Oct
23

To second-guess or not to second-guess?

By

it’s 3 a.m and thoughts of the League Championship Series are dancing through my head. After a magical ride in 2009, this year’s early exit after a 5-4 postseason sure is a downer. We didn’t offer up much in the way of a recap, and I wanted to offering some of my own musings on the series here.

For much of the end of 2010, Joe Girardi came under the microscope. He knew the Yanks were going to make the playoffs, and instead of pushing hard for the division — and home-field advantage — he rested his regulars and tried to get his banged-up team healthy for the playoffs.

By and large, it worked. Even though some of the crazed masses wanted the Yanks to take the meaningless AL East crown, the Wild Card Yankees swept through the ALDS and won Game 1 of the ALCS in dramatic fashion against the Texas Rangers. After that, it all fell apart. The Rangers simply outplayed the Yankees, and every move the team made backfired. So before we get to the real analysis, let’s get this second-guessing out of the way. What moves did Girardi make that raise some eyebrows and how much did they actually impact the team’s chances of winning the series?

Game 2: Phil Hughes gets the ball

The first decision of the series that involved some raised eyebrows came when the Yanks handed the ball to Phil Hughes instead of Andy Pettitte in Game 2. Based on the numbers — Hughes’ home/road splits and his short history of success in Texas — and the desire to have Pettitte go in a potential Game 7 instead of Hughes, it made some sense. Plus, the Yankees wanted to send their playoff best against Cliff Lee at home. Unfortunately, Hughes bombed. He gave up seven earned runs in 4+ innings, and the Yanks couldn’t overcome his ineffectiveness.

It’s easy to make the case for Pettitte here. He too has home/road splits that favor the road; he’s the team’s second best starter; and the club has to get to Game 7 before they start worrying about Game 7. The Yanks knew it would be tough beating Cliff Lee, and a 2-0 lead going home would have been far more comfortable than a split in Texas. Still, the team plated just a pair of runs in that game, and Pettitte would have needed to be perfect to win. I don’t hesitate to say that going with Hughes wasn’t a bad move, but I do wonder why Girardi left Hughes in long enough to give up seven runs in a pivotal playoff game.

Game 3: Turning the game over to lesser relievers

Even though it maybe shouldn’t have even happened, the Lee/Pettitte match-up lived up to its billing. Pettitte threw one bad pitch to Josh Hamilton, and Lee threw no bad pitches through eight innings of work. It all fell apart in the 9th, and it shouldn’t have. Kerry Wood, the Yanks’ set-up man pitched, the 8th, but then instead of going to Mariano Rivera to keep the game a bloop and a blast away from a tie, Joe Girardi went with Boone Logan and David Robertson. By the time Sergio Mitre came in to clean up the mess, it was 7-0 Texas.

Game 4: A.J. for too long

The Yankees had to start A.J. Burnett in Game 4 of the series. For good reasons, the club didn’t feel comfortable pushing Sabathia, Pettitte and Hughes on three days’ rest, and Burnett drew the short straw. For five innings, he was fine, but things got dicey in the sixth. Vladimir Guerrero singled, but a Nelson Cruz fielder’s choice led to the first out. Ian Kinsler flied out, and for the second time in the series, the Yanks walked David Murphy intentionally. With Joba up in the pen and Burnett nearing 100 pitches, Girardi left his starter in. Bengie Molina took the first pitch over the wall, and the life sputtered out of the Yanks. The bullpen couldn’t keep the game close, and the Yanks lost 10-3. Another close game had gotten out of hand because Girardi didn’t pull his starter soon enough and didn’t go to his ace relievers.

Game 6: Who’s in the pen?

Last night, we again saw Girardi push his starter to far and go to the wrong reliever. This time, the damage came in the bottom of the 5th. Hughes had flittered with disaster all night, and with two outs and a runner on third, the Yanks opted to intentionally walk Josh Hamilton to face Vladimir Guerrero. Vlad blasted a two-run double to center, and the Yanks handed the ball over to David Robertson who promptly gave up a two-run jack to Nelson Cruz. Eventually, the Yankees used Kerry Wood and Mariano Rivera, but they reportedly had CC Sabathia in the bullpen. Why do you go with your lesser arms in that situation? Is it even worth it to intentionally walk Hamilton to face Vlad?

The real problem: offense

Yet, despite all of these second-guesses, despite the way Girardi’s pitching moves made a bunch of close games seem like blowouts, the Yanks’ real problem was one of offense, and it isn’t fair to lay this on the feet of the club’s manager. The Yankees scored 19 runs in five games against the Rangers while giving up twice as many. As a team, they hit .201 and had an on-base percentage nearly .100 points lower than the Rangers did. They went 8 for 53 (.151) with runners in scoring position. They simply got outplayed, outpitched and outhit by a good Texas team that got hot at the right time.

In a way, the Mariners sealed the Yanks’ fate when, on July 9, they baked out of a trade that would have sent Cliff Lee to the Bronx. Lee instead went to the Rangers where he put a playoff-bound team over the top, and the Yanks had to contend with CC and Andy plus two guys who lost the ability to get outs and a youngster with a lively arm who had far surpassed his career high in innings pitched. They rode these guys all the way to Game 6 of the ALCS and deserve our appreciation.

By all accounts, Joe Girardi will be back in the Yanks’ dugout next year, and he should be. He’s managed this team to a World Series title and with a very successul regular season track record. He seemed to push all the wrong buttons this ALCS but should use it as a learning experience. What works in the regular season doesn’t quite work in the playoffs, and as the outs slip away, match-ups should take a back seat to urgency. He can’t, though, will the bats to hit, and the Yanks will just have to dust themselves off and do what 29 other teams have to do: Wait ’til next year.

Categories : Playoffs
  • candyforstalin

    nothing to add.

    • Pete C.

      except, congrats to the Rangers.

