Tagged: Cano

Paging Garza’s Sports Psychologist

Jack Curry of the NY Times has an interesting article today about Garza’s evolution from loose cannon who got into a shoving match with Dioner Navarro to formidable postseason pitcher who plays nice with his teammates. Chalk up his success to his work with a sports psychologist.

My question is: Who is the sports psychologist and how can the Yankees put him on the payroll?
Certainly, he/she could be helpful with…
Our most complicated Yankee, A-Rod could have sessions involving his fear of hitting in the clutch.
The shrink could also work with…
The Yankee most needing a motivational push, Cano could benefit from a few hours on the couch.
And then there’s…
JoPo has had anger issues in the past. (Who can forget the dugout fight with El Duque?)
Wang (shyness), Joba (the drinking/driving thing) and others would be great patients too.
Could we get this shrink on the phone before next season?

I Really Love Blowouts (When the Yankees Win)

I realize we were essentially playing the Pawtucket Red Sox tonight, given the rain delays. No Ortiz. No Drew. No Pedroia. No Manny. (Oops. He’s driving in all those runs for the Dodgers now. Too bad.) Not even Lowell and Youkilis after they left the party early. And, of course, we were facing mostly a succession of rookie pitchers (plus Timlin).

BUT STILL. We won 19-8 because our scrubs were better than their scrubs. Ransom, Gardner, Moeller, even Betemit played great.
And let’s hear it for Abreu, who got his 100th RBI, and Cano, who seems to have found religion (or at least his swing).
What does it all mean? Nothing. But it was fun knocking the Sox out of contention for the division title. The Rays owe us one. Actually, I can’t imagine a scenario when it isn’t fun to beat the Red Sox, which is exactly how their fans feel about the Yankees.
Speaking of fans, maybe somebody can answer this one for me. Who is that blond guy who sits behind home plate at Fenway FOR EVERY SINGLE GAME? Like, for years. He’s sort of an everyman-looking version of Robert Redford. He never has any friends with him, as far as I can tell. He just sits there with his arms folded across his chest, very serious. Does anyone know if he’s part of the organization or is he just a guy with big bucks?
That’s it from me. I’m off to watch a tape of the debate. I wonder if it’ll be a blowout too.

Why Mike Mussina Made Me Cry Tonight

I know, I know. There’s no crying in baseball. But when Mussina walked off the mound tonight after giving the Yankees six-plus superior innings – when the crowd cheered “Moooose!” and the usually circumspect Mike not only tipped his cap but actually grinned – I teared up. I did. Because in beating the White Sox and winning his 18th game of the season, Mussina showed me what the concept of not throwing in the towel really means. This is a pitcher who was awful last year. Done. Cooked. Stick a fork in him and banish him to the bullpen. Do you remember how bad he was? Against the Angels? Against the Tigers? How he couldn’t get anybody out? If not….

That was from August of last year. Did you hear him say, “I don’t feel like I can do much of anything right?” He was lost and we all figured he’d retire or just go away. Instead, he came back this season and made adjustments, and now look at him. He’s our ace. He’s been our most consistent pitcher by far. He has a shot at winning 20 games for the first time in his career.
So with all due respect to Abreu’s 6 RBIs, Cano’s resurrection and the major league debuts of Baby Bombers Miranda, Sanchez and Cervelli, this was Mussina’s night. After facing extinction, he came back and made us proud.

Ozzie Guillen Is the New Grady Little

Well, he is. Did you see how he went to the mound in the 7th, checked on his pitcher and LEFT HIM IN to face Xavier the Savior? Reminded me of the good old days when Grady left Pedro in too long.

Before that, we were all subjected to watching yet another rookie pitcher handcuff the Yankees offense. But the X Man woke everybody up. Cano hit the ball with authority, which was entertaining, and even Melky got a hit – eventually.
As for Hughes, despite the high pitch count he looked better this trip. Less nibbling. More strikes. Just couldn’t put hitters away. 
And there was another player milestone tonight: A-Rod hit 35 homers in 11 consecutive seasons, tying The Babe’s record. Even in a “down” year, he’s pretty damn consistent.
After our game was over I switched over to Rays-Red Sox and watched TB take it to Boston. I had my eye on the Rays last season and wrote about it in the NY Times. Everybody laughed and said I was nuts. Is anybody laughing now? Even without Crawford and Upton, the Rays keep going, especially at home. There must be a lesson here. I’m just not sure what it is. Go younger? Come in last so you get draft picks? Hire a manager who spent years in the Angels organization? What?

