GEORGE KING wrote: April 28, 2007 -- A seven-game losing streak has George Steinbrenner so concerned he is wondering if replacing Joe Torre is the answer.
Last October, The Boss came very close to boxing Torre after the second straight first-round elimination in the postseason. This past Monday, Steinbrenner expressed to Torre how disappointed he was that the Yankees were swept by the Red Sox last weekend in Boston.
Yesterday, the word out of Tampa was that Steinbrenner "was very displeased" about the way his high-priced stable of talent is underachieving and was thinking about a change.
And that was before the Red Sox punished the last-place Yankees, 11-4, in front of 55,005 at Yankee Stadium last night.
Could Torre, who is in the final year of his contract, really be fired before April is finished? Is Torre the reason the starting rotation has melted in the first month and put an alarming workload on the bullpen? Is it Torre's fault the lineup, so potent through 19 games, has gone 20 innings without an extra-base hit?
If Steinbrenner and the voices he is listening to believe the answers are "yes," and if the Yankees get swept this weekend by the Red Sox, it's not out of the realm of the possibility that The Boss could make a change.
Bench coach Don Mattingly and former Yankees catcher Joe Girardi are the names you hear when potential replacements for Torre are mentioned. Working in Girardi's favor is that he has a year of managing experience. Mattingly was moved from hitting coach to bench coach to be groomed as Torre's successor.
However, it's also possible that Steinbrenner will hold off on making a change because the pitching has been so bad.
Last night's loss lowered the Yankees' ledger to 8-13 and left them 61/2 games behind the AL East-leading Red Sox, who have won four straight against their blood rivals. The seven-game bender is the longest losing streak since a previous seven-game slide late in the 2000 season. It's the Yankees' longest losing streak in April since they dropped seven straight in 1989.
"Hopefully, we have bottomed out," Torre said. "This was the worst game we played all week."
The offense has been muted the past two games, but pitching sabotaged the Yankees last night. Surprisingly, this time it was Andy Pettitte melting down in the fifth inning after the Yankees presented him with a 4-2 lead by scoring four runs off a wild Daisuke Matsuzaka.
"The guys battled to get the lead and I gave it up. We are in a horrible skid right now," said Pettitte, who issued four of his five walks in the fifth, when the Red Sox re-took the lead by scoring three runs and chasing the veteran lefty.
"It was extremely disappointing to give up those runs. It was an absolute horrible night as far as mechanically. It was a terrible night not to feel good out there."
Torre pointed to Pettitte (1-1) not having pitched since last Friday in Boston due to a rainout and the Yankees not wanting Phil Hughes to make his major-league debut against the Red Sox as a reason for the lefty's poor outing.
"I think he had too much rest," Torre said of Pettitte, who went 42/3 innings, allowing five runs and six hits. "He mentioned to Gator [pitching coach Ron Guidry] that he was too strong."
After having Matsuzaka on the ropes in the fourth, when Johnny Damon drove in two runs and Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada plated one each, the Yankees didn't do much. Matsuzaka (3-2), who is 2-0 against the Yankees, gave up four runs, five hits and walked four in six innings.
The Red Sox tacked on a run in the eighth and four in the ninth against Mariano Rivera, who was used to make sure the rust doesn't get too deep.
"I do not think baseball of today is any better than it was 30 years ago... I still think Radbourne is the greatest of the pitchers." John Sullivan 1914-Old athletes never change.
True. It seems that this article is just what Buster thinks, anyway. I agree Torre's made some bad decisions this year, but his hand was kind of forced considering the position the team is (thanks to Cashman and George himself breaking the bank on high priced lemons for a pitching staff). I'm sure I speak for most Yankee fans out there when I say the organization will be better off once Georgie steps down...
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Torre manages a bullpen like Dolan and Isiah Thomas manage a basketball team. In the late 90's he didn't have to manage; it was a given. Guys like Stanton, Mendoza, Nelson, Mariano, etc all had defined roles. This guy pitched the 7th, this guy pitched the 8th, this guy pitched the 9th; and they were all dominant.
Now that Joe has to actually manage .... he is being exposed.
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