In an interview yesterday, George Steinbrenner said Joe Torre probably would not be back to manage the Yankees next year if they lose to the Indians. Do you blame him? Seriously?
I said before that Joe unquestionably deserves praise for how he handled the team after it started 21-29. But the team is 2/3 of the way toward getting creamed in the playoffs for the second straight year by a team the Yanks completely crushed during the regular season. If the Yanks go out in 3, it would be their first 3-0 loss since 1980, the game 3 would be their sixth-straight playoff loss, and it would be their fourth-straight series loss in the playoffs -- more uncharted negatives for the greatest franchise in sports.
Indeed, the first two innings of this game have shown twice a major problem of Torre when the team is down -- complacency. The Yanks failed to run in Game 5 of the '04 ALCS when knuckleballer Tim Wakefield pitched to unable-to-catch-the-knuckler Jason Varitek, and the Yanks couldn't score despite three passed balls. Tonight already the Yanks have bounced into two weak DPs after leadoff singles by players completely capable of stealing a base.
The Yankees of the future (Hughes, Sanchez, Joba, Kennedy, Austin Jackson, Alberto Gonzalez) are the players who will replace the Torre guys. The farm system has been restocked by the excellent work of Damon Oppenheimer and Brian Cashman. Torre is not the manager to take that group into the future. Who is? Mattingly, Girardi, Mike Scioscia (if the Angels are stupid enought to let him go), Bob Melvin. That group will have to revive the franchise.