Remember 2007

Yankees meltdown late, drop Game Four
A disappointing end to a disappointing season

There is no need to sugarcoat the Yankees’ chances of coming back in this series. They’re down three games to one and every obstacle is stacked against them. The offense hasn’t hit all series. Even before Cliff Lee looms in a potential Game 7, the Yankees have to face two pitchers against whom they did not fare well in Games 1 and 2. They really have only two factors working in their favor. First, that the series isn’t over until Texas wins one more game. Second, that they have their ace on the mound this afternoon.

This scenario actually runs parallel to a recent ALCS. We tend to remember 2007 because of midges, but right now we should remember it because the team’s biggest rival made a comeback after being down three games to one. I’m sure everyone in Boston was feeling down heading into Game 5, with the team just one loss away from elimination. But they came back. The Yanks can do the same.

(Winslow Townson/AP)

The similarities start right off the bat. While the Red Sox didn’t make a miraculous Game 1 comeback, they did set the tone by winning the game handily. But the very next day the Indians came back and romped the Sox, scoring 13 runs in a quite demoralizing fashion. Curt Schilling started and allowed five runs in 4.2 innings, similar to what Phil Hughes did on Saturday. The bullpen held down the Indians while the game went into extra innings. It was there that Eric Gagne, Javier Lopez, and Jon Lester combined to allow seven runs in the top of the 11th, ensuring a Cleveland victory and an even series.

Game 3 held a few parallels, though Jake Westbrook is no Cliff Lee (Lee had actually been left off the Indians’ playoff roster that year). The Indians scored two in the second and then two again in the fifth, rendering the Red Sox two seventh inning runs ultimately meaningless. Boston then turned to Tim Wakefield, the worst of their starters, instead of bringing back Josh Beckett on short rest. The Indians rallied for seven in the fifth, which was enough to close a 7-3 victory. That’s when things looked bleak for Boston.

It was in Game 5 that the Red Sox mounted their comeback. They sent their ace to the hill* and after allowing a run in the first he went on to pitch seven innings of shutout ball, handing the ball directly to Jonathan Papelbon to close it out, even though the Sox had a six-run lead at the time. The series then went back to Boston, where the home team exploded for 10 runs in three innings in Game 6. They then wrapped the series the next day, scoring six runs in the eighth to turn a 5-2 game into an 11-2 series clincher.

*His opponent: CC Sabathia.

The Yankees aren’t necessarily destined to repeat the Red Sox comeback, but the parallels are clear. Boston was the better team that year, though that didn’t appear to be the case through the series’ first four games. The Indians had outplayed them after Game 1, and the situation was dire indeed. But the Red Sox rallied behind their ace and picked up a Game 5 victory. They headed home, though, while the Yanks’ best case scenario is heading to Texas. Still, their chances are as good as the Sox’s were that year. It’s understandable that many people want to count them out now. But all we have to do is turn to a famous Yankee for a quote to debunk that.

email
Yankees meltdown late, drop Game Four
A disappointing end to a disappointing season
  • mike c (LETS GO YANK KEEEZ)

    yankee magic can happen

  • Crosetti32

    Anyone notice the picture of Red Sox fans above, how there is only one black guy in the whole crowd? Is that like being black and being a Republican?

    • RKelly39

      LOL

  • DF

    No, sorry, no comeback is possible, because the 2010 Yankees have no fire in the belly. I know because last night’s game recap thread told me so.

  • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

    As a Yankee fan, this series has sucked outside of one inning, and made me want to throw stuff.

    A Lee/Pettitte Game 7 has the potential to be the best Game 7 since Pedro and Clemens, though. Make it happen.

    • Joe West’s Music Career

      I couldn’t agree more with every word of this.

      • Joe West’s Music Career

        …although I can’t help but shudder at the thought of Pettitte losing a game 7 1-0 to Lee.

