Hey Yanks, Be Happy Jeff’s Not The G.M.

18 Oct

“What an incredible disappointment. The New York Yankees, widely predicted to motor through the playoffs and win their first World Series in six years, couldn’t even make it out of the first round as they were eliminated in four games by the Detroit Tigers.

          In the game that sealed the deal for Detroit, the Yankees didn’t even resemble the team that finished tied for the best record in baseball. Their batting lineup was absolutely abominable and didn’t muster a hit until the sixth inning. Detroit starter Jeremy Bonderman is a good pitcher, not an all-star. But the way the Yankees played against him, you’d think he was a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame.

          In the four game series, the Yankees hit .246 and scored a pathetic 3.5 runs per game, compared with a .285 batting average and 5.74 runs per game during the regular season. But what angers me the most is that in Game 4, the Yankees’ hitters displayed absolutely no intelligence at the plate. A team that prides itself on being patient and working the count looked more like a bunch of overanxious rookies, hacking wildly at every pitch they saw. Through the first five innings, Bonderman only had to throw 40 pitches. That’s an embarrassment. Gary Sheffield had two of the ugliest strikeouts I’ve ever seen, futilely waving at pitches over in the next zip code. Even Jeter, usually calm and poised at the plate, swung wildly at a pitch in the dirt and struck out.

          Why didn’t the Yankees show up to play? Why did a team that crushed Detroit in Game 1 completely fold after that? I really don’t have an answer. I can guarantee, though, that owner George Steinbrenner is going to have some serious problems with it and will act accordingly. Rumors are already circulating that manager Joe Torre is done. Several teams have expressed interest in A-Rod, and I’m sure GM Brian Cashman will be more than happy to ship him and his chronic postseason failures out of New York. I know I would. There are really no limits as to the amount of change this team will undergo over the course of the winter, and frankly, there shouldn’t be any.

          This Yankees defeat confirmed that their current strategy of stockpiling a lineup of all-stars and relying on shaky veteran pitching to win in the playoffs does not work. Period. So the Yankees’ front office better figure out a viable long-term plan. Because right now, the world’s most storied sports franchise is in complete disarray. “

-Jeff Klein, JK Rolling Column, October 9, 2006

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