This may work during the regular season, where Yankee power can feed on the poor pitching of last and near last place teams to move themselves forward in the standings, but in the post-season, as Yankee fans have seen for the past several years, concentrating on the home run to the near exclusion of everything else is a recipe for disaster. Cleveland put up a series of sinkerball pitchers to face the Yanks and those pitchers did their jobs—they got the Yankees to hit the ball on the ground and into double plays with perfect monotony. In the face of this the Yankees did not adapt to the changed circumstances; with men at first and third and one out the Yankees never tried to steal second, never tried to scratch out a run by pulling a double steal, never tried to do anything other than what they’ve done all year long, which is wait on base for someone to knock it out of the park. The problem with relying on the home run is that relying on it is like relying on your relatives to pay you what they owe you—maybe they will, maybe they won’t, but you can bet dollars to doughnuts they won’t show up when you really need the money.
What Yankee fans have been hoping for, of course, is a return to the dynasty years, especially to 1998, where the Yankees were so dominant that winning the World Series seemed as inevitable as tomato sauce getting on your freshly ironed white shirt. The problem with this hope, of course, is that despite some of the same faces (Jeter, Posada, Rivera) this team is substantially different from the team of 1998. That team could come at you in any one of a dozen different ways and the bottom of their order was as potent as the top; the 2007 team either can’t or won’t do anything except try to hit the ball out of the park and just paid the price for their addiction to Aaron Boone moments. Unfortunately, firing Torre will not change this one iota, much as the Boss might think it will.