Oct
18

Lee holds down Yanks, gives Rangers series edge

By

That's all it took (Mark Humphrey/AP)

Nine times the Yankees came to the plate needing at least two runs. Nine times they failed to produced even one. Josh Hamilton’s first-inning home run held up through the next eight and a half, and the Rangers took Game 3 of the American League Championship Series. They now lead the series two games to one.

Andy Pettitte did his part to keep the game close. After the Hamilton home run Pettitte pitched 6.2 scoreless innings, allowing just three hits and walking none. He left with the score 2-0. So did Kerry Wood. David Robertson did not. He let the game get out of hand in the ninth, removing any chance for a mystique and aura guided comeback.

It felt as though the Yanks were slowly making progress against Cliff Lee. Very slowly. But progress nonetheless. By the fourth they had earned a walk. In the fifth it was a hit. In the sixth they put a runner into scoring position — to third, even. But that was as far as they’d get. Lee cruised through the order one last time, concluding his night with his 13th strikeout. It was his third straight postseason start in which he recorded at least 10 strikeouts, and his fifth in his last six.

I wish this were a mid-June start rather than a postseason one. Not because the loss would have been essentially meaningless to the Yankees, though that does help. But because I wanted to more fully appreciate Lee’s performance. He worked into a few un-Cliff-Lee-like deep counts, but only one time did he lose a hitter. Some of that has to be attributable to the Yanks’ offense, but that doesn’t really matter. The mythical Cliff Lee showed up. You have to score a runner from second with none out if you want even the remotest shot of besting mythical Cliff Lee.

The Yanks can only hope now that mythical A.J. Burnett follows mythical Cliff Lee’s act. The Yanks are down 2-1 and need the win to ensure the return trip to Texas. Right now it doesn’t matter how comfortable anyone is with Burnett pitching Game 4. It’s all in his, and the offense’s, hands.

Categories : Game Stories

225 Comments»

  1. Big Stein says:

    Cashman should have paid Jack Z’s blackmail.

    Keeping Lee away from a prime postseason competitor was an imperative.

    oN The bright side, atleast we broke up the no hitter.

  2. Guess the ‘pitch Burnett vs Lee’ crowd were all still “idiots”.

    • Yep. Hindsight changes nothing, Steve.

      • It’s not hindsight when you were on board before it happened. What Lee did tonight was utterly predictable. Sometimes you lose a battle to win a war. That’s about planning and thought process, not after the fact second guessing.

        The great thing about sports is that we keep score and get to see who was right and who was wrong.

        • I think you should keep fighting the good fight here (I’m not on your side by I think many people were way too dismissive of your argument, which I think is defensible)… But this:

          “The great thing about sports is that we keep score and get to see who was right and who was wrong.”

          …Is flat-out false. If you do everything right and then get an unlucky result, that unlucky result is not proof that you made a mistake or should have done something differently.

          • Just when I’m completely pissed off at you, you throw in this-

            I’m not on your side by I think many people were way too dismissive of your argument, which I think is defensible

            ..which was my point. It’s a valid strategy for which only one side was argued. But that’s the internet, I guess.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Yep, good to see you still understand.

    • Take your loser mentality to CitiField, Steve.

      • Don’t tell me who to root for asshole.

        • poster on another computer who happens to be a deuce bag says:

          Oooh, drama.

          ..And I’m out. Good night to all. Go Yanks.

          • poster on another computer who happens to be a deuce bag says:

            ..And I’d like to add that while I tthink you’re beingtoo gloom and doom, Nostra-Artist, since this comment clearly pissed you off sorry for endorsing it so readily.

            ..Not that I dislike you,Mondesi.

            Oh dear.

            /Politician’d

            ..Now good night.

        • Dude, calm the fuck down, that joke was in SUPPORT of you. (I was making fun of Mike’s post when he said that starting AJ vs Lee was wrong because it’s the product of a loser mentality more befitting the Mets than the Yankees.)

          Take a deep breath, take a time-out, maybe come back when you’re not so sensitive.

      • Mike Axisa says:

        Explain to me how essentially conceding a loss, which is what everyone implied when they wanted to start A.J. in this game, is a winning strategy.

        • Dude I’m not even on that side of things, I don’t know the answer… But I think you’re looking at things through too narrow a lens. They were arguing that the Yanks would be putting themselves in better position to win the SERIES by starting AJ vs Lee, and they MIGHT have a point. It’s a matter of proper use and allocation of resources.

          • Mike Axisa says:

            You put yourself in the best position to win the series by trying to win every game, not by essentially giving the other team a win. If Lee had come out and shit the bed tonight, no one would be saying anything about starting A.J. in Game Three right now.

            • But what if you put yourself in a better position to win every game but one, and put yourself in worse position to win that one game? Again… I’m not sure what the right answer is here, and I don’t even think there is one right answer… But to totally dismiss that position? I can’t get behind that. If you tell me, before a series starts, that I can take one pill that will put my team in decent position to win any of the 7 possible games, or another pill that will put my team in EVEN BETTER position to win 6 of the 7 possible games, but worse position to win one of those games, I’m not so sure which option I choose.

              Again… Not passing judgment here, I just think there’s a conversation to be had and the AJ vs Lee position shouldn’t be dismissed as easily, and with as much disdain, as it was.

            • A-Rod's Hip says:

              do you think starting Boone Logan in the 9th inning with Mariano Rivera available against Hamilton, Guerrero, and Cruz was putting our team in the best position to win this game tonight?

            • That’s not it. Winning with Lee on the mound is a low-probability proposition, so rather than fight a losing battle you try to create mismatches elsewhere. It’s a 7 game series, so you reduce your odds in the Lee game (which was a likely loss anyway) and increase them elsewhere. It’s a valid strategy.

          • They might have a point, but I think the point is weak. It also overlooks the necessity of using A.J. twice potentially. So you’d use him to throw away Game 4 but trust him with Game 7?

            • Again… That’s fine, I’m not married to Steve’s point (and I haven’t once stated support of that position, tonight or before tonight). I’ve said my piece here, I won’t belabor the point. It’s a moot point, anyway.

            • Joe West's Music Career says:

              Theoretically, you could have pitched:

              1: CC
              2: Pettitte
              3: AJ
              4: CC
              5: Hughes
              6: Pettitte
              7: CC

              Thereby pitching only CC on short rest, and matching AJ against Lee.

              I fully realize that’s hindsight and I didn’t think of it earlier in the week.

              That said, I’d like to have a go at defending Nostra-Artists point.

              Essentially, given that you can afford up to three total losses, 1 very very likely loss is better than 2 rather likely losses.

              Without relatively extreme factors, this choice does not arise, but I’d agree that in this case it does.

              Yes, we should believe in the team, and yes, the 9 guys on the field should try to win every game, but:

              Cliff Lee is going to pitch twice. Our odds of winning against him are somewhat dramatically poorer than any other Texas starter.

              AJ has to pitch a game. It’s hard not to argue that our odds of winning a given game with him pitching are somewhat dramatically poorer than with any of our other starters. It’s definitely the case that he wouldn’t be pitching if there was a remotely better option. (If Javy had been only somewhat mediocre rather than dead for example.

              So, there are two total possible games that favor the Rangers because of our pitching.

              And there is one which favors the Rangers because of our guy.

              We can afford up to 3 losses, no more.

              So then it can be restated as a choice between:

              A) Not carrying a pitching disadvantage at all into up to 4 games, and carrying up to 3 games where we have a moderate disadvantage

              or

              B) Not carrying a pitching disadvantageat all into up to 5 games, carrying a moderate disadvantage into 1, and a significant disadvantage into 1

              In either case, you try to win every game, but by matching our by far riskiest pitcher to their by far best pitcher, we increase our disadvantage in one game, but decrease the total number of games we’re disadvantaged in.

              • Joe West's Music Career says:

                The counter-argument, that by matching those two you are booting the game and therefore what’s the point, is a tacit admission that we are significantly disadvantaged against Lee, and significantly disadvantaged with AJ to the point that combining the two is virtually guaranteed defeat.

                If that’s the case, tomorrow doesn’t look good.

                Granted, this is of little value ex-post, but I do feel that Nostra(Steve?) has an extremely defensible view.

              • Tank Foster says:

                I was one of the people who suggested AJ for game three, also. You summarized the logic quite well. And as you say, there are counterarguments, and the idea that you use your best pitcher for every situation and try to win every game is probably, over the course of a long season, the best way to go.

                I think using AJ in game 3 would have been sort of a gambler’s move. Yes, you believe in your team, and you want to win, but when the odds are against you, you do not double down, unless you have no other choice.

                Going CC, AP, AJ, CC, PH, AP, CC also gives you CC three times, and limits the most questionable Yankee starters – Hughes and Burnett – to 2 games, not 3.

                While not accepting Michael Kay’s oft-quoted “fallacy of pre-determined outcome,” the Yankees would have had a much better chance of coming to NY up 2-0 had Andy pitched game 2, instead of Hughes. One can also argue that of all the Yankee pitchers, the one who benefits most from extended rest is Hughes, and the above rota of pitchers has PH sitting until game 5.

                I didn’t follow all the threads on this subject so I’m not speaking specifically to anyone or calling anyone out, but Steve’s point about people calling others “idiots” because they express alternate opinions is, I think, too common. In baseball, the trend on blogs has been to accept sabermetrics as bible, or as slide rule, I guess, and any argument which is non-statistically based, or takes a contrarian view, is condemned as stupid, or uninformed.

                • Joe West's Music Career says:

                  I got curious after this exchange last night, and decided to model the probabilities a bit.

                  Given the following assumptions, this is what I came up with.

                  Assumptions:

                  The objective is to maximize the probability of winning four out of a possible 7 games.

                  The probability of a Yankee win in a game not started by Cliff Lee or AJ Burnett is 50%. This ignores home field advantage, park effects, team strengths, differences between other pitchers etc.

                  The odds of a Yankee win are less than 50% in games started by Cliff Lee and AJ Burnett.

                  Cliff Lee will pitch two games, and AJ one. (See alternate rotation above)

                  The decrease in odds associated with AJ pitching are equal to the decrease in odds associated with Cliff Lee pitching (simplifying assumption)

                  Findings:

                  Given the above assumptions, the analysis does in fact favor matching AJ against Cliff Lee for the most part. Essentially, given a choice between three games in a best of seven series being disadvantaged equally, and two games disadvantaged, with one being extremely disadvantaged, you have a higher probability of winning the series by “sacrificing” one game to allow for 5 games with a full 50% chance of winning than 4 UNLESS A) the disadvantage to a single game of one of the pitchers pitching is not overwhelming, AND pitching them against each other make the odds of a win in that game disproportionately remote.

                  Specifically:

                  If you assume that the Yankees odds are decreased to 45%/game when either AJ or Lee is pitching, the odds of winning AJ vs. Lee must be no greater than 31.05% to justify splitting them up.

                  If you assume that the Yankees odds are decreased to 40%/game when either AJ or Lee is pitching, the odds of winning AJ vs. Lee must be no greater than 12% to justify splitting them up.

                  If the Yankees odds of winning are decreased to or beyond 36.92% when either AJ or Lee is pitching, matching them up is the best strategy even if the odds of winning that game are 0%.

                  So, it comes down to:

                  What are the Yankees odds of winning against Cliff Lee with a non-AJ starter?

                  What are the Yankees odds of winning against a non-Lee pitcher with AJ starting?

                  What are the Yankeed odds of winning AJ vs. Lee?

                  In order to justify splitting them up, the answer to the third question has to be dramatically worse than the answer to the first two in this analysis.

      • poster on another computer who happens to be a deuce bag says:

        Seriously. I like Nostra-Artist too, but he’s been nothing at all but gloom and doom.

        • Sorry for not waving the pom poms when we’re facing a very good team (that’s getting very little respect) and the Yanks are playing like shit in every area. This is how teams lose playoff series. I’m just calling it as I see it.

          • Tank Foster says:

            I said before the series that Texas was a very good team, and a couple of responses suggested they weren’t. They “had a bunch of weaknesses,” etc., was the general gist of it.

            The Yankees aren’t hitting, and that’s what’s killing them. The Yankees should have the advantage in this series because a) their offense is much better overall with a tougher lineup 1-9 for a pitcher to face, and b) because overall, the Yankees have a slight edge in pitching.

            The best explanation for what’s going on is cold bats, maybe from loss of timing from the layoff. CJ Wilson is good, but not that good, and Colby Lewis should have gotten rocked. Period. OK they get a pass on Cliff Lee, but I still think they should have been able to tax him a little more than they did.

    • Moshe Mandel says:

      The Yankees were down just 2 runs headed into the 9th inning. If the bullpen pitches like it has all postseason, they have top of the order up and a shot. Which is what most of us were saying. You want to give yourself a chance to win the game. Sorry, but 8 shutout innings is not “utterly predictable.” It’s within the realm of possible outcomes, sure, but Lee had an ERA of 3.00, not zero.

      • If Lee could have pitched like that for 20 innings we still wouldn’t have scored. And it’s par for the course for him both facing the Yanks and in recent post seasons.

        • Moshe Mandel says:

          He gave up a run in each game against TB in the first round, against a lesser offense. The assumption of a shutout doesnt make sense to me.

          • Tank Foster says:

            I think it’s playing the odds, Moshe. The odds of winning 4 games with an alternate pitching rotation are better than the one with Andy facing Lee. When the odds are against you, you don’t double down. Like I said above, Hughes pitched at AJ Burnett level in game 2….had Andy pitched game 2, the Yankees might have been up 2-0 before last night. ….which maybe brings up another point: if you are planning this series out in advance, and you know Lee is pitching game 3, you want to really try to be up 2-0 at that point. Given that, you want your two best pitchers going in games 1 and 2, which would have been CC/AP.

            I don’t think either approach to Lee is wrong. I think the manager has to play his hunch and hope for the best.

        • Mike Axisa says:

          And you could have said the same thing about C.J. Wilson after seven innings in Game One.

          • No you can’t. Not the part about his track record facing the Yanks and post season history.

            • Mike Axisa says:

              Then you could have said it about the Angels last year. Or Pedro or Halladay ever. You don’t run and hide from then just because they’ve kicked your ass in the past.

              You’re not going to win a World Series by running away from the best the other team has to offer.

              • I just want to point out that I feel like you, and the people on your side, keep making these sweeping, conclusive statements (like “you don’t win a World Series by pitching AJ against Lee instead of Pettitte), but those statements really aren’t cogent, reasoned arguments. They’re platitudes. There’s a very strong argument to be made on your side, but you’re not really making it.

                You’re also straw-manning the other side a bit. I don’t think Steve is saying he wanted to “punt” a game, or that the Yanks would have had NO chance to win tonight if they had started AJ. He’s saying he’d take the trade off of an increased likelihood of winning tomorrow and pressing the Yankees advantage in game 4 over making an attempt to match Cliff Lee in game 3. You, and others, are mischaracterizing the opposing argument, and that’s not really fair nor does it do much to prove your point.

                • Right, and isn’t “conceding a loss” a complete contradiction? I thought we were supposed to be pissed off at fans who were automatically giving the game away to Lee, and yet now we’re arguing that pitching Burnett is a guaranteed loss. Can’t have it both ways. AJ could beat Lee, it’s just less likely.

                • Tank Foster says:

                  Exactly. Also, if you can manage to take a 2-0 series lead into the Lee game, and you pitch AJ, you are putting AJ in a less stressful situation. He knows the odds are against him; he knows that Girardi and the rest of the Yankees know the odds are against them. So he can simply relax and pitch…if he loses, they’re still up 2-1.

                  Tonight, there’s alot on AJ’s shoulder. If Texas tees off and jacks 3 homers in the first 4 innings, the Yankees are probably watching the WS.

              • Joe West's Music Career says:

                I disagree in this case. Please see my post above. If the gap between your 3rd and 4th starter weren’t as extreme as they are, I’d agree. Play to win every day.

                But if there’s a major gap between your 3 and 4, AND a major gap between their 1 and 2, then I think you should minimize the overall number of games where either their number 1 or your number 4 is pitching.

                By matching them, you get an even larger disadvantage in 1 game, but 5, rather than 4 games with no significant disadvantage.

