Yankees42

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And that’s the way it is, August 31st, 2014… — August 31, 2014

And that’s the way it is, August 31st, 2014…

By Johnny Yankee – Yankees42

I always remember the great Walter Cronkite and his famous words, so with
much respect to him I can’t help but to write them up as I discuss our Yankee
team on this day. Simply put, we have our work cut out as we wind up the
2014 season.

Yesterday, oh what a terrible day it was as we managed 1 measly hit. Of
all people it came from a very cold hitter, one who has cooled off quite a
bit just when the team needs for him to carry his team; Mark Teixeira. He
is our fourth hitter, our cleanup hitter, and he is simply not doing the job.
To blame him and only him would not be fair either. as most of our other
hitters have also not done their job.

Take the Captain. He has got to be dropped down in the batting order.
Joe cannot, for the benefit of the legend’s pride, keep him at the two
slot, since he is not getting on base, is killing us with his patented double
play groundouts. He has been a “rally killer,” and that has not made it any
easier on a team that is having problems scoring. I also have to blame
Girardi on this, because many times Ellsbury has been on and on the very
first pitch instead of taking a pitch, or sending Jacoby, he allows Jeter to
swing into his DP. Why not allow Ellsbury to steal second and thus avoid Derek
hitting into a DP? Doesn’t make sense, right? Nothing, seems to make sense
these days.

Our pitching has been superb, the starting one, since a tired bullpen has not
pitched as well as they did all season. It’s nature’s law! At this time of the year,
often used arms will be weary, and thus the drop in effectiveness. Pineda, Greene,
McCarthy, Kuroda and even Capuano, have all pitched very well, enough so that
their records should be much better. No hitting, no runs. We are flirting with
disaster.

I don’t know if you feel like me, but two or three innings go by without a hit
and I start to think that this is the day we get no-hit. Yesterday, we came close.
We are 3.5 games away from the second WC. It was not what we set out to do
when the season started. We felt that we would run away with this thing, or
at least be fighting for first place. Sure, injuries have taken its toll, but that
has always been part of the game. I believe it’s a combination of a few factors.

I believe that Jeter’s “Farewell Tour” has been damaging. Too much distraction,
to many concessions by Girardi out of respect for him. Too many underachievers,
with players that are supposed to lead the way and are not. As I said, injuries
have also done its part, and one other factor; Long.

If a team struggles all season long with their hitting, it is the hitting coach’s
responsibility to straighten it somehow. But whether it is all of his faults or
not, the truth is that something is wrong somewhere and the Coach is responsible,
period! There is some sort of complacency on both the Manager, as in the
hitting coach. It is as if they were saying, “It is what it is, can’t do much about it!”
The players, well you see them make out after out, innings go by one by one,
next thing you know they are struggling to get a couple of runs just enough
to either tie or go ahead, only to see them leave men after men left on the bases.
Next thing you see is , the game is over. We have lost another game in a very
similar way much like it’s been all season long.

If you asked me, our losing of 4 of the starting pitchers, especially Tanaka, has
NOT been the main reason for where we stand today. Our substitute starters,
have done the job. McCarthy, Greene and eve Pineda, all have said “present,” it
has been the putrid offense that has caused us to be fighting for a “second”
WC birth. Who would have imagined we’d be in this position to practically have
to win every remaining game just to qualify. Things don’t look bright this 31St
of August, 2014, does it?

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Once again, Ellsbury’s injury history comes under spotlight —

Once again, Ellsbury’s injury history comes under spotlight

By Ken Davidoff

Yankees Blue Jays Baseball

Joe Girardi said Jacoby Ellsbury, who sprained his left ankle after sliding into home Friday night, may have been placed on the disabled list if the rosters didn’t expand to 40 on Monday.

TORONTO — The way he hobbled around the Yankees’ clubhouse Saturday, Jacoby Ellsbury looked more likely to watch “SpongeBob SquarePants” reruns from a hospital bed Sunday than take part in a Major League Baseball game.

