Sunday, July 13, 2008

Fitting end to first half

I never feel comfortable seeing the Yanks in Rogers Centre. They just don't seem to play well there, and Halladay and Burnett become Koufax and Drysdale against them for some reason.

Truth be told, the Jays probably didn't need to throw their aces to take the series. Discount the first three innings of yesterday's middle win by the Bombers, the Yankees scored a grand total of two runs in 24 innings. Pathetic. Even worse, this team doesn't make pitchers work anymore, possibly the most troubling trend of the offensive collapse of '08. Today's loss would have defined listless if Friday's shutout wasn't already in the dictionary. The Yankees have been FAMOUS for their plate discipline for years, now they have a pitcher on three days' rest pitching into the ninth inning against them? They have to at least looking into shaking up their approach. Could hitting coach Dale Long be on the chopping block? Would it even matter if Long got his walking papers? What does a hitting coach do anyway? Egh.

Here's a scary fact about what has become a poor July for the Yankees. If you take away New York's 18-run outburst against the Rangers on July 2 and the nine-run tally yesterday, the Yankees are averaging just 2.3 runs per game this month. You have to be freaking kidding me. Disgraceful.

So here we are 50-45 with baseball's All-Stars heading to Yankee Stadium for the Midsummer Classic. The Yankees will have to play markedly better in the second half to even dream about the postseason. The Rays are tumbling (seven straight losses), and the Yanks need a dominant second half ala 2007 to grab that division or Wild Card spot. Is the Yanks offense merely in a nasty slump? Or are we rooting for an over-the-hill gang? The answer to that question will determine if the Yanks play October baseball.

Tomorrow, I'll unveil my first-half report card. Have a good one.

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