Monday, June 9, 2008


A FELLOW New York Yankees fan I know refuses to look at the baseball standings until after the All-Star break.

Well, unless the Yanks go on an amazing run in the next five weeks, they’re not going to make pleasant reading.

The Kansas City Royals arrived at Yankee Stadium on Friday having lost their last 11 games on the road and with the second worst record in the American League (23-37).

They left today with a 2-2 split of the four-game series and can count themselves unlucky not to have won it 3-1. The Royals were robbed of victory by a miraculous comeback on Saturday.

The Yanks now embark on a six-game road trip to Oakland, then Houston, still in last place in the East with a record of 32-32.

If the crowd was in a state of shock on Saturday when Mariano Rivera gave up his first home run since August, 2007, they must have been even more stunned today when José Guillén went yard on an 0-2 count.

Guillén owned New York, hitting four home runs in three games. This time, there was no comeback as the home team left the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth.

Mo took the loss – and will probably take most of the blame. However, that shouldn’t be the case.

A-Rod two-run homer too little, too late

The hitters should hang their heads in shame. They didn’t manage to score off starter Luke Hochevar (5.13 ERA) until the seventh inning and the sum total of their afternoon’s work was a two-run homer by Alex Rodriguez. It’s worth nothing that the unhittable Hochevar had managed only four wins in his previous 21 games.

It used to be a trademark of the great Yankees team to take an early lead, then tack on.

This current team doesn’t seem too concerned about scoring until they’re behind and they can’t hit in the clutch either. Their failure to score pinch runner Chad Moeller, who was on second with only one out in the eighth, came back to bite them.

Robinson Canó – predictably – struck out on four pitches with two on and one out in the eighth. Melky Cabrera hasn’t been much better lately either and he couldn’t get decent bat on ball.

The Yankees decided to sit Jorge Posada ahead of their West Coast trip and a bottom three in the order of Canó, Molina and Cabrera went a combined one for nine.

So the Yanks finished their latest homestand against Toronto and Kansas City 4-3. Compare that with the Boston Red Sox, who have won 15 of their last 16 at Fenway Park, including a four-game sweep of the Royals.

History tells us not to panic; that the Yankees will come good in the second half of the season. Right now, that’s hard to believe.

With the notable exception of Mike Mussina, denied a 10th win of the season by his inept teammates, the pitching looks lightweight and the hitting far too inconsistent.

By moving Joba Chamberlain from the bullpen to the rotation, the Yanks have taken away one of their great strengths. Now, it seems, even mighty Mo is human.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be too disappointed by a split series with the Royals. After all, we have one thing in common. We’re both in last place.

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