We still are getting to know Ellsbury in his first year as a Yankee, so it felt startling when, shortly after an Ellsbury-less Yankees lineup managed just one hit against the Blue Jays in a 2-0 loss at Rogers Centre, the center fielder spoke as if he would be back in the team’s lineup, his sprained left ankle taped up and ready for action, at any moment.

Especially because manager Joe Girardi, who has no issue spinning this stuff ultra-positively, painted a far grimmer prognosis.

So we arrive at a moment of truth we’ve long awaited in the Ellsbury Adventure: His first injury of consequence as a Yankee. He has a history to live down.

“I’m staying optimistic about it,” said Ellsbury, who sustained the injury Friday night in the Yankees’ 6-3 victory. “I’m a quick healer, got high pain tolerance, so I’ve got those things going for me. … I guess I’m hoping for [Sunday].”

“I’d be really shocked if he played [Sunday],” said Girardi, who added that Ellsbury would undergo more tests when the Yankees return home this coming week. If this were earlier in the season, Girardi conceded, this condition would be serious enough to consider placement on the disabled list if Ellsbury didn’t show considerable improvement in a few days. Because the rosters expand to 40 on Monday, that’s a non-issue.

Unfortunately for the Yankees, they face far greater headaches that can’t be waved off as non-issues. At 70-64, 3-3 on this crucial road trip, they must play a high level of baseball that has eluded them throughout this 2014 campaign, with nearly 83 percent of the schedule complete.

They must pull this off knowing their hottest position player just went down and their ace Masahiro Tanaka left town for New York on Saturday to decelerate the rehabilitation from a torn UCL in his right elbow.

“I think we’ve pitched well,” Girardi said, after watching Michael Pineda take the loss while allowing just two runs in six-plus innings. “I think we’ve had some really good offensive days. It just needs to be consistent.”

“I’m not sure exactly how many games we need to win, but we need to win every series,” said Mark Teixeira, who picked up the Yankees’ only hit with a fourth-inning double off Jays starter Drew Hutchison. “So [Sunday] is a big opportunity for us to win a series.”

Ellsbury leads the Yankees with 130 games played, and he largely has given the Yankees what they hoped to receive when they signed him to a stunning, seven-year, $153-million contract last offseason.

Yet it’s time once again to remember the Yankees offered their own free agent Robinson Cano seven years and $175 million to come back, and Cano entered Saturday’s action having played 128 games — and currently healthy — for the Mariners and sporting an .866 OPS to Ellsbury’s .778.

It’s a large reason why Seattle, 72-62, leads the Yankees in the race for the second American League wild card, trailing the Tigers and Royals by just 1¹/₂ games, while the Yankees are 3¹/₂ out.

Cano owns seven seasons of playing 140-plus games, including the previous seven years. Ellsbury can boast of three such seasons, the last one coming in 2011.

This Ellsbury injury resulted from hustle, as he got thrown out at home on a play Girardi thought Toronto catcher Dioner Navarro illegally blocked the plate.

Many of Ellsbury’s previous ailments also resulted from playing hard, and many kept him out for a while, which is what led to teammate criticisms — most notably Kevin Youkilis on the 2010 Red Sox — about the way he handled these situations.

None of the Boston whispers about Ellsbury have come to fruition this season. To the contrary, he has behaved as a model teammate, by all accounts.

So this ankle injury shouldn’t serve on a referendum of his personality or toughness or willingness to win or any of that noise. Yet it will be another measure of Ellsbury’s reliability. Of how much the Yankees can expect from him.

What he has given has been great, but the team sure could use more.

“I realize how important these games are,” Ellsbury said. “Obviously, we need a win. I’m willing to go out there not at 100 percent. … In the past, I’ve come back from injuries fairly quick. I’m going to try to do everything I can to be out there. This time of year, every win is important, and I need to be out there.”

Can he reach the 140-games mark? 150? The Yankees’ long-shot hopes ride, at least partly, on those touted quick-healing abilities.

The expandables: Who will the Yankees call up for September? —

The expandables: Who will the Yankees call up for September?

By William Tasker

We are two days away from that wacky time of year when team active rosters can expand from 25 to any amount from 26 to forty. If your team is out of the chase, you can call up a bunch of prospects you want to look at, but as Joe Girardi has said in the past, September is not the time for auditions when in a race to make the playoffs. While the Yankees are currently racing like Jeff Gordon trying to make the last four laps on bald tires, they are still giving it their best shot. That said, don’t expect any fun prospect porn from the Yankees.

