1) The Yankees will miss the post-season for the first time since 1993.
2) Joe Torre had a 12-year post-season streak.
3) Hitters are not performing well in the clutch.
4) Girardi’s pre-and post-game responses usually contain the following:
a) A description of the game, while making excuses for his players.
b) A politician’s spin on why they lost a game. Some fans say he reminds them of George Bush when he talk about the War in Iraq.
c) A refusal to bow down to the MEDIA and yell or call out any of his players.
d) An unwavering optimism that because the Yankees aren’t technically eliminated that “we have a chance”.
e) He has no explanations regarding why A-Rod has performed poorly in clutch situations, why Andy Pettitte has forgotten how to pitch in the dog days of August, why Robinson Cano had such a poor April and May, etc.
Guess what folks? There is no explanation, and therein lies the problem.
If Girardi knew why A-Rod is a choke machine, don’t you think he’d have fixed it already?
Remember the controversy when Joe Torre demoted A-Rod in the starting lineup vs the Tigers in the post season in 2006? Torre wanted to “relax” A-Rod, and he was ridiculed for that move. A-Rod secretly felt disrespected. The irony is that the next year,A-Rod won the 2007 MVP. Is it related? Who knows?
But what I, and every Yankees fan, have noticed this year is that if the Yanks will be losing 3-0 in the 2nd, and they just ground out all day until the 8th or 9th. By then the score is probably 5-1, and by then their “rally” comes just short 5-3.
In other words, this team’s offense just lies down and dies, with no consequences from management (except for Melky, who was sacrificed to wake them up- it didn’t work).
Now Girardi is very well-schooled with statistics, and he has a humanist approach to his players and handling the MEDIA- if he disciplines, it’s done behind closed doors…but it’s only done to Robinson Cano.
Girardi is surrounded by superstars, and I think he gives Jeter, Pudge, A-Rod, Abreu, Mussina, Damon, Giambi, and all the rest free reign to work out their problems on their own. He has faith in them, he is positive, he has all the logical answers, he loves baseball, he protects his players, and he is a nice guy. He has a true perspective about the game.
Joe Torre kinda fell into that trap the last few years in New York: he knows the players want to win, know how to win, and can win. Therefore, it’s up to the players to kinda motivate themselves and do the right thing. Compare that to a Lou Pinella or Billy Martin or Larry Bowa type of manager. Those type of managers believe that players only play well when they feel the heat; that players need to be “pushed”, threatened, called out, and yelled at. I’m beginning to think that the chemistry of the Yankees these last few years needed something like that.
With The Boss being out of the picture, and Hank Steinbrenner being ALL TALK, the players know that Brian Cashman is a logical leader, as opposed to an emotional one. There’s not a lot of passion. Torre and Girardi are both humanists (Torre more expressive, Girardi more rational). A-Rod is not a leader, and the cold war between he and Derek has hurt the chemistry. By cold war, I refer to the fact that A-Rod isn’t a team captain or “Face of the Team”, like he was with Texas and Seattle; with Derek, you have to watch what you say and be a “corporate” person.
Granted, injuries are the true reason why the Yanks are out of the playoff picture. BUT it seemed to me that their ON-FIELD performance has been POOR even with a great lineup. Granted, I don’t expect Sidney Ponson to do anything special, but I do expect A-Rod not to ground out in 2 double plays in the most important game of the season. I expect Giambi to “pick him up” and get the clutch hit.
The Torre teams from 1996-2000 had that “clutch skill” and “never say die attitude”. They defied odds. Tino, Paul E, Bernie, and friends. This 2008 team? They lose 2/3 every time they play the Blue Jays.
Girardi and his coaching staff do all the right things when it comes to preparation, and the bullpen has been completely retooled- the right way. However, when it comes to lighting the spark- it’s a big fat, F.
Girardi knows that a manager is only responsible for around 3 wins a season- if that! He knows coaches shouldn’t be blamed for losses or given credit for wins. He makes his players feel respected. But the team doesn’t look RELAXED or HAPPY; they looked stressed out and defeated. Girardi knows that some players slump, and that they have to work through it. He knows some things CAN’T be explained, and many times you just have to say “it is what it is”.
He’ll be the first person to say, “We really need to execute and drive some runs” or “We should be playing better than we have” or “Our guys have a track record for winning”. But there’s no “and…”.
The MEDIA hates it. Fans are starting to get tired of it. It’s up to the Yankees front office to get Girardi the players he needs to win. People would not be focused on Girardi if the team was wining.
That being said, I just wish he’s slap some of these guys to wake them UP.
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