ALDS food for thought

The other side of the Torre story
Three years ago, Rivera sang a different tune

In the ALDS, Derek Jeter hit .176/.176/.176 and played a rather unspectacular defense. He hit into three double plays in two games and was responsible for a disproportionate 17 of the Yankees’ 108 outs. Yet, people are more apt to blame A-Rod, mosquitoes or Joe Torre for the Yanks’ early postseason exit. Doesn’t Jeter deserve more than his fair share of the blame considering he was responsible for more than his fair share of rally-killing outs this month?

The other side of the Torre story
Three years ago, Rivera sang a different tune
  • Jamie

    Agree 110%. My best friend is a huge DJ supporter and one of the novices who blames AROD for everything… its safe to say that we have had our fair share of arguments over the past few days.
    I love how everyone depicts ARODs performance as abysmal when he hit .267 in the series after being horrible in the first game and part of the second.

    Oh and another thing, for Buster Olney to say that Jeter gets a “lifetime free pass” for being part of the dynasty teams is just ridiculous. Maybe the fair weather fans are perfectly fine with doing this, but as a person who follows this team on a minute by minute basis, its stupid to have such a narrow view of history.

    DJ is a great player, don’t get me wrong, but maybe its time we stop (im not saying you are Ben or anyone else who runs this blog) placing him on the same pedestal that MJ and Ruth stand on when it comes to “big time” performers in “big time” games.

    • Tk_NYY

      Easy. Yes he had a bad series, but we all know he’s playing hurt. He’s come through SO MANY times that he gets a lifetime pass.

      Arod had an OK series, which is fine, but he has NEVER had a GREAT series in the postseason(as a Yankee at least). Plus the whole best player/highest paid player stuff will ensure he ALWAYS gets the brunt of the blame until does have a great one, not an OK one.

      If Arod can’t handle that, he can tell his agent to stop pitching him as the best player in history, demanding 30+ million a year. You make your bed, you lie in it.

      • steve (different one)

        Arod had an OK series, which is fine, but he has NEVER had a GREAT series in the postseason(as a Yankee at least).

        wrong. he hit .421/.476/.737 in the 2004 ALDS.

        and a lifetime pass for Jeter? give me a break.

        it’s funny that you mention A-Rod’s contract as a reason he should get criticized. guess how many titles the Yankees have won since Jeter signed the SECOND biggest contract of all time?? that’s right, zero.

  • steve (different one)

    i blame wang first. wang single handedly put them out of position to win 2 games.

    but yes, jeter’s poor postseason performances have always gone unnoticed. this one is really the first time there have been whispers.

    he escaped completely for the 2004 ALCS even though he was terrible.

    and this is not to knock Jeter. Jeter is great, this is just what happens in short series. there are simply not enough ABs to mask a tiny cold streak.

    still, if Jeter was A-Rod people would be pointing out that since Game 2 of the 2006 ALDS, Jeter has hit .214/.241/.286 and the Yankees have lost 6 of 7 of those games. why do i cut off game one of the 2006 ALDS? b/c when everyone criticizes Alex they choose the AB following his HR in game 4 of the 2004 ALCS to start the count. it’s BS for Jeter and it’s BS for Alex.

    the Yankees have failed the last few years b/c their starters have been terrible. it’s that simple.

  • JS

    YES. Jeter will get a pass because he’s a “True Yankee” with 4 rings. I’ll say this though — I wouldn’t kick him off the team because of his bad post-season or even boo him, but I wouldn’t boo Arod either. Booing contributes to bad performances. Also, if you have 9 batters, I don’t care who they are, someone’s almost always going to go 0-4 and someone’s usually going to be in a slump. The problem with the Yanks was, in part, due to too many of those 9 hitters going into a slump.

    But, at the end of the day, it’s pitching stupid (I’m not calling Ben Stupid I’m just using the catch phrase). In 2007, the Yanks ERA+ was 96 and they were tied for 10th in the AL. They had roughly the same kind of performance in 2004, 2005 and 2006. Teams with below 100+ ERA’s can win the world series (See 2006 Cardinals), but it’s uncommon. If you look at the 1996-2003 Yanks, they AVERAGED a team ERA+ of 111 and their average Rank in the AL was 2.75 (and they were never lower than 4th). And none of those teams had an all star at every position. Good pitching beats good hitting — it’s been proven over and over again, no matter how you skin the cat.

    I like the idea of Joba + Kennedy + Hughes + some decent middle relievers + Mo to reverse that trend. I also think that the Yanks should send Wang + Tabata and a couple other guys if necessary (but not Joba, Kennedy or Hughes) to the Twins for Johan Santana. If they make the postseason with a 111+ ERA or at least in the top 4, then their offense can make the difference as it frequently did from 1996-2003.

