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New York Yankees

The Frustration of 2008

You may hate to say it, but if you’re a Yankees’ fan you may just have to swallow some pride and admit it. Yesterday’s 11-4 loss to the Angels may have been the “nail in the coffin” for 2008. Out in Anaheim for a three-game set, a place the Yankees never seem to be able to win at, Ian Kennedy started the series off Friday night pitching much as he had the entire season in the majors: in losing fashion. A day game Saturday and Yankees manager Joe Girardi called on home-town kid Dan Giese, looking desperately for a win from a starter in a rotation that looks like it has been put together entirely from chance. Ironically, Giese pitched the game of his life in front of many of his family members, surrendering a lone solo shot to Mark Teixeira in the 6th inning before leaving having only given up three total hits to baseball’s best team. He was then forced to watch and hope the Yankees bullpen could hang on for three more innings. Oh, how quickly things change…Up until more recently the Yankees bullpen had statistically and physically been one of the better ones in the majors all season. But since the All-Star break, and more importantly yesterday, the bullpen has tanked. After Jose Veras allowed two solo shots to Garret Anderson and Mike Napoli in the 7th inning that tied the game at 3-3, Giese and Girardi were forced to watched the rest of the bullpen implode, giving up eight runs in the eight inning on the way to another frustrating loss.

Said Girardi of the loss, “Today’s a hard one. … This one hurts. … That’s a frustrating loss.”

It’s almost amazing the Yankees (63-54) are where they are at today (8/10). They sit 7.5 games out of first in the AL East, but only trail Boston by 4 games in the AL Wild Card standings. It’s still not totally out the question to say the Yankees can capture one of the two and make the playoffs for the 14th consecutive season. Time, however, is quickly running out.

Out of all the frustration between the media, the players, and of course the fans, Joe Girardi must be the most frustrated. And to anyone who thinks Joe Girardi isn’t capable of sometime leading the Yankees to a World Series title, re-think your irrational comment. Here is a guy, winner of the 2006 NL Manager of the Year Award for the Florida Marlins, gets fired, takes a year off to go back to the broadcasting booth, then ends up taking the Yankees managerial job previously and successfully held by Joe Torre (also his manager in New York from 1996-99 and sidekick on the bench in 2005).

Girardi has guided an extremely injury plagued squad to 63 wins so far in 2008. Players on the Yankees that have hit the DL in 2008 include Andy Pettitte, Alex Rodriguez, Johnny Damon, Chien-Ming Wang, Phil Hughes, Jorge Posada, Hideki Matsui and now Joba Chamberlain. Derek Jeter was also out of action for about a week early in the season due to a lingering quad injury.

Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes have combined for zero wins in a Yankee uniform, and Melky Cabrera is almost a complete give up at the plate anymore (.245/8/36). He also lacks just as much focus

(click on link to read about “Melky being Melky” http://www.newsday.com/sports/columnists/ny-sprieber0724,0,6640027.column)

as his teammate Robinson Cano, who really looks like he could use a strong kick in the ass from Larry Bowa.

Derek Jeter is having one his worst seasons statistically (.285/7/56), and doesn’t it seem like he’s been hitting into an awful lot of double plays lately? Andy Pettitte is still looking for consistency in August, having given up ten (6/7 vs. Kansas City) and nine (7/31 vs. Anaheim) earned runs in two different starts.

Before yesterday’s loss, the Yankees were already dealing with the frustration of losing Joba Chamberlain for at least two weeks. If it wasn’t apparent the Yankees needed a starter before Chamberlain’s injury, then it must be right up in their rear view mirror now.

Today, the Yankees starting rotation consists of the following: Mike Mussina (15-7) and Pettitte (12-9). It’s after those two that the fun begins. The Yankees final three spots in the rotation is a continuing dogfight between Sidney Ponson (7-2), Darrell Rasner (5-8), Ian Kennedy (0-4) and Giese (0-0). You pitch well (Giese), you get another start. You don’t pitch well (Kennedy), well, it still looks like he is going to make his next scheduled start Wednesday at Minnesota.

Probably the single most frustrating part of 2008 is the success of Yankees who really needed to have big years and may have nothing to show for it. Most notably, Mike Mussina is only five wins away from the first 20-win season of his career. At age 39, Mussina has quite honestly been the Yankees savior up to this point in the season. Jason Giambi (.253/23/57) almost made the All-Star team and even sported a much publicized mustache for three months or so during the season. Johnny Damon (.321/7/50) has bounced back nicely from a sub par and injury plagued 2007 season. Finally, most experts agree and let it be known that Mariano Rivera (28-28 saves/1.43 ERA/61 K’s to only 5 BB’s) is having the best season of his Hall of Fame Career.

While the feel-good stories of these four players are great, they are just that right now – stories. The Yankees are in a tough spot right now. Joe Girardi is in a tough spot. All that’s happened so far in 2008 may have finally crested over. As the “Dog Days of August” drag on, it’s becoming more and more clear that the injury bug may have stung the Yankees for good in 2008.

Funny thing is, somehow the media and fans will still find a way to blame Alex Rodriguez (.314/26/70) for the frustration of 2008 at seasons end.

Quote courtesy of The Daily News – Sports. All other information and stats courtesy of ESPN.com and Yankees.com.

Copyright ©2008 Colin Cerniglia. All Rights Reserved.

2 replies on “The Frustration of 2008”

The Frustration of 2008 Even though the topic is well written. It sounds to me like typical Yankee fan whining. Lets face it, a new controlling interest, an new manager, and banged up players will slow any franchise down. This team has 26 world championships so they know how to rebound after a tough year. Trust me when it’s offseason time the Yankees will fix thier problems. They will bid high for Sabathia, Texeira, Dunn, and all of the other big name free agents they can get thier hands on… Patience Yankee Nation and take this season as just a learning curve and get ready for some football

while i agree the yankees will fix alot of their problems in the offseason, i dont agree that this i wrote this in an effort to cry about the yankees. all i was saying was simple – its been a frustrating year. i wrote about things that actually happened. i didnt write excuses as to why this year should be forgiven for its failures if the indeed do not make the postseason. i hope you didnt vote this down just because you disagree with how i approached my piece.

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