First of all, you can only bring up players from your 40-man roster (I’ve read the actual MLB rules here and they are a bit ambiguous). So those of you hoping for a fun glimpse of Rob Refsnyder or even Pat Venditte will be disappointed unless the Yankees clear room on the 40-man roster. If Masahiro Tanaka gets switched from the 15 to 60-day DL, then that opens up a spot.

Let’s look at the pitching, the infield, the outfield and catching to predict what the Yankees will do:

Pitching

Pitchers not on the active 25-man roster but are on the 40-day roster include: Manny Banuelos, Jose Campos, Preston Claiborne,Matt Daley, Bryan Mitchell, Jose Ramirez and Chase Whitley. Last year, the Yankees only called up three pitchers. I do not think you will see Banuelos and you definitely won’t see Campos. Bryan Mitchell is a long shot at best. Most likely, you will get relief help that has already seen some Major League action. That said, my prediction would be: Daley, Ramirez, Whitley and Claiborne.

Catching

Catchers on the 40-man roster include John Ryan Murphy, Austin Romine and Gary Sanchez. Sanchez would be fun to see but he would be the most unlikely of guests with the first two mostly likely to get the call.

Infielders

There are no infielders not already on the active list. Zelous Wheeler is already with the club.

Outfielders

The three outfielders on the 40-man roster and not currently with the club include Zoilo Almonte, Ramon Flores and Slade Heathcott. You can rule out Heathcott. Zoilo Almonte is sure to get a call up and Flores might as well with Jacoby Ellsbury hurting. Neither seem like they add much to the team heading down the home stretch.

The conclusion here is that for those who follow the Yankees, September will not bring additional excitement with an infusion of young talent. Backup catchers, back of the bullpen fillers and 4-A outfielders are not all that exciting. But at least there will be a few more hands to slap after the occasional Yankee homer.

Josh Outman excited for lefty specialist role with Yankees — August 30, 2014

Josh Outman excited for lefty specialist role with Yankees

josh  outman

The Yankees acquired Josh Outman Thursday from the Indians. Outman will be used as a lefty specialist.

By Brendan Kuty

TORONTO — If Josh Outman hadn’t figured out the simple reason why the Yankees had traded for him Thursday night, it became clear in his first, brief, conversation with Joe Girardi.

“Just got to say hello to Joe real quick and he said he’s going to use me against lefties,” Outman said.

Outman, whom the Indians gave the Yankees in exchange for cash or a player to be named later, has owned southpaw hitters his whole career. Lefties have a .188 batting average off of him compared to righties, who boast a robust .302 average off the 29-year-old.

Outman thought his season might have been mostly over Thursday morning. The Indians had designated him for assignment June 18, and he had been in Triple-A ever since. Outman’s only hope was a September call up, he said.

“I mean I’m excited,” Outman said. “It got to where I got pushed to the bottom with Cleveland and that’s how it goes in this game sometimes. I have a fresh opportunity here. Hopefully I can grab a hold of it and run with it.”

Cleveland had told Outman it would try to trade him after he was designated for assignment, but Outman didn’t think it would actually happen.

“It was an exciting twist of the plot, though, so I’m happy to be over here and wear the pinstripes,” he said.

Girardi said he was excited to see what Outman could offer the Yankees, who cut ties with lefty reliever Rich Hill to make room for him.

“He’s a left-handed specialist who’s had success,” Girardi said. “You look at his numbers against lefties in Cleveland this year. It wasn’t too bad. He’ll get an opportunity to help us.”

The stats don’t lie: It’s time to drop Jeter — August 29, 2014

The stats don’t lie: It’s time to drop Jeter

By Mark Simon

There comes a point at which performance overrides reputation. But the Yankees have stubbornly clung to the idea that Derek Jeter should still be hitting in the top two spots in their lineup.

It is extraordinarily tough to come up with any justification for this, with a month remaining in the season and the offense, for the most part, floundering.

