"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Gloom and Doom

For you skeptics out there, last night’s loss is proof that this is not a magical year, that this Yankee team will get bounced from the playoffs in early October. We’re always looking for signs and the Yanks have not played well over the past month. This morning, the papers took notice.

In the Post, George King begins his recap:

Joe Girardi and CC Sabathia better be correct. Because if they are wrong, the Yankees’ October experience is going to be a short one.

The manager and ace both said the max-effort pitching duel between David Price and Sabathia less than two weeks ago in St. Petersburg, Fla., didn’t bankrupt the Yankees ace’s tank.

In the News, Mark Feinsand writes, “The standings still show the Yankees in sole possession of first place in the American League East, so why does it feel like they lost the division Thursday night?”

Nobody was happy in the comments section here at Banter last night, either. So? What does it all mean? Can this team turn it on and go back to the Whirled Serious? Or is this 2006 and a first round bump?

I don’t think the Yanks will repeat but also would be surprised if they don’t at least make it to the ALCS.


1 Jon DeRosa   ~  Sep 24, 2010 10:22 am

2006. With Pavano making the Kenny Rogers role his own.

2 The Hawk   ~  Sep 24, 2010 10:28 am

King Kirby.

3 bp1   ~  Sep 24, 2010 10:35 am

[1] Complete with "dirt smudges" on his pitching hand. Jerk.

Might be kind of interesting to see how Girardi will handle things if the team is heading toward a playoff meltdown. Will he have a Joba Attacked by Gnats moment, or will he be able to turn things around for the team?

Playoff baseball is the best, but also can be the most disappointing. You can't have the high without the low, but boy do the lows really suck.

No clue how this season is going to play out.

4 Evil Empire   ~  Sep 24, 2010 10:37 am

I have so many thoughts I don't know where to start but here goes:

1. With bases loaded an 1 out the Yanks could've really stuck a dagger in the Rays' heart, but failed. Trailing 3 to 1 the Rays had new life. You can't waste opportunties to bury a good team and the Yanks have done that repeatedly this year. The theme for this season has been lost opportunties.

2. Yeah the Yanks are still in first but the loss was a 2 game swing in the standings. What I can't understand is why the Rays get such a scheduling break over their last 10. 2 of their opponents don't even play in the east. I think the division race is over now.

3. There's a slight silver lining - the Yanks won't have to face Cliff Lee twice in the ALDS. He's Tampa's problem now, so be careful for what you wish for, Joe Maddon, you just might get it.

4. I'd rather win the East and not have 3 games in Minnesota but honestly the Yanks do match up better with the Twins, particularly with no Morneau. If they split in Target field maybe they can sweep in the Bronx and there won't be a third game in Minnesota.

As Ric Flair used to say, "to be the man, you gotta beat the man!". Tampa beat the man last night, and I tip my hat to them. But old slick Ric used to get the title back in the return match a few weeks later. At this point, I'd like to see how the Yanks can do in the return match in the ALCS. I hope the Rays join us there. Wooooo!

5 seb77   ~  Sep 24, 2010 10:52 am

I don't have the same feeling as last year. Best record will be big for them this year, they will still be a tough out at home.

6 Matt Blankman   ~  Sep 24, 2010 10:58 am

[5] There's a reason for that - this team isn't as good as last year's.

7 Sliced Bread   ~  Sep 24, 2010 11:05 am

I'm really not feeling the pessimism, which is the main reason I don't spend much time on the game threads. I know the team has flaws and vulnerabilities, but I think I watch the games objectively and still believe the Yanks are the best team in the AL. I have total faith in the lineup, and actually very good feelings about our pitching(which is admittedly more optimistic than objective). I see this team getting it done, and will be very disappointed if they don't make it at least to theWorld Series. This team is built to go at least that far. We know all about the breaks, and performances that are required to win championships, but at this point, why dwell on the reasons things won't go the Yankees' way? Hope for the best, don't wait for the worst.

