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Yankees Need to Focus on the Rule of 5

This is my entry from the weekend after Colon pitched – got lost in the shuffle!
What a game from Colon tonight. Two earned runs in six innings – those games we normally win. Garcia has done an admirable job as well philling in. And so Nova had a bad one recently; shake it off because all pitchers have one of those days. These guys have done the job expected – throw strikes and keep your ERA under a 5.00. Cripes; even Cashman gets a Gold Star for inviting any ex- fifteen game winner available to audition for the gaping holes he created.
Imagine that conversation with Hal – “I will continue to have the final say and I say: can I have two million to gamble on four ex-all star Major League pitchers to save my job? Pa…leeeeeeese may I have another mil or two?” Can you picture Hal looking down at him from behind George’s desk that sits three feet higher than the two chairs placed before the throne? “Look in my eyes Brian…..I’m watching you…..cause if I watch our only lefty in the bullpen walk out there and give up two runs to three batters one more time I’m going to pull my Dad’s size 12 shoe out and re-introduce you to the Steinbrenner Shuffle!”
The issue is not our pitching; it has been our inability to hit with runners in scoring position and scratch at least five runs per game. It is getting to be excruciating to watch; but why can’t we seem to push a few runners home with men on second an third? Tonight we left seven men on base in scoring position – I would say we left at least three runs standing on third base with one out. Pathetic. So if you look at the rule of five; and we get five on the board tonight, we’re in a dog fight. And when you look back at the Yankee losses this season; they are failing to reach the five run plateau. Take a look at the Yankee wins since the season started and you will see a team winning games scoring five or more. The mindset,  goals and execution have to be carried out each game with the goal of scratching those runs; or the close ones are not going to matriculate. Take a look at tonight’s final scores – is there a number that jumps out at you? You betcha America – #5.
So what’s the problem? Why are we failing lately? It points to the big three – our middle of the order and heart and soul of our team at the plate. We have a clog right smack in the middle of the order. Your clean up hitter can not go 1- 4 and hit a single twenty eight feet from home plate twice for two of his last four hits in thirty three at bats. Your number three hitter is so uptight I’m waiting for sparks to fly. I’d recommend a month long vacation to the five hole to take the pressure off. It may also allow him to stop thinking about pulling every pitch when batting lefty as he drools looking down the right field corner….it’s playing on him and the shift that stymied Giambi is creeping in his head. And Robbie has lost some focus and desperately needs a change that would put more pressure and emphasis on delivering with the bat and his glove. Switch Robbie to the three so he knows he will now be the one expected to get things started when all else fails. It will change his role to a more defined hitter and I believe as good as he is; his demon is concentration……let’s change his mentality at the plate and enforce a more disciplined role and approach. Hitting and fielding sometimes go hand in hand. Robbie has been struggling at the plate for the first time in two years and his fielding is suffering for it.
To the age old question – are the Yankee’s now showing their age and slowing down? Let’s not bother going there; it is not a debate because no one is getting any younger. We have a great cast of characters that needs a little youth injection. They could use someone that makes them laugh; gets the blood boiling, plays at full speed no matter what and doesn’t feel Mother Nature when she rages at 54 degrees. For once; ARod gets it right – an injection of Melky would certainly do a body good. And that body is the NY Yankees team; a team that needs to refocus, set some game to game realistic goals and accept the roles required to execute and deliver runs.
A change of pace and an adrenalin rush from past success may certainly get the boys going in the right direction. How about Joe going out to third base and pulling an Earl Weaver? Or just head to home plate and tell the ump that the Little League complex is on 186th – how the hell did he end up on a Major League diamond? Or just go out and put on a show for the team and fans and kick dirt all over home plate; something that will loosen them up and make them belly laugh for the next month as you peel off twelve wins in a row! It’s time to make a change; and adding some adrenalin and flipping the order just might be the elixir the doctor ordered.
Why not? ARod and Robbie need their old buddy……and it will be the only decision this year that Cashman didn’t even have to think about…….just write the check Brian……write the check.
Mike Antoniotti
Staff Writer