It was a long, rainy night up in the Bronx as the Yankeeslost a 4-1 heartbreak to the Rays.
Here is what I took away from last night’s game:
- David Phelps was better in his second Major League start; and I think he will continue to get stronger as he adjusts. Overall the starters are getting better, as Nova looked solid on Tuesday night.
- The Yankees middle relievers are still dominant, and are tops in baseball for a reason, thank God.
- Closer David Robertson deserves a little breathing room to adjust to his new role, and I do not think anyone can base his future off last night’s blown save. He is not Mariano Rivera, but he is good and Yankee fans need to appreciate the position he has been thrust into here. Compassion is not a word New York fans are familiar with but this qualifies as the exception.
- The Yankee bats left eight runners on base in the loss, and that is just unacceptable. The only run scored came off a Robbie Cano double in the first inning that scored the Captain.
So, what is going on here with the Yankees and how can they avoid losing fewer games?
As I thought about it, I remembered a quote I once heard from motivational speaker Paul J. Meyer:
“Enter every activity without giving mental recognition to the possibility of defeat. Concentrate on your strengths, instead of your weaknesses… on your powers, instead of your problems.”
The Yankees biggest strength is their hitting, and compared to the rest of the American League their stats give off that impression.
So, what is the issue here?
The issue is the Yankee hitters, minus Derek Jeter, cannot get into a rhythm.
Cano’s struggles are the most puzzling, as A-rod is older…blah-blah-blah; and Teixeira is a perennial disaster at the start of every season.
These three have been the heart of the Yankees order since Tex arrived in 2009 so they are very familiar with each other, but they are not familiar with the way skipper Joe Girardi’s tinkering to their order.
It has been Tex, A-rod and Cano for three seasons but Girardi thought moving Cano to cleanup vs. lefties and keeping A-rod there vs. righties would create more difficulty for opponents to navigate the lineup with left-handed relievers in the late innings.
At first I didn’t think this was a bad idea, except that it seemed kind of pointless because Cano’s career splits against lefties (.300 BA) and righties (.309 BA) were almost identical. And why mess up something that has worked for three seasons?
Whether you think I am off base or not, the fact remains that since Girardi move Cano, he is producing less.
Fact is Cano excelled at hitting in the fifth spot, as well as when he subbed in for an injured A-rod the last three seasons.
Could the pressure of being the Yankees “it” guy be subconsciously too much for him?
Who knows what is really going on here but without the Captain, the Grandy-man, Ibanez, Gardner and Swisher the Yankees would be in real trouble here but they are flirting with it.
If these three sluggers weren’t struggling, the Yankees would be in first place in the AL East now instead of fourth.
Whatever it takes to get the biggest threats in the line-up hitting when it matters should be done, and the only logical to me is to move Tex, A-rod and Cano back to what worked so well in the past.
Look, if you can think of any other explanation behind Cano’s complete 180 please share it in the comments, as I can’t come up with anything else.