Clubhouse finds clarity following loss
Thursday's closed-door meeting focuses on consistency
NEW YORK -- Less than 12 hours after he rocked the Yankees with a scathing team meeting, Joe Girardi was preaching coolness on Friday, proclaiming it a new day and urging his players to move on.
Girardi let his club hear it after they were silenced by Boston's Jon Lester in a complete-game five-hitter on Thursday evening, closing the clubhouse for more than 30 minutes as he attacked the team's lack of consistency.
With morning's clarity, his message remained much the same -- the Yankees must find a way to establish a more stable level of production, both on offense and defense.
"That's how you put streaks together, that's how you win series," Girardi said. "You have to be consistent. You can't have one aspect of the game and not the other, and expect to win the game. It has to be everything that we do."
Girardi said that he had decided to hold the meeting -- at least his fourth since taking the Yankees' managerial post -- after the game had ended.
Derek Jeter believed that the loss to Boston wasn't nearly as much to blame as the club's continued struggles -- New York, which entered Friday eight games back of division-leading Tampa Bay, has lost four of five and has been limited to just four runs in those defeats.
According to published reports, Jeter and Johnny Damon also addressed the team during the meeting. Part of Damon's message was an impassioned plea for the 45-41 Yankees to begin playing like the rosters in the franchise's storied history, a speech he touched upon later Thursday while speaking to reporters.
"We've got to go out there and play with passion, put the pinstripes on," Damon said. "There's 26 world championships here for a reason. Those guys strapped it on every single day and went out and got the job done, and that's what we need to do."
Girardi said that he believed his club had a number of players who help to "police" the atmosphere of the clubhouse, a trait that was a frequently-cited hallmark during Joe Torre's successful run in New York.
Girardi did not mention those players by name, but said, "I think there's a lot of different guys that do it. There's a lot of veterans here that know what we expect. They all do it a different way -- that's the thing. You don't necessarily need to have it done just one way. Everyone's personality is different in that clubhouse and everyone responds to things different."
The Yankees did make one small roster tweak before Friday's game, recalling left-hander Billy Traber from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and optioning infielder Alberto Gonzalez. Girardi explained that the Yankees had used both Dan Giese and LaTroy Hawkins in relief of starter Andy Pettitte during Thursday's 7-0 loss and felt an extra arm would help for the matchup against the Red Sox, while Gonzalez -- batting just .173 in 52 at-bats -- needed regular duty.
In assessing why the Yankees have lacked consistency, Girardi pointed out that the club's pitching had been satisfactory -- for the most part -- over the past month, keeping the team in games.
That places the onus mostly on the offense, and it would be difficult to find a more glaring comparison than the 24-hour period this week -- according to the Elias Sports Bureau, Thursday marked the first time in Yankees history that the club scored at least 18 runs and then was shut out the next game.
The last time it happened in Major League history was in 2000, when the Tigers beat the Blue Jays, 18-6, on July 20 in Toronto and then were stifled in a four-hit Kelvim Escobar shutout the next day.
Girardi said that he believed the Yankees' levels of approach and preparedness had been satisfactory, and that the club was giving effort. It has been the results, he said, that he has not been happy with.
"We need to win games, that's the bottom line," Girardi said. "Am I looking for anything in particular? What I'm looking for is consistency, from all aspects. You see what happens today and the next day. You take it one day at a time, but we have to start winning series. There's no magic formula here. We have to win series, and you do that by being consistent."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.