Jeter currently has the second-most at-bats on the Yankees team, and he has a .629 OPS.

ESPN IMG

Duane Burleson/Getty Images
If the Yankees were honest with themselves, Derek Jeter would be getting fewer at bats this season.

There are only two other clubs that have a player who ranks in the top two in at-bats and have a lower OPS than Jeter: the Astros ( Matt Dominguez) and the Padres ( Everth Cabrera).

On almost every other major league team, the player who has the most or second-most at-bats rates as one of the team’s best offensive players or has a skill set (such as the speed of Jose Reyes of the Blue Jays, Billy Hamilton of the Reds and Dee Gordon of the Dodgers) that warrants the opportunities provided.

Within the AL East, the top two hitters in at-bats for each team are:

Orioles: Nick Markakis and Adam Jones
Blue Jays: Melky Cabrera and Reyes
Rays: Evan Longoria and James Loney
Red Sox: Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz.

Every one of those players has an OPS at least 75 points better than Jeter’s.

Additionally, there are only three players who hit worse when they hit first or second overall than Jeter: Cabrera (.578 OPS as a No. 1 or No. 2 hitter), Omar Infante of the Royals (.606) and B.J. Upton of the Braves (.611).

Video review also doesn’t help Jeter’s case. One service that rates every batted ball as either hard, medium or soft has Jeter with balls that registered as hard-hit in 8.6 percent of his at-bats. That’s the second-lowest of any batting-title qualifier in the majors, ahead of only Adam Eaton of the White Sox. Jeter’s 55.5 percent “soft-hit” rate is better than only Ben Revere of the Phillies and Jean Segura of the Brewers.

It has been a rough month for Jeter, whose 0-for-4 on Thursday against the Tigers dropped his August slashline to .216/.237/.278.

Now some may ask, what’s the alternative at this point in the season?

We actually came up with one based on a simple premise: ranking the Yankees hitters by their August OPS.

That produces a lineup of Jacoby Ellsbury (CF), Martin Prado (RF), Carlos Beltran (DH), Mark Teixeira (1B), Chase Headley (3B), Brett Gardner (LF), Stephen Drew (2B) and Jeter (SS).

A simple flip-flop of Gardner and Prado would accommodate the desire for speed at the top of the lineup, and it would get Gardner the volume of at-bats his full-season stats warrant.

It seems unlikely the Yankees would consider such maneuvering at this point in the season. And there’s plenty of debate on just how important the order of a starting lineup is. But at this point in the season, a shake-up seems like a necessity — unless you want to continue being compared to the Astros and Padres.

Game by game, Jeter still eyes the division —

Game by game, Jeter still eyes the division

By Chad Jennings

Jeter2

Even though the second wild card is the Yankees most obvious and attainable path to the playoffs, it surely comes as little surprise that Derek Jeter is not ready to give up on the division just yet.

“It’s always the goal, you know what I mean?” Jeter said after yesterday’s loss. “Until something else happens and you have to alter your goals, that’s the goal. But once again, we play (within) our division, so if we win our games, we’ll be fine. I don’t ever think you set your sights on something unless than you can accomplish it, so our goal is to win games. We need to win tomorrow.”

Derek JeterJeter always seems to have his eye on the bigger picture while focusing on the smaller tasks at hand. Win the division. And do it by winning tonight’s game. And then tomorrow’s game. And the game after that.

“Like I always tell you, when you play the teams that are ahead of you, you don’t have to look at the scoreboard,” Jeter said. “We play our division, so we need to have the approach that we have to win every day. What do we have, 30 games left? You can’t sit around and look at the scoreboard. It’s in our own hands, so we need to win.”

That’s largely true. But the fact is, the Yankees aren’t going to play winning baseball every game the rest of the way. They’re likely going to need some help along the way, whether that’s in the form of another playoff contender stumbling down the stretch, or a few teams making mistakes that hand the Yankees an undeserved win or two.

Just last night, the Yankees hit the ball hard, but had few hits to show for it. They nearly got a huge home run in the ninth, but it was blown foul. Shawn Kelley pitched himself to the verge of a great escape, then made his final mistake. Did the Yankees earn a win yesterday? Obviously not. But if a few small things had bounced a different way, they might have gotten a win just the same.

