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Soriano benched, Giambi moved down in the lineup


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Damn, they're getting smart on us. They're benching Auto-K Soriano, moving Giambi down in the lineup, and making Jeter leadoff for tonight's game. No worries, Penny will rock 'em anyway...


(From MSNBC: http://www.msnbc.com/news/983945.asp?0bl=-0)


Benching Soriano right move by Torre

2nd baseman gets day off; Giambi drops in lineup


? ? ? Oct. 23 ?? There can?t be a Yankee fan so hopelessly optimistic as to have hoped, much less expected, Jeff Weaver to last more than an inning without making a game-losing pitch. But Weaver isn?t the reason the Yankees didn?t take a commanding lead in the World Series. The weakness of these Yankees isn?t Weaver; it?s Alfonso Soriano and Jason Giambi.? ?


? ? ? ? THEY HAVE BEEN the first and third hitters in the Yankee lineup, which means Soriano?s and Giambi?s respective jobs are to get on base and thump the ball. And they aren?t doing their jobs. They aren?t doing anything except making outs and killing rallies.

? ? ? And that?s why Joe Torre made a necessary move for Game 5 on Thursday. Torre benched Soriano and replaced him in the lineup with Enrique Wilson, meaning Derek Jeter will bat leadoff. Meanwhile, Giambi is dropped from third in the lineup to sixth.

? ? ? Credit Torre for making the right move ? a day after probably making the wrong move by bringing Weaver into Game 4.

? ? ? This isn?t news in New York. All season long, one of the sub-themes of the season was how Soriano, who had improved in each of his first two seasons in the majors, had, in his third season, stopped improving as an offensive player. Another, mentioned less often, is how precipitously Giambi?s offensive numbers have fallen in the two years since he left Oakland as an MVP and arrived in New York.

? ? ? If either one of them were hitting, the Yankees would have a 3-1 lead in this series. If both were hitting, it would be over by now. That?s how much the lack of production from two key members of the lineup has hurt the Yankees.

? ? ? Jeter, hitting second, is batting .333 for the Series. Bernie Williams, hitting fourth, is hitting .471. Hideki Matsui, hitting fifth, is at .429. But Soriano, who?s supposed to set the table, is hitting just .167 and Giambi, who?s supposed to be the run-producer, is hitting .214.?

? ? ? Those who have watched the Yankees aren?t surprised, especially at the lack of production from Soriano, an alleged All-Star. He puts up impressive power numbers ? 38 home runs and 79 extra-base hits this year ? but he topped out at 38 walks this year ? a career high ? and struck out 130 times. And there?s a growing recognition of the reality that he?s a great hitter of bad pitchers and fat mistake pitches, and a terrible hitter of good pitchers.

? ? ? The problem is he bats lead-off, a horrible place for someone who doesn?t understand the meaning of looking for his pitch, working the count, and putting the bat on the ball. He?s already set a record for postseason strikeouts with 25 and he?s got at least two more games to play before either the Yankees or the Marlins win this thing.

? ? ? If the Yankees win, it will be without his help.?

? ? ? It will also be without any substantial contribution from Giambi, who hit .342 three years ago in Oakland and .250 this year for the Yankees. He?ll hit home runs, and his two solo shots from the seven-hole against the Red Sox in Game 7 of the ALCS were instrumental in keeping the Yankees in the game long enough to win it. But even an eye problem he battled early in the season and a gimpy knee that has bothered him all year can?t explain how he could lose 92 points off his average despite moving from the worst hitters? park in baseball in Oakland to one of the best in New York.

? ? ? Like Soriano, Giambi looks lost at the plate, as if he doesn?t know why he?s standing there or what the purpose is of the stick he?s holding in his hands. Investigators who reportedly want to talk to him about a designer-steroid scandal in California will get no help from him, because he doesn?t have a clue.?

? ? ? ? Real Yankees like Williams and Jeter, get better in the clutch; Giambi and Soriano get worse. But what makes both of them maddening is that once in a while they?ll jump on a mistake or guess right and knock a ball into the seats. And it happens with just enough frequency for Yankee fans to believe that they?ll snap out of the slumps their in and take over a game and a series.

? ? ? The problem is that the evidence is that they aren?t in slumps, they?re just being themselves. Soriano is a great talent who refuses to learn how to really play the game. Giambi is a formerly great hitter who?s skills have inexplicably eroded at an early age.

? ? ? There aren?t a lot of places to hide them. Aaron Boone, who can?t hit Britney Spears? weight, has the bottom of the order pretty much locked up. Giambi can be dropped to seventh again, but if you drop Soriano, the bottom third of the order is weaker, to borrow a phrase from Abraham Lincoln, than soup made from the shadow of a chicken that?s dying of starvation.

? ? ? They?ve both had their moments this postseason, but the Yankees have mostly got where they are without them. Given the flair that Jeter, Williams and Matsui have for the dramatic, and expecting that Jorge Posada will be heard from before the Series is over, the Yankees still have the advantage on the Marlins.

? ? ? But Game 4 was there to be won, and Giambi and Soriano spent most of the night doing nothing to win it. And because Jeff Weaver, pitching on 28 days rest, was the only arm available for long relief, New York lost to the Marlins and gave a scrappy team a reason to believe that it might do to the Yankees what it did to the Giants and Cubs.?

? ? ? ? Winning championships is never easy, not even for a team that has 26 of them and is looking for 27. And when two of your most important players aren?t contributing a lick, it doesn?t get easier.

? ? ? If the Yankees end up losing, a lot of people will be blamed. But the two most deserving of it are the first and third non-hitters - Soriano and Giambi.

? ? ?



Mike Celizic writes regularly for NBCSports.com and is a freelance writer based in New York.

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"Aaron Boone, who can?t hit Britney Spears? weight, has the bottom of the order pretty much locked up..."


:lol :lol :lol :lol


It just makes me laugh hearing that...Aaron didn't do SQUAT for the Yankees until the postseason...


I hope that Matsui, Jeter, and Williams' good luck runs out and they start to suck like Soriano and Giambi.

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