Yankees-Indians: In Defense of Joe Torre
"What have you done for me lately?" is a common saying in the sports world—but can you really apply it to a manager who's won four World Series titles?
Joe Torre entered Sunday night's game against the Cleveland Indians in a win-or-go-home situation—literally.
Before Game Three of the ALDS, George Steinbrenner said his manager's job was on the line.
There's no way that Steinbrenner actually meant what he said. This was another one of the Boss' heavy-handed pump-up strategies.
Joe Torre has meant far too much to the Yankee organization to possibly get fired over a sweep at the hands of the Indians.
First of all, the Indians are the better squad. When a team can throw out C.C. Sabbathia and Fausto Carmona in a short series, they're going to be tough to beat.
What's more, the Yankees overachieved this season. In fact, 2007 may have been Torre's best managerial job since the Bombers' last World Series.
Still, these Yanks have flaws. The team was built to outscore you, not out-pitch you. That's a problem in the postseason.
Pitching wins in October. When your team's best pitcher is Chien-Ming Wang, your chances are going to be bleak. Experience matters in the playoffs—and Wang just doesn't have it.
As for the rest of the New York staff—Roger Clemens may be the greatest pitcher of all time, but he's losing velocity with every splitter he throws. Clemens' body has officially figured out he is 45 years old and has been shut down for the ALDS & ALCS. And Andy Pettitte, the Rocket's best bud, hasn't pitched up to his standards.
It's going to be a long offseason as the Yankees mull their options on the mound. Will they re-sign Mariano Rivera? Do they turn Joba Chamberlain into a starter—or possibly use him to replace Rivera and spend the money elsewhere?
There's also the Alex Rodriguez issue to address—especially after another disappointing postseason performance.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves—the Yankees did win a must-win game on Sunday. With Paul Byrd on the mound for the Indians vs. Wang on Monday night, this could become a good series very quickly.
Whatever the outcome, the point stands that Torre shouldn't be fired. Of course, Steinbrenner isn't the most predictable man in the world—but here's hoping the two-time Manager of the Year stays in pinstripes.
Not many managers can say they have lead their team to 12 straight postseason apperances.
That said, don't be surprised if Torre decides to hang up the cleats win or lose. He deserves to walk out of Yankee Stadium with his head held high—and to be put on a pedestal like every other Yankee great.
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