“You saw what happened (Wednesday),” Brett Gardner said. “We had nine straight hits off (David) Price. Something’s got to go your way for that to happen. That’s why we play 162 games instead of 100. I feel like it all works itself out in the end. Hopefully in the end we’re still standing.”

That’s the big picture hope. The smaller task at hand is tonight’s game in Toronto, just another in a string of “must win” games for a team with very little margin for error.

“We’ve got to turn the page and go and put up a win (tonight),” Joe Girardi said. “You’ve got to take it day by day. It’s definitely not what we wanted (in Detroit), but our guys played hard, played extremely hard this series, and we’ve got to go continue on to Toronto.”

Postgame notes: “As bad as I’ve felt walking off a mound” — August 28, 2014

Postgame notes: “As bad as I’ve felt walking off a mound”

Shawn Kelley

By Chad Jennings

When a team is winning, a $20 horsehead mask bought on Amazon feels like good luck.

When a team has lost two of three in a tight wild card race, a one-run loss feels like rock bottom.

“That’s about as bad as I’ve felt walking off a mound in my career,” Shawn Kelley said.

Surely a misplaced slider on August 28 isn’t the low point of Kelley’s career, but I have no doubt it’s going to feel that way on the flight to Toronto. Three days ago, the Yankees had won five straight and Kelley’s goofy horsehead had become an unlikely team mascot. Now the team has lost two of three and fallen to three games behind both the Tigers and Mariners for the second wild card.

“We need to win every single game,” Derek Jeter said. “I don’t know how else to say it. That’s the approach we need to have. We’re in this position because of how we’ve played up to this point. So we are where we are, and now we need to win.”

As you might expect, there was a definite sense of lost opportunity in the Yankees clubhouse postgame. There were line drive outs. Brian McCann’s near home run was blown just foul. Kelley was one out away from escaping the ninth-inning jam.

When things are going well — when masks are good luck charms, and the team is winning, and 90s hip-hop is blasting in the clubhouse — there’s a real sense that games like this will eventually turn in the Yankees favor. But today, there was no laughing and no music blasting. And that horse mask was nowhere to be found.

“I didn’t watch (the game-winning hit),” Kelley said. “I just put my head down and walked off the field. It would’ve been a nice surprise if he would’ve (caught it), but I assumed it was a homer.”

Brian McCann• To be clear, off the bat I felt certain Alex Avila’s game-winner was a home run. I never thought Ichiro Suzuki had a shot at it until he closed the gap and came fairly close to a full-sprint catch at the wall. Ichiro was close, but I have a hard time suggesting he misplayed it. I’m mostly stunned he got that close. “It’s a do-or-die play,” Ichiro said. “I just went to where I thought the ball was going to be.”

• Girardi on whether Ichiro had a shot to make the catch: “It’s really hard for me to see once it gets out there. I heard him hit the wall, and I think I heard the ball hit the wall. I can’t tell you what exactly happened, but the bottom line is that it ended up being a base hit.”

• Kelley struck out both Nick Castellanos and Torii Hunter on fastballs, and he gave up both the Victor Martinez and Avila base hits on sliders. Surprised he went slider in that two-out situation against Avila? “No, that’s his bread-and-butter pitch,” Girardi said. “He also made some pretty good pitches with some sliders during some of the at-bats too.”

• Kelley on the first-pitch slider to Avila: “I got the outs I wanted to get, and then just overthrew a slider and left it up. Avila can hit that pitch. Most guys can.”

• Everyone involved seem to think McCann had a two-out, three-run home run in the top of the ninth. It seemed fair initially, but it eventually wound its way just foul. “I did (think it would stay fair),” McCann said. “It just kept going. I don’t know if the wind took it or what. It would have been nice if it stayed fair, but it didn’t.”

• Girardi said it “wasn’t a consideration” to use Dellin Betances for two innings tonight, and he indicated that it had nothing to do with using Betances last night. “You feel good about (Kelley) on the mound, especially the way he’s been throwing the baseball,” Girardi said. Kelley’s past five games leading into this one: 4.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K.

Hiroki Kuroda• Another pretty good start by Hiroki Kuroda, who has a 3.28 ERA in his past nine games. “I think I was pretty consistent with my splits,” Kuroda said. “I was able to be effective against the right-handers with my split.”

• We’re not into September yet, but Kuroda seems fairly confident that he can finish this season stronger than he did last year. “Yes, I had a bad second half last year and I am conscious of that,” he said. “I try to be different this year.” Kuroda has done things like limit the pitches he throws between starts in an effort to stay strong down the stretch.

• What made rookie Kyle Lobstein so effective? Girardi actually said the Yankees hit the ball better today than they did against David Price. “From the game that I saw, we swung the bats better than we did yesterday,” he said. “We just hit balls at people. That’s unfortunate. One inning we lined out three times. That’s part of the game, and we’re able to put a number of hits together and that’s why we didn’t score, but I actually thought we swung the bats well.”

• Jacoby Ellsbury had one hit, an RBI single. he’s hitting .462 in his past 10 games. Carlos Beltran is also fairly hot lately. He had two hits including a double and is batting .375 on the current road trip. This was his 27th multi-hit game of the season.

• This was the 42nd time the Yankees were limited to two runs or less this season. Little surprise they’re 7-35 in those games.

• Final word to Brett Gardner: “If we make up one game per week we’ll be in good shape at the end. I feel like we’re playing better baseball. Our pitching has been pretty consistent and they give us a chance to win ballgames. We’re headed in the right direction. It’s disappointing today, but we have another game tomorrow so we can’t get too down. We’ll keep grinding away.”

Keeping Jeter in No. 2 spot is sentimental … and very risky —

Keeping Jeter in No. 2 spot is sentimental … and very risky

By Ken Davidoff

Derek Jeter

DETROIT — They just kept coming and coming and coming, a one-inning charge reminiscent of their 1998 ancestors. The first nine Yankees came to bat in the third inning Wednesday night at Comerica Park, and all nine recorded a hit, all off longtime nemesis David Price. The next two batters added sacrifice flies.

And when the dust cleared later, en route to the Yankees’ 8-4 thumping of Price and the Tigers that allowed them to gain ground in both the American League East (they’re now six games behind Baltimore) and the race for the second AL wild card (they’re 2 ½ behind Seattle), you looked down the RBI column of your scorebook, and you saw single lines running down your page like raindrops.

The only player with two lines in the RBI column was the only guy still around from 1998: Derek Jeter, who contributed an RBI double (his first extra-base hit since Aug. 11) to break a 0-0 tie and the inning’s second sacrifice fly to wrap up the explosive inning. And so we received another example of why Joe Girardi will very likely keep Jeter high in his batting order through the captain’s impending retirement.

“I’ve said this many times,” Girardi told The Post Wednesday afternoon, proactively diminishing the news value of his words. “It’s not like we have a bunch of guys hitting .300.”

I had asked Girardi if he thought it was just too difficult, too hairy, to drop Jeter down in his lineup. This question emanated from Girardi’s decision Wednesday to keep Jacoby Ellsbury in the leadoff spot, where he had thrived the two prior games, and demote Brett Gardner, who had missed three games with a right ankle injury, to the eighth spot. That marked the first time that Gardner, Jeter and Ellsbury all started and didn’t bat 1-2-3 since May 9, when Ellsbury and Jeter kicked things off and Gardner hit seventh.

To Girardi’s assertion that the rest of his hitters weren’t dominating, I acknowledged its accuracy. Yet certainly, I offered, he has more lineup choices than he did a month ago thanks to the Yankees’ revamped roster.

“Yeah,” Girardi said. “But it’s not like we have a bunch of guys hitting .300. So that’s why we’ve kept it.”

What Girardi understandably neglected to point out, and what has changed the equation of this conversation, is just how awful Jeter has been in August. Even after his productive night (he added a walk in the eighth), which contributed to an easy night for winning pitcher Shane Greene, Jeter owns an awful .226/.247/.290 slash line for the month. While it’s true, as Girardi stated, that no regular on the team carries a .300 batting average, Jeter’s .315 on-base percentage ranks him seventh on the team and his .634 OPS 11th; his .267 batting average places him fifth.

Jeter’s .308/.392/.462 line against Price, against whom he memorably homered for his 3,000th career hit in 2011, made Wednesday’s reconfiguration simple, as did the rest of the Yankees’ numbers against the 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner. Ellsbury singled twice off Price and hit the first third-inning sacrifice fly to lift his overall numbers against the tall lefty to .352/.368/.593, whereas Gardner’s soft infield single in two encounters lifted him to a lowly .136/.269/.136. Throw in Ellsbury’s power surge Monday and Tuesday, when he totaled three homers from the pole position, and Girardi didn’t have to think too much.

The rest of the season won’t be simple, now that Girardi has Martin Prado to deploy along with a somewhat improved Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann and even Ichiro Suzuki along with the track records (if not necessarily great Yankees performances) of Stephen Drew and Chase Headley.

As Price said after the game, in agreeing that the Yankees are a tougher foe now than earlier in the season, “The guys they acquired have done really well, Prado and Headley, those guys, they add a lot of versatility to that lineup.”

You could argue the Yankees are prioritizing the ego of their fading legend, whom the Tigers honored in a nice pregame ceremony, over their team fortunes. Then again, given how many times Jeter has returned from the dead and how much he enjoys proving his critics wrong, the mere printing of this column probably ensures he’ll have a bounce-back September and render this discussion moot. Shoot, he got the ball rolling in that direction Wednesday. As Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said, Jeter’s double was “his vintage swing, an inside-out line drive to right.”

Do the Yankees have enough room for error to bet on one last Jeter hot streak?

We’ll find out, with Girardi set to maneuver many but not all of his pieces to try to produce a miracle. On this night, against a bona fide ace, they managed pretty well.

The Rise and Fall of WFAN Sports Radio New York — August 27, 2014

The Rise and Fall of WFAN Sports Radio New York

By Wolf

images

At one time WFAN –  N.Y. was the premiere  sports radio station in the country , but there has been a steady decline in quality in the past several years that has brought it to the point where a complete rebuild and makeover is necessary , it’s nearly impossible to tolerate and listen to the nonsense that they pump out every day.

Let’s start off with the morning show “Boomer & Carton”  , That show is total garbage , I tried but I can’t listen for even 5 minutes , Craig Carton is a total idiot who at times screams , sings , or makes crazy noises  like an complete imbecile , how any one could pay that man to do what he does is beyond me .

And as for Boomer the poor guy thinks it’s football season 365 days a year , and couple that with the fact that he’s constantly on multiple media forms doing commercials for something , and is on TV  everywhere it’s like I’m starting to feel he’s stalking me.

They try to be the poor mans Abbot and Costello but they’re not funny , they’re a total bore aimed at the lowest common denominator for an audience , Yes  I’m saying if you listen to that show and like it you have serious intelligence  issues.

Then we come to” Beningo and Roberts” , this is another total waste of time .  No matter where Evan Roberts starts off talking you can rest assured that after 5 minutes he’ll  start talking NBA  and will go on for hours , as for his partner Joe Beningo he’s a total embarrassment to himself , he has become Evan’s laughing boy , his only contribution to the show is to constantly laugh for no reason at all, perhaps he thinks if he keeps laughing people will think that something funny is going on ?  it’s time for him to retire.

Next we have “Mike Francesa” , at one time he was pretty good , and he is still the only regular host on that station that I will listen to.  But   I think he’s really tired of the the shows because it’s  apparent by the way he treats his callers , he talks down to every one and treats people like they are idiots , which they are for being stupid enough to call him just to get humiliated .

But my biggest gripe is with how little respect they give to the New York Yankees which they are a flagship station for .

On all other flagship stations  in the country after the post game is over the hosts talk about the game , but not at WFAN , they have the consummate  Yankee hater Steve Somers talking through his nose with his bogus Yiddish routine talking Mets , Jets  , and everything else besides what he should be talking about the New York Yankees !  even in the rain delay yesterday he was talking about the Mets and not he Yankees .

This station has gone to the dogs , it’s not fun to listen to anymore especially if you’re a Yankees and Giants fans , it’s hosts are all Mets and Jets fans and it shows terribly .

That station needs a total rebuild , it’s time to get rid of these boring hosts and bring in new blood , but better yet maybe the Yankees should buy their own radio station so their fans will have a place to listen to Yankee friendly talk for a change .

This is when the Yankees usually tank —

This is when the Yankees usually tank

By Ken Davidoff

Jacoby Ellsbury

Jacoby Ellsbury watches one of his two solo homers in the Yankees’ 5-2 loss to the Tigers Tuesday night.

DETROIT — Now we get to see whether the Yankees have a bona fide playoff run in them.

Now, manager Joe Girardi’s group once again tests its ability to get up from a punch. With the least room for error yet.

The Yankees’ five-game winning streak ended Tuesday night with a 5-2 loss to Rick Porcello and the Tigers at Comerica Park, and in and of itself, there’s no profound shame in that. In this year of the pitcher, Porcello stands out as one of the best out there — he lowered his ERA to 3.06 — and losing pitcher Brandon McCarthy earned the right to have an off night.

What stands out for these 2014 Yankees, however, is that down days too often have snowball into periods of crisis, and that’s the pattern that needs to change.

“We’ve got to find a way to win a game [Wednesday] and stop it right now,” Girardi said after the rain-delayed, pitching-shortened game. “Obviously we’re facing a good team and a good pitcher [Wednesday], but we’ve got to get it done.”

That good pitcher would be Detroit’s David Price, the Yankees’ old friend from the left-hander’s Tampa Bay days. The Yankees (68-62), who now trail the Orioles (75-55) by seven games in the American League East, have to keep winning series in order to stay relevant, and by losing the opener, both Wednesday and Thursday become paramount.

This defeat carried symbolic meaning, as the Yankees failed to break new ground on two 2014 fronts. They could have established a new high-water mark at eight over .500, and they could have lifted their winning streak to a season-best six. They remain stuck near mediocrity, unable to leap fully into contention.

Stopping a losing streak at one has proven quite difficult for these Yankees. Since the All-Star break, they are 21-15, and just two of the first 14 losses didn’t blossom into multiple-game tumbles. Just in the second half, the Yankees have endured win-free stretches of five games, three games and a pair of two-gamers.

That reflects the Yankees’ base mediocrity, and most of all their offense’s inability to put together any sort of a roll. The revamped lineup had displayed signs of life during the five-game winning streak, scoring 20 runs in the prior three games while outlasting White Sox ace Chris Sale Sunday and pounding Kansas City ace James Shields Monday.

Against Porcello, however, only Jacoby Ellsbury shined, clobbering a pair of homers from the leadoff spot as Brett Gardner rested his right ankle. In all, even as the Yankees totaled nine hits, they clocked just three at-bats with runners in scoring position and went 0-for-3.

“It’s hard to elevate the ball [against Porcello],” Girardi said. “You’re going to see singles, and you’ve got to put together a lot of singles in the course of a game to score runs. That’s what he’s so good at, being a sinkerballer.”

If you’re thinking Girardi should keep Ellsbury batting first, well, I was, too. Ellsbury didn’t fan the flames, saying, “I don’t really feel too different” hitting first as opposed to third, and it’s accurate that this recent hot streak began while Ellsbury hit third. Besides, you know the Yankees aren’t going to lower Derek Jeter in the order this close to the captain’s retirement. Jeter picked up a pair of hits Tuesday, only one of them an infield single, giving Girardi more data to defend the status quo.

The status quo had the Yankees tied for 12th in the American League in runs scored entering Tuesday’s action, so they will have to outplay their performance with their schedule now 80 percent complete. Their starting pitchers must continue to defy reasonable expectations, and their relievers must shake off recent signs of fatigue and lock down the close leads they will be asked to protect.

“We’re a team that we play every day to win,” Brian McCann said. “We’ll show up [Wednesday] and expect to win a ballgame.”

They presumably expected to win following earlier losses this season and this half. If they can’t reverse their bad habit of snowballing, though, then they can’t expect to extend their season past 162 games.