In looking at the significant (to me, that is) baseball events of April 2012 as a diehard Yankee fan, I cannot resist calling attention to the plight of the Red Sox, who are hanging out down in the basement of the AL East Coast division. Another of my least favorite teams, the LA Angels, are moldering in the West Coast basement. That’s more shocking than the Sox, considering that the Angels landed Albert Pujols and pitcher CJ Wilson; WTF more do they need?
The New York Yankees
Unfortunately, the Yankees aren’t exactly flying high.
Pitching Problems: Back in November, just after the 2011 season ended, Joe Girardi, who apparently comes from the Don’t Worry Be Happy school of management, bragged to the media that he already had his pitching rotation for 2012. No problemo, amigos. Right away I knew we were in trouble: Yankee scouts weren’t out beating the bushes and fields, looking for new pitchers to replace Phil Hughes and AJ Burnett. Thus the inevitable came to pass: two of the starters, Hughes and Freddy Garcia, are inconsistent to the point of incompetence and, more importantly, loss. The good news is that we do have one ace (CC Sabathia), another pitcher who stands a chance of becoming one (Ivan Nova), high hopes with the new Hiroki Kuroda, and the soon-to-return Good Ol’ Reliable Andy Pettitte. It’s actually a lot of good news, and if I were managing I’d just rotate the four good guys and unceremoniously dump Hughes and Garcia. Why a team needs five starters anyway is a mystery to me; it’s pitcher pampering in the extreme.
I know every fan thinks they can manage better than the manager, but my frustration with Girardi is only now manifesting in that way. I’m just beginning to notice that one of his flaws is that he coddles the players. He was resting A-Rod and Jeter during the first week of play, rotating the DH between them and a few other older guys. Sometimes Girardi’s just plain clueless: for instance, everybody knows Mark Texeira doesn’t warm up to full capacity until after the first month, and probably won’t hit much of anything in April. In the meantime, Nick Swisher leads the league in extra-base hits. Logic says to move Swish ahead of Tex in the lineup right? This doesn’t seem to have occurred to Girardi. So we get situations like bases loaded with two outs, Tex at bat , he strikes out and strands the runners. Now, if Swish had been at that spot in the lineup…you get my drift.
After a month of baseball: The Yankees have a record of 13 wins, 9 losses and are in second place in the American League Eastern Division, behind the Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays, who are tied for 1st place.
The Mets are playing like quintessential Mets. For instance, in Sunday’s game against The Colorado Rockies they were winning 5-0 until in 9th inning—yes, I said the ninth inning—when they allowed the Rockies to score exactly five—yes, I said 5—home runs to tie the game. They went into extra innings, going eleven total to win by a run. Yes, they did win it—but just look at what they had to put themselves through to do it! Typical Mets behavior.
And a bit of bad luck to boot: Pitcher Mike Pelfrey, it was announced today, needs Tommy John surgery, which puts him out of commission for the season, possibly longer.
After a month of baseball: The METS have 13 wins and 10 losses, and remain behind the Atlanta Braves in the NL East Coast Division.
San Francisco Giants
The lovable Freak Tim Lincecum had a lousy start for the first time in his career. In 5 starts he has 2 wins and 2 losses, and his ERA is a ghastly 5.74. Maybe now he knows what it feels like to live in Barry Zito’s skin. Speaking of Zito, in his first 2012 start he pitched a shutout! I hope he was as overjoyed as I was. He didn’t collapse after that, either: he won 2 and lost one. Keep it up, Barry! Maybe you’ll work your way back to your glory days. Buster Posey did: he’s blowing everyone away by playing just as great as he did last year, before he was crippled by that bone crunching crash at home plate.
After a month of baseball: the SF GIANTS have a record of 12 wins and 10 losses, and remain in 2nd place in the National League Western Division, 3½ games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers (who, by the way, appear to have gotten an injection of new life from Magic Johnson’s ownership).
True Confession: I haven’t paid attention to the A’s at all this season. My enthusiasm for them was once high, but as players kept getting traded away, I steadily lost interest. I don’t know any of the players on the team anymore. I am relentlessly bitter towards Billy Beane for his ruthless management. Maybe I’ll have more to say at the end of May, after I go to the Colisseum to watch them play my guys. For now, these are the dry facts:
After a month of baseball the A’s have 11 wins and 13 losses, and are tied with the Seattle Mariners for 2nd place in the American League Western Division.
The above was written with a little help from the usual suspects, i.e. my son Daryl.
- Time is Running Out for Phil Hughes and the New York Yankees (rantsports.com)
- Spanning the Yankee Blogs: Pettitte, Bench, ESPN Radio, Garcia, Injuries (yankeesfansunite.com)
- Pettitte may return after one more start (mlb.mlb.com)