8 Jon DeRosa   ~  Sep 24, 2010 11:13 am

[7] They just went 6-11 over the last 17 games. It not so much that we are dwelling on what might go wrong in October. It's that we're currently mired in what is going wrong now and finding it hard to believe that in a few weeks they will have righted the ship and be prepared to play their best baseball.

I know it won't take much for that to happen, but when you're in the middle of the crap, it seems so hard to get out.

9 Sliced Bread   ~  Sep 24, 2010 11:19 am

[6] true, but are the teams the Yanks will face this fall, that much better than their opponents from last October/November? The Rays probably are, but they can be beaten in a 7 game series.

10 Sliced Bread   ~  Sep 24, 2010 11:24 am

[8] so many of those losses could have gone the other way. Yeah, they didn't but they could have. The Yanks haven't looked overmatched, just inconsistent. Consistency gets you to the playoffs, but pretty much any team that gets there can win. I look at this team, and compare them up and down the llineup, man to man with the rest of the AL, and I see a team that can win.

11 Just Fair   ~  Sep 24, 2010 11:29 am

Down with the defeatists' attitudes. Geez, the Twins are hot now and could stink in a week. Hamilton could be done for the year. Maddon's a douche and one game separated the two monsters head to head. My tea leaves say......you just never know.
I for one am looking forward to a Phillies-Yanks rematch. Lighten up people. : )

12 seb77   ~  Sep 24, 2010 11:35 am

[11] I'm with you, Yanks are the best team. When they throw out the "A" line-up I wouldn't want to pitch against them. Just haven't played crisp ball down the stretch. They did the same or even worse in 2000 and that turned out ok.

13 williamnyy23   ~  Sep 24, 2010 11:56 am

The Yankees are still probably the best team, and have as good a chance as any of making it to the World Series as any. However, does that mean we should all tune out until October? If the answer is no, then there is every reason to be concerned about how the Yankees are playing, not only because of the implications it has on the post season, but simply because of how it is impacting each individual game.

What happened to winning for its own sake? Have the Yankees become a team that is only concerned about getting in the playoffs? Buck Showalter used to say that fans don't come to watch the Yankees...they come to watch them win. That attitude is what I think helped turned this team around in the early 1990s (along with lots of talent, of course)...winning not as a means to an end, but because it is THE end.

If winning the division isn't important to the Yankees, the legion of diehards should probably rethink their obsessive commitment to the team (we should probably be doing that anyway). Would the Yankees be ok if the fans stopped filling the stands and watching YES until the playoffs started? If not, it would be nice if they’d stop acting that way.

14 Matt Blankman   ~  Sep 24, 2010 12:05 pm

I'm not ruling out the Yankees getting hot and winning it all again. I'm just saying this team has not been the steamroller that the Yankees were in the 2nd half last year...and that team didn't exactly walk all over everyone in the playoffs.

Right now the Phillies look tough to beat, but I think any of the AL teams has a legit shot, especially NY and Tampa.

15 Sliced Bread   ~  Sep 24, 2010 12:14 pm

[13] suggesting optimism is not suggest tuning out. Of course fans should watch the games, and want them to win every game. That has nothing to do with how one perceives the team, or approaches each game. What one fans considers watching a game "with concern" is what another fan calls "rooting for the team."

to your 2nd point: I don't see how anyone could think the Yanks are not trying to win every game, or don't care about winning the division. Just because the players and manager don't light themselves on fire (as some fans do) when they fail does not mean they're not trying, or don;t care. I guarantee you every player, and coach on the Yankees wants them to win as much as any fan does. They just express that desire differently than a hardcore fan might.

16 williamnyy23   ~  Sep 24, 2010 12:30 pm

[15] Obviously, everyone is free to react to each game as they see fit. What I dismiss, however, is the notion that there is no need for concern because the team will be in the playoffs. I am not suggesting you are saying that, but responding what I think is a more general feeling expressed by many.

