Disappointing loss last night. When you’re up 5-0 on the Devil Rays and your magic number is 1… well you should end up celebrating. Couple of interesting things:
- Torre still insists on not using Mariano unless it’s a save situation. But last night was more than that. Joe treated the game as an audition to see who could be counted on in the postseason. Passing grade for Farnsworth and Veras, failing grade for Ramirez, Bruney, and Karstens. And while it was interesting to see what some of these guys can or cannot offer, I would expect Torre to manage like this AFTER the Yankees clinch a spot, not before. Even if clinching does seem inevitable.
- That homerun for A-Rod was significant, and not just because it was a grand slam and he’s on my fantasy team. A-Rod tends to go in streaks when it comes to his power numbers. In a sense, he’d been slumping lately (though it’s hard to call any period of time when you hit a go-ahead single against Papelbon and the Red Sox a slump). It would be nice to see him start another power binge just in time for the playoffs.
- The decision not to start Clemens is a no-brainer. As we saw with Clemen’s start against the Red Sox, he can perform well after a layoff. Get him ready for Game 3.
- Torre has clearly thrown in the towel as far as the division goes. And getting our players ready for the postseason probably should take priority. However, one thing Torre does not do well is motivate players and there is always the fear of going into the postseason passionless. The one saving grace here, and the reason I think this Yankee team has an edge on ones of the past few years, is the youth. Gone are mercenary players like Randy Johnson and Gary Sheffield. Melky and Cano are now integral members of the clubhouse. The new kids, Joba, Hughes, Duncan, etc cheer… well like we do as fans. Did you see Joba screaming in the dugout after Jeter hit that three run homerun off Schilling? It was a lot like me jumping and screaming in my room at the same time… except cooler because Joba is a shut-down pitcher who throws 100mph and plays for the Yankees.
- It is disconcerting that the Yankees seem to lose most extra inning affairs (they are 4-8 on the year). Obviously I like to point to Torre’s handling of the bullpen, but it seems like the offense has been freezing too. At the same time, it seems like the Yanks are in every game, which is a good sign.