Monday, October 7, 2019

Tonight, the Yankees need to see Giancarlo and Gary

Fans don't experience "slumps." We undergo "bad days" that sometimes lead to a "bad week," but neither is generally tied to how we're swinging our bat. Some shittiness happens - a misplaced wallet or a flat tire - leading to a lousy, miserable, rotten, stinko few days. But it's as if you fell into a slump. It's just life. It's China Town, Jake.

Ballplayers, however, fall into slumps. They start lunging. They start flailing. They start overthinking. In a given year, it's a certainty that they will slide into the Stygian abyss of at least one 0-for-16. The slump can be self-generating, the result of too much awareness. If Rene Descartes had been a baseball fan, he would have written, "I think, therefore I slump." 

In the post-season's first two games, Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez are a combined 0-8 with one run, one RBI and four strike outs. Their contributions have come in walks: Six of them. Normally, two games aren't enough to raise concern. But Stanton and Sanchez are back from tweaks, and neither has shown a spark of his former self. 

If they go 0-for-tonight, the "s-word" might get uttered. 

I donno what Aaron Boone can do here. Nothing, probably. A dirty little secret of the 2019 Yankees is that Austin Romine became the best backup catcher in baseball, and the Yankees lose almost nothing when Gary is hurt. (Over a long haul, Romine breaks down, but in short spurts, he's great.) It's also true that Stanton remains a dumpster fire in left field, an impersonation of Rudy Giuliani on any ball hit his way, while Cameron Maybin brings defense, speed and situational hitting to the lineup. In both cases, the Yanks might be a better team by playing the replacements - a fitting moral to 2019, wouldn't you say?

Alas, it cannot happen. We know the reality of Boone's options: He cannot bench either Sanchez or Stanton, not yet anyway. In NY, you can't have a star on the bench, brooding in front of the cameras, with the Gammonites salivating over post-game interviews. If their "slumps" extend deep into the Houston series - assuming we get to that series - there will come a desperate moment when Boone drops the bomb. It will probably be too late, after Stanton has blown a critical fly ball, or Sanchez has secured his second golden sombrero. By then, it probably won't matter. Games three, four and five will happen in NY. It's easy to imagine the cascade of boos as either of them marches back to the dugout. We've been there. We're heard it. It's the kind of wretchedness that puts a blemish on an entire season. You go 162 wonderful games, and an in the end, all you remember is that the Grandyman couldn't.  

The message here? We've been here before. We're on a predestined course, and once it becomes crystal clear, nothing we do can change it. Tonight, it sure would be wonderful if Stanton and Sanchez break the ice jam of their .000 batting averages. An infield hit (like the one Stanton just missed in game one) or a blast (like the foul ball Sanchez hit in game two) could do the trick. If Stanton and Sanchez start hitting, we can win this October. But with two massive holes in the center of our batting order, nope - it will only get worse. For now, everybody is contributing, and nobody is saying the s-word. A bloop and a blast, that could do it. A seeing-eye grounder, a roller down the line, anything... let's hope.

13 comments:

JM said...

But perhaps they need a "rest," you know? I mean, coming back from injuries, maybe concern that they'll retweak, and wasn't that a little tightness in the trainer's room just now? Or, maybe, somehow a tack fell into Stanton's shoe or glove or jockstrap and he has a tender puncture. Sanchez's legs, always a banana peel away from a groin pull.

Gee, anything could happen. Who's gonna have the courage to step up and give it a go?

13bit said...

They have had their moments, especially ICS, where they produce. That being said, when players become known among the snarky fan base, the commentariat and the crowd around the water cooler and the urinal for routinely not producing in the clutch or whiffing endlessly, it's more than a slump. Especially when said players are paid gazillions of dollars and touted as the next Ruth, Mantle or Maris. Then, we enter the territory of suck-itude. This is the playoffs. In the regular season, you let them find their groove. Now, you let them find their groove by meditating on the bench while playing the guys who can get it done, THE GUYS WHO GOT US HERE. Fuck Sanchez and Fuck Stanton. Bundle them with Sir Didi and get pitching in the off-season. Stop being sentimental, folks. They are not Yankees.

HoraceClarke66 said...

JM, that's genius! It's "for their own good." They've been great, they've been swell, now they can go back to hell.

ICS' big moment was getting hit by a pitch. But hey, we'll take it!

An 13bit: Stanton can't be bundled. He makes $26 million a year—a figure that will rise to $32 million. And Sir Didi is a free agent. If they were going to trade him, they should have done it this summer. And supposedly, they could have got Realmuto for Sanchez last winter.

Too late, too late, too late...

el duque said...

The long term moral of this story might turn out to one we should have learned long ago:

Avoid the guy who was MVP on a last-place team.

TheWinWarblist said...

Doomed. We are doomed to an eternity without hope or succor. Slump. No slump. Breakout performance. It matter not. It will make not a jot of difference. These Yankees, our Yankees, cannot beat a quality team. We will be lucky to sneak past Minnesota.




Fuck you Hal, with a sober assessment of your failures.

ranger_lp said...

I understand sitting both of them, but in Stanton's case, the optics of benching someone that makes 26 million dollars this year are in FO terms awful.

13bit said...

I never said I was rational. Benching Stanton would demonstrate iron balls, though.

Anonymous said...

A couple of things.

Stanton's OBP in the playoffs so far is .500
Walked four times. Only struck out once. So not a total black hole.

I'll take it. Not worth 28 Mil a year. But I'll take it for now.

Also, the guy who did the bulk of the work replacing Stanton was Tauchman, who is obviously hurt. If he wasn't it would be a different story.

Plus, Boone has been removing Stanton in the 7th for defensive purposes which is pretty good from a balls standpoint.

I'd like to see Romine though.

Doug K.

Anonymous said...

Great column and absolutely true. I’d like to see Romine but we won’t. Boone drives me nuts with many things (bullpen usage, e.g.), but I understand the situation he’s in. It’s difficult to bench “superstars” (we wish). Imagine what would happen if he did and then Maybin and Romine flopped.

It is hard to comprehend the negativity in a couple of the comments. Good gosh. The Yankees have completely dominated the Twins so far. Is it not possible to enjoy that just a bit before we start worrying about not beating Houston? It doesn’t appear anyone has a chance to beat them. You never know. For now, I choose to enjoy our success so far.

Brett

HoraceClarke66 said...

One thing I've been surprised by is how little the Twins are trying to run on Sanchez. Or maybe they're afraid he'll get hurt again, and then we'll put a better bat in the lineup...

Anonymous said...

Hoss,

Very 4D chess. :)

Doug K.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

4D chess indeed.

Duque, you buried the lede:

"Avoid the guy who was MVP on a last-place team."

Brett, negative is our middle name. Well not really, more like our Id, or at least our super-ego. Austrian fan can explain.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

...and it was nice seeing Greinke knocked around today. Hopefully the next two games are closer and last 18 innings each.