If so, at least he’s only got one more week at the Old Stadium to bother finding it. The Bergen Record‘s Bob Klapisch has observed the Yankees playing out the string (“the equivalent of a September perp walk”) and concludes despite spring declarations that Joe Girardi would be an uptight antitode to Joe Torre’s soothing tones, “the Yankees are sloppier and less disciplined than ever and Girardi seems powerless to stop it.”
Despite Girardi’s tight crew cut and high school football mentality – remember, he’s banned junk food in the clubhouse – the Yankees are undisciplined and, too often, unfocused at the plate. They miss signs, they’re impatient and are so busy hacking away it’s as if Girardi is being tuned out.
In 1998, the Yankees led the American League in walks and finished with the third-fewest strikeouts. Today, they’re ninth in walks and are eighth in strikeouts. Obviously, no team – Yankee or otherwise – holds up to comparisons with the ’98 edition, but this year’s lineup is sprinkled with players seemingly beyond Girardi’s reach.
The culprits, specifically, are Robinson Cano, Jose Molina and Melky Cabrera, who barely average more than three pitches per plate appearance. Cano, at 3.4 ppa, is a billboard of first-pitch impatience – or is it indifference?
These are the subtle ways that players divest themselves from a losing situation. They don’t openly quit. No one refuses to run out a ground ball – that’s too obvious a crime. Instead, they swing early in the count, hurry through the at-bats, abandon the notion that taxing the opposing pitcher eventually pays a dividend.
But what’s the point of waiting, when the games don’t count anymore? That’s the philosophy of a selfish player looking for the door. As much as Torre was criticized for losing touch with his clubhouse, the Yankees still poured themselves into the at-bats, even in the final two years of Torre’s declining regime.
Sophmore phenom Tim Lincecum threw an eye-popping 138 pitches last night en route to his first complete game shutout, and Big D of Giants Win wonders, “what in the name of Mark Prior is going on here? Is Bruce Bochy trying to prove that he’s a bigger idiot than we already thought?” Well, either that or the San Francisco manager must’ve found an old diary Dusty Baker left behind some years ago and mistook it for some sort of organization mandate. Linceum’s pitch counts have zoomed past 120 for three starts in a row, and even if you’re of the opinion today’s starters are handled with kid gloves, what could possibly be gained by allowing him to pitch the 9th inning last night at Petco with the Giants leading, 7-0? A Cy Young Award would be a very slim consolation prize during a terrible SF campaign. You’d think the Giants would prefer to see such workhorse performances from Lincecum when they’re in an actual pennant race.