Melky Cabrera? Miguel Cairo? Kevin Thompson? Wil Nieves? That's four of the eight hitters that made up the lineup for the Yankees yesterday so it wasn't a huge surprise that they made it five losses in six games on the West Coast swing. Each of them did their best to contribute to a 7-2 loss in San Francisco.
Cabrera misplayed two balls in centerfield and handed the Giants eighth-inning insurance runs. Cairo went 1-for-4 and continues to be drag on the offense, not that it stopped Joe Torre from batting him second behind Cabrera. Setting the table for the big bats is so passe after all. Thompson, playing for the slumping Bobby Abreu, was 0-for-1 with a walk before being replaced by Johnny Damon. He also couldn't throw out Barry Bonds on a sacrifice fly to short right in the second inning. Damon, out of the lineup again with myriad injuries, seemed fine when he singled and stole second, though, raising the question of why he's not being asked to do a bit more for the team. Nieves was the biggest disaster. He didn't hit, his supposed rapport with Mike Mussina resulted in five poor innings for the pitcher and he couldn't stop the Giants from stealing bases whenever they wanted and threw one ball into the outfield. After turning back to Damon, Abreu and Jorge Posada for some help, Torre was left with Chris Basak and Andy Phillips on the bench. Phillips actually got a hit but Basak embarassed himself by flying out to left and standing on second thinking he'd hit a double.
Adding to the problems is a bullpen that refuses to throw strikes and a Boston team that's gotten itself back on track. The Yankees are back under .500 and 11 and a half games out of first which is nearly as dramatic a collapse as the surge that brought them four games closer 10 days ago. The time has come for a decision in the Yankee offices about chasing the playoffs. If they are serious about it they must make bold moves right now to make a postseason hunt a reality. If Damon's hurt he needs to be on the DL and there needs to be a bat brought in to replace him in the lineup. If he's not on the DL he must be in the lineup every day. Cairo and Phillips aren't acceptable answers at first base nor is Nieves a competent player for even the one day a week he's used. Kyle Farnsworth, Brian Bruney, Luis Vizcaino, Mike Myers, Ron Villone and Scott Proctor have all had enough chances to prove themselves and the proof is that they aren't good enough to get the job done. Chris Britton should come up from the minors, one or two new faces should come from outside the organization and Farnsworth should lead the parade out of town. The era of good feelings ended with the Met series, this week was a reminder of how far the team still has to go and time's a-wasting.
(AP Photo/Ben Margot)