Monday, June 11, 2018

I know I keep saying this, but...

Stop competing. Keep rebuilding.

Looking back, I suspect some will be tempted to see this lost weekend in Queens as the turning point of our season, the series in which both Tanaka and Judge were injured.

(And let's face it, despite the usual Kremlinese from the Bronx, Judge is hurt. Hence the reason why he was benched the night after hitting the game-winning home run and not, as Ma Boone will continue to pretend, to give him his second day off in as many weeks.)

In and of themselves, these injuries should not be a big thing.

The Tanaka injury may actually be a blessing in disguise. Better that he rest his hanging-by-a-thread arm now, than lose a month or two at the end of the season. And it WOULD be far better for the Yankees to skip the "Shoulder injury? What shoulder injury?" farce they played out for two months last year, following Judge's home-run derby fiasco.

A better idea would be to own up to his jammed thumb, put the big guy on the DL, and finally give Red Thunder a chance to see what he can do.

But, no will do, I suspect.

Instead, because we are such a great team in such a feverish pennant race, Boone will continue to play Judge and give him more "rest days" that won't do a damned thing to un-jam his thumb. And Coops will continue trying to swing a deal for Cole Hamels, looking to "replace" Tanaka and Montgomery, instead of seizing this opportunity to see who has what in our farm system.

Both strategies will prove futile and counter-productive because of what this weekend actually revealed: our team cannot hit an elite staff well enough to win a title.

Even with the Mets in total disarray—racked with injuries, producing nothing at the plate, playing terrible ball in the field, and likely demoralized by the comments of their oblivious star—the Yanks barely managed to beat them two-out-of-three. Our boys were almost completely shut down by their pitchers, especially their starters—and that was with an injured Syndergaard missing the series.

What it revealed is, we have bigger problems than simply missing a pitcher or two.

Our hitting, as a team, is heading south and has been for some time. Oh, the home runs are nice. But the per-game run production looks like this:

April:  6.04
May:   5.25
June:   4.33

Not a good trend.

It's a pervasive problem. Judge was slumping even before he got hurt. Stanton STILL seems to disappear, even after his home-run bursts. Sanchez is utterly lost. Singularly or collectively, Bird and Austin never seem to break out.

All this needs to be addressed. I'm not sure how. One solution the Yankees should probably try is simply benching Sanchez—who everyday looks less and less like Johnny Bench and more and more like Rick Cerone—in favor of Romine. If he really is so good, let him earn his way back into the lineup. Whatever.

But the fact is, if the Mets can shut us down without even the guy who may be their best can a lot of playoff teams.

The Red Sox, the Astros, the Indians, the Nationals—as our hitting stands right now, all of these teams will cut through our roster like a chainsaw through butter in a playoff series. For all that our own pitching has improved of late and despite how brilliantly our kids have played, we're going slowly backwards.

Stop competing. Keep rebuilding.


JM said...

I think you just insulted Rick Cerone. Even he never looked this bad.

HoraceClarke66 said...

I meant in the sense of having one season where he looked terrific at bat and behind the plate, the catcher of the future.

Sanchez has actually had 1 1/3 such seasons. But then, as I recall, while the bottom dropped out of Cerone's game as a hitter, he remained a pretty good catcher.