With the way that baseball plays out, there are certainly no factors that can be forgotten about or underestimated, just look at September 2011. The New York Yankees‘ play from August through the middle of September had been extremely sluggish and there was a huge shift in the blame each night. One night it’s Boone Logan‘s fault, the next it’s Joe Girardi’s and the next night someone else gets to be the victim of the blame game. The point is, everyone knows that the Yankees missing the playoffs may actually be a real concern especially with the never-say-die Baltimore Orioles on their tails. Even if the Yankees were to lose the AL East, which nobody here wants to see happen, getting in through the Wild Card isn’t exactly an assured thing. The Oakland A’s have been playing incredibly well all season and are only a game behind the Yankees should they fall out of the East which makes that one game to get in through the Wild Card all the more important. What’s even more scary is that the Tampa Bay Rays could also sneak their way into the Wild Card. With a somewhat of a lukewarm meltdown, could this possibly be a year where we won’t see the Bronx Bombers in October?
Let’s take a look at a series not too long ago. The Oakland series is by far a series that we should of swept. Was Hiroki Kuroda to blame for that loss? Yes and no. While it wasn’t one of Kuroda’s more stellar appearances, defensive errors cost him and cost him big. Eduardo Nunez had two huge throwing errors that partially cost the Yankees that game. Now what’s done is done with that series, but plays that like kill us. Why wasn’t Nix in at short? He’s been on the team longer this season than Nunez and committed less errors than him. Nix’s zone rating (6.644) is much better than Nunez’s (5.414) as well, so tell me Girardi, why didn’t the magical binder tell you this?
Now, moving on to our previous series against Minnesota, this is another one that should have been easily swept. However, I’m a huge believer in the saying “any given day” and that’s exactly what happened in Tuesday’s fiasco. That game, which unfortunately resulted in Phil Hughes‘ 14th loss of the season, was completely on the shoulders of Girardi. The thing with a young pitcher like Hughes is he must be able to pitch out jams, which he was clearly in on Tuesday. However, whatever Girardi saw out on the mound apparently looked like trouble. Okay, fine, that’s understandable. Now, what Girardi did next absolutely made me outright question him. Bringing in Logan, who was not only fatigued at this point, but pitting him against Denard Span who has crushed left-handed pitching this season? The Binder didn’t save us on that occasion Joe!
Now we look at this current series with Toronto. Thursday night’s shut-out for a lack of better terms was just flat out embarrassing Now, it was certainly good for Brandon Morrow and the Blue Jays but not so much for the struggling Ivan Nova. To be completely honest, I’m not even sure why Nova is pitching in September. The only team he’s done well against this season is Tampa Bay. The team seems to be completely ignoring that fact, and now he’s pitching in crucial games despite blowing nearly all of his opportunities in 2012? What is going on here? Fortunately enough the Yankees rebounded last night in a 11-4 victory over the Jays.
You may say I’m nit-picking or being too selective about certain things, but when October 3rd is all said and done, we had better hope these few blunders didn’t hold us back from the playoffs. The Yankees have won nine out of their last twelve, but despite that, still have a very small margin for error and these critical losses do not help. Baltimore, Oakland and Tampa Bay are playing well and all pose huge threats to the Yankees’ postseason chances. We had better hope Girardi has smarter plans for next year or else last Sunday’s Round Table discussion on Girardi may very well be a possibility in the near future.