Sizing up the first half
July, 15, 2013
By Matt Ehalt | ESPNNewYork.com
Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesIs Joe Girardi pleased with his pinstripers, six games back of Boston at the break? "It's not where I want to be," said the Yanks' skipper.NEW YORK -- For as much as the Yankees have overachieved so far this season, the playoffs would not be in the equation for the Bronx Bombers if the season ended today.
That's why Yankees manager Joe Girardi can't take too much satisfaction from his team's play in the first half, as they're currently six games behind Boston in the AL East and three games out of the Wild Card.
"It's not where I want to be," Girardi said Sunday after the Yankees lost 10-4 to Minnesota to conclude the first half. "I've said I think these guys have done a pretty good job. We've had a lot of changeover here. A lot of guys asked to do things they weren't expected to do when the winter started and into January. It's not where we want to be so I don't think anyone should be satisfied with where we're at."
In what's been a first half defined by injuries, a lack of runs, and more injuries, the Yankees have exceeded expectations thus far, but know that they need to play better baseball in the second half. Over the past two months, the Yankees have struggled to play consistent baseball and slipped in the standings.
"Proud of this team. No matter what we've dealt with a lot of adversity and to still be right there in the middle of thing I think is an accomplishment in itself," Yankees starter CC Sabathia said after taking the loss in Sunday's game. "You're never satisfied. Need to do better and play better. We look forward to getting guys back and hopefully we can take off in the second half."
The Yankees started the season 30-18, finding ways to win despite the absences of Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson. Eventually, though, those injuries caught up and the team has been up and down. The losses have reverberated throughout the lineup, as the Yankees already have 46 games when they have scored three runs or fewer.
"I think we just need to be more consistent. We have to stay out of stretches where we don't score runs -- where you score one then you score two the next day. We have to stay out of those stretches," Girardi said. "We have to be more consistent offensively. If we do that we're going to have a shot. That's probably what we need to do more than anything. We need to continue to pitch too."
In most years, the Yankees are one of the teams being hunted in the second half in the playoff race. This season, the roles are reversed, and the Yankees will be the ones that set their sights on picking off those teams in front of them. It starts Friday when the Yankees start a huge three-game set in Boston.
"I think everybody in here knows what we're up against and what we have to do to try to make the playoffs and win this division," Sabathia said. "It's up to us to come out consistent and play the way we can play."