    By the way, the Sox ERA+ this year? 118 and that was #1 in the AL. Cleveland was 109 and was 3rd, so I have some hope that the Sox won’t win, but if they do it’s the pitching stupid.

    • steve

      I’m sorry, I just don’t think you make a trade for johan UNLESS the red sox are seriously close on making the trade for him happen (just like when they were part of the three way trade when colon left the expos) he’s going to get his money so why bother wasting prospects when you could land him in 09. wang is not an ace. he’s our number 1 but he’s not an ace. He would be a hell of a number 2 or 3 and I can’t wait to throw hughes and joba at whoever we face in the playoffs in the future … follow them with wang and or kennedy and you’ve got our first respectable pitching staff since 03

  • Ivan

    Yea Jeter need to deserve the blame no question. He was awful and killed the yankees in crucial spots and I am a huge Jeter guy. Not to mention fans and media alike are not killing A-Rod as much this year becuase without him this team doesn’t make the postseason and even though A-Rod wasn’t great, Jeter was worse.

    Nevertheless, the reason why the yankees have not had good postseasons is because of the pitching whether it’s in the rotation or in the bullpen. the pitching for the yanks for the last three seasons have been average at best. The yankees have not won a WS in 7 years but that drought can be misleading. For starters from 2001-2003, the yankees when to the Ws two of three years because the pitching was top notch. In 2001, you had Clemens who won the cy young, Mussina was one of the better pitchers in baseball, pettie and El Duke.

    In 2003, we had a solid clemens as our 3 starter, Mussina had a great year, Pettite won 20 games that year and David Wells despite the injury to the back area was stilla very good starter. In those two years we just got period. Now from 2004-present time, we have been ousted three consecutive first round exit and of course the historical collapse. The pitching was bad period. In 2001 and 03 when we went to the Ws our offense wasn’t great but the pitching covered for that and they got there nevertheless. No for the last four seasons our pitching has been mediocre and puts pressure on our offense to get hits. The offense doesn’t get a free pass but at least it justify there struggles right?

    Nevertheless again, the pitching was bad. When three of the four games, your starting pitching doesn’t last in the 5th inning, your dead period. Until the Yankees improve with the pitching, we are going to be in the same fucking predictament. Hopefully Hughes, Joba and Kennedy and a little bullpen help from the young guys in the minors can do the trick and little veteren help from pettie as well and hopefully Wang lern from his experiences this year. I was reading Tom verducci had a starterling stat, in the games that the yankees are 3-14 in the postseason, the era of the pitching is like 6.00+. You can’t win games like that in the postseason period.

    Yankees need to step they game up in the pitching department, if they do that, thwn maybe they wouldn’t put that much pressure on the offense to hit great against GOOD pitching. Hopefully in the future that can change.


  • JS

    why do I keep reading that they’re 3-14? That’s wrong.

    In 2004 they lost their last 4 to the Sox.
    In 2005 they went 2-3
    In 2006 they went 1-3
    In 2007 they went 1-3

    By my calculations, they are 4-13 in their last 16 post-season games, but I keep reading the 3-14 stat and scratching my head. To be fair, you really can’t cherry pick the last 4 losses to the Sox without including the 3 wins prior to that. Still, going 7-13 sucks too…Can’t win any series with that kind of record.

    • Travis G.

      i agree, it’s totally selective. why not the 3 wins in the 04 LDS too?

  • Travis G.

    oh yeah, i didnt think it was secret about DJ’s failure this PS. but Wang is atop the list, followed by DJ, Posada.

  • Count Zero

    Nobody gets a lifetime pass. Nobody. (Well maybe Mo.) Unless by lifetime you mean until such time as he sucks enough where we decide to release him.

    I think the larger question is whether or not Jeter’s worst in MLB UZR is something we’re prepared to live with at short as we rebuild around young pitching.

    Honestly, I’m not worried about Jeter’s hitting — it will always come around. But he’s a fucking awful defensive SS at this point. The amount of groundballs that he waves futilely at which other SS make routine plays on is getting out of hand. He should be thinking about LF…

    • steve

      i’d love to see jeter leave SS when we get someone who can take over for him … if he didn’t leave for arod he’ll never leave … his range is getting worse and worse but if you think he will leave short stop anytime soon you’re crazy. jete is a stubborn stubborn man.

      i do believe he would be a hell of a corner outfielder or 1st baseman at worst.

  • Ivan

    Yea his defense is not that good but to think Jeter is going to move that easily, you are going to be very dissapointed.

    SS, CF and C are three of the most significant positions in baseball and good ss, cf and c is always going to think that he’s better than his counterpart. In concern with those three position especially ss ego is always something that’s going to be there and Jeter is obviously stubborn but you can’t blame the guy becuase he’s been bread a ss throught his baseball career.

  • Ivan

    SS position is the WR in football. Even the crappy WR thinks he’s better than randy moss. It’s a pride, ego and stubborn thing.

  • Bill

    Dear members of the “What-Have-You-Done-For-Me-Lately” Club: I love hearing how DJ isn’t clutch any more, can’t hit in post-season.

    The envelope please:

    2004 ALDS .316/.350/.526
    2005 ALDS .333/.364/.619
    2006 ALDS .500/.529/.938

    So he had a bad run against Cleveland. Anyone want to seriously argue that we’d have played in the post-season at all without him? Anyone want to look at his being 3rd in the AL in hitting with two outs and men on?

    I don’t blame Arod either.

    Matsui, on the other hand, has been a trainwreck. And maybe someone should look into getting a real, full-time first baseman (and finding out what happened to Carlos Pena this year.)

    • steve (different one)

      why did you leave out the 2004 ALCS?

      i actually agree with most of your post, but how come these “we wouldn’t even be in the playoffs without him” arguments were ignored in 2005-2006 when calling for A-Rod’s head?

      how come these “anyone can have 17 bad ABs” arguments were ignored last off-season when everyone wanted to trade A-Rod?

      • yankz

        They weren’t ignored on the internet (see one of my comments below).

  • Adam

    I think I’m more inclined to applaud the Indians than blame the Yankees or any Yankee in particular.

  • yankz

    The last two posts say it all. No chance the Yankees make the playoffs without Jeter. And all of a sudden we think 17 AB against a team that had a 3.20 ERA over the last month is somehow indicative of an inability to hit in the playoffs? A couple of those line drives go a foot either way and he’s having another solid series.

    If it’s not Arod, it’s Jeter. Yankee fans just need somebody to pile on, I guess.

    Cashman has said explicitly very, very recently that Jeter’s not switching positions, so it’s stupid to speculate.

    • Count Zero

      It’s never stupid to speculate. Speculation is fun — especially when there are four months left till pitchers and catchers!

      If Jeter’s defensive skills continue to decline further next year and he refuses to move, I would argue that he is rapidly approaching the point of being trade bait. (BLASPHEMY! I know, I know…sorry but I’m a realist.)

      As has been pointed out, SS is one of three most important defensive positions on the field — some would argue THE most important. Jeter is basically league-worst defense already — how much worse can you allow him to get before even his hitting doesn’t cover that? I give him the benefit of the doubt right now because he was hurt all year — perhaps the injury only temporarily hurt his range. We’ll see…but “past a diving Jeter” is becoming an overused cliche IMO.

      Besides, what makes you so positive Cashman will have his job one year from now? No one is indispensable or untouchable in a corporation — if you ever worked for one, you should recognize that fact. I’m sure he does. :-)

      • yankz

        When was the last time you heard a “Cash is gone” rumor? I’d be shocked if it happens anytime soon.

  • Travis

    Yes, Derek needs to shoulder some of the blame.

  • Mike A.

    Jeter made 17 outs in 17 plate appearances in the ALDS. Says it all right there.

  • Bill

    Mike A.,
    Says what?
    That he had a horrible series?
    That it should change our opinion of him?
    That we should forget the scores of games he’s won for us?
    That he should hit .500 again or he’s a loser?
    I don’t think so.

    • yankz

      Or forget that even if he was the worst Yankee hitter, the rest of the team wasn’t far behind him? Or that despite these whopping 17 AB, his career postseason stats are still remarkably in line with his excellent career stats? Or that Cleveland had a 3.20 TEAM ERA!! over the last month! The entire team pitched like the Cy Young winner!

      I just don’t get why Yankee fans around the internet will defend Arod and his 60ish AB with “He wasn’t the only one struggling” and “It’s too small a sample” but throw Jeter under the bus after 17. Don’t get me wrong, both of those are true- Arod doesn’t deserve what he’s gotten. But like I said, “If it’s not Arod, it’s Jeter. Yankee fans just need somebody to pile on, I guess.”

  • yankz

    And if you’re calling for the press to blast Jeter like they did Arod, well, I guess you’re consistent. But wouldn’t you be a better fan if you called for the press to realize that 17 or 20 rough AB samples against the best pitching in the league doesn’t reflect some sort of mental lack?

    • Ben K.

      The latter point you make is the point that I’m hinting at. Even the Golden Boy can have a bad series. 17 ABs do not a career make.