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The Yankees vs. Dignity

The Yankees try to salvage their dignity tonight against the Royals as Carl Pavano looks to do the same following the pasting he took at the hands of the Red Sox on Saturday (five runs on eleven hits in 3 2/3 IP). In his way stands . . . Ryan Jensen?

The 29-year-old Jensen failed to stick in the Giants’ rotation a few years back, posted a 5.36 ERA in triple-A Fresno last year before being released by the Giants over the winter. Filling an injury hole in the Royals rotation, he’s thus far made two starts for Kansas City: 2 runs on 3 hits and 3 walks in 5 IP for a win over the Cardinals (not bad!), and 7 runs on 8 hits and a walk in 3 1/3 against the Angels (bad!).

The Yanks sure could use a win tonight going into a weekend series against the Twins, and the offense really needs to get going heading into Minnesota, even if the Yankees did get a huge break by drawing the bottom three Twins starters this weekend.

To that end, Joe Torre held yet another team meeting after last night’s game, in large part due to the terrible approach his hitters were displaying at the plate. Quothe Joe afterwards:

I didn’t like what I saw. I didn’t see a lot of patience. It just didn’t feel like we were having good at-bats. I’m trying to find a different way to say it, but we didn’t make [the opposing pitchers] work like we normally do. It’s something I’m surprised about and certainly it’s no fun watching it.

Indeed, going into the ninth inning down three runs, each of the first four batters swung at the first pitch, with only Robinson Cano having a positive result from that swing. On the night, the Yankees made seven outs on the first pitch of an at-bat.

He also seemed frustrated with the teams’ general lack of heads-up play adding, “We’ve got to think better than we think.” Here’s hoping they have their thinking caps on tonight.

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1 Alex Belth   ~  Jun 2, 2005 2:27 pm

1.  You could see evidence of Torre's displeasure all night, but particularly when he spoke with Bernie Williams in the dugout during the top of the sixth inning. In the bottom of the fifth, with one man out and runners on first and second, Bernie caught a fly ball for out number two. The runners tagged and Bernie threw the ball to third base.

The only thing was that Jeter, the cut-off man, was waiting for him to throw it to second, which was a shorter throw. Both runners tagged successfully.

When the inning was over, the cameras showed Jeter talking with Bernie. Jeter shrugged his shoulders and looked peeved. It's a funny thing, disposition, and baseball smarts. Here is Bernie, older than Jeter, and yet Jeter seemed like the veteran. Next, the cameras showed Torre speaking with Bernie, explaining--I presume--why the proper play was to throw the ball to second.

Bernie looked slightly exasperated, like a kid who knew he did something wrong, but was upset about it because he thought he was doing the right thing. (For him, the throw to third was not a bad one.) When the first hitter in the bottom of the sixth singled to center, Bernie threw the ball over Jeter's head, directly to Cano. I wonder if he was saying to himself, "See, I can make this throw, man."

Anyhow, they didn't get hurt by Bernie's play in the fifth, and Williams has never been known for his baseball IQ, but it was another example of the teams' careless, almost thoughtless, play.

2 singledd   ~  Jun 2, 2005 4:40 pm

2.  "it was another example of the teams' careless, almost thoughtless, play."

That's it in a nutshell. Hitters will hit and pitchers will pitch then way they do... it is hard to change that radically. But we USED to be a smart, professional team. What happened? You can forgive 'slumps' and 'outages', but there is no excuse for the level of play we have seen.

Maybe Joe and the brass should focus less on individual players and start getting back to the basics of playing the game correctly.

It is important to win tonight going into Minn. Minn. has some injuries and we lucked out on their pitching, so taking the series is a reasonable expectation.... if they can get out of their quagmire tomight.

3 Marcus   ~  Jun 2, 2005 6:06 pm

3.  Things are not going your way when Terence Long(!!!) hits a double off a pitch just above his ankles. Of course they score after that...

4 Clay Caviness   ~  Jun 2, 2005 6:40 pm

4.  Remember last week when everything Yankee seemed good?

Great, now Matt Stairs goes deep.

5 Clay Caviness   ~  Jun 2, 2005 6:42 pm

5.  Now Terence Long goes yard.

6 singledd   ~  Jun 2, 2005 7:42 pm

6.  Really.... does losing 3 in a row to KC smell a little like losing 4 in a row to the Sox? I simply don't know if we could peform worse.

7 Clay Caviness   ~  Jun 2, 2005 8:33 pm

7.  Terrible.

8 redshift   ~  Jun 2, 2005 8:42 pm

8.  Question: Supposing Torre were fired, would his replacement actually be likely to change anything with regard to the lineup/roster/use of pitchers? Or would it just be the status quo?

Not that I think any firings or roster moves would help right now, they're just playing disgustingly bad. But then I would assume George isn't to pleased with being swept by the worst team in baseball, so you never know.

9 brockdc   ~  Jun 2, 2005 9:22 pm

9.  Deplorable.

These guys get paid handsomely to perform to the best of their abilities. This sweep is is the product of poor effort, both mental and physical. And please don't anyone tell me that they ran into a buzzsaw in the form of the KC bullpen. Tonight they had 5+ innings to work over RYAN JENSEN but couldn't stop hacking at breaking balls in the dirt.

Don't pin this one on Torre, either. He's not the one getting picked off, missing the cut-off, throwing to the wrong base, or hanging lazy sliders over the heart of the plate. Unfortunately, however, he has lost the ability to motivate his players. So what now?

10 domvjr   ~  Jun 3, 2005 6:30 am

10.  Not only do I see the Yanks play like crap for the past three games, I am forced to listen to the Royals broadcasts on my MLB, Direct TV package for all three games. If there is a worse broadcast team, I have yet to see it. The production values were terrible, and they kept bringing in guests during the game. I finally couldn't take it anymore, and turned the sound down, and listened to the radio. Since I live in Philly, the reception isn't the best. All in all a really depressing three days!

11 brockdc   ~  Jun 3, 2005 10:02 am

11.  Dom,

I feel your pain, man. I was in the exact same predicament. It was like watching cable access, sans the goofy charm. The last straw for me was when one of the "analysts" showered Womack with praise about what a great "on base percentage guy" he is. What?!

12 Fred Vincy   ~  Jun 3, 2005 10:44 am

12.  Me too. My DirectTV was blacked out (must be too close to KC), so I had to listen to the Royals announcers on MLB radio (can't figure out why WCBS wouldn't come through). A thoroughly wretched week of baseball....

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
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