Take a Seat, Robbie

Is there anyone on the planet who DOESN’T think Girardi should have benched Cano before today for lack of hustle? What good does it do to discipline him with 13 games to go? So he’ll be motivated for next year? So he’ll show other teams he’s trade worthy? So Girardi can prove to Hank, Hal and Cash that he really is about fundamentals and preparedness and isn’t an impostor? Wasn’t the big headline in spring training about how Joe had all his players – even the veterans – running drills until they dropped? What happened to that sense that he would instill new vigor in the team?

I went to see the Yankees in Anaheim during their last series against the Angels, and (I’m cringing as I write this) I was impressed by the Angels’ hustle. Those guys bust it running down the line to first. They bust it in the field. They bust it in everything they do. (Well, except for Garret Anderson who may be busting it but often looks like he’s just out for some fresh air.) If Torre was too much of a father figure, then Girardi is too much of a brother figure. The Yankees don’t need a brother. They need a manager. I’m hoping Girardi will grow into the job.

Where Has Aceves Been All My Life?

Great job by Aceves, which makes me wonder why we were stuck with Rasner for all those starts when we could have had this guy in the rotation. But then there are so many unsolved mysteries regarding the 2008 Yankees. Like what IS Cano’s approach at the plate, exactly? Does he have one? And why was Jeter looking so sloppy on defense tonight?

On the bright side, nice to see Damon smacking a couple and A-Rod hitting one with runners on.  Also nice to see the Yankees work Santana into an early exit to get to the Angels’ pen. And, of course, congrats to Jeter for breaking The Babe’s record for hits as a Yank.
Does the win matter in the larger scheme of things? Sure it does. Toronto beat Chicago so while we don’t gain ground on them, we don’t lose any either. Call me crazy, but I’m really not interested in winding up in fourth place. Third is enough of an indignity. I mean, come on. We’re the New York Yankees, the greatest franchise in sports! (It felt good to say that out loud, even though I sounded like I was doing a Michael Kay imitation.)

Inside Cashman’s Head

Today’s makeup game against the Tigers was sort of pitiful, given that Verlander went from being a number one starter for Detroit to basically serving up batting practice. But still. The Yankees won after nearly blowing it. The “W” won’t mean anything in the long run, given that the Red Sox won too and there are only 25 games to play and all the rest. But it was fun watching the Yanks hang on after yet another bonehead play by Cano combined with yet another awful start by Ponson.

I would love to crawl inside Brian Cashman’s head and find out what he’s thinking as he goes along on this road trip. Did he really believe he would “catch lightning in a bottle” (hate that expression) with Sir Sidney? If he had no intention of bringing Melky up today when the rosters expanded, why did he wait so long to send him down to Scranton in the first place? And is this road trip a scouting mission or a show of support? If I were in his head I’d be looking long and hard at the Rays over the next few days. I’d try to figure out how the Yankees let Carlos Pena and Dioner Navarro go. I’d be noting how athletic the Rays are, on the base paths and in the field. And I’d be wondering why their young pitchers have so much better stuff than ours. When I wrote that I was impressed with the Rays in that New York Times article last year (see my first post), people laughed at me. They’re not laughing any more.

Blame Game

OK. So now everybody on the Yankees is stepping forward to claim responsibility for the crappy season. Hank said it would be all better next year because he would MAKE it all better. Cashman said it’s all his fault. Girardi said the buck stops with him. A-Rod said he deserved to get booed.

Who’s to blame for the injuries? Nobody. Duh.
Who’s to blame for building a rotation around two unproven kids? Cashman. He’s also the genius who signed Igawa and Pavano and didn’t grab Washburn or Byrd when we needed an arm or two. And don’t get me started on Santana. I admit it. I wanted him. I was willing to trade Melky and Hughes/Kennedy. I honestly think having an ace on the staff would have made the hitters relax a little and we would scored more runs.
Who’s to blame for our anemic offense? This is the one that keeps me up at night. Girardi’s constant juggling of the lineup has been a classic case of overmanaging and couldn’t have helped. Lefty. Righty. Who cares? Just play the hot hand. Put the guy in the lineup who’s getting hits and leave him there. Players like stability. Cano has been on my blame list. He’s frustrating because he’s so incredibly talented. But what happened to him? Was it losing Bowa and his tough love that caused him to regress? Was it the big contract that made him lazy? He went down to the Dominican during the All-Star break and came back on fire. Was it something in the water there? And Melky. Well. I miss him in CF. Watching Damon not catch balls and not be able to throw is painful. But Melky was never a spectacular Yankees centerfielder. He was never going to be Bernie.
I could rant about A-Rod, but what’s the point? He’ll probably have another MVP season next year (he has them in odd years, not even). The Yankees need to find him the right shrink or the right Kabbalah Centre or the right best friend (I say bring back Mientkiewicz). He’s a head case but he’s our head case for the next nine years.
Not expecting a happy ending to Pavano vs Burnett tonight, but I’ll be watching anyway. Maybe Pudge will actually get a hit.