Thursday, October 6, 2011

Hip Hip...

I come not to bury the 2011 Yankees, but to praise Jorge Posada.

For once in my life, I'm going to try to suppress the negativity that consumes me and take the high road. This was the most painful, frustrating, devastating Yankees defeat since 2004 (the midge game comes a close second). But I'm not going to talk about the insanity of Joe Girardi allowing the inept Russell Martin to bat in the game's highest leverage situation while Jesus Montero rotted on the bench. I'm not going to bemoan the six more years of having a crippled Alex Rodriguez on the roster. I'm not going to question the veracity of Ivan Nova's "injury," or even worry about C.C. Sabathia opting out of his contract and his diet.

The biggest takeaway from tonight's game is that it was Jorge Posada's last game with the New York Yankees.

Thanks for Everything, Jorgie

"To tell the truth, this could be the last time..."

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

An A.J. Burnett Elimination Game

And so it was written. And so it has come to pass.

Ever since the rainout on Friday night, this series has unfolded with the inevitability of a Rube Goldberg contraption. The little ball had started rolling, it was about to knock into some lever, a chicken was going to lay an egg, and eventually A.J. Burnett would start an elimination game. You could see it happening but could do nothing to prevent it.

The Yankees' lack of foresight has led us here: first including A.J. Burnett on the post-season roster, and then a series of Joe Girardi moves that harmed the team in two winnable games.

But here we are.

It's dark. It's freezing cold. We've reached our end.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fire Joseph Elliott Girardi

Let's leave aside for the moment that Joe Girardi and the Yankees brain trust elected to include the incompetent A.J. Burnett on the post-season roster and that now Burnett is in a position to decide the Yankees season.

(What's that? You can't leave that aside? It's consuming you? It's created a fire of rage within you that can't be extinguished? Huh.)

Steven Goldman at Pinstriped Bible calls Girardi's playoffs manifestation "Coffee Joe" because the Yankees' manager gets hyper in the post-season and overthinks the game. And Coffee Joe was at his caffeinated worst yesterday in guiding the Yankees to a 5-3 defeat to Detroit at home.

First, down 4-0 in the 7th inning with two on and one out, Girardi pinch hit Eric Chavez for Brett Gardner -- a move he never made all season and would never make in any regular season. Chavez, who has shown almost no power this season (80:1 AB/HR ratio), predictably struck out. Girardi's explanation? "Just hoping he might pop one." Uh huh.

Then, in the 9th inning, down 4-1, Girardi elected to send his single worst non-Burnett pitcher to the mound. Again predictably, Luis Ayala yielded a run and the Yankees batted in the 9th down 5-1. When they inevitably rallied, that extra run really didn't help. Neither did Andruw Jones batting against a right-hander instead of Gardner.

Why, why, why pitch Ayala? It's indefensible. David Robertson and Rafael Soriano hadn't pitched since Tuesday? Was a 4-1 deficit so insurmountable (with one of the game's best offenses) that Girardi felt the need to throw up the white flag? When three losses will end your season, maybe you shouldn't give one away so easily.

Can't wait to see what Coffee Joe does tonight.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Girardi Plans, God Laughs

The Yankees showed incredible short-sightedness when they included Master of Disaster A.J. Burnett on their post-season roster, and now that mistake could very well end their season.

There was no legitimate reason to carry Burnett on the roster save to spare the psychotic hurler's very expensive feelings. If Burnett had gotten into a game on the Division Series' planned schedule, that would have meant the Yankees were getting blown out -- in which chase, who cares who pitched?

But, as 24 different games this year have shown, rain was likely to impact this cold-weather series. And the Yankees were caught with their pants around their ankles when Mother Nature came a-knockin'. If a game were rained out (which happened), or if a starter got injured (also possible), the team knew they'd need a fourth starter. Yet they didn't carry Bartolo Colon, who was significantly better than Burnett all season.

You'll hear a lot of justification about how Burnett was good down the stretch, but if you look at Fielding Independent Pitching, he was no better than the rest of the season. He basically pitched one good start against Boston in a meaningless game the last week of the season. The rest of the 162-game schedule, the guy was a walking, blond gopher-ball machine. And now he might decide the fate of the season.

There is no excuse for this kind of poor planning from Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman.