As Robinson Cano weekly grounded out towards 2nd base I, like many other Yankee fans, turned the channel half disgusted and half optimistic. Optimistic that the burst we saw after the 6th inning would carry over to the next game. Disgusted because Max Scherzer a pitcher with a 4.43 ERA dominated the Yankees for over 6 innings even carrying a no-hitter for much of his time on the mound. He overmatched the Yankees and many times made them look silly.
But what’s most alarming is that the Yankee bats have been atrocious. Aside from Robinson Cano the only Yankees that seem to have showed up to the ballpark int his series have been Brett Gardner, Jorge Posada and Curtis Granderson.
After Game 1 finally concluded yesterday I thought the Yankees took control of the series and a bit of momentum but I felt they were cheated. Cheated from really taking this series from the Tigers and turning one loss into a virtual panic button alert for Detroit.
CC Sabathia carried that momentum to the mound for the Bronx Bombers and aside from a solo homerun to Delmon Young, he shut down the Tigers offense. Then the rain rolled in and once again effected a New York Yankees game.
Who would have known how that game would have turned out but it seemed the Yankees were in control and stealing the momentum. The game was called and we were forced to tune in on Saturday night for the conclusion.
Now the Yankees rotation was put in flux a bit. They had to essentially use Nova and Sabathia for one game. This made Girardi say the two words every Yankees fan hates to hear….”A.J”.
That’s right, in Game 4 (which may be a deciding game) we are hinging our season hopes on the erratic, inconsistent, undependable and frustrating A.J Burnett who has labored through yet another Yankees season.
On Sunday the Yankees sent Freddy Garcia out to the mound to try and take Game 2 and head to Detroit with a constricting grip on the throat of the Tigers. Garcia pitched very well despite giving up 2 runs early in the 1st inning off a 2-run homerun from Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera is easily one of the best hitters in the game so giving up a bomb to him wasn’t that surprising. For the most part Garcia handled the Tigers offense.
But the New York Yankees faced Max Scherzer, a Tigers pitcher who was 15-9 with a 4.43 ERA. One would assume they could do some damage. But the Yankees weren’t just overmatched by Scherzer, they were embarrassed. Scherzer took a no-hitter well into the 6th inning protecting a 2 run lead.
The Yankees made their usual late game push but could not overcome a 4 run deficit in the 9th and the series will head to Detroit notted up a one game a piece.
But how good is this Yankees team?
Alex Rodriguez who I have supported and defended for much of the past 2 seasons has been downright pathetic this postseason. Obviously hurt, A-Rod has no business in the cleanup spot at this point and has failed to notch a single hit this series. Please give back half of the $32 million invested in you this season. In fact hand it over to Robinson Cano and Ivan Nova.
And hey, let’s not place all the blame on A-Rod. The guy is legitimately hurt and playing hurt. Wonder where his power went? That thumb injury stole it and the knee injury isn’t making things easier. But to keep plugging A-Rod into the cleanup spot is ridiculous. Shoot him in the 5 spot and get him some better pitches to hit.
Mark Teixeira hasn’t been much better, which tells me he is uncomfortable in the 5 spot. In fact, I would suggest moving him to the cleanup and having him protect Cano. Give Tex those pitches and have A-Rod protect him. But then you put two lefty hitters (Tex is a switch but a better left handed hitter) back to back in that lineup.
Derek Jeter was 0-5 on Sunday and hasn’t been the “Playoff version” of himself we are so used to seeing. He had a wonderful 2nd half of the season and hasn’t been able to get it started in the postseason. But frankly, I tend not to worry too much about Jeter in the postseason. Eventually he’ll get going. But when is “eventually” going to happen?
But what’s most troubling is the chances the Yankees were given and had not taken advantage of. A routine pop up by Granderson in the bottom of the 9th with two outs that Tigers catcher Alex Avila couldn’t field due to slipping in his pursuit would have ended the game. In the past the Yankees would have taken advantage of that break and capitalized, but Granderson struck out swinging.
The Yankees have looked goo in flashes but those flashes are becoming few and far between. What worries me is that this is a batting order that doesn’t seem to care until the late innings and if they do care they don’t seem to use max effort until the later innings.
Sure, we can all say it’s because the starter is either out or tired but in reality no matter how you slice it, the Yankees seem lost at the plate.
In Game 1 the Yankees had a lot of 2 strike, 2 out hits that told me they were capable of playing championship caliber offense, but let’s not forget how dominant Doug Fister looked on the mound for the Tigers.
Needless to say this series is headed back to Detroit. So before fans start pondering who is going to meet the Yankees in the ALCS, i think they should worry more about how many bats in that Yankee lineup plan to show up in Game 3.
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