The Slide Continues

September 16, 2010 – 9:49 am

Tampa Bay 4, NYY 3. I guess it was too much to think that Tuesday’s win was a sign that the Yankees were getting back on track. And sure enough, Wednesday the offense went right back in to hiding, unable to score but three runs in spite of getting ten hits and four walks. Another night of double-digit LOB and poor hitting with RISP (2-for-9). So this makes three straight series losses, and a 2-8 record over the last 10 games. Up until this week, the worst 10-game stretch for the Yankees had been 4-6. What was once an extremely consistent team has become just the opposite — before this 2-8 stretch they went 8-2.

And once again some of Joe Girardi’s managing decisions were bizarre at best. In the eighth with the tying run on base and no outs, you pinch hit Marcus Thames for Lance Berkman, with the black hole known as Austin Kearns and Colin Curtis due up in two batters? Why not let Berkman hit, and THEN pinch hit Thames for Kearns? And then, having wasted Thames, he lets both Kearns and Curtis hit for themselves with the tying run now in scoring position???? There’s got to be some logic in there somewhere, but it certainly has nothing to do with winning the division.

Looking for good news of any kind, I guess you can say that Phil Hughes’ outing was a success, although certainly with an asterisk. Outside of the two pitches to Dan Johnson that ended up in the seats, Hughes pitched a 6+ inning 2-hit shutout. Of course you can’t wish away those two pitches, and the reality is that Hughes gives up more than his share of home runs, and bottom line for this game — 4 runs over 6.2 innings — is another somewhat poor outing for Hughes.

So at this point the division race appears to be pretty much over. The Yankees remaining schedule is brutal, all against Eastern division teams, all of whom are .500+ teams except for Baltimore. And since Buck Showalter took over there, Baltimore has actually been playing better than any team in the league. On the other hand, Tampa Bay has 10 games left against the dregs of the Central and West (Angels, Mariners, and Royals). So for the Yankees to have any chance at all, the Rays would have to have a total collapse. Ain’t going to happen. Fortunately the Yankee lead in the wild card race (6 games) is probably insurmountable so it’s hard to imagine them not making the playoffs. But unless they can improve their overall game dramatically over the remaining 16 games, it’s going to be 5-and-out come October.

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