        /bad thoughts bad thoughts get out of my head!’d

    • jd

      I was throwing many things last night

  • Big Stein

    but the red sox are gritty and gutty.

  • Joe West’s Music Career

    I’m not giving up hope at all.

    That said, I’m finding that the thought of Cliff Lee’s (at most) 4th start from now being made in pinstripes is REALLY helping to mitigate the pain of the possibility of being eliminated.

    • mike c (LETS GO YANK KEEEZ)

      you better hope the rangers lose the WS then

      • Tron

        No, even if the Rangers win the WS he’ll still go where the better deal is, which presumably will be New York.

        • http://twitter.com/#!/iiKeane JobaWockeeZ

          Are you his agent? His statements imply the contrary.

  • LarryM.,Fl.

    There are too many aspects of our offense such as Arod, Posada, Swisher, Gardner and Teix. out who are not hitting. With the lack of offense and pitching, I would take the bet of losing in 6 at the max.

    Asusual some guys play well during the season and fall a few notches against the better teams. We maybe in for a larger turnover than just a pitcher and bench strength. This is ugly.

  • pat

    I’m just hoping we don’t get (further) embarrassed at home.

  • Chris

    A couple other examples in addition to 2007:

    In 2008, the Rays took a 3 games to 1 lead in the ALCS. The Red Sox won the next 2 to force a game 7, but lost.

    In 2004, we all know what happened.

    In 2003, the Marlins were down 3 games to 1 in the NLCS. Then Steve Bartman happened, and they went on to win the WS.

    It’s not that uncommon for a team to come back from 3-1 down in a series.

    • steve s

      Don’t need to stray outside Yankee history for this one. See 1958 WS against the Aaron/Mathews/Spahn Braves.

  • Evan in NYC

    If we can win today with our ace on the mound, and somehow get another victory on Friday we will have the momentum going into game 7 even tho it’s Cliff Lee we would be facing. At this point it seems unlikely that we will get there but I think it all starts with CC today! He needs to step up and be the horse he was last year in the ALCS! He’s our stopper, now he needs to go out and show us! Let’s Go Yankees!

  • Ivan

    In other words, lets make some history ladies and gentlemen.

    • Evan in NYC

      +28. Let’s to it!

      • Evan in NYC

        *do

  • JerseyDutch

    If our starting pitchers are locked in and our bats wake up, we have every chance in the world to come back. But that’s two big “ifs.” But I’m still hoping.

  • SCT

    So they’re down 3 games to 1, not the best of scenarios, but certainly not the worst with their 3 best pitchers lined up to pitch the (hopefully) next 3 games. We’ve seen this team go through rough patches before and come out of it bats a blazin’. I’m not giving up on this team. They’re just too damn talented.

  • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

    Anything’s possible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    -Kevin Garnett

  • Anthony Murillo

    It aint over till it’s over

  • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

    If they win today Game 6 will be a huge pants crapping for the Rangers. Even though they have Superman on the mound for Game 7 they do not want it to get to that as YCPB. Just need to win one game at a time three times. We play today, we win today. Das it.

    • Ivan

      I agree. I know this my sound a little bit crazy but I think CC will pitch alot better considering this is the 1st time in a while he will work on normal rest. Also, I have to assume that Phil Hughes will pitch alot better than game 2. I mean majority of the hits he gave up were 2 strike hits and I know that he can improve on that. Granted we have to win game 5 to even think of Hughes but like you guys say, anything is possible.

      • Evan in NYC

        My concern with Hughes is that the two-strike hit thing has been his MO since after the All-Star break. He can’t put hitters away and that’s a big problem.

        • http://www.paychex.com chris c.

          Let’s hope you’re concerned about that 4 hours from now.

    • don draper

      Agreed…. this ain’t over!

    • Ivan

      Not to mention, if and I know that’s a big one but if the yanks win game 5, remember this, their is no way the Rangers can rely on Colby Lewis to pitch like he did in game 2.

      • http://www.paychex.com chris c.

        The way the Yakees are hitting, he may actually pitch better!

    • http://twitter.com/riddering Riddering

      PREACH IT.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhnUgAaea4M (NSFW, language)

  • Nice

    What time do the Red Sox and Mets play today?

    • RCK

      Ha. Very good. Or the Rays, for that matter.

  • Riddering

    Thank you for this, Joe. Amidst the warranted criticism and analysis of the Yankees’ play in this series so far there should be some positivity. We’re not fans of this game to bitch and moan until the final out. We’re fans because anything can happen before that last out.

  • Rob

    When they can show they can hit LHP, I’ll be a believer. Until then, I’ll think this team is cooked.

    • pat

      3rd best ops vs LHP in baseball this year. Basically they’ve shown they can hit lefties all season long.

      • Rob

        Except when it counts.

        • Hughesus Christo

          So, one game?

          • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

            One game…….that counts!

            • http://twitter.com/riddering Riddering

              THERE IS ONLY ONE OCTOBER GAME THAT COUNTS!

          • Rob

            One game? How about the whole series?

            Wilson, Holland, and Lee.

            • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

              What else to Lee, Wilson and Holland have in common? They’re pretty good pitchers.

  • Matthew G.

    I believe.

  • Frank

    The Yanks lost Tex for what’s left of this season. Now it’s time for someone to step up. Besides CC, they need an offensive spark to get them going. It can happen. I’m betting Berkman is that guy. I like his ABs. I have a feeling he will come up huge, even batting right handed.

    • pat

      Agreed. Puma has been a foot or two away from at least 4 or 5 RBI’s this series. The second game in Texas he blasted that liner into RF that Cruz just barely got a glove on, he missed a HR last night by inches and blasted a grounder directly at Young last night with the bases loaded. He’s been locked in so far, just with some horrible luck.

    • rek4gehrig

      Totally agree. Giradi needs to stop this Berkman not good batting right-handed nonsense. He is a professional and he sure has looked good last few games. I’ll takek him over Kearns anyday.

      • http://www.paychex.com chris c.

        “Totally agree. Giradi needs to stop this Berkman not good batting right-handed nonsense.”

        Right. That hard grounder to third has me sold!

  • JerseyDutch

    One more thought:

    Worst-case scenario: We get eliminated.

    Best-case scenario: We have a comeback to talk about for years to come.

  • Fair Weather Freddy

    Would at the very least like to see them win game 5. hate to see other teams celebrating on your home field.

  • stuart

    of course it is possible.

    how come swisher gets no grief for his multiple playoff meltdowns??

    they need to play the way they can not flukey just like they are suppose to. across the board….

    • larryf

      imagine if the avatar Greg Golson played an entire game and had a Swisher performance. We would never see him in a Yankee game again.

      • http://www.paychex.com chris c.

        Any news on Golsen’s injury? I mean I’m assuming he’s injured, because he was not pinch running for Teixeira, or playing right the following inning.

  • pat

    Btw the Yanks are really trying to conjure some postseason magic by having Boonie AND Bucky Dent throw out the first pitch today.

    • vin

      Is that true? If so, it’s brilliant.

  • UncleArgyle

    This won’t happen, but I wonder if the Yankees will at least ponder bringing andy back on three days rest for game 6 (if neccessary) and then using CC on 2 days rest in a Game 7 with a full reliever PuPu platter to back him up. Keep in mind that Derek Lowe did ok on 2 days rest in the 2004 ALCS. Anyway, not gonna happen, and theres tons of downside to this approach, but I think its the best bet to get to a game 7.

    • Fair Weather Freddy

      Lowe is a sinkerball type pitcher, so that worked better for him. When a sinkerball pitcher is a little tired that works to his advantage cause the ball tends to sink more. CC is a power pitcher. Would not work for him.

      • UncleArgyle

        Actually CC throws a ton of two seam fastballs now, and has a very good slider. So in a way he is a “sinkerballer”, just a sinkerballer who’s left handed with additonal weapons, so he’s not pigeonholed into that category.

    • rek4gehrig

      They can ponder anything they want AFTER they win Game 5. Heck…I’ll pitch Game 6 but please please please, win Game 5.

  • Fair Weather Freddy

    Wonder if Berkman plays against the lefty today or the play Swish at 1st and Kearns in RF. Personally, I’d go with berkman at 1st. I know he is much better hitter lefty but Kearns rarely makes contact anymore, and hasn’t played the entire postseason. And hitting righty last night wth bases loaded in the 8th, he actually hit that ball very hard, but Young made a great stab to snare the ball and make the out.

    • Tom O

      Definitely Berkman. I think we saw the deal on Kearns when they opted to let Thames play RF last night rather than put in Kearns after his pinch hit at-bat. They’d rather have a shaky fielder in a close game than a shaky hitter who’s been racking up a lot of K’s.

  • yankees=warriors

    Today’s my birthday, can the Yankees give me a win as a present?

  • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

    Gentlemen, ladies, children, fans and trolls, doomsayers and optimists alike, let us pray.

    Our Father who art in Yankee Stadium, Ruth be thy name. Thy will be done. The Playoffs won. On the field, as well as in the bullpen. Give us this day our bat and glove, and forgive us for our errors, as we forgive those who homer against us. Lead us not into defeat, but help us beat the Rangers. In the name of the fans, the Yankees and the holy spirits from across the street, Amen.

    Let’s go Yankees, I want to go to the World Series!

    (Shamelessly stolen and edited, so don’t give me credit for this, also apologies if this offends any religious types :P)

    • steve s

      Don’t forget to Praise Allah. Jihad/Fatwa against the infidel Rangers (and their infielders too)!!!

      • Rich

        Fuck Allah. “Praise Allah” is what the skumbag terrorists said before they blew up the WTC.

        • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

          Well, this is what I get for a religious-themed post, huh.

        • Thomas

          You do realize Allah is the Arabic word for God. Allah is no different from Abba (Hebrew), Dieu (French), Gott (German), God, etc.

          • steve s

            I’m sure anyone who spells scumbag with a “K” (surprised he left out the other two KK’s) is not exactly a linguistics major.

        • Betty Lizard

          Oh good grief. And the Oklahoma City bomber was a Christian. So are you going to fuck Jesus as well?

          Jesus wept at your post. As did Allah, Buddha, Krishna and Plato.

    • Dick Whitman

      Infidel.

  • JerseyDutch

    Dear MSM, you can now call today’s game a “must win” for the Yankees. You’re welcome.

  • nathan

    Down 3-1, what a comeback it would be. All starts today.

    Gonna miss Tex’s defense though.

    Lets get the runners in, need to get an early lead and build on it. CC needs to go 7.

    Sole focus should be win game 5 and goto game 6. Forget game 7 for now.

    • goterpsgo

      I can’t imagine Berkman’s a chump at 1st though.

  • josh

    whats today lineup gonna look like

  • vin

    So what does the lineup look like for this epic comeback?

    Jeter
    Swisher
    Rodriguez
    Cano
    Thames
    Posada
    Granderson?
    Berkman?
    Gardner?

    Bottom 3rd is rough against lefties. I think I prefer moving everyone up a spot, but I could be convinced otherwise.

    Some significant differences between this year and the ’07 Sox. The Sox weren’t without Youkilis for the final 3 games. They also didn’t have to face the best pitcher in baseball in any of those games. Also, they were going home for games 6 and 7.

    Anything’s possible, but the Yanks are up against it.

  • RCK

    I keep vacillating between wanting to just enjoy baseball while it lasts (and reminding myself that there are fans of 26 other teams who would gladly trade places with me) and just feeling miserable and like whatever happens today will just delay the inevitable misery. The latter is a total loser mentality, I know, and has no place around the Yankees. But damn this team has sure given my optimism a beating over the last few days.

  • Gonzo

    CC to Mo. Make it happen.

    • Colombo

      This.

  • josh

    i think kearns should start today- what do u think?

    • vin

      Kearns in RF, Swisher at 1st makes some sense. Mostly because it keeps Berkman out of the lineup against the LHer. But the dude hasn’t faced live pitching in at least 2 weeks. Plus he’s not the most disciplined hitter, which would be tough against the erratic CJ Wilson.

    • rek4gehrig

      Anything thing but Gardy’s weak grounders to short

      • http://www.paychex.com chris c.

        Yup……totally Gardner’s fault that Andrus made that great play.

  • Gonzo

    Good news. Holland is probably not available to pitch.

    • vin

      Yeah, no kidding. I knew they were in trouble when he came in last night. They needed a big extra base hit against Hunter while they had the chance, but never got it.

      Holland is better equipped to handle the Yanks’ bats than Hunter.

      • http://www.paychex.com chris c.

        “Yeah, no kidding. I knew they were in trouble when he came in last night. They needed a big extra base hit against Hunter while they had the chance, but never got it.”

        That’s because their manager never gave the Yankees enough time to warm up to him. Unlike Girardi, who gift-wrapped Burnett for Molina, Logan for Hamilton, and Chamberlain and Mitre for everyone else!

  • Ace

    I’m not too optimistic about our chances to win the series, but I have a feeling CC is going to be a pitbull on that mound today. Of all the guys on the team I think he is one that probably gets fired up for situations like this.

    I hope someone on the offense takes notice and acts the same.

  • Gonzo

    The Yankee hitters should look better the 2nd time through the Texas rotation. The veterans will surely have a better idea of what their up against and adjust, right?

  • http://www.bomberboulevard.blogspot.com Rasheeda Cooper

    Another positive that the Yankees have now is that they’ve seen Wilson and Lewis already, so they know what to expect.

    I’m not ready to give up on the Yankees yet. This is a team that can tear the hearts out of the chests of their opponents and rip them to pieces. We’ve seen comebacks like this before and the Bombers are certainly a team that can pull a rabbit out of a hat. My real concern is Girardi–he’s making amateur managerial mistakes, like walking the go-ahead run (Murphy) in the 6th inning of last night’s game. He can’t make decisions like that.

    • Tank Foster

      Murphy is pretty good against righties, and the short porch is there, and we’re talking AJ. The only other option was Logan, who has crapped the bed in this series. I liked the idea of going after Molina. Had they pitched to Murphy, and he got a hit, there would have been outrage that he wasn’t walked.

      In terms of effecting your chance of winning,

      player execution >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> managerial moves

      • Guest

        I don’t think AJ executed the pitch as well as he wanted to, but it was still actually not a bad pitch to have ahitter like Benjie Molina swing at. It was a fastball up and in that was actually a ball. Im amazed he hit it out. I vaguely remember Edgar Martinez getting a big double or HR of an up and in fastball in ’95 and thinking we were never going to get him out. The pitch to Molina was similar.

        When Molina hit it out, I just remembered thinking the fates are not with us. 99 out of 100 Molina whiffs on that pitch or pops it straight up. But this was that hundreth time. Too bad there were two men on in the fourth game of the ALCS.

        • http://www.paychex.com chris c.

          “I don’t think AJ executed the pitch as well as he wanted to, but it was still actually not a bad pitch to have ahitter like Benjie Molina swing at.”

          Dude, Molina guessed at that spot, and that’s exactly where it was thrown! Keep it on the outside portion of the plate, and that guy aint touching it! Terrible pitch.

  • Tank Foster

    Being an elimination game, and the wave of confidence Texas is riding, I think the Yankees have to get to them early and put the game away. I do not like their chances in a close game late, or in extras. We need some _true_ Yankee at bats, battling, getting the pitch count up, etc.

    Teixeira is gone…maybe that will be motivational.

  • Ansky

    Down 3 games to 1 with CC going today? We’ve got them right where we want em! Lets go Yankees.

  • jsbrendog (returns)

    we are still going to win and even if we don’t i will still wear my yanks hoodie to work until the offseason.

  • Greg

    It’s very difficult to compare that 07 Sox team (one that I believe would dominate the 04 Sox), to this Yankee team.

    THe bottom line is repeating is difficult to do and everything needs to go right. IMO, the turning points of this season were:

    1. Failing to bowl over the M’s for Cliff Lee. Don’t even let them think about Texas.

    2. Pettite’s injury (obviously)

    3. I’m know I’m going to get shellacked for this, but looking back at that 8 game winning streak, A-Rod came back, and the Yanks were never the same after that.

    However this is baseball, and magic does happen…

  • bakekrukow

    The offense is dead, it needs a spark. Tex wasnt doing anything anyway, Berkman is killer in October, Pettitte swears by him, stick him in there and see what happens. girardi needs to put is book down and MANAGE. CC needs to go 8, mo is the only reliever we can trust right now, i swear if i see mitre or Fat Joba in this game ill jump through the TV snd strangle girardi.

  • goterpsgo

    For a second there I was thing to myself WTF is there a picture of Happy Red Sawx fans on this site?! :D

    Get ‘er done, CC!!!!! GO NYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • tom

    Being an older sort, I can remember lots of other teams who rallied from 1-3. And the common factor: each one of those teams looked like they had zero chance to come back…until they did.

    The ’68 Tigers were down 1-3 to the defending champion Cardinals. Lou Brock was running on them at will. And even if the Tigers managed to rally somehow, they’d have to face unbeatable Bob Gibson in Game 7. Four days later: World Champion Tigers.

    The ’79 Pirates were looking to tie the Series at 2-2 in Pittsburgh, when the Orioles rallied with one pinch hit after another (against closer Kent Tekulve) in the 8th inning, and humiliated the home team. No one with an ounce of sports-brain thought the Orioles could blow it. But the Pirates outscored them 15-2 over the next three days — twice in Baltimore, against Cy Young winner Mike Flanagan and super-lefty Scott MacGregor — and the Stargell team took home the trophy.

    Of course, there are also all the times this DIDN’T happen, as well. We’re, most of us, realistic. The way the breaks have gone these past few games, along with poor starting pitching and lack of big hits, makes the situation feel bleak. And those instincts may well turn out correct — it’s the way to bet, actually. But just keep in mind that fans of every single one of those teams that rallied from the same deficit had precisely the same feeling about their teams. Sometimes, reversals happen.

    • Greg

      I like your sense of history. I think that this Yankee team and this Yankee fanbase doesn’t have that “We Are Family” togetherness that those Pirates had. Or for that matter, the togetherness that last year’s team had.

      It’s also interesting about songs that last year team could be called the “Empire State of Mind” Yankees.

      • The Fallen Phoenix

        …what does that even mean? That this Yankee team doesn’t have a “We are Family” togetherness? How do you know that?

        Let’s just call a spade a spade. When you don’t execute on the field, it’s not because “you don’t have enough heart,” or because you’re not “playing as a family.” It’s because you haven’t executed on the field. It’s not really all that complicated. When the breaks don’t go your way it’s…because the breaks don’t go your way. The whole point of calling them breaks is that they’re completely out of your control.

        • http://www.paychex.com chris c.

          I understand what you’re saying, but there is also a degree of “I-Don’t-give-a-shit-ness” that is pervading this team. Not moving runners over, not working counts with runners in scoring position, some guys not even getting off the bench when a rare run crosses the plate, and worst of all, Swisher not even putting in the energy of selling a pitch that hit him right in the pants that would have forced in a run. He knew damn well it hit him. Where the hell was the protest? And can someone please throw a goddamn helmit once in a while when you leave runners stranded?? Maybe just once, to show your pissed???