April 23, 2005
April 23rd vs. The Rangers
I feel bad for Jaret Wright. Yes, his pitching performance to date this season makes one recall past seasons such as 1991 - and pinstripe pitching disasters such as Wade Taylor and Chuck Cary. However, at least to me, it seemed like Wright cared and was trying to do well - and was very upset that he was failing. That's all you can really ask from a player - to care and to try. And, to be upset when he does not succeed. I'd rather see that reaction than what we see from A-Rod each time that he fails with RISP and less than two outs. (And, it seems like this happens everyday.) That "How can this me happening to me, I'm a baseball god" reaction of Alex's is starting to play a little thin after seeing it repeatedly.
There could be something positive to come out of this situation. For a new pitcher to get a chance to prove himself, many times, an unexpected and undesired opening needs to occur. On April 29, 1977, Mike Torrez was late arriving from a trade and the Yankees gave some skinny LHP from the pen a chance to start a game - because they had no one else. When the kid was done, his # 49 ended up retired in Monument Park.
Maybe someone like Chien-ming Wang can take advantage of Wright's misfortune? He's 25, can gas it up to 95, and has a slider and a split. Put it this way, could he do much worse than Wright was doing?
More importantly, the boys are now 7-11 on the season. This is their worst start since 1997 (the last year they did not win the AL East). And, in losing 11 of their last 16, they have not played well at all. If this continues, say, up until the one-quarter pole, and they're 15-25 (or something worse) at that marker, I would not be shocked to see Torre get axed. Two-hundred mill buys a lot of expectations.
And, whereas Joe was an untouchable this time 4 years ago, the fans would be less upset with him going now given his pushing of Mo in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series (using him in the 8th and 9th innings), the ugly and complete collapse in the ALDS in 2002, using Jeff Weaver in the 2003 World Series, and the greatest flop ever in the 2004 ALCS. Perhaps the big question now for many Yankee fans to noodle is: Who would be the best man to rally the troops this season?
In the interim, until the worst happens for Torre, perhaps Joe should reconsider his choice of batting A-Rod and Giambi BTB in the line-up (as he has done the last couple of days). It's a free "get out of jail free card" for the opposing pitcher when those two come up with runners on. Funny, when Jason first came here, he was supposed to be the team's best hitter. And, the same thing about Rodriguez when he showed up. Now, they're probably the two guys on the team that you least want to see up with RISP. Thank the heavens for Matsui and Sheffield. Where would the Yankees be without those two? I don't even want to think about it.
Posted by Steve Lombardi at April 23, 2005 10:25 PM