Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Buckled Up For Turbulence in the Boogie Down

If you want a tidy little starting point for this current Yankee slide, let us travel back to the salad days of pre-trade deadline baseball.

Crude oil was shooting uncontrollably into a major body of water, Lindsay Lohan was incarcerated by the state of California, and everyone thought that Bill Cosby was a corpse.

It was a more innocent time.

Meanwhile, Brian Cashman sat in his office—which I imagine looks much like George Costanza's—staring at a roster that included some dude named Juan Miranda on his bench and a bullpen that was regularly asking to get three clean outs (in addition to the three clean buffet plates) from Joba Chamberlain.

Clearly, work needed to be done. Cash got on the phone and when the clock struck 4 p.m. on July 31, the Yankees' GM had acquired three known entities in Lance Berkman, Austin Kearns, and Kerry Wood.

It made sense at the time, and perhaps eventually each of the trades will work out in the team's favor. But it's not looking so hot as things currently stand.

Berkman and Kearns are a combined 2-for-17 with one RBI while Wood was shaky in each of his first two outings.

Just call them The Expendables.

The rest of the Yankees aren't looking too hot, either. They dropped their third straight game last night at the Stadium, and have lost four of five overall. Coupled with another Rays victory, and the Yankees are in second place for the first time since June 13.

There's no way to know if the A-Rod 600 599 circus is taking a toll on the team, though his offensive slide (0 for his last 17 and 3 for his last 33) clearly isn't helping matters.

Girardi may be leaning on his new players too much during a time when the team needs its core to right the ship. He immediately inserted Berkman into the two-hole upon his arrival in Tampa last weekend, unceremoniously dropping Nick Swisher and his career-best production down to sixth in the lineup.

On Monday, Curtis Granderson suffered the indignity of being pinch-hit for by Kearns, even if it meant having to shift Swisher to center field the following inning. I wouldn't use a Thames-Swish-Kearns outfield for my Sunday morning softball league. Yikes.

Wood has been used more judiciously, but sadly already seems to have the "I'm-Going-To-Be-Such-A-Huge-Failure-In-Pinstripes-That-I-Won't-Even-Let-My-Kids-Visit-New-York-When-They-Grow-Up" look on his face.

There are so many places to point the finger right now—not even God himself, Derek Sanderson Jeter, is an innocent.

If you're really freaking out about this slump right now and you're desperate to feel better, I have some advice: Just blame A-Rod.

Repeat after me: It's all A-Rod's fault. A-Rod is the one to blame. A-Rod is the problem. Blame A-Rod.

See? Don't you feel better? A fresh dose of Yankee fan morphine.

Dan Hanzus writes the Yankees blog River & Sunset and can be reached via e-mail at Follow Dan on Twitter @danhanzus.

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