The Yankees might want to thank Jorge Posada for the distraction he caused on Saturday night after the full-time DH decided he “needed a day” when the rival Boston Red Sox were in town.
What the Posada vs. Yankees organization drama did was mask the underlining problem surrounding the Yankees: They can’t hit, they’re struggling defensively (A-Rod pulled a Bill Buckner Sunday night) and you never know what you’re going to get from their starting rotation.
Thirty-nine games into the season and the Yankees (20-19) are barely over .500. The Tampa Bay Rays (24-17), minus Carlos Pena (signed with the Chicago Cubs), Carl Crawford (signed, but struggling with the Boston Red Sox) and Rafael Soriano (gladly sitting around and taking the Yanks money) are three games up on the Yankees for first place in the American League East.
Making matters worse, they were swept by the Red Sox over the weekend and blew Monday night’s game against the Rays after taking a 5-1 lead.
They have dropped six in a row and are 3-7 in their 10 games.
Put it simply: The Yankees might be more disappointing in the early days of the season than the Mets, who are just three games under .500.
Here’s a list of the players earning their paycheck from the Yankees overflowing pot of gold:
Curtis Granderson (batting .280 with 14 home runs and 31 RBI)…
That’s it. Want some proof?
Here’s how the every day players are hitting:
Jeter: .255 avg.
Teixeira: .252 avg.
Rodriguez: .242 avg.
Cano: .286 avg.
Swisher: .218 avg.
Posada: .165 avg.
Gardner: .248 avg.
Martin: .252 avg.
Not what you expect from the almighty Yanks.
With the Posada fiasco—giving this Yankees generation of fans their own glimpse of what the Bronx Zoo was like—dying down for now, it only magnifies the struggles the team is having.
On a foggy night at Yankees stadium Sunday, the Yankees took a 4-1 lead before Freddy Garcia gave up a three-run homer to Kevin Youkilis to tie the game and help propel the Red Sox to victory.
And Monday night A.J. Burnett decided to go 2010 on everyone, throwing away a 5-1 lead that was largely built by Granderson’s 14th homer of the season, a three-run blast off David Price.
Everyone is to blame, including the pitching staff.
C.C. Sabathia allowed six runs Saturday to Boston.
Garcia gave up four earned runs in 5 1/3 innings on Sunday.
Burnett, six runs in 5 2/3 innings Monday night.
Now rookie Ivan Nova has the task of doing what an ace like Sabathia is supposed to do: Halt the losing streak.
The Yankees end their brief two-game series with the Rays tonight against James Shields (2.08 ERA) as they look to recover from Burnett’s meltdown Monday night.
Nova, however, shouldn’t feel all the pressure to perform well. The entire club, from manager Joe Girardi on down, should be embarrassed about what has transpired on the field and within the organization in the past week.
There is hope, of course, because they are only a month and a half into a long season. The Rays aren’t running away with the division, and everybody agrees that guys like Cano, Teixeira and A-Rod will start swinging the bat better.
But a six-game losing streak isn’t something to take lightly, either.
If George Steinbrenner witnessed what transpired Saturday night with his beloved Yankees, heads would’ve rolled.
Of course, the Steinbrenner boys are like monks compared to their old man, so Girardi doesn’t have anything to worry about until the season is over.
But if there ever was a must-win, it’s tonight. With the whole country grinning at the sight of the Yankees crumbling, and with increased scrutiny falling on Yankees veterans, they have to show some resolve against the first-place Rays.
With Jorge Posada joining the Yanks in the lineup for the first time since his tantrum, the Yankees can finally move on.
But, the only way to move on is with a win. Something that has eluded the Yanks for six straight days.