It’s Over for the Yankees

The season got off to a bad start when the Yankee Stadium opener was rained out.

The off-season has already begun for the New York Yankees.

Oh sure,  they still have 20 some odd games to play, and they’re not mathematically eliminated….yet.

But the numbers don’t lie, When it’s over, it’s over. When you dodge the ultimate futility of having a pitcher nearly throw a no-hitter against you in his first major league start, it’s over

Yeah, and you know it’s over when A-Rod goes on a tear. Now that the pressure is off, he’s gonna have a blockbuster September.

Where did it all go wrong? When did the Yankees begin the death spiral towards the team’s worst finish in more than 15 years?

Pitching Woes
Start with the pitching. Somewhere along the line, the Yankee brain misplaced the knack for finding good pitchers.

So instead of bringing in guys like Jimmy Key, David Cone, David Wells, El Duque, Mike Mussina and yes, even Roger Clemens, Yankee fans were subjected to the likes of Jeff Weaver, Javier Vazquez, Kevin Brown, Carl Pavano and Kei Igawa. And now they have Darrell Rasner, Sidney Ponson and Carl Pavano in their rotation.

A familiar sight: Joe Girardi makes another pitching change.

The Yankees had the opportunity to right some of those wrongs this past off-season, the chance to get Johan Santana, one of the premier pitchers in the game. They didn’t want to give up Melky Cabrera, who lost his center-field job and was banished to the minors, or two young pitchers, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy, who have combined to win zero games for the Yankees this year.

They passed on Santana. With him, they might still be alive in the American League chase. Instead, he’s cross-town trying to lead the Mets to the World Series.

Of course, pitching isn’t the only reason the Yankees are fast-fading out of the playoff picture. The starting lineup, supposedly the strength of the team, has been inconsistent at best, and pathetically inept with runners in scoring position.

Showing Their Age
The Yankees began to show their age in certain spots, and the younger players did not develop as expected.  Injuries have hurt, particularly the losses of Chien-Ming Wang and Jorge Posada for most of the year.

And then, the Yankees are facing the odds — nobody makes the playoffs every year. Heck, there are college kids today who weren’t old enough to remember the last time that happened.

“It’s certainly something that is hard to watch,” said general manage Brian Cashman, the team’s chief architect. “We’re losing right now and we’re better than this. At some point, you are what your record is until you prove otherwise.”

The Cash-man, with unlimited resources at his disposal, may take the fall for these underachieving 2008 Yankees.

Whoever is in charge will face the task of rebuilding this team quickly. Next year, the Yankees move into the new Yankee Stadium, and Hank Steinbrenner, above, and company will be hell-bent to bring a winner to the Bronx. The pitching needs to be improved, the team needs to become more athletic.

The off-season has already begun for the Yankees, and it promises to be a busy one.

While I Was Away

SportsLifer is in the midst of summer vacation. Just spent a week on the beautiful, yet underrated, Jersey Shore. It’s a tough life, making decisions like whether or not to bring the suntan lotion, when to go in the ocean and where to buy the ice.

Gave me some good ideas about the wireless cabana of the future.

Anyway, a lot happened while I was away. Trying to sort it all out, but I now know:

  • Brett Favre is quarterback of the Jets.
  • Mike and the Mad Dog are no longer a couple.
  • Michael Phelps is a pretty good swimmer.
  • Sergio Garcia feels the power of The Jinx.
  • Hank Steinbrenner has more quit in him than George ever did.
  • There’s such a thing as a too hot tub.

Quick Hitters V — Observations of a Sportslifer

Phil Hughes 0-3, 8.82 ERA, Ian Kennedy 0-2 9.04 ERA. Do you think Hank Steinbrenner is keeping an eye on Johan Santana and reminding Brian Cashman about the trade that was never made….like every 10 minutes or so. That’s what George would have done.

Hughes’ blog sure gets more hits than sportslifer…..but he gives up more hits too.

We’ve seen just about enough of Jason Giambi in the middle the of the Yankee lineup. He can’t hit, he can’t field, he can’t throw and he can’t run. Other than that, he’s a great guy.

But now that A-Rod has a strained quad, we’ll no doubt be treated to even more of the Giam-balco. Unless the Bombers decide to bring back Joe Pepitone.

Considering the lack of starting pitching, clutch hitting, and a lot of road games, it’s amazing the Yankees are 10-10.

Over the years, Yankee fans have come to take the playoffs for granted. The last time they failed to make the playoffs was 1993 (remember 1994 was the strike year). There are college kids who can’t remember the last time the Yankees didn’t get into the post-season.

Suns vs. Spurs has to be one of the best first-round series in NBA history. Double OT in Game One. Remindful of some of those Knicks-Bullets encounters of the late 60s and early 70s.

Speaking of past Knicks, loved the headline the New York Post on Saturday — BYE-SIAH! Wish GO-LAN for James Dolan was next.

German Pope visits the White House and Yankee Stadium, baseball season opens in Japan. The world has changed since WWII. And that’s a good thing.

Rangers over Devils was not a surprise — Rangers dominated the regular season, and had more firepower. The surprise was the sieve-like effort turned in by Marty Brodeur, who has carried the Devils on his back all these years.

Brodeur missed a bunch of pucks throughout the series, and he missed Sean Avery’s handshake on the receiving line at the end of Game 5.

Couple of dozen blogs ago, sportslifer posed the question: Name the only college football team to have three players make the NFL Hall of Fame? The answer: the 1951 University of San Francisco Dons, with Gino Marchetti, Ollie Matson, and Bob St. Clair.