So as the post-season for the New York Yankees came to a close last night after a dreadful 8-1 victory for the Detroit Tigers, many questions were brought up about how abysmal the Yankees were during this brief post-season (unlike that of the former NHL which takes about 7 months).
The Yankees were swept by what appeared to be a much more rested and powerful Detroit Tigers team and from the word go, couldn’t quite crawl back to their former glory. The Yankees post season as a whole was carried by its pitching, which is one thing many media outlets said that they lacked coming into the post-season. People always say that pitching is what win’s you games in the post-season and though that is still true and relevant, if you can’t hit the ball out of the infield, no matter how good your pitching may be you still will not win.
CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes as well as the Yankee bullpen all pitched well enough to win ball games during the ALCS but no matter what they did, not matter how few run’s they allowed the opposition to score the Yankee hitter’s couldn’t give them a lead (let alone a hit in most cases).
Here’s some numbers for you: Curtis Granderson who posted staggering power numbers yet again during the regular season batted only .100 (3-30) with 16 K’s during the post-season after performing well in the regular season with a .232 batting average, 43 home runs and 106 RBI’s. He failed to make a key play in-game 4 which cost the Yankees a run by taking a horrendous route on a ball hit by Miguel Cabrera. When the Yankees acquired him from the Detroit Tigers 3 years ago they knew he couldn’t really hit left-handed pitching but, they didn’t think he couldn’t hit at all. He along with other notable Yankees just seem to not fair well with the bat in October.
This one hurts me. Nick Swisher, right fielder for the Yankees and one of the best personalities in baseball (behind that of Brandon Phillips of course) also had a terrible post-season both with the bat and with the glove. Not known as being a premier outfielder by any stretch of the imagination botched 2 key plays in game two of the ALCS that led to runs being scored that inevitably led to yet another loss. Swisher’s post-season numbers were not much better than Granderson’s batting only .167 (5-30) as well as being benched in Game 3. He also struck out 10 times during his post-season with only 3 walks (which is very un-Swisherlike). To go along with his poor post-season he also made certain comments to the media about the media themselves as well as the Yankee fans as a whole. Stating that their booing of him and other Yankees was not helping matters and that he was frustrated with the situation as whole. Regardless of his feelings, making things public like that is not going to help his cause in returning to New York now that he is a free agent.
Robinson Cano is arguably one of the best young hitters in baseball boasting a career high with 3o home runs this season to go along with his .313 BA and 94 RBI’s hit an appalling .075 (3-40) during the post season with 6 K’s. Once the calendar turned from September to October it was like he forgot how to hit. I mean, he won the home run derby in 2011 and has been in the top 5 choices for MVP numerous times as well as being a 3 time All-Star. This is a guy who lives to hit and just could not get it done. It seemed he was just guessing at what pitches he was going to be thrown and just swinging whenever something looked close. He is a guy who thrives on being patient at the plate and in these two series he was nothing but impulsive which led him to his demise.
Now, though Mark Teixeira hit quite well during the post-season (one of the few Yankees who did) posting a .281 BA a whopping 30 points higher than his regular season average, his defense in Game 4 of the ALCS was something that we have not seen in a long time. He botched 2 key plays while CC Sabathia was still on the mound that led to the bases being loaded and eventually to runs being scored reminding us of one of the most famous World Series plays in 1986 when Bill Buckner (Red Sox, 1B) let a ball roll between his legs giving the New York Mets the kick-start they needed to take down Boston that season. He along with Ichiro Suzuki were two of the three Yankees who actually did some damage this post season. Ichiro batted .275 with 11 hits and 5 RBI and tried to be that game changer at the top of the line-up hoping the guys hitting behind him would bring him home (which on most occasions didn’t happen). Raul Ibanez, the Yankees oldest player at 40 was a shinning light in this post-season hitting 2 key homers in the ALDS that brought the Yankees to face Detroit after pinch-hitting for Alex Rodriguez. Though Ibanez’s ALCS wasn’t quite what his ALDS was, he still propelled the Yankees through.
Now, I haven’t yet discussed the man in the title of this article and there is a reason for it. This article is attempting to prove that there were many players who did not play up to par and the reason for the loss to Detroit should not be thrown all onto one man.
Alex Rodriguez has had not just a poor post-season but, his regular season wasn’t much better. During the regular season he battled with injury after injury serving numerous stints on the disabled list with the main one being when King Felix (Seattle, SP) broke his left hand by hitting him with an inside fastball. That play certainly didn’t help A-Rod’s swing. His season numbers were a .272 BA, 18 HR and 57 RBI which for anyone but A-Rod wouldn’t be a horrible year but, since he is the 29 Million Dollar man we as fan’s expect a great deal more. Many of us were hopeful though; could he turn his season around in October? Apparently he couldn’t. Alex Rodriguez hit a mere .120 (3-25) with a whopping 12 strike outs this post season. Not only that but, he was benched in Game 5 of the ALDS as well as Games 3 and 4 (though he did pinch hit for Ibanez late in the game) of the ALCS. The Yankees are paying him over 20 million dollars to ride the pine? It’s astonishing to think a player of his assumed caliber to be benched at the most critical point of the season. Manager Joe Girardi made the move he felt was best for the team and benching A-Rod was that move. He wasn’t getting the job done at when you’re in the post-season regardless of who you are, if you’re not getting the job done well, than you just won’t play no matter how much you’re getting paid.
All of this is nothing in comparison to what the Yankees were missing during the ALCS and it was that of their captain, Derek Jeter. Jeter broke his ankle making a diving play in the 12th inning of Game 1 of the ALCS which ended his season. Jeter is the cornerstone of this team and for those of you who have listened to the podcast I am not the biggest Jeter Fan-Boy but, you got to give credit where credit is due and he deserves loads. He not only led the league with 216 hits this season but, he has been the pinnacle of leadership during his 17 year career in pinstripes. You could not ask for a better professional baseball player. He is everything you want in a team leader. Poise, intelligence and just a love for the game which is something the Yankees could have really used.
At the end of the day, the team just seemed flat. Not that they didn’t care, far from it but, that there was no spark. No drive to achieve the goal at hand. Coming into game 4, they did not look like that 2004 Boston Red Sox team that came back being down 3 games to none and not only make it all the way to the World Series but then win it. There seemed to be no urgency in the matter, that they themselves had given up. I’ve been a Yankee fan as well as a baseball fan my entire life and to say those things hurts me greatly but, I can’t help but think this way. I look back to the Torre era when the Yankees Dynasty first began. Those teams of 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000 were totally different teams built for a purpose. It wasn’t a team of all-stars, good players yes but, certainly not a team worth 200 million. The days of Bernie Williams, Tino Martinez, Scott Brosius and Chuck Knoblauch are far behind us. A team built of B and C players who individually could not make a huge difference but, when put together created a unit built to win. That’s not the Yankee way anymore, it’s moved on from that. Now its about buying and selling of young talent for older, slightly more established talent. I guess that’s the way of it now.
But hey, I’m Luch and I know nothing.