  • C

    I don’t blame Girardi for anything in the ALCS. It doesn’t matter who was managing, the way our lineup was swinging the bat and the way our staff was pitching, we weren’t going to win this series.

    • mbonzo

      Agreed, I would have started CC on 3 days rest and rotated the other guys around to pitch on normal rest but what Girardi did was completely in his nature. Another manager that had the same ballsy idea as me would probably have made other ballsy moves that lost some games. In the end Girardi didn’t lose us any games, but he certainly didn’t win us any games either. I am neutral this year on him, and when you have no opinion on the guy in charge, that means hes doing things right.

    • CBean

      The intentional walks drove me insane. I was unhappy with some of the management decisions but overall, we didn’t play. The only run we managed last night was on a badly called wild pitch. You can’t win like that.

  • FIPster Doofus

    Game 2: Right move.

    Game 3: Probably should have gone to Mo.

    Game 4: I had no problem with leaving Burnett in to face the worst hitter in the Rangers’ lineup. There was a single and an IBB that inning; other than that, he got two much better hitters – Cruz, Kinsler – than Molina out, and should have taken care of Bengie. All that stood between Burnett and a heroic outing was one abysmal hitter, and that hitter somehow won the battle.

    Game 6: Robertson over Sabathia was dumb. Why hold anything back? CC said he could throw 45-50 pitches, so let him. In a perfect world, Sabathia would have been warming up since the start of the inning and brought in to pitch to, not intentionally walk, Hamilton. I’d have liked CC’s odds in that situation, and the inning would have ended 1-1.

    • mbonzo

      I disagree with your assessment of Game 6. CC should not be pitching in a high leverage situation like that. He has never pitched in relief, and spent his whole career warming up slowly, how do you expect to get him ready so quick, don’t you think he would start off a little cold, like most starters do, and then dominate. His place in that game was to pitch if Hughes fell apart in the first third of the game. Girardi should have gone to Woods in that situation, he has the most experience relieving aside from Mo. It ended up not mattering because the Yankees couldn’t hit. Instead of relieving in the 5th, I thought CC should have been brought in to hit for Swisher.

      • FIPster Doofus

        I respectfully disagree. You have to go to your best people in such situations. And, regardless of whether he has never relieved, Sabathia was the best pitcher for that moment, IMO. I’d have taken him to get out of the jam over either Robertson or Wood. That was a pull-out-all-the-stops-type situation, and Girardi didn’t.

        • CP

          The other issue you don’t mention is that you have a right handed batter coming up, which is one of the key reasons Robertson was brought in.

          • hotspur40

            Are you Joe Girardi in disguise???

            If you have been watching the last six games — and earlier, more successful Yankees playoff series — you would know that the whole “righty-lefty” thing loses almost all relevance in the post-season. I could name you at least a dozen examples from this ALCS but shouldn’t have to.

            Robbie hit lefties better than righties most of the playoffs. We repeatedly walked lefties to get to righties who then knocked the ball out of the park (or at least extra base hits). Hamilton hit two out at least off of our lefties (Pettitte and Logan). Everyone knows that lefties fare worse against Mo than righties.

            Managing constantly by the “book” over a 162 game series if fine. But in the playoffs, it is madness.

            • cr1

              Managing by the book is the only method available to people who have no intuition.

              Intuition is the capacity to perceive emerging patterns early in a situation before there are enough indications to make the trend obvious (by then it’s too late to really benefit). It looks like magic but it’s really just superior pattern recognition.

              The advantage is that the highly intuitive person gets the jump on everybody else. The disadvantage is that sometimes there are bifurcating paths in pattern development and a trend may have more than one possible outcome, at which point the early jump can be risky.

              The guy with no independent pattern recognition talents has to depend completely on something else, like binders full of stats. He can’t suddenly drop his looseleafs at a given point in the season and start using his weak, underdeveloped intuition.

              Girardi is what he is. He doesn’t have the choice of becoming somebody else just because it’s the playoffs.

              • Evan3457

                But he can learn and change, and possibly grow.

                • cr1

                  Definitely. He already has. The other method besides ‘by the book’ is ‘by broad input from others, some of whom might have intuition’. He tried relying on his buddies, even living with them, during his first season as NYY manager, and that didn’t work for him. Since then it’s been the book, which has worked better, though not perfectly. So he has grown and changed. We are going to have the opportunity of seeing what if any changes he makes going forward.

              • http://itsaboutthemoney.net Brien Jackson

                “Intuition is the capacity to perceive emerging patterns early in a situation before there are enough indications to make the trend obvious”

                No, you idiot, this is called GUESSING.

                • cr1

                  Poor Brien is obviously one of those with little or no pattern recognition skill, who thinks those who have it are guessing, like he would have to do.

  • mbonzo

    I think its time to find a new pitching coach instead of a new manager. Dave Eiland seemed to do the youngsters well at the beginning of his stint, but Robertson, Joba, and even Hughes (to some extent) suffered setbacks this year. Burnett and Vazquez, who were the leaders of other rotations, became number 5 guys. Pettitte, CC, and Mo had good seasons, but I think they’d have great seasons with any pitching coach. Logan was the only guy who seemed to benefit from Eiland, and who knows if thats a fluke or just from a change of scenery. Lefty specialists are a dime a dozen anyway. With the incredible amount of money the Yankees put in to pitching every year, I think its time they put some more $ into their pitching coach, especially with the mass of pitching prospects we’ll be seeing over the next couple of years.

  • Chris

    Starting pitching, bullpen and hitters all outplayed by a mile this series. Yanks were fortunate to win 2 games. Now go get us Cliff Lee and Rafael Soriano and pray Andy comes back one year. I think they’ll pass on Crawford and Werth though both would be upgrades in the corners. Montero should be ready by July and the killer B’s, Adam warren, Hector Noesi and Dave phelps should be able to reinforce the bullpen down the stretch if needed in addition to Aceves hopefully coming back healthy. Joba.major dissappointment this year
    Ing

  • Big Stein

    Wait ’til next year.
    ———————————–

    160 days/22 weeks/5 months till opening day.

