Yankees need to stay above waterThis year's team cannot fall too far behind first place
On to the Yankees When you look at this team, you have to understand that it's an older ballclub now and these guys are starting to approach their mid 30s. You have arguably the best player in baseball, Alex Rodriguez, on the sidelines and you've got Jorge Posada, who is a leader, not in the trenches right now. He's a guy that's a switch hitter, and in my opinion a clutch hitter and always a tough out. With these two guys on the sidelines, other clubs can now can pitch the lineup much differently. When you take these guys out of the lineup, you are asking the other veterans, like Jason Giambi and Bobby Abreu, to pick up the slack. Sometimes those players put a little more pressure on themselves to do that.
I'll tell you, the team as it stands right now, they don't appear built for a championship. Don't worry, though, how many years have we said this about the Yankees? I think it's been the last three years when people have said they aren't going to make the playoffs. Though they started off bad, they somehow found a way to get in.
However, I don't think they can afford to put themselves in that type of hole again. When you take a look at their schedule over the next couple of weeks, they don't have an easy run. They have to find a way to stay above water and stay above .500 until they get their weapons back.
Robinson Cano, incidentally, is not a .150 hitter. You know he'll turn that around. Each year you have to make adjustments, because pitchers are trying to find a way to get you out. They are making adjustments, and that's the beauty of the game of baseball. You see each other so much, you see pitchers so much. They do homework on you, which becomes such a cat-and-mouse game. Cano is a great hitter, but he's gotten off to a slow start. And when you get off to a slow start, you have to fight the battle of not pressing, of not putting too much pressure on yourself, of not trying to force the game, and continually trying to have good at-bats and let the game come to you.
Nobody likes to hit .150. Nobody likes to look up at the scoreboard and see a .150 average. That puts a little pressure on you. Then you got the fans on you, and because you want to succeed so much, you try to make it happen. You chase balls out of the strike zone and you're putting pressure on yourself.
I think Cano, at times, needs someone to keep his focus sharp. He cares about the game and he plays hard, but sometimes he might lose focus. I can see someone like Larry Bowa being the type of guy, that when he notices Robinson may be losing focus, he peps him up. He says something to him and gets his focus right.
Well, at some point, Cano cannot be babysat; he's a grown man who has been in the league long enough. You're expecting for him to have more of an impact in the clubhouse as well as on the field. He has to hand in that belt of a young player and get that veteran player belt. He's there now.
In 1993, I don't think I hit above .200 until June. In April and May, I think I was hovering around .200. Now granted I was hitting home runs. At the All-Star break I may have been hitting like maybe .244, but I had 20 homers and 50 RBIs. My point is, it's the first month and you are only talking 100 at-bats. If he stays healthy, Cano has another 400-500 at-bats. But if it's June and he's hitting .150, we got problems. I don't think that's going to happen though. He's too good a hitter who is just off to a slow start.