Thursday, August 27, 2015

Yankees lacking energy during playoff race?

New York Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner told reporters Wednesday that he feels the club is lacking energy of late, more specifically saying the team was “kind of flat” in Tuesday and Wednesday’s defeats at the hands of AL West leading Houston. If there is one thing that makes me want to pull my hair out, it’s professional athletes saying they do not possess drive. I get it for teams with nowhere to go in August and September, but for a team currently holding the top wild card spot in the American League it’s pathetic.

I don’t rant often, but here it goes.

I understand the current hitting slump could affect a team’s psyche, but to come out against a potential playoff foe and be flat is inexcusable. I’m also tired of the whole notion that age alone is weighing these guys down. We are talking about professional athletes. Many of them have been treated with kid gloves all season, getting days off for rest, not to mention the days they received for minor injuries or longer periods off the field for stints on the disabled list.

Prolonged slumps don’t fix themselves. These guys need to buckle up and work at correcting the issues. One month further along in the season should not be enough to drag down the entire offense. Gardner gets it right with this comment via Bryan Hoch at MLB.com.

"It's that time of the year where we've played a lot of games and nobody's going to slow down and wait on you," Gardner said. "You've got to come here and strap it on and get ready to play, and that's it."

Further, I’m a bit tired of hearing how 40-year-old Alex Rodriguez’s deep funk – he has nine hits in his last 74 at-bats – is due to his age. The guy is an everyday DH, who has been given periodic rests throughout the season. The mechanics of hitting a baseball are difficult to maintain day in and day out, but how tiring can hitting a baseball really be?

This isn’t an Over-40's men’s softball league, where former athletes working 10-hour days come together to tie a few on and play a game. This is professional baseball, where millions of dollars are being paid to players whose sole desire should be to reach the playoffs. It is within the Yankees’ grasp, but they’re too old to get the job done? Come on.

I’ll use Carlos Beltran as an example. He’s 38, playing virtually every day in the field and he’s been red-hot since May 1; arguably the club's best hitters during the span. I’ve had enough with the age card, it's a factor among many, not the lone reason for a slump.

Here's my advice to Yankees hitters not named Beltran. Sit down since you're tired, watch some video and then get in the cage and spank baseballs until there’s a hole in your batting gloves.

Slumps are part of the baseball season, but once a team in the thick of a playoff race admits to lacking energy with 36 games left on the schedule, it’s time to check themselves in the mirror and ask some questions. How bad to we want it? What are we going to do to improve? And are we going to fight for our place in the postseason?

Let’s hope they find some energy and some passion as they look up at the Toronto Blue Jays in the AL East standings this morning.

Christopher Carelli is a freelance baseball writer. Besides his work here, Christopher is a featured Yankees writer for SNY.tv. His baseball commentary has also been published on Yahoo Sports and linked multiple times on MLB Trade Rumors’ Baseball Blogs Weigh In. He is a member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America, the Baseball Bloggers Alliance and the BYB Hub.



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