Monday, September 1, 2008

Still running to stand still

River & Sunset took a Labor Day respite this weekend, a time the Yankees spent playing uneven baseball that gave their fan base ulcers. In other words, absolutely nothing changed.

Carl Pavano made it 2-for-2 in starts off the 500-day disabled list. The Yanks blew a 6-2 lead on Saturday, as Robbie Cano made a crucial error that opened the door for a late Blue Jays rally. Cano once again displayed that he didn't get it after the game, leaving the clubhouse without speaking with reporters. Yes, we have a problem here. Sunday became the Roy Halladay show, as the stud right-hander beat New York for the fourth time this season. Andy Pettitte was not competitive and has one win in his last seven starts. So much for his second-half prowess.

With your season on life support, I'm not sure losing both series of your homestand is a great idea. But such is life when you're talking about the 2008 New York Yankees.

The biggest issue this offseason for Brian Cashman -- or whoever fills his shoes -- is how to fix the offense, and the lumbering lineup showed its warts again in the Bronx. The Yankees scored 19 runs on the six-game homestand and were 9-for-48 (.188) with runners-in-scoring-position. Giambi is obviously history. If I'm in charge I look to move Damon and Matsui as well. This team needs to get younger in a hurry.

Today's makeup game against the Tigers was ugly, but I suppose a win is a win. Justin Verlander (what happened to that dude?) was awful and Sidney Ponson was just as bad. The fat Aruban has a 15.83 ERA over his last three starts, allowing 24 hits, 18 runs, six walks and four strikeouts over 9 2/3 innings. If the Yankees' plight this season could be summed up by one player, it would be Ponson, who is out-of-control awful but continues to pitch every fifth day because the Yankees have literally no other option. I'm going to go out on a limb and say this guy won't even be in baseball next April, yet he is in the starting rotation for a team that's made the playoffs 13 straight years? Amazing.

The Yanks have won six of their last 10 games overall, but they'll need to be much better than that to keep their slim playoff aspirations alive. Working under the assumption of 92 wins at least putting them in the equation for the Wild Card, the Yanks will need to go 19-6 down the stretch. If that isn't sobering enough, keep in mind the Red Sox would have to stumble to a 12-13 finish to complete their schedule at 92-70.

Reality has set in. As Damon said following the second loss to Boston last week, we all need to be professionals now. That includes your area Yankees blogger.

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