA, with 163 strikeouts, walking 71 and giving-up 13 home-runs. In 27 starts, Price has a 17-6 record.
A-rod, Swisher and Cano have the most success against Price at the plate so hopefully the day-off will get the first two back in the line-up.
Derek Jeter has done well against Price too. Hopefully Jeter’s success against Cliff Lee on Sunday will continue and get the Captain hitting like himself again. Jeter needs to figure himself out ASAP.
Yankees will win 6-2 and Sabathia will get the win. There is no way the Yankees can lose another game at this point, after winning just one of their last seven.
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Yanks swept in Texas, but say they’re OK (nypost.com)
Not an easy finish for the reigning champions. This will test the Bombers, as it will shed some light on the team’s durability. The Yankee bullpen and bats have been very effective, saving the starters from total collapse.
Everyone knows to be successful in the postseason every aspect of a team has to be working, so when Andy Pettitte finally gets off the DL, it will make a major impact for New York. CC Sabathia cannot be the only guaranteed innings eater.
It is no secret that the Rangers are beat up too; the Yankees need to take advantage of these games. Against the Rangers, New York has won four of five in the season series and is 16-5 at Texas over the past six seasons.
The Rangers have the luxury of an 8.5-game lead in the AL West and can afford to rest players before the playoffs. Unfortunately, it happens that the two best Rangers, ace Cliff Lee and slugger Josh Hamilton, are the unhealthy ones.
Hamilton looks not to be in the lineup at all against New York, which not one Yankee will complain about or miss. The All-Star slugger bruised his ribs fielding a ball and slamming him into the center field wall. Hamilton says the pain has not improved enough to get back out there just yet.
Lee, who is slated to start on Sunday, skipped his last start with muscle spasms in his back. Lee is coming off a horrific August, so the extra rest could be just what he needs.
The Rangers have struggled lately and are returning from a 10-game road stretch, going 4-6.
Friday night, Yankees starter Javier Vazquez will take the mound after returning to the rotation last week, which resulted in a still shaky start against the Blue Jays. Hopefully, giving Vazquez another attempt to correct himself will result in a quality start, but don’t hold your breath.
Rangers will counter with C.J. Wilson, who is 14-6 this season with a 3.10 ERA. Since the All-Star break, Wilson is 7-1 with a 2.67 ERA in 10 starts.
Wilson’s one loss was his last start against the Minnesota Twins; he gave up six runs, walked four, and hit a batter over five innings.
Neither the Yankees nor the Rangers have clinched a playoff spot yet, so winning this series for either ball club is imperative.
This is definitely the weekend series to watch, but my overall prediction is the Yankees will take two of the three games down in Texas.
Swisher’s teammates and fans alike were ecstatic for the most fun-loving player in pinstripes.
It is impossible not to love Swisher, as his vivacious attitude is infectious.
Swisher was a well-needed breath of fresh air in 2009; his personality soothed a traditionally overly-anal Yankees locker room.
Swisher quickly earned high regard and respect in New York because he works just as hard as he plays. He is the first to praise his teammates in any interview, always with a smile on his face (unless it’s right after a loss).
This season, Swisher has been consistent at the plate, hitting 25 home runs with 80 RBI, 31 doubles, and three triples. He has been the glue multiple times in 2010 when the Yankees were struggling.
Swisher’s clutch hit changed the somber mood in the Bronx for fans and the team, who were about to extend their losing streak to four. Instead, the Yankees finish this 10-game homestand 7-3.
What great timing for the Bombers, who head out for the longest stretch of road games on the season.
This nine-game spread is just the start of one of the toughest September schedules in MLB. It will test the Yankees who start in Texas against the Rangers, then head to Tampa to meet the mighty Rays, only to finish up at Camden Yards against the newly-talented Orioles.
Nick Swisher got the right mood going into it, that is for sure.
Courtesy of Dove Men+Care, Lady Loves Pinstripes was given the opportunity to have a Q & A with New York Yankees Manager Joe Girardi.
Lady Loves Pinstripes exclusive:
Q & A with Yankees Joe Girardi
1. Where do you see yourself in five years?
As I’ve gotten older and become a husband and father, I’ve come to a point in my life where my priorities are with my family. In five years, my daughter and son will be in high school and what I will want most then is stability for my family. Other than that, I really can’t say.
2. Is your son showing any interest in being a baseball player?
My son, Dante, is nine and he shows a lot of interest in being a baseball player. We spend a lot of time practicing together.
3. If I asked your family, is Dad better as a player or a manager, what would they say?
My wife would definitely say that I’m a better manager than a player because I don’t have to deal with hitting. My kids were really too young to know me as a player.
4. Your wife and you look very in love and I have read that you are a great couple……is that a main component to your success on the field?
Kim and I are very much in love and I think that this is extremely important success in any line of work—you can’t perform at your best without a strong support system at home. Our journey and the milestones we experienced together have allowed me to be more comfortable with who I am as a person – in my life at home and as a professional.
5. I had noticed the braces for the last two years. Now I know why from the Dove Campaign video that you did it with your daughter…..anything else you have done like that with your kids?
The Dove Men + Care “Journey to Comfort” campaign celebrates the unsung moments that have helped me become comfortable in my own skin – truly comfortable with who I am. I do silly things and as a dad. I am able to laugh at myself because it’s about making them happy. As you’ll see in the videos that can be found at www.dovemencare.com, my daughter Serena and I got braces at the same time. I even put on colored bands on my braces to match Dante’s at one point.
I’ve reached a stage in my life where I no longer care about what people think about me having braces or embarrassing myself because your kids are what matters the most. I once made deal that if gas prices got below my weight I would do a cartwheel. The “Journey to Comfort” videos take a look at the personal achievements and experiences that have led Albert Pujols, Andy Pettitte and me to reach a level of comfort within ourselves. Now, thanks to Dove Men + Care that is formulated specifically for a man’s skin care needs, we can all have total skin comfort – literally.
6. Who is each of your kids favorite player on the Yankees? And your wife, other than you obviously?
My daughter, Serena, favors whichever player has the youngest child and lets her hold him or her. My son, Dante, doesn’t have an allegiance to one player either. He emulates Alex Rodriguez when he hits, wears a Derek Jeter jersey, and recently asked for a Robby Cano autograph.
7. Finally, I went to school at Convent of the Sacred Heart in NYC and I know you brought the World Series Trophy to our Greenwich-sister school because Brian Cashman and your daughter attend. Did you find the CSH girls interested in baseball? Just because I am a female fan, who attended CSH for 10 years and pro-sports were not a hot topic.
I found the girls at Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York City to be very interested in baseball when I visited. They had great questions and I was able to take pictures with every class. Having my daughter introduce me to her school was a special personal moment in my life and that memory will last forever.
Each video showcases the real life unsung moments, cherished memories and personal milestones that helped the MLB personalities become comfortable in their own skin, both on and off the field. For the first time ever, Pujols, Pettitte and Girardi reveal the experiences from their childhood, awkward teenage years, and other life stages that have led them to a time when they can take others’ expectations in stride and define their own success. In his video, Pujols tells how he played it smooth the first time he met his wife, while Pettitte talks about adjusting from life in Texas to New York.
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