LADY AT THE BAT: Yankees' Split Focus & Sloppy Middle Innings Prove Costly At Fenway

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Yankees' Split Focus & Sloppy Middle Innings Prove Costly At Fenway

With the exception of the 1st inning and the 9th inning, the Yankees played last night's game as if their minds were elsewhere. It seems clear that the team has turned the page on the 2016 season, continuing to play Gary Sanchez behind the plate (great arm but he does seem to have some trouble corralling the ball back there) and re-inserting Luis Severino, the 2015 phenom turned 2016 disappointment, into the rotation on the back of his strong performance out of the bullpen.

Even the in game cut-ins to the YES Network booth were focused on the next generation as Yankees fans were treated to video of a triple by new CF Clint Frazier, followed by an RBI single by Aaron Judge (batting .320 in August and seemingly prepped for a September call-up).

The ad on the YES Network imploring fans to tune into Wednesday’s game? It highlighted Yankees youngsters Didi Gregarious and Starlin Castro as "rising stars."

So the Yankees are clearly tuned into the future but for Yankees fans clinging to the hope that Joe Girardi says is still out there (that the Yankees can still make the playoffs), there’s still some frustration in seeing the Yankees play so sloppily with over 1.5 months left in the season.

Whether it was Chase Headley getting thrown out at 3B with nobody out (hustling like he was trying to prove he’s not one of the “old guys” that’re hanging it up in 2016) and nearly getting picked off at 1B to end the game, or Aaron Hicks not scoring on the hit to LF in the 7th inning, the Yankees just didn’t seem to have their heads in the game on Tuesday night.

Things got interesting in the 9th inning as the Yankees loaded the bases against Boston’s closer, Craig Kimbrel (courtesy of two walks) including a bases loaded walk to score their third and final run of the game. Then Mark Teixeira struck out looking at a pitch that looked ripe for hitting. And so the Yankees lost another game. This one to a division rival. They’ll talk about the positives: Sanchez’s defense, Hicks’s patience at the plate, etc., but for anyone holding out hope for this season it’s just a loss to a division rival.

It’s an interesting dynamic that the team will have to deal with for the rest of the season, particularly after they get through the hoopla on Friday (to me, the only reason Boston fans were chanting for the Yankees' soon-top\-be-released bench player was so they could boo him when he struck out). Joe Girardi, judging by his post game press conference, will be quite happy to be past that phase.

Girardi is doing the daily dance of trying to win enough games to finish with a winning record while making sure that the youngsters on whom they will depend on going forward will get some important experience in 2016.

With the Yankees 1996 team coming into the Stadium on Saturday night to remind us of the beginning of one of the greatest eras in Yankees history, this new reality continues to be a strange departure from the past. We may all be resolved to the plan that the pain of the present will hopefully bring us another dynasty.

We all should hope, though, that the Yankees will play out the string with some Pinstripe Pride. 

No comments: