LADY AT THE BAT: Some Rules For Coping With The Yankees This Season

Friday, May 6, 2016

Some Rules For Coping With The Yankees This Season

With Thursday's ten inning 1-0 loss at Baltimore, the Yankees are coming home after a nine game road trip that produced exactly two wins. Home is where the heart is, or something like that. Of course, just prior to the road trip, the Yankees won exactly three games on their nine game home stand. They  are 5-13 in the last 18 games. 

At the heels of all of this, it's time to recognize a few facts and respond accordingly. In other words, we need some rules, for the entire organization, from the front office and players, down to the fans:

Rule #1  Masahiro Tanaka is our ace until further notice. All he needed was one run, one measly run on Thursday. One run, one clutch hit , just one  better at bat, making the pitcher work a little more and certainly one case of better base running.

Rule # 2   Chase Headley had the night off. He was not being benched. I get it. Seems that Headley presented a better match up leading off the 9th, lefty vs righty, then again, maybe not. Why not give Ronald Torreyes, who has had two fewer hits than Headley but also has had 46 fewer at bats than Headley and  has Headly beat for the season, 2-0 in the extra base hit department, a chance to start something in the 9th inning?  Just one night to see what the kid can do?  So here's the rule: You give a player who has been in a season long slump a night off. Give him the whole night off. Unless there is a serious injury and Torreyes can not physically stay on the field. let him finish the night. It's just one night.

Rule #3  You are Starlin Castro, a major leaguer  with an impressive total over 1000 hits in the major leagues and you get a gift wild pitch that put you at second base as the potential go ahead run in the 9th inning. Please, never again allow yourself to get picked off in that situation.

Rule #4  Celebrate the small steps. CC Sabathia put together his best pitching performance in perhaps a few years on Wednesday. He actually benefited from a little run support. Okay, seven runs is a lot for the Yankees these days.

Rule #5  Andrew Miller is in your bullpen in a 0-0 game. Johnny Barbato may be closing in on a ride back on the Scranton shuttle. Go with your best available arm in a tie game in extra innings.

Rule #5  Sorry to say, but if you were born after, say 1990 (possibly a couple of years earlier) you may be experiencing something you've never seen in your lifetime, a lousy Yankees team. Just in case that holds true, be patient. As I wrote two weeks ago, a lot of contracts are coming off the books, following this season and next. Think addition by subtraction. A week ago I pointed out that rebuilding and trying to contend is difficult. Now it seems that the two together might be downright incompatible.

Rule #6  Stop the "If only George Steinbrenner was here" comments. George was suspended twice and though he probably was not totally absent,  much of the Yankees dynasties of the 70's and 90's were built during those suspensions. A lot of credit goes to Gabe Paul in the 70's and Gene Michael in the 90's. In fairness, George did put on the final touches by courting Reggie Jackson, culminating on the night of October 18, 1977, the Yankees first championship in fifteen years. But in the 80's, George was a meddler, firing coaches and managers on a whim and engineering some of the worst trades and free agent signings in baseball history. Yes, the Yankees returned to their glory days under George. But let's not forget the chaos that was much of the decade of the 80's.

Rule #7  Second guess the manager, criticize the lackadaisical play of the players, and question trades and management decisions, but never make it a personal attack of the individuals involved. Yankees fans are better than that. This will turn around some day, perhaps this year, though that seems less likely with each passing day. We have had over two decades of winning records which resulted in regular playoff berths, seven pennants and five championships, unmatched by any other team in the sport during that time.

Now, let's see if we can get something going with the Red Sox this weekend.

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