Monday, May 19, 2008

Is this rock bottom?

"The Yankees are in last place" is a favorite note of the tabloid and national sports media.

Due to the Yankees' success over the past 15 years, this place in the standings hasn't been often or for long. But in 2005, 2007 and now 2008, early-season struggles have landed the Bombers in the AL East cellar. I never took the stories and headlines seriously, because I knew the Yankees of '05 and '07 weren't a last-place team.

This Yankees team looks like a last-place team.

I'm not saying I believe they're going to stay that way. A team with this much talent and resources would be hard-pressed to finish with less than 80 wins. But the lethargy of this unit is certainly alarming. How do you look flat playing a home game in front of a full house, in a nationally-televised game facing the prospect of a sweep against your crosstown rivals?

The Wanger didn't get it done last night. His fourth inning hearkened back to last October's ALDS, when the right-hander looked like a spot starter for a Little League team. I'm not going to make too much of it, or get on the bandwagon of saying Wang isn't an ace, but it does worry me that every so often the wheels come flying off.

Meanwhile, the offense continues to be an abomination. I'm going to rip out my own eyes if I have to see Alberto Gonzalez bat with runners in scoring position again. And despite connecting for a double last night (before, of course, being stranded), Jose Molina continues to look overmatched. I disagree with the notion that you can't put all the Yankees' struggles on the fact that A-Rod and Posada have been out of the lineup. The loss of the All-Stars didn't have to be devastating, but it has been due to the utter incompetence of the players that took their spots. Did you know that Gonzalez, Molina, Morgan Ensberg and Chad Moeller have combined for two homers and 12 RBIs in 227 at-bats? This may be the worst Yankees bench in 20 years. In the current economic climate, how is that possible? Are you there Cash?

One last note about the game ... Joe Morgan is still an idiot. Yesterday, Morgan's long-suffering play-by-play announcer, Jon Miller, remarked that the new Yankee Stadium will have the exact field dimensions of the current park. Morgan, so old school he probably has a tail, interjected that if the dimensions were the same they should have just stayed where they were.

I'm 99 percent sure he was being serious.

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