    Sigh. The offseason is always much longer when there’s no ticker tape parade.

    • FIPster Doofus

      That will be a torturous 160 days. At least RAB is around to lessen the blow.

      • candyforstalin

        reloading mlb trade rumors several times a day.

        • Bob Stone

          I’ll be doing the same.

  • Big Stein

    it’s been 10 years since someone won consecutive AL pennants.

  • China Joe

    Hopefully Hughes doesn’t feel the Verducci Effect next season. His innings jumped dramatically this year, and after his performance in the ALCS I’m a bit worried that the fans will jump on him if he underwhelms at the start of 2011.

    • MikeD

      The Verducci Effect has been studied and proven to be non-existent.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        It has? When? Link, please.

        • Once and Future Lurker

          http://www.sabernomics.com/sab.....ci-effect/

          If that doesn’t convince you, a lot of the first page on Google for ‘Verducci effect’ is about testing it.

          • Once and Future Lurker

            Edit: I realize that isn’t the same as “proven to be non-existent,” but it’s a start.

  • Jonathan

    The biggest issue with Joe Girardi is not if he is the perfect manager for this team. The issue is, is there anyone better to manage this team? I certainly don’t think so and I’m not the biggest Girardi fan.

    I guess my biggest beefs were leaving Hughes in so long in Game 2, walking David Murphy, and not going to CC in Game 6. I think you have him read to come in in case Hamilton comes to the plate and you bring him in right there. Rule number one. Never get beat without your best pitch/pitcher/player etc.

    My biggest frustrations, like most people, were the offense, the fact that the final score of these games didn’t come close to being the real story and 2out runs/2 strike hits. Not only were we not bringing runs across the board, we were having PATHETIC at bats. When your 3B,1B,RF,LF,DH for the most part don’t do jack shit it’s tough to win. We pride ourselves on having great up the middle talent, but you’d have to have early 2000 Arod at SS, Piazza at C, Mays in CF and Rogers Horsnby at 2B to make up from an almost offensive zero from both infield and outfield corners plus the DH. Not counting the Ab’s Berkman got at 1B/DH and counting Teixeira/Thames.

    Game 4 was literally painful. We were hitting rockets and Berkman and Jeter (twice) almost hit the ball out but it was only 2-0. Then they tie it up on a leadoff walk (after an 0-2 count). A HBP when Molina was trying to sac. A sac bunt that maybe could have gotten Molina at 2nd. A run scoring groundout, and one of eleventy billion dink “hits” that Arod should have had easily. Then AJ implodes and gives up a HR to one of the worst hitters in the league.

    I’m left with an empty feeling and the fact for once that not only did most of our players not exceed expectations, but most of them fell way short. I can’t help think of what it would have been like if 2009 Javy showed up or maybe somehow we got Cliff Lee. Besides CF, possibly RF and the #1 pitcher, we were moderately to extremely more talented than the Rangers at every position. And it’s not like Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson are nobodies.

    I guess we just have to wait until next season to see what Cashman does. I don’t know how confident the organization is with Brett Gardner but other than that or maybe DH, our team OF will most likely be the exact same next year. We just have to hope Arod can finally get that hip fixed and go back to the stance that didn’t have so many holes in it, Jeter returns to being Jeter, Teixeira bounces back from injuries and performs up to our lofty expectations, Granderson builds off his 2nd half/playoffs, Gardner learns how to steal bases when they are most needed and Montero/Jorge can handle catching next year.

    There are so many different ways this team could go this year. We need 2 SP minimum, a new bench and possibly an OF or DH. Nobody here would be shocked if we ended up with 1 or more of Lee/Crawford/Werth/Dunn/Greinke etc and that doesn’t include our own FA. We could trade Gardner for SP and sign a FA OF. We could sign Dunn to be the perfect DH, or we could just sign Lee and our own FA with minor moves. I look forward to seeing how it plays out. This certainly isn’t the first time in recent years that we’ve been outplayed by an inferior team but that doesn’t make it hurt anymore. But that’s baseball. The best team doesn’t always in in a best of 5 or 7 series. I think the long layoff hurt us more than it helped but we’ll never know.

    I’m very proud of Cano/CC/Rivera/Thames/Granderson and most of the bullpen for what they did this year. We are definitely in a transition mode and aren’t the Arod/Jeter Yankees of the mid 2000s. I look forward to 2011 and I hope it ends with 6 more wins than we ended up with this year.

    • http://www.paychex.com chris c.

      “The biggest issue with Joe Girardi is not if he is the perfect manager for this team. The issue is, is there anyone better to manage this team? I certainly don’t think so and I’m not the biggest Girardi fan.”

      Well, if you want to be lazy, then no, there is no better manager out there than Girardi. But of course, that logically makes no sense. Were you really that blown away by his deft tactical work and calm demeaner during the playoffs? His team played as tight as he looked!

  • dan

    so lets get to it…what do we do besides getting lee….we have to get younger, and we need another lefty in the bullpen……….get we get posado to retire now………..and call the pitches from the dugout………paul o,said it after the game..the better team won!

    • Esteban

      posado… lol whatevs
      where do you want to get younger?

  • JohnC

    Lets face it. Age is starting to catch up to this team in some areas. Posada looked totally shot the last monthn and a half. Left side of the infield is 35 and 36 respectively. I honestly hope they can convince Jeter to take only a 3 year deal. Arod is locked in for another 7. Its far from a lock that we’ll get Lee. I wouldn’t be surprised if he stays in Texas. They just got a big deal with a TV contract,so they have some money to spend. If they win the WS, why would he leave with a good young nucleus over there and very little media pressure?. I hope Andy comes back for 1 more year and gives a few of these pitchers down in the minors some more time to develop. They really need Burnett to bounce back big time next year, since he isn;t going anywhere with that contract. Hot Stove season begins in 2 weeks.

  • kosmo

    I hear all this stuff about the offense not producing but in playoffs pitching is often the dominate feature.New York pitched well against Minnesota and won they did not against Texas and where nailed.It would be great on occasion for a Yankee SP to go out and throw a shutout and win a 2-0 game .
    To me this season boils down to Vasquez and Burnett.If either of them pitched to expectations NY would be playing in the WS.Of course Vasquez was left off the PO roster for good reason and Burnett has shown time and time again that he´s a 16.5 million dollar bust.

    • OldYanksFan

      It’s a little ‘chicken first or the egg?’, isn’t it?
      Did we see great pitching last night? Or shitty hitting?
      Outside of Lee, was Texas pitching REALLY THAT good?

      We didn’t hit all of September, no matter how bad the pitching was. We hit very well against Minn. and some decent pitching.
      Minn. and Texas had basically the same team ERA during the regular season, and Lee has a 3.98 ERA for Texas.

      Yes… sure… in general, great pitching beats great hitting.
      But I think this last week, very good pitching beat shitty hitting.

      If Cano can go: .348 .375 .913 1.288
      And Granderson: .294 .520 .529 1.049
      Was it pitching that made:
      ARod: .190 .320 .286 .606 ????
      Teix: .000 .176 .000 .176 ????
      Swish: .091 .200 .273 .473 ????
      Posada: .263 .300 .368 .668 ????

      (and we won’t even talk about RISP)

      • toad

        Well said.

        The emphasis here seem to be on signing Lee, getting players, etc. but if good players don’t perform then it doesn’t matter how many you have.

        If I were Cashman, which I’m not, I’d sit down and figure out the problem before I went out and wrote big checks to solve it. I think the Yankees are on a treadmill of signing stars and hoping it works out. Sometimes it will, of course, but it’s not a great plan.

  • larryf

    I would like to see Gardy bat leadoff-a few more bunts and a healthy thumb>>>>>Jeter
    I would also like to see Cano bat in the first inning of every game and not come up after ARod’s 125rbi’s.
    Finally, batting Montero 8th or 9th makes me laugh after seeing him in Scranton.

    Nelson Cruz at 29=Montero at 21

    me likey

  • OldYanksFan

    I NEED feedback on this question.
    I NEED a thread on this question.
    Was it Girardi who decided the Starting Rotation?

    I say…. NO.
    The PS and WS literally means tens of millions of dollars to the Yankees.
    I have to think that this was a group decision, where Girardi gives a lot of input, where Dave Eiland gives input… where maybe even Contraras gives some input… and maybe others…. and maybe even Hank and/or Hal (but to a much lesser extent), and Cashman heads these meetings and basically hands down the final decree.

    That’s my thoughts. But I don’t know.
    Was it Girardi who decided the Starting Rotation?

  • Wil Nieves #1 Fan

    We can second guess every move Girardi made, but in the end, it will all render moot because the Yankee offense was absolutely dead. Sure, going to David Robertson was a bad move (bad, but not wrong), but why even bother to second guess when the only run scored by the Yanks last night was on a blown call by the umpire? It basically sums up the majority of the series. The games where we won: we hit; the games where Texas won: they hit. I admit to criticizing Girardi’s moves every so often, but there’s no second guessing the fact that Texas outplayed us in every way.

    With the exception of Elvis Andrus, I find this team very likable and admire many of its players — Michael Young, in particular. I hope they do well and keep the World Series trophy in the American League, unless, of course, they play the Giants, in which I hope they get swept and profit nothing from a World Series appearance and lose Cliff Lee in the off season and the rest of their pitching staff to injury.

  • dan

    would be able to get edwin jackson if you traded phil hughes, joba chamberlain,brandon laird,andrew brackman,david phelps,adam warren and jesus montero for him!

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder
    • Sal

      put the crack pipe down and get a hold of your self!!!!

    • Accent Shallow

      Have you watched baseball before?

  • larryf

    Any chance Cervelli can be more of a utility player than just a backup catcher? He is quick, runs well, has a decent arm. Would it give us more roster flexibility to have him be able to play a little utility infield/outfield? The next Jerry Hairston? I know he has played some 3B before….

    Although he is a favorite punching bag here, he is young, homegrown, a pretty good contact RISP hitter and hit .300 against lefties…

    • Pasqua

      He can’t hit. He really can’t. A utility guy should, at least, provide the potential for some offense.

      • MikeD

        As far as back-up catchers go, he actually can hit. His overall numbers mirror what he did in the minor leagues, and a backup catcher who gets on base at a .360 clips valuable. The real problem is he wasn’t so much a backup catcher as he was the co-catcher. He had way too many ABs.

        • Pasqua

          The co-catcher point is well-taken. Maybe a utility job would suit him.

  • dan

    or phil hughes ,joba chamberlain, gary sanchez for edwin jackson. Could either trade be made by the yanks? This one has Future starter,closer, catcher that whitesox would get.

  • Tank Foster

    No interest in second guessing. The Yankees’ execution was far, far worse than any negativity we can attach to the manager’s decisions.

    They didn’t hit. They haven’t really hit since the 8 game win streak in August or September or whenever it was. Some of it was bad luck; both games against the guy who pitched last night had some scorched balls fielded for easy outs. And the Rangers had more than their share of “ground balls with eyes,” such as the ones in game 2, I believe, off Robertson.

    But in general, the Rangers just flat outplayed the Yankees. You can’t fault the Yankee organization, because they had the best record in baseball, in the toughest division. They were just out of gas, or showing their age, or both, when the playoffs rolled around.

    Next year it will be the same situation – strong core, but aging players – and it could get worse. I know everyone is saying the Yankees will land Cliff Lee, but I’m not so sure. I think if the Rangers win the WS, he will sign with the Rangers. But who knows.

    Whether they do or do not sign Cliff Lee, it will be interesting to see how they handle their aging infield issue.

    • Pasqua

      Agreed. The Yankees didn’t get “exposed,” as some might say. They got outplayed for the better part of six games. When you underperform like that, there’s no way to beat a team that’s clicking.

  • badadvice

    Second-guessing starts before Texas beats Tampa in game 5. Why the yankee’s ajusted the pitching based on Who Texas was starting.

    Game
    1-CC Sabathia
    2-Andy Pettitte
    3-Phil Hughes or A.J. Burnett
    4-CC Sabathia 3days rest
    5-Phil Hughes or A.J. Burnett
    6-Andy Pettitte normal rest
    7-CC Sabathia 3 days rest

    This should have been set in stone before the Tampa/Texas game-5 even started. You get your #1 and #2 started in 5 of the 7 games and your best chance to winning.

    By pitching Andy in game 3, you turned it into a coin flip at the start of the game. Had Andy pitched game 2 you would have to say edge goes to yankees in game 2 and game 3 Phil Hughes or A.J. Burnett, big edge Texas. I would have pitched A.J. Burnett in game 3 because he’s more likly to give you a 1-0 win or a 11-1 lose. Good and Bad AJ . Phil Hughes is much better at keeping you in a game but will give up runs even when he’s at his best. Look at the year he had in his 17 wins he gave up less then 3 runs in 14 and most games he gave up 2 or 3 runs .

    All I know is you start your best pitcher in as many games as you can and being that CC pitched on 3 days rest before and has done it very well in the last few years he’s still your best on 3 days rest.

    Lets say after all the 2nd guessing is done and its still was down 3-2 going into game 6. Andy and CC sounds better then Phil and Andy.

    Don’t know about the rest of you but I would have felt better losing last night knowing that we lost with Andy pitching last night and not our start of season #5 starter who’s had limited playoff starts .

  • Johnny O

    It’s over. Good season and a fun team to watch. Makes you appreciate how special 2009 was, with the amazing health/production from older players, all the walk-offs, etc.

    Can’t wait to see Cliff Lee report to Tampa in February.

    • Sal

      Actually Texas has a nice fat TV deal so don’t measure Lee’s shirt sleeves just yet, and why would you want to buy the guy you can’t beat? So he can’t beat you anymore, that’s not American is it?

      • Benedict

        No, that’s the Yankee way. At least it was under The Boss, a lot of times.

  • http://deleted Richard Deegan

    I don’t see how you can tell a team by thought, word or deed that they’re monicaing losers (“We the Yankees, as a team, hereby acknowledge that we are incapable of having the best record in the AL, or a better record that any post-season contender, or even winning our own division. Therefore we are going to sandbag the rest of the season (unless Boston gets really hot) and rest or rust our regulars and wink at the few from Scranton on the bench while the AAAAs play.”), and then expect them to come back with a winning attitude.
    Then telling your pitcher that, “Yeah, the rest of the league, including KC and Seattle, got Josh Hamilton out 65-70% of the time, but no pitcher here is capable of doing that.”
    Where has Dave Eiland been hiding the last month?

  • Sal

    haven’t read your whole post, the first one stuck to me like chewing gum on a chair, but good idea running your thoughts, thanks for that. Congrats to the Rangers and the Yanks, it was a great run. As for your 2nd guess that Pettitte should have pitched game 2, how many hits with RISP or runs in general did NY get in that game? You still would have come home tied at 1, unless you think Pettitte was gonna give up less than 2 runs, and you’ll have to show me when the last time he did that was. So your first 2nd guess goes out the window from my vantage point. Actually you just got beat by the better team the only second guess at this point is second guessing anything

  • Sal

    As for turning the ball over to lesser relievers in game 3, you weren’t touching Cliff Lee in that game, he got stronger as the game moved on, he was throwing harder and just as precise in the 8th inning as he was in the 3rd inning so your 0 for 2

  • Murakami

    Given Alex and Jeter’s ages, I would like to see Eduardo Nunez become something of a roving infielder next season.

    Nunez is a good short stop and second baseman, more challenged at 3B, but he can survive over there once in a while during the season to give Alex a break. Cano may be 28, but he could use a blow every once in a while. Girardi ran Cano into the ground and probably cost him several points off his BA. Did the same thing last year with him.

    What I like about Nunez is, although not as sound defensively as El Nino, he has a good bat. He can help us at the plate when he subs for one of the older guys.

    I have a feeling both Alex and Jeter will have bounce back years, but they need to be handled with care if they’re to have anything left in October.

    • Mike HC

      Cano didn’t seem too worn down in the playoffs though. Young guys should play just about everyday.

      • Murakami

        That’s the beauty of being 28, I suppose. He did have a nice rest there after the ALDS. Killed everyone else, though :(.

  • Murakami

    Pitching around Hamilton last night was just silly. You knew Vlad was going to get a hit, there.

    You don’t continue to put guys on from the middle of the order and expect not to get hurt.

    Joe gets carried away with this stuff.

    • Sal

      That’s a second guess, Hamilton was eating NY pitching for lunch, I’ll take my chances that 100 yr old Vlade Hall of famer and all is the easier target. What do you think Hamilton would have done with that hanging Slider/curve/change up or whatever that meatball Hughes threw was? How about the player take charge and do your job. Hughes missed his spot, badly

      • Murakami

        It’s not a second-guess from me. I turned to my girlfriend and said, I don’t like this. Vlad isn’t Joel Skinner.

        You don’t keep pitching around a guy unless the guy behind him is like the infielder or defensive guy that can’t hit whom they’re not going to pinch hit for because it’s too early. And yes, he hung a curve ball, but you could also argue that Vlad was flailing on that curve earlier.

        I don’t like walking middle-order guys to pitch to middle-order guys. I didn’t like it BEFORE the bad result came, so I am not second guessing.

        I ALSO was making myself hoarse, along with a large group of other people, in Game 4 when Joe left AJ in after Vlad got on. Again, it’s not second-guessing if you have the forboding BEFORE the bad result you anticipate actually happens.

