Friday, October 12, 2012

My thoughts on Game 4, karma, and why I am worried about Game 5

I have to say that one thing I envy about other teams in baseball is that their fan bases haven't got as cynical and as demanding as ours. For all the patting on the back that we do about the pinstripes, and the tradition, I just don't get the way too many people in our fan base boo our own team's players not for not trying -- they are all trying -- but for not succeeding. And even when the Yankees win, too many of our fellow fans are still complaining up a storm, as my friend Jason Keidel aptly pointed out in a recent column. They seem to enjoy whining, especially about Alex Rodriguez.

To be sure, there is plenty of blame to go around on the Yankees this postseason, and not just to No. 13. While the Yankee pitching has been pretty close to flawless, the hitters leave something to be desired, with A-Rod, Nick Swisher, Curtis Granderson, and Robinson Cano, among others, not getting the job done. But I don't think that booing the players is the way to get them going. We lose home field advantage when our fans do that.

Does anybody really think that the booing helps things? It doesn't. And the fact is that the Yankees have had a losing record at home in the postseason since 2009. Incidentally, today's game is not a sellout, and there are plenty of tickets available at StubHub for below face value. I hope that fans who are going to cheer from the first out to the last -- or at least don't boo their own players -- will show up today.

* * *

Anyhow, I do not have a good feeling about today's game, and I am afraid that Baltimore has the momentum. It is time for Joe Girardi to make some big changes to the lineup. I would expect that A-Rod will be benched -- he got pinch-hit for again last night, and I don't think he will start today against a righthander. (So who will the haters blame if the Yankees lose without him?)

My guess is that Raul Ibanez will most likely be in the lineup, as will Eric Chavez. And Squawker reader Jo-Lynn had another idea:
Hi Lisa. Wanted to get your thoughts on something. I was at the game last night with my husband who is not much of a baseball fan but enjoys playoff atmosphere in the Bronx. Since he has no vested interest in either team (other than when the Yankees win it makes his wife very happy) he was able to make so observations. One was what we are all saying – no one is hitting with the exception of one two on either team. He was marveling at the .100 and .0something batting averages. The one that stuck out most to him was Granderson’s .067 or something like that. He brought it up again this morning and asked me what happed to that Brett Gardner guy. 

Got me thinking – A-Rod is going to sit most likely today because of the righty. Why no sit Granderson too and start Gardner? He hasn’t forgotten how to catch a fly ball – put him in left, Ichiro in Center or vice versa. Sure Gardner’s bat may be rusty, but Granderson is abysmal. Gardner can bunt – sac or base hit style – and chances are he’ll get the bat on the ball and maybe beat out an infield hit or make an infielder rush a throw. More times than not those little things seem to wake up a team. You’re probably going to have to leave either Granderson or Swisher in because I don’t know that Ibanez really should be in the outfield, so I’d remove Granderson. 

How many times are you going to run the same guys out there expecting it to turn around? If this was July you’d wait it out. I liken it to a football team trying to go for the long passes and being covered. They’d change it up, throw some short 5 or 10 yard passes under the coverage in hopes of eventually opening up the deeper routes later on. Eli’s not going to keep throwing to Nicks and Cruz deep if they are covered all game.
Why not? Gardner may not be at 100%, but could he be worse than Granderson or Swisher at this point? And Girardi claimed that he could hit again -- he pinch-hit against Boston at the end of the season. It's worth a try. If the Yanks keep on doing what they have been doing, they'll keep on getting what they've been getting.

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