                So yes, if not using a 3 man rotation, absolutely. Line up Irabu against Pedro’s game 3/4/5 start. Line up Joba against Lee last year. Etc.

                Minimize the overall number of games you have a pitching disadvantage. Even if it means taller odds still in one game. You can still play it to win.

              • Joe West's Music Career says:

                This argument conflates lining up a rotation to minimize the total number of potential games with a significant pitching disadvantage with “running away” and throwing in the towel.

                You can afford to lose three games, but would rather not. By matching your 1 inferior starter start with one of the 2 mega-stud-in-average-pitching-staff games, you increase your odds of losing one game but decrease your odds of losing three.

                And it’s not running away. It’s strategy. Running away implies that the appearance of “Good AJ” and “Human Lee” is virtually impossible. It’s not. It’s unlikely, but possible, and you can still play to win it.

        • CBean says:

          He gave up 2 HRs to Swisher the last time he was at the stadium. We weren’t down by enough until the 9th where it meant conceding the entire game.

      • Frigidevil says:

        Thank you for the sanity. Seems hard to come by here right around Halloween.

  3. Big Stein says:

    just got a text from AJ Burnett. Says: “how u blogger like mee now?”

  4. first time lawng time says:

    In Robertson’s defense, he didn’t get hit hard for the first couple runs. Just found holes.

    Offense sucked though. That’s my main problem.

    • Ace says:

      Other than the comeback inning the offense has sucked you know what (excluding Robbie)

      • toad says:

        Yes. Let’s not overlook this. It wasn’t all Lee’s doing. The offense has looked pretty bad against the other Texas starters as well.

        Pettite pitched well, and getting three runs off Lee shouldn’t be considered an impossible task.

        I’d say Girardi made the right decision. With Pettite’s performance the Yankees could have won this game, and if you want to think in terms of the whole series it would have put them in terrific position.

  5. Tony Micelli says:

    That’s the scary part. It’s not ONLY AJ Burnett we have to worry about – the offense has been equally as bad. And when you’re being compared as equally as bad as AJ Burnett, that’s pretty bad.

  6. Doug says:

    let’s see if kay says the series is over again

  7. Hall and Nokes says:

    I, for one, am ready for AJ in Beast Mode tomorrow night.

    (any rain in the forecast?)

  8. Salty Buggah says:

    http://bit.ly/bdCKjg

    Oh, and go AJ!

  9. Reggie C. says:

    Can we finally say it …

    “TOMORROW IS A MUST WIN.”

    First time oft-used phrase holds any weight this season.

  10. nathan says:

    I think for everyone’s sanity stay off ESPN and WFAN.

    Get back in the mood around game time tomorrow and lets kick their rear end

    The game felt a lot like ALCS G3 of 2004 (only we were getting kicked in the teeth)

    So time to find some inspiration and get back in it.

    The whole offense is out of whack right now.

    The performance was embarrassing. Sad day for Yankee baseball.

  11. I was kind of expecting a recap from Mike that would have contained the word “Fuck” no less than 300 times. Good job, Joe. Fight the good fight.

  12. Ben says:

    They didn’t hit a single ball on the screws all night (hardest was Jeter’s fly out in the first). Incredible performance from Lee.

  13. RalphieD says:

    michael kay must feel really stupid for making that moronic comment after game 1, saying that the series was over and that the rangers were dead…i cringed when i heard that, and i cringe thinking about it now

  14. Big Stein says:

    being off for SIX days hurt the timing of the hitters and the sharpness of the pitchers (Halladay was affected as well by the Phillies long layoff, giving up 4 runs to the weak hitting giants).

    The league should do something about that, but they won’t since the enjoy anything that hurts the evil Yankees.

  15. mrgfeeny says:

    Ok so i’ll be the first to say it…

    why wasn’t mariano rivera in the 9th in a still very winnable game (2-0). I’m glad he was saved for a save situation that never could have happened.

    also. You know the series sucks when Sergio mitre has more appearances than mariano rivera. Awesome.

    tonight is the first night I am perfectly ok with joe girardi taking his binder to chicago. I know the yankees were still losing. But 2-0 vs a top of the order cliff lee or ineffective rangers pen’ would have least been an interesting 9th inning.

    now we’lll never know.

    • Graig not Craig says:

      If Logan and D-Rob held the Rangers and the Yankees scored 2 in the 9th, you wouldn’t be saying this. In the end – I don’t think it would have mattered. Now we have a fresh Mo to throw 4 out saves for tomorrow and/or Wednesday.

      • A-Rod's Hip says:

        but you don’t judge the validity of the decision on the OUTCOME

        even if Logan and D-Rob got the outs they needed, it was still a stupid decision NOT to use your best available pitcher when priority #1 (with just 3 outs remaining) was to put a 0 on the board in the top of the 9th..

        you’d really have to reach far to find an explanation to justify this decision from a baseball standpoint

  16. St Andrew of the Pettitte calling Aura and Mystique says:

    Time for plan B
    Hookers and Blow to the Rangers hotel Stat.

    • Tony Micelli says:

      Ronnie “Snow” Washington already has that covered.

      Meanwhile, Josh Hamilton has been seen buying “The Horse” down an alley off of Jerome Ave

  17. theyankeewarrior says:

    Win tomorrow. Win Wednesday. Win Friday.

    Series over. C

  18. candyforstalin says:

    fucking depressing game. pettitte was all kinds of awesome. what a shame.

  19. Big Bertha says:

    Tomorrow is a MUST win and it’s all up to AJ. We have to sweep games 4,5,6 or we will lose the series. The decision to switch Andy and Phil was an awful one. BUT WHO WILL PITCH GAME 7? There wouldn’t have been a game 7 if Andy had pitched games 2 and 6.

  20. Carlosologist says:

    This game sucked. Hopefully the bats can come to life against Hunter and his slop. It won’t be a must win until we’re down 3-1, which I don’ think is happening. We’re bringing this party back to Texas.

  21. Ben says:

    “I wish this were a mid-June start rather than a postseason one. Not because the loss would have been essentially meaningless to the Yankees, though that does help. But because I wanted to more fully appreciate Lee’s performance.”

    I completely agree with this. He reminds me of a left handed Greg Maddux, in that it’s so difficult to ever pick up a pattern in his pitch selection.

  22. Graig not Craig says:

    I gotta wonder what those pitches must look like to the batter. From the CF camera they look like low, flat fastballs. But the Yankees looked like deer caught in headlights. They should be the ones with antlers. Especially Gardner’s three-pitch K. The bat looked like it was superglued to his shoulder.

  23. theyankeewarrior says:

    Anyone still want Carl Crawford instead of the best lefty in baseball?

  24. FIPster Doofus says:

    I’d like to sleep from now until 8 p.m. tomorrow just so I can avoid everything and everyone. I don’t want to hear jack fucking shit about this 2-1 deficit.

  25. first time lawng time says:

    Never in this entire season have I felt so unconfident about this team.

    They are playing extremely poorly. No life to them, other than 1 inning.

    We all have to pray for 2009 World Series Game 2 AJ Burnett (or this offense http://www.baseball-reference......8210.shtml )

    I;m going all out with the positive vibes for AJ tomorrow. It’s a must win.

  26. Avi says:

    The Yankees WASTED a great performance from Pettitte by STARTING HIM IN GAME THREE.
    Shame on the Yanks for underrating Lee!
    All week I was saying “Pettitte will pitch well but Lee will pitch better”
    Girardi is a Fool for starting Hughes over Pettitte in game 2 over Andy.
    I was on Mike Francesa’s show on Thurs (Avi on the NJ Turnpike) and said this.
    The Yanks would be in MUCH better shape if Pettitte started game two.

    • Big Bertha says:

      You’re preaching to the choir here, Avi. I’ve been saying this all week as well. I guess it’s done now and we have to hope to get a good performance from AJ or that the bats come alive. Hughes in Game 6 is essentially our game 7 now. I sure wish we had that Andy Pettitte guy to pitch in that game 6 which is essentially a game 7.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Blah blah blah. You wouldn’t be saying this is Hughes pitched well. Revisionist bullshit.

      • A-Rod's Hip says:

        exactly

        i’m really not all too wrapped up in that decision

        Hughes failed more than anyone else in Game 2

        let’s say he pitched as well as Pettite tonight and still lost a 3-2, or 4-3 game.. then what??

    • If you knew Hughes was going to bomb his Game 2 start why didn’t you just tell Girardi so he could set the rotation accordingly? I mean, you knew, right? Why keep it to yourself?

  27. Avi says:

    Mike and Joe,
    CC starts tomorrow night.
    absolutely the wrong move if he doesn’t.
    Right or wrong?

    • Big Bertha says:

      It’s right that AJ starts and CC starts game 5. You want AJ matched up with Hunter rather than Wilson.

    • Tank Foster says:

      Not Mike or Joe, but I say “wrong.” I don’t believe in “momentum” and I think you have to plan to win 4 games the best possible way. CC on full rest is better than CC on short, so I’m happy going AJ, CC, Hughes, Andy for the last 4 games. Maybe they won’t need all 4, but at the moment, it’s not looking good. If they don’t start hitting, they could pitch Swisher and it wouldn’t make a difference.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      If CC starts tomorrow, what’s your plan for Game Five?

  28. Tank Foster says:

    The first 3 postseason games suggested that the Yankees of September-October were gone. The last three have been pretty much like watching the Yankees’ September performance.

    Their offense is measurably better than the Rangers’. Why can’t they hit? Lee was dominant, but with the exception of the 8th inning on Friday, have they hit ANY of the Rangers’ pitchers? Lee was great tonight, but the Yankees certainly helped make him look good.

    • first time lawng time says:

      I don’t get how they can hit Liriano but not Colby Lewis.

      • Tank Foster says:

        Well, with the exception of one inning, they didn’t really hit Liriano. But yeah, when some guys lined out early in the game, I thought they were going to get to Lewis and at least score 4-5 runs. They are ice-freaking cold, and it’s a sick feeling watching them.

    • Cult of Basebaal says:

      If this was a boxing match, the scorecard would read:

      Texas 26.5

      New York .5

      We should be happy it’s only 2-1 going into game 4.

  29. Big Stein says:

    need to add a righty hitter(s) who can bust up lefty pitching this offseason.

    we just can’t keep rolling snake-eyes to every fucking lefty who puts on a uniform.

  30. Tony Micelli says:

    I’d just like everybody to join me tomorrow right here on this website around 8pm (same time) where we will all collectively be watching the hit comedy Weekend at Bernies and discuss our favorite parts.

    See you then!

  31. C says:

    What bothered me was by the end of the game, it was clear that Lee was going to keep throwing nothing but strikes. Yet we kept taking pitches and falling behind 0-2. You gotta be aggressive against a guy like Lee.

  32. Chris Duffy says:

    Its hard not to feel dejected after a game like this, but now is not the time to give up. Tommy Hunter is throwing tomorrow, and though he’s had a good season, he’s very hittable. There is a lot of pressure on AJ tomorrow, but there was in Game 2 of the World Series last year and he came up huge. Sure, he isn’t the same pitcher this year as last, but let’s give the guy a chance. He’s got potential to make hitters miss, and up until the 9th, Texas’ offense didn’t exactly look prolific. We’ve got this.

  33. Avi says:

    Anybody watching the postgame on YES?
    the three stooges..

    Hamilton/Lee/Young

  34. Dream of Electric Sheep/ still haven't register /too lazy says:

    It’s pretty funny I have to hope and pray my 22 mil SS not to swing at balls up by his nostril , my 22 mil 1b not to wave feebly at anything fucking off speed.

    Tomorrow I have to hope my 16 mil dollar pitcher to give us a mediocre performance and that’s because my 12 million dollars a year pitcher blew up completely.

  35. Tony Micelli says:

    What sucks is that Roy Halladay > Cliff Lee and Yankees Offense >>>> Giants Offense

    Not to mention 2009 Phillies with Cliff Lee >>>> 2010 Rangers with Cliff Lee

    This is the most frustrating part.

  36. first time lawng time says:

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but this is why I feel we’re “doomed”:
    -. offense can’t hit
    - Jeters useless, tex can’t hit anything offspeed, A-Rod, while not 2009 postseason A-Rod, isn’t producing at all, out DHes can’t do squat, Grandy’s not done much this series, Brett needs to stop taking fastballs down the middle
    - Burnett tomorrow…50% chance we get a meltdown…down 3-1
    - other starters are question marks: CCs been terrible, Hughes had a terrible last start,
    - even if we manage to force a game 7, it’s against Lee in Texas…good luck Yankees

    • FIPster Doofus says:

      It’s troubling. Bottom line: The Yankees have to win the next three games, because they sure as hell aren’t beating Lee in Game 7. He’s just on a whole other level right now.

      • JGS says:

        He had a 0.54 ERA in four dominating starts before the Yankees dropped 5 runs on him in Game 5 of the WS last year. This year has a 0.75 ERA in three dominating starts.

        He is very good. He is not unbeatable.

        • FIPster Doofus says:

          Usually I’m not one of those doom-and-gloom/narrative-creating people, but at the risk of sounding like one, Lee just seems as if he is on a mission. It would take an awful lot to win a Game 7 against him on the road.

  37. Doug says:

    AJ still starting tomorrow

  38. Mike R says:

    I still believe the Yankees can take the next 3 games.. And If you want to call me crazy go ahead, but I still think the Yankees can beat Cliff Lee. I’d much rather be able to take the next 3 games and not face Lee but we need to take it ONE GAME AT A TIME. If we can take tomorrows game, we’ll worry about Wednesdays and so on. I know I’ve been pessimistic and irrational many times this post season but pull it together guys. We’ve all watched the Yankees up and downs through 162 games, the good, the bad. We can’t give up now, we’re a great team.. I’ll quote a poster I had from the 1996 Yanks… “Never Say Never” We’re down two games to one but we will come out and play well.

    • first time lawng time says:

      And If you want to call me crazy go ahead

      You’re crazy, Offense can’t hit.

      • JGS says:

        This offense is more than capable of going all 8th-inning-of-Game-1 at any point. No one hit tonight because Cliff Lee is really good. Tommy Hunter is not really good. The Rangers bullpen is not really good.

        We got this.

        • FIPster Doofus says:

          I expect Hunter to get absolutely wrecked tomorrow. If he actually pitches well and wins, then it’s in all likelihood not in the cards for the Yankees this year.

    • Graig not Craig says:

      It will be hard not to say “never” if AJ craps his pants tomorrow night. But for now – I share your optimism.

  39. first time lawng time says:

    game 1 fri CC
    game 2 sat Andy
    off sun
    game 3 mon Hughes
    game 4 tues CC
    game 5 wed Andy
    thurs off
    game 6 fri Hughes
    game 7 sat CC

    Would that have worked?

    • first time lawng time says:

      For the record, I’m not saying this because of the situation we’re in. I never really liked the way our rotation was for this series to begin with.

      • Mike R says:

        Looks like it would have. I don’t love the way our rotation panned out but even if you changed it our offense still didn’t score for shit. You gotta believe they can turn it on.

        • Mister Delaware says:

          It works if you want to ask Hughes to do something almost no pitchers do, work on 3 days rest. Not Lee, not Hamels, not a long list of guys better and, more importantly, older than Hughes. Its a stupid, reckless idea. A small tick better than advocating CC on 2 days rest in Game 7.

      • Ray the Anti-Handle says:

        Unfortunately, Andy’s an injury risk and Hughes is way past his innings limit. If you go all out to win the ALCS and someone gets injured, that’s not much better. You’ll need both of them to win the World Series.

        Besides, the concern for Hughes extends beyond this year. The Yankees are banking on him becoming one of their front line starters for years to come. Is it worth the risk?

  40. first time lawng time says:

    Whatever. Seriously, if the Red Sox can come back from 0-3 we can come back from 1-2.

    • Mike R says:

      See that’s what I’m talking about! Our offense is one day away from turning it on and hopefully it can happen. Going from seeing a pitcher like Cliff Lee to a guy like Tommy Hunter. Tommy is definitely good but certainly does not even compare to Cliff Lee.

    • Tony Micelli says:

      No you can’t. That 2004 team was the most special group of people that ever walked the planet.

      Sincerely,

      Curt Schilling

  41. Pat D says:

    Well, as of right now, what I was afraid might happen when the Lee trade fell through, has happened.

    Please, please, please, A.J. Remember how you pitched in Game 2 last year and come out like that tomorrow.

    And while I’m pleading for things to happen, WAKE THE FUCK UP OFFENSE!!

  42. Mike Axisa says:

    Also, someone needs to smack Brett Gardner upside the head. Stop sliding into first.

  43. BigBlueAL says:

    Im pretty much shocked that the Yankees hitters looked as pathetic as they did tonight. Not surprised they lost or that Lee pitched great but not to this extent.

    Still have faith they will win the next 3 games but for the first time I truly dont think they have a chance in hell of beating Lee so cant see the Yankees winning a Game 7. I know its not a must win till a team is facing elimination but with the way Lee pitched tonight it essentially has become must win games for the Yankees from now on because it looks like they have no chance in hell at beating Lee in a Game 7.

  44. All Star Carl says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Nnm0KkMadU

    Watch and Believe.

    Down but not out.

    Go Yankees.

  45. dkla says:

    tomorrow night: zen baseball

    it’s just a game (repeat as necessary)

    /trying to keep this series from draining my love of life’d

    • Betty Lizard says:

      /trying to keep this series from draining my love of life’d

      Had a vision of Robbie Cano and Derek Jeter singing . . . with bluebirds and bunnies and other forest creatures and Joe Girardi tapping his toes:

      Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay
      My, oh my what a wonderful game!
      Plenty of RBIs heading my way
      Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay

      Mister AJ on my shoulder
      It’s the truth, it’s actch’ll
      Ev’rything is satisfactch’ll
      Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay
      Wonderful feeling, wonderful game!

  46. Chris says:

    you guys are much smarter than I am but Burnett is really pitching with the season on the line? I don’t want to use him as a cop out cuz the offense blows too but wow! See you on Opening Day fellas.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      The season isn’t on the line tomorrow.

      • Rey22 says:

        If we win tomorrow we got CC on the hill for Game 5 with the series tied 2-2, I don’t get why everyone’s acting like it’s the end of the world.

        If someone told me we’d split the games in Texas and lose the game against Lee I would’ve thought that sounded like a very reasonable outcome. No reason we can’t win the next games.

        • Mike Axisa says:

          Yep. I’m over it now, Cliff Lee if just too damn good. But if they can’t beat Tommy Hunter tomorrow, A.J. or not, then I don’t know what I’ll do.

          • Betty Lizard says:

            But if they can’t beat Tommy Hunter tomorrow, A.J. or not, then I don’t know what I’ll do.

            Hug?

            Stiff drink? I’ll mix up the virtual martinis. (Or maybe just tequila?)

          • Rey22 says:

            Yeah…if they can’t hit Hunter tomorrow then it’s legitimately time to panic.

          • Usty says:

            This. The Yankees could have some hybrid-mutant Whitey Ford/Randy Johnson/Clemens/Schilling/Lee/Halladay on the mound, and still lose because they’re not getting any hits off of pitchers they should beat.

          • rek4gehrig says:

            If they cant beat Hunter today, they dont deserve to go to the WS. Lee is Lee but these guys have to hit Hunter and hit him hard. Nuff said.

          • CBean says:

            If they can’t hit off Tommy Hunter, then we deserve to lose.

    • Ben says:

      They have to go with what gives them the best chance to win games four and five. Burnett vs. Hunter and Sabathia vs. Wilson gives them a better shot at winning both games than Sabathia (on short rest) vs. Hunter and Burnett vs. Wilson.

  47. Rey22 says:

    If we can’t hit Hunter tomorrow then we’ve no business going to the World Series. Even if AJ gives us a mediocre 5 innning 4 run performance we should be able to overcome it against a pitcher like Hunter. If we don’t then we had bigger problems than pitching. Good pitching beats good hitting in the postseason. We should be good hitting. Tommy Hunter is definitely not good pitching.

    Go Yankees.

  48. cano is the bro says:

    so how much longer does teix have to suck before he inherits the new “choker” label?

  49. mustang says:

    Just got back from the game one word:

    PAINFUL

    But what’s done is done and if the Yankees can’t beat the other Rangers starters not named Lee then they should go home.

    With that said I got my WS tickets for game 5 and the only way I’m not going to use them is if the Yankees sweep the WS.

    GO YANKS

  50. Good lord if Phil Hughes hadn’t been atrocious would people really be having this throw the Lee games argument? The Yankees pulled out a miracle in Game 1, Game 2 they were put in a worse position and couldn’t come back.

  51. mustang says:

    I have this feeling that AJ is going to shock a lot of people tonight in a very good way.

    • YankeesJunkie says:

      Tonight would be the best night for one of those.

      • dalelama says:

        Has any pitcher in history had a better one-time chance to redeem a really crappy season? Has any pitcher had a better chance to make people forget a really crappy contract by winning two games?

        • mustang says:

          Exactly, Oh! my God this is a sign I’m actually agreeing with one of your comments.

          The Yanks are going to win tonight.

  52. Tom Zig says:

    I’m not mad about what happened today, ok well only at the events that transpired in the top of the 9th. I’m actually impressed. That was probably one of the most dominating performances you’ll ever see. 13Ks vs this lineup is a god damn metric ton amount of Ks. Good job, Clifton.

    But looking forward…I’m not terribly worried.

    Tomorrow the Yanks face Tommy Hunter
    Wednesday is CC v. CJ part deux. CC is on full rest, so he shouldn’t be rusty at all.
    Thursday is Phranchise v. Colby Lewis part deux, Hughes is also on full rest

    Also this is the 2nd time in this series facing CJ Wilson and Colby Lewis. I imagine the Yankee hitters have made the appropriate adjustments. Thinking back to last year’s postseason we hit pitchers harder when we faced them a 2nd time. 3 of the 4 starting pitchers we faced twice in the postseason last year were hit harder the 2nd time around. The only one we didn’t hit harder the 2nd time was John Lackey. The other 3 were Pedro, Saunders and Cliff Lee.

  53. pat says:

    Meh, tomorrow is a coinflip. Then we have our own ace at home on regular rest. Then Colby Lewis has to beat us again while hoping our hard hit line drives are hit directly at his fielders again. Then we can worry about Cliff Lee.

  54. Hummingbird S. says:

    I just hope we dont get a shitty effort from the offense tomorrow, something to the tune of 2 runs and 1 for 10 with RISP

  55. dkidd in sunny la says:

    I just checked:

    October is National Pitchers From Arkansas Month, or NAPFAM

    Hopefully the Rangers line-up will comply as fully as the Yankees’ did tonight

  56. stuart says:

    the rotation order is fine. pettitte is 38 coming off an injury and cannot go on 3 days rest and the same for hughes. the problem is there 4th and 5th starters were the worst they have had in forever.

    desalvo and rasner pitched as effectivley as aj and javier. and the present crap made $29 mill between the 2 of them…

    the yanks offense is no where to be found. 2 years in arow for tex and swisher so far. when do they have to face some criticism? arod has done zilch but he has built up some good will.

    jeter and jorge just are fading so to expect those old men to get things done is dreamland……

  57. dan says:

    hate to say it guys but we’re not going to win if a.j. pitches mediocre. Even if we score alot off hunter, bullpen will get warn out
    if they have to enter in the 6th inning. I think we’re looking at a giants-rangers world series. I’ll be rooting for the rangers but the giants are winning the whole thing this year.

  58. dan says:

    Their top starting pitching prospects ,which is what the yankees need right now young starting pitching that can dominate possibly, are
    1- Chris cabrera 2-Bryan Mitchell 3- Manny Banuelos. Hope we don’t giveup on these particular ones. Betances is decent too.if he doesn’t get hurt. Brackman, banuelos,jesus montero plus aj burnett and we pay aj. burnetts contract for homer bailey of cincinatti seems fair! If we can sign lee next year. Its Sabathia, Lee,Petite, hughes, and Bailey as your fifth starter. I like that rotation if it works out that way!

  59. Jerome S. says:

    God the trolls are crawling.
    AJ’s gonna blow your minds, tonight.

  60. China Joe says:

    It’s a fact: AJ Burnett is 1-0 lifetime in the postseason following a Cliff Lee start.

  61. gargoyle says:

    More worried about the bats that AJ. All three Rangers starters have pitched well. With the exception of one inning they’ve done nothing with men on base. Reminds me of the Tigers series in 06.

    They need to start hitting and keep hitting.

  62. King of the Troglodytes says:

    This team is toast. Texas toast.

  63. larryf says:

    Good news from the game was, for the first time in ages, Jorge’s catching/throwing did not hurt us.

    Who is catching AJ? Catching suddenly becomes much more important. Get ready for walks and wild pitch/pass ball merry go round baseball.

    I really can’t stand Jeter at the plate. I know he will be back for big money but 2 great pitchers and Nunez at short for the same money seems reasonable to me. That play in the hole where Jeets ran into the tarp before making his throw was sad. He cannot plant!

  64. SodaPopinski says:

    Aj is good sometimes. Don’t forget, he could pitch a gem. Then we’d be in great shape.

  65. BIll says:

    Same crap…. How about we get our bats off our shoulders and do some swinging??? Posada,A ROD and Tex are killing us.

    • Would you really feel better if they struck out swinging instead of looking? I don’t think you understand how Cliff Lee’s pitches look coming in and what they do on their way to the catcher’s mitt.

  66. theyankeewarrior says:

    Comment of the night from Mike Axisa:

    “Yep. I’m over it now, Cliff Lee if just too damn good. But if they can’t beat Tommy Hunter tomorrow, A.J. or not, then I don’t know what I’ll do.”

    I think we’re all on the same boat. We don’t invest this much time and emotion into a team to watch Tommy Hunter shut them down to take a 3-1 series lead.

    I don’t know what I’ll do either.

  67. Frank says:

    Best line from last night- When Nolan Ryan was asked how much it would cost to keep Lee, he responds “ask the team next door.”

  68. Mister Delaware says:

    The only two lines I’ve found tonight have the Yankees -140 and -145 which either means Vegas loves A.J. or a couple books think Sabathia is going.

  69. larryf says:

    Would it be too outside the box to bat Cano 3rd? That is where the Rangers bat their best hitter/MVP candidate. Increasing your chances of scoring in the first inning as Hamilton has provided with 2 HR’s would seem a reasonable strategy especially since Tex sucks right now.

    Even Dave Miley at Scranton realized Montero should bat 3rd this year.

  70. Guest says:

    If Lee carries them to a World Series championship this year, do the Rangers pull a Twins with Mauer and say “f*&! fiscal responsibility”, we have to sign this guy? If so, that would be another reason why we really want to win this series.

    A Lee driven championship run that compels the Rangers to write him a blank check is the only thing I see keeping him out of pinstripes (barring the unforeseen, of course ;)). And if the Yanks sign Lee, we can know that is either the last or second to last time we ever have to face him in the playoffs. I took solace in that.

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