As for the Yankees playing to win the division, well, I find that hard to believe based on the pitching/lineup decisions that have been made. When you have a coach, manager and GM expose a lose the battle to win the war philosophy, it does make you question their motivation. If things would be done differently if there was no wild card, then you can't say the team is trying to win the division.

How the players, coaches, etc. express themselves after a loss is really irrelevant. What matters are the actions taken before and during the game. I am finding to hard to infer that this team is making a concerted effort to finish in first place.

17 Yankster   ~  Sep 24, 2010 12:32 pm

Interesting thread. As has often been said by insiders like Oakland's Beane and others, getting to the playoffs takes a consistently strong balanced team, but what happens in the playoffs (because there are fewer iterations to leverage that design (and more leverage for one or two pitchers)) has a larger chance component. Last year the Yankees seemed head and shoulders above other AL teams (at least in my memory) so the Yanks seemed more likely to win each game than they do this year. But in either case, I'd argue that chance is still a major maybe majority component of the outcome in at least the first couple rounds of the playoffs.

Also, I don't think the series get harder as you get further into the playoffs. In any given year, the first round might see matchups between the two best teams in both leagues (for example, though I don't really think it's true this year, the Twins and Yankees could be the strongest teams in baseball as of the first round) - so going further into the playoffs is not necessarily a measure of the quality of a team as seems implicit in [0]. This is much less true in a round robin seed based playoff system like the World Cup (Soccer), where the teams that advance are almost always the best teams in the cup as a whole and by the quarter finals you just have the creme de la creme.

18 The Hawk   ~  Sep 24, 2010 12:46 pm

The Silver Surfer's board is really small in that picture.

At this time of year, it's only natural to look ahead and wonder what the team's chance's will be in the post season. And when doing so, you can't help but look at the team's current state when making your prognostications. And the current state isn't looking so hot.

19 Sliced Bread   ~  Sep 24, 2010 12:47 pm

[16] I hear ya. I don't like hearing Cash and Girardi say stuff like that, but I don't think they really feel that way. They're just trying to downplay losing. The guy with the big new plaque wouldn't have tolerated that kind of talk either- but I don't think the Girardi/Cash comments have had any influence on how the players approach each game. As far as lineup and in game decisions, yeah, there have been a few headscratchers, but I think Girardi and Cashman are far from fools. I think the team is in good hands, and it's up to the players to win. Not every move the manager and GM have made was bad, in fact, I'd say most of them turned out pretty good so I let their mistakes slide. But I understand why some of the moves have been driving fans nuts.

20 jackstrawfromwichita   ~  Sep 24, 2010 1:52 pm

Cut from ESPN Insider....

A look at "hot" teams heading into the postseason uncovers this truth: Momentum is a myth. Of the 20 playoff teams in the wild-card era that went 8-2 or better over the final 10 regular-season games, only two won the Series (the 2005 White Sox and 1998 Yankees). That's right, 18 of 20 sizzling teams flamed out. The flip side is just as revealing. Three of the seven playoff teams that stumbled to a 3-7 finish or worse during the same period won it all. Now check out a fascinating study by Dave Studeman of the sabermetrics website The Hardball Times. Ten years of data show that when teams face off in the playoffs, September records actually have a negative correlation with winning the series.

Full article

21 The Mick536   ~  Sep 24, 2010 2:06 pm

So, are you saying they didn't want to hit with the bases loaded, but they will if it happens in the post season? Markie k scared me. He should have hit the first pitch into orbit.

22 ironhorse   ~  Sep 24, 2010 4:26 pm

Two things for [11]:
1. Why is Maddon a douche? He seems like a smart kind of guy you wouldn't mind seeing every day as a boss. But who knows? Just my opinion. Nice glasses.
2. I agree on the lighten up call. I know it's fun to try to predict things and criticize past performances, but let's not get ahead of ourselves and attempt to play these games before the players do. Let's try to enjoy them and not worry so much.

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