I made a joke last night. It wasn’t much of a joke, just one of those random things that you say outloud when the reality is far too obvious for in-depth analysis. I told someone that the Yankees biggest problem is simple: They’re just not winning enough.
This team looked very good Sunday afternoon in Baltimore, and it looked very bad last night in Boston. It’s spent the past week trading wins and losses — up one night, down the next — and just when it seemed to get a boost from Mark Teixeira, there was a groundball to second and Teixeira couldn’t run any more.
“You’ve got to keep fighting,” Joe Girardi said. “You’ve got to score runs. That’s the bottom line. You’ve got to score runs.”
No one wants to hear the “fight” stuff any more. No one wants to hear about tipping your cap or having good at-bats. In the month of September, the Yankees have scored one more run than they’ve allowed. The pitching hasn’t been perfect — Ivan Nova returning to form and Andy Pettitte returning at all would look pretty good right now — but it’s the offense that seems especially thin. Especially against left-handers. Especially on nights like last night when Alex Rodriguez goes 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
“He needs to play well,” Girardi said. “But he’s not the only one. A lot of guys. We need to play well down the stretch if we want to accomplish what we want to accomplish.”
What makes the Yankees think they can accomplish that?
“Because we’ve done it all year, pretty much,” Derek Jeter said. “We wouldn’t be in the position we are now — tied for first — you wouldn’t be tied for first unless you found ways to win games throughout the course of 140-something games that we’ve played. We’ve got to do it again.”
That’s why I joked that the problem is simple. Because there’s no telling what to expect from Nova or Pettitte, Teixeira’s calf muscle is a wild card, and there’s no time left for a season-saving trade or a smart waiver wire addition. These are your guys, and they simply have to win. Throw a shutout every night. Hit a million home runs. Whatever it is, at this point in the season, just win.
“We got a lot of talent in here, man,” Nick Swisher said.
This his thought seemed to trail off a little bit.
“When you start putting it all together…”
Associated Press photo