Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A hiccup becomes a slide

Raise your hand if you've seen enough of the Wilson Betemit Era.

Yeah, that's what I thought.

I suppose an optimist should see the Yankees' 7-6 loss to the Orioles on Tuesday as some sort of close-but-no-cigar moral victory, the type of noble college try that has you holding your head high as you walk off the field. New York did almost wipe out a five-run deficit after all. But apparently, I'm no optimist.

Terrible job by the Yankees last night. Terrible job by Marte, who get knocked around in a big spot. Terrible job by A-Rod, whose having another brutal season in the clutch. Brutal job by the aforementioned Betemit, who I can't even say hits like a girl since girls can make contact sometimes. Even a brutal job by Mo, who let Aubrey Huff touch him up for a home run that Baltimore ended up needing. Good teams don't win eight in a row and then give three right back, especially when a last-place team comes into your house.

As you can tell, I was angry about this one.

Daniel Cabrera has been one of baseball's worst pitchers since May, and yet the Yankees were completely muzzled on Tuesday before home-plate umpire Chad Fairchild foolishly tossed the right-hander for hitting A-Rod with a pitch in the seventh. The Yanks have now been beaten three times this season by Baltimore's career underachiever. That is unacceptable.

Also unacceptable is Joe Girardi's decision to let Betemit -- a truly terrible strikeout machine, I must reinforce -- bat with two outs in the ninth and the tying run on second. I'm of the opinion that Richie Sexson should be DFA'd first thing Wednesday, the reason being if manager Joe Girardi doesn't have the confidence to bat the faded slugger in that spot, then he's just taking up space on the roster. I mean, wasn't Sexson signed specifically to come to the plate in those situations? I don't get it.

Instead, Betemit -- a .222 hitter in 36 at-bats against left-handers this season -- gets an undeserving shot and does what he did an inning earlier in the clutch ... strikeout. Betemit is now batting .244 with 37 strikeouts and four walks in 123 at-bats. Yes, this is the same dude that Brian Cashman coveted for two years before finally landing from the Dodgers in exchange for Scott Proctor's tortured corpse last year. He's officially the LaTroy Hawkins of the Yankees offense ... if only Cashman would wake up and bestow the same fate.

After Ponson and Moose duds and poor bullpen work and shoddy offense behind Rasner, the Yankees try to salvage the series finale behind Joba Chamberlain. You fear a Joba letdown in a day game coming on the heels of his adrenaline-pumping start in Boston last Friday, but quite frankly, the Yankees can't afford that to happen.

Are we asking too much from a kid? Sure. But we've been doing it for two seasons now, there's no use trying to stop now. Get us back on track, hoss.

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