Thursday, June 11, 2015

A brutal loss and a bum forearm rouse disturbing Yankee omens: Winter is coming

For seven innings yesterday, life was such a delight - dancing and spooning to the YES Brigade's happy talk. Michael Kay and company - aka The League of Extraordinary Genuflectors - cooed about the first-place Yankees' embarrassment of riches... too many pitchers! Nathan Evaldi... after Tanaka's great start, giving Pineda extra rest, and with Severino at Scranton, and Ivan Nova returning, along with Adam Warren, CC and maybe the ghost of Chris Capuano, the first-place Yankees would surely move to a six-man rotation. Has anyone ever tried seven? Peel me a grape, little dove!

O, they were joyous. They were gleeful. Clearly, they were doing acid. Brendan Ryan tripled, and suddenly the first-place Yankees led by two, and with the lock-down bullpen - Brian Cashman's Christmas gift to us - the night shaped up as a gala party across the Yankiverse.

Well, as we now know, it was a crapola night in the Yankiverse. Jacob Lindgren blew the lead, Capuano finished the job, Jose Pirela was exiled to the Land of Coal, and Andrew Miller - our MVP thus far - is gone for two weeks, maybe more. (With the Yankees, nobody is ever out for just two weeks.)

Remember all those recent games when the bullpen couldn't hold a huge lead, so Joe ended up bringing in Miller? Turns out there's a price to be paid, after all. And unless somebody else learns to pitch the eighth, our new stopper, Dellin Betances, will be next to go.

I don't want to wave a white flag here, but yesterday serves as a grim reminder of how fast things can turn bad, and how bad things can turn... fast. We're still in first. Boston still faces the End of Times for Papi, Mike Napoli, a certain flyin' Hawaiian and the cast of "Golden Girls" - the elderly scions that other franchises would feel morally obligated to keep. (Boston's track record for honoring its stars of yesteryear suggests none of the above should get comfortable.) We still have Betances to abuse, and - yep - Nova is coming back - though it's been so long that I can't remember if that is something to want.

But yesterday's most depressing omen was Lindgren's inability to hold the lead. Thus far, he's been the Yankee definition of a successful top draft pick. We chose him in Round 2 last year, and he bolted through the system. He was a "safe" pick, a low-ceiling guy likely to contribute at least something. And that was the Yankee mentality in this week's draft: Grab older college guys, even if they project as No. 3 starters or utility infielders - because they'll still be better than Andrew Brackman. But we botched a 2-run lead, and suddenly, all the starters in the heavens can't pitch the eighth.

More injuries are ahead. And soon, Cashman will perform plastic surgery on this team. We won't have too many pitchers for long. Man the barricades. Hold the wall. Winter is coming, Robb Stark. It's going to get cold around here.


John M said...

Now we're down to one guy in the bullpen and a pack of mooks. Oh, boy.

You know, it wouldn't matter so much if we had a great center fielder. We should look into signing that Ellsbury guy from Boston, he's...what's that?...oh...really?...ok, forget that.

In that case, let's just get a bunch of flamethrowers for the bullpen. Lots of lefties. Just have them blow 95 mph heat past opposing batters, and...excuse me?....what'd you say?...

Oh. Ok, forget that...

ceeja said...

Miller will be back; this is just a blip. The larger problem is that even with Miller, the bullpen is not up to the hype. We've got starters who generally can't give you long starts and a bullpen which (other than Bettances and Miller) is not very good.

Who do they bring up to replace Miller? If you really wanted to win a pennant -- if you were really interested in taking some risks to win, wouldn't you bring up Severino?

But they won't do that. What if he fails? We'll look bad; we'll be criticized for rushing him. It's so much better to keep him down there so that we can continue to hype him as the best thing since Sandy Koufax. I mean, who really cares about winning a pennant anyway? Aren't we just in the marketing business?

It's the sheer gutlessness of Yankee management that really pisses off the average Yankee fan. The Yankees won a pennant 51 years ago with a late-season, desperation call up of a guy with the funny name of Stottlemyre. You know, there are actually real fans out there who remember that stuff and who give a shit.

jdrny said...

Girardi does not know how to handle pitchers.

Calling Miller in for one out in last inning the other night with a four run lead and not a save situation was ridiculous.

And that pitching couch is useless. He should be fired.