    • Benedict

      Vlad didn’t get the hit the 1st and 3rd times.

      He did the 2nd time, because Hughes hung a curve in the middle.

      Perhaps a better move than Robertson for Nunez might’ve been Wood in the 5th. I dunno.

      In general, they did IBB too many guys. I’d agree with that.

    • toad

      I think the IBB to Hamilton was not only the right move, but obviously so. DIdn’t work out? Too bad, but you’re playing results.

      There’s two outs, to start with, so the chance that Hamilton will end up scoring even if Guerrero gets a hit is not that great.

      Look at what you get in exchange.

      You pitch to Guerrero instead of Hamilton and you get the increased chances of a force-out.

      I think it’s a clearcut move.

  • Mike HC

    Cliff fucking Lee. Unbelievable that that trade/non trade really did come back to be the difference. Cliff fucking Lee. Montero better make the heartbreak from this year worth it.

    • Evan3457

      Yanks lost 3 of 5 games Lee didn’t pitch. All 3 were one-sided losses.

      • Mike HC

        If you don’t think this series and the entire season would have played out differently if we had Lee, I think you are massively underrating him.

  • Sal

    The last time Joba faced Cruz, Nelson ate him for lunch in early September, I think Girardi still had agita from that appearance, he thought Burnett was a better option, that’s a sad indictment on the great Yankee bull pen that got reduced to really only two guys Wood and Mo. I agree the hitters failed miserably except for Cano and Granderson and yes Robertson should have never even seen game 6 especially with Sabathia, Wood, and Rivera ready to go. D-Rob is a nice kid and a work in progress, but he was damaged goods in this series after his earlier outings. joba would have been the better choice, not that he would have succeeded, but he just doesn’t know any better and that might have helped some, but I doubt it. The Yanks got whipped every which way, time to move on and figure out how to not let Jeter’s deal mess up the SS position/ top of the order moving forward. Should be a 2 yr deal tops, break your records, show the young kids a few things and move on Capt. Minka’s a full time job anyway.

  • Murakami

    You have no idea how fucking lucky we are that Big Jack pulled out of that deal.

    Cashman will get credit in the years to come for having the sense to not deal Montero; people will forget he lucked out that Seattle was too stupid to take that miserable exchange, just as his ass was saved when Arizona sniffed when Cano was offered for Randy Johnson.

    Who do you think is going to be our two young offensive forces over the next several years?

    Cano and Montero.

    And you’d want five minutes of a 30-year old pitcher and Randy Johnson’s past over these two guys?

    Because Montero for Cliff Lee would have been the same kind of disaster that lucky Cash weasled out of, thanks to someone else being more inept than he was.

    • Sal

      That inept GM is going to the World Series with Lee as his point man. Montero was dogging it until he found out he was dispensable, but your right hindsight being 50/50 I’m also glad he didn’t make that move. Judging by the way this line-up hit we’ll need every young prospect and hope they pan out, or it’s back to over paying for Werth or Crawford or any other older mercenary that hits the market.

      • Ray the Anti-Handle

        I think he’s talking about Jack Z.

        • Murakami

          Correct.

  • Murakami

    Meant to say the same kind of disaster Cano for Randy Johnson would have been.

    Lee is still good, but you don’t trade franchise type position players with elite bat speed and power for 30-year old pitchers who can only help you every five days.

    The Yankees have become besotted with the 30-year old free-agent “ace” syndrome. Lee now will cost only money, but we will pay for his dotage, just as we’ll be paying for AJ Burnett’s – guys who spend their prime elsewhere and come here to graze on better grass when they become fat cows.

    Lee is still good, but I can also see him coming here and his back goes out. At least now, if it does, we won’t be having to watch highlights of Montero killing the ball in Seattle.

  • Tom Merritt

    I was really bummed about last night’s game. Even though it was what I expected I was hoping somehow that they would win.

    There are some serious problems to be dealt with during the off season. Cashman and Girardi have made some bone headed decisions this year. I still go back to not being able to do the deal for Lee if the Yankees were not willing to trade Hughes and fat pig Joba. Hughes was pathetic last night and wilted under the pressure. That wild pitch on an intentional walk was the crowning blow.

    I haven’t checked to see what is available from the free agent market but the team needs to look really different next year. A-Rod has been in a tailspin since he got off steriods and Jeter is a shell of his former self. Posada needs to go to the home for old catchers.

    C.C is the only thing close to a decent pitcher that they have. The only bright spot to me is Kerry Wood. Tex and Cano are the best every day players and they need to rebuild around them.

    I don’t know what they are going to do with Jeter? Even if he is willing to take a pay cut I don’t know how they are going to keep him as an every day shortstop?

    Need to go for sure list: Posada, Burnett, Chamberlain, Robertson, Mitre, Berkman, Pena, Kearns, and Thames. I’d like to see Girardi go as well but I can’t name one available manager that I would have confidence in. They don’t grow on trees.

    I don’t keep track of the minor league system that closely but I’m hoping that they have 3-4 everyday players that are ready to come up and that they can get a few free agents to plug these holes so we can have a competitive team next year?

    This is a lame team for $ 210 million. Can you imagine what would be going on now if George were still alive and running the team???

    • Evan3457

      The Rangers got no runs from that wild pitch. In fact, they got only 1 run in 4 2/3 innings, and it looked like he might get out of the 5th…the sequence was infield hit, routine grounder, routine grounder, IBB. In fact, Hughes was OK, not great, but OK…until his last pitch.

    • Ray the Anti-Handle

      Where do I start?

      - Hughes was never part of the deal for Lee and you’d be an idiot to include him. That’s the definition of getting swindled. Additionally, they were trying to plug rotation holes. You deal Hughes, you still have a hole in the rotation.

      - Fat pig Joba? Really?

      - Hughes was pathetic? He was bad, but he battled all night. He’s 24 in his first full season of starting, way beyond his previous innings high. He went from #5 starter to #3 starter because of dire circumstances. I think most would give him the benefit of the doubt.

      - If we take A-Rod’s words for truth and he didn’t use steroids after coming from Texas, then I’m pretty sure he’s been fine offensively until this season. Unless you forgot his monster ’05 and ’07 seasons as well as his monster ’09 postseason.

      - Jeter was bad this year. I’ll give you that. I’d like to see what he does next year though before declaring him done.

      - Posada didn’t look great during the second half, but really?

      - Mo have mercy on you, you forgot this guy named Mariano Rivera. Andy Pettitte isn’t bad either. And how about the young Phil Hughes?

      - You’re going to bash A-Rod and Jeter and then give Tex a pass for his awful postseason and his subzero cold streaks during the season?

      - Jeter’s contract is an unfortunate situation for the team right now, but that’s what happens when you have a face of the franchise player.

      - Your list is utterly ridiculous. Yeah, let’s get rid of D-Rob, who had an excellent season after a bad start. Let’s get rid of Joba, who is still young. And after how the Yankees screwed with his development, he probably has limited trade value, unless a team wants to bring back Joba the starter.

      - Oh yes, dump Posada. And then what? Press Cervelli into starting duty? Bring Montero up immediately? That sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.

      - I’ll give you Burnett, but you’ll just have to live with the fact that he’s going to be on this team for a few more years. He’s got a no-trade clause, so unless you’re willing to eat the rest of his contract, not happening. At least give him an opportunity for a bounce back year.

      - I can’t believe you even bothered including Pena. The guy’s your infield defensive replacement.

      - Berkman isn’t coming back and neither is Kearns. Don’t know what you have against Thames though. He had himself a stellar year. Will he regress? Perhaps, but he did a fine job this year.

      - So you want to see Girardi gone, but you know there’s not many more capable than him. I think you countered your own point.

      - This year’s team isn’t competitive? This team is lame? I guess I missed the part where I watched the 2010 New York Yankees fight the Red Sox for third place.

    • Jonathan

      um, this is why you aren’t a GM. Admitting you don’t know anything about the FA and minor league system is a HUGE shock after that genius plan. I know!!! Let’s trade for or sign:

      C Mauer
      1B Puols
      2B keep cano
      SS Hanley
      3B Longoria
      LF Crawford
      CF Hamilton
      RF Braun
      DH Votto

      SP Halladay
      SP Lee
      SP Felix
      SP Johnson
      SP We can keep CC as the 5th starter

      • Ray the Anti-Handle

        No no no, you’ve got it all wrong.

        C Mauer
        1B Puols
        2B keep cano Utley, can’t be having lazy players!
        SS Hanley
        3B Longoria
        LF Crawford
        CF Hamilton
        RF Braun Werth, baby, Werth!
        DH Votto

        SP Halladay
        SP Lee
        SP Felix
        SP Johnson
        SP We can keep CC as the 5th starter Casey Kelly

        • Jonathan

          lol i love the Casey Kelly part

  • Jerome S

    Something that I learned from this loss was that the Rangers lead-off man, Elvis Andrus, almost always got on in the first inning. In addition, he scored four runs in the LCS, and I’m pretty sure all of them were in the first. This has shown me the value of a leadoff hitter who consistently gets on base (OBP .400+). For years this was Jeter, but this year we saw his OBP sink to .340. While I have confidence that Jeter can and will bounce back, we must also prepare a plan for what happens if he is truly declining for good.

    A good leadoff hitter should have two characteristics: High OBP and at least decent speed. After all, the purpose of a leadoff hitter is not to drive in runs but to score them. So who comes to everyone’s mind? Brett Gardner. Gardner had a .383 OBP this year and stole 47 bases, but mostly at the back of the order so he only came around to score 97 runs. In the front of the order, he would probably score closer to 120. Curtis Granderson would make another candidate for a leadoff hitter due to his speed, but because of his relatively low career OBP (.341) and high power, he would be more appropriate for a number 2 spot (If Jeter continues to decline).
    In conclusion, Brett Gardner is a tank.

    • Hughesus Christo

      Elvis Andrus hit hit 265/340/300 this season

      • Jerome S

        I was referring to the series; He had a decent series to say the least.

    • dalelama

      The word is out on Gardner just throw him strikes and he can’t hurt you. Get something now for him while you can and sign Crawford. I am sick and tired of him watching third strikes go right by. He will never do anything against the better pitching he faces in post season.

  • paulb

    It’s really time to wake up to reality. This team has a bunch of has-been stars hitting .250-.260 (only 1 hit .300+) who don’t hit in clutch situations. How much is Tex getting paid? Look at his stats the last 2 post seasons. It’s sad but DJ is among the leaders in dp’s and K’s with no pop. Arod is a shell of himself. Pitching is CC, old man AP and a bunch of over hyped guys who aren’t as good as the middle relievers for the Rangers (Hughes, Joba AJ Robertson & on and on). Girardi is not the problem it’s the GM. The farm system is baron other than Montero (probably over hyped too). There will be some lean years ahead for the Yanks!

    • Murakami

      Has beens? Really? You mean, like ARod?? Wow. from 18 RBI in the postseason to a has-been in less than a year.

      Remarkable.

      The farm system is barren? Banuelos, Brackman, Betances? Romine, Laird, Mesa, Sanchez? Culver? Gumbs?

      We may not have guys ready to move into the lineup, but we have talented players in the system. Besides, there’s no room for them. If Mesa continues to demonstrate he’s figured out how to hit breaking pitches, he goes from a guy that can’t put super talent together to a genuine prospect.

    • Mike HC

      In all probability, Texas loses Lee next year, and Tampa loses half their team. The Yanks, well, we lose nobody we want and are looking to add guys. We will be contenders again next year almost for sure. Can’t always predict which team of superstars will win in a seven game series though. Sometimes you just don’t get the breaks and/or player performances at the right time.

      • Mister D

        We may not be losing anyone we want to keep, but we are also stuck with guys that we may be better off losing.

  • Xstar7

    Well the Yankees are gonna face hard times again sooner or later. I just hope it’s later.

  • Hughesus Christo

    They started walking Hamilton every AB in game 2 because he lit up Boone Logan, meaning they kept putting a 300/345/500 hitter in situations to kill them. And he did.

    It was like walking people to pitch to ARod over and over again, which was hilarious when other teams did it.

    • Murakami

      Agreed. Not sound.

    • Ray the Anti-Handle

      I was fine with all the walks. I was more upset at the execution. Phil should not have been leaving stuff over the plate against a hitter like Vlad. Bury a curve, throw it a foot outside, but don’t throw around the plate on every pitch.

  • dan

    we lost not because of our offense but because of phil hughes having two terrible starts. How much of a difference does pitching in a simulated game make in between starts for the starting pitchers I don’t but sorry guys I think phil hughes will be an ok #3 starter at best.
    He’s not an ace or a number 2 starter. We should keep him for now but
    hopefully his trade value has gone up with him winning 18 games this year. I respect his mental approach but his mechanics just annoy me.
    I don’t care if it gives him command he’s never going to develop a great changeup with what smoltz said on the broad cast. If he keeps throwing the cutter while already one-arming it he’s screwed. He depends on the cutter way too much. Why do you think andy Petite’ arm wore out because he tried throwing cutters and changeups. Mariano Rivera said you can’t throw cutters and changeups cause there two opposite ways you’re wrist snaps when you throw them. Now wonder Petite felt he needed hgh.
    Hughes should change his mechanics if he’ going throw cutters or abandon it and develop a changeup along with change in mechanics. Don’t wanna sound repetitive when it comes to mechanics but its the truth!

    • Ray the Anti-Handle

      You know how Phil was going to win yesterday’s game? By throwing a shutout. The offense was putrid yesterday and yet they don’t get any blame?

      And sheesh, it didn’t take long for people to want Hughes’ head.

      • Ray the Anti-Handle

        And let me add that the sole run was a gift from the ump.

    • Jonathan

      wow…the guy is 24 years old and way past his innings limit. He already has 2 plus pitches and usually has good command with a promising curve and change. Do you know how bad everyone in the league would be if they stopped getting better at 24? He also has very sound mechanics without unnecessary movement and good downhill tilt while hiding the ball well. It’s completely obviously you didn’t play baseball but throwing a cutter doesn’t involve any wrist snapping. That’s a slider. The cutter is thrown with a slider grip without the snap. You just let it come out naturally with your hand and wrist on the side of the ball. If you don’t have any idea how to even throw a cutter, (one of the easiest pitches to know how to throw) then why would anyone listen to you about mechanics? Also, changeups and cutters are hands down the easiest pitches on your arm. Sliders/curves are what hurts your arm. CC throws cutters and sliders with his wrist breaking one way and throws an outstanding changeup with the wrist breaking the other way. Same with Halladay and Johan and Felix. Ever heard of those guys….HE’S 24!!!!

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      this is First Name Only Male Handle Rule all over the place.

      • JMK

        Affirmed.

      • Jonathan

        ouch that hurts…especially after my comment

        • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

          Haha, I believe I’ve said in the past that you’re an exception because you are. Sorry.

          • Jonathan

            well that’s the first i’ve seen of it but that doesn’t mean you’ve said it. apology more than accepted

            • Jonathan

              haven’t*

    • first time lawng time

      So you want to trade a guy that had a very solid year for a 24 year old (not to mention his first full year as a starter) because of 2 crappy ALCS outings that followed an insane ALDS clinching outing?

      Seriously, you sound like a spoiled brat. Just because he plays for the Yankees does not mean you can expect him to pitch like Felix Hernandez, alright? He’s young, he’s going to improve. Eventually he’ll develop his other pitches and learn to finish off batters.

      Hughes carries some portion of the blame for losing the series, but you can’t solely blame him. It was a team failure. Get over it.

      I personally don’t like Hughes (but that’s just personal and I’m just weird so don’t worry about that) but he has potential. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

  • Murakami

    Let me ask you, paulb, how is it we got Granderson again?? What pieces from our “baron” farm system did we use to bring him to New York?

    • paulb

      That was a GREAT move! Give up the one decent prospect you have for yet another .240-.250 hitter. Need a GM that knows what he’s doing like the guy down in Texas!

  • Chris

    I think the yanks should move gardener back to CF, trade granderson to a team like the giants for a couple of young power arms for the pen and sign Crawford. I think Gardner may have been able to run down Guerrero’s gapper which changed the entire game.

    • Mike HC

      I think we should sign Crawford too. Love his game.

      • Murakami

        Crawford would also hit line drive HRs in our park. An outfield with Crawford in left and Granderson in center would be crazy coverage. The left-center gap would be sealed.

        • Mike HC

          Yup. That is my dream right now.

          • Camilo Gerardo

            my dream is acquiring Kemp/Rasmus/Sizemore for Joba, Gardner, BXXXXXXs

    • Murakami

      Granderson was brilliant in center this year. Gardner isn’t nearly as good as Granderson going to the wall on balls hit over his head. Ain’t happenin’.

      • Chris

        Defensive Metrics don’t support your opinion. Grandy had a very good year defensively in CF but his numbers don’t compare to Gardners in CF from the 2 previous years. Gardner may have ran down Guerrero’s ball in the gap. I still think the Yankees would have lost, however.

        • Murakami

          Gardner has had all kinds of trouble in CF going to the wall. It’s not even close – Granderson is great off the bat, Gardner is not. He is much better suited to left-field.

          Guerrero’s ball was not catchable. Hit a lot harder than you think.

        • http://www.twitter.com/deanezag Zack

          I assume you’re using UZR or UZR/150? Gardner has 165 (118 starts) games in CF over 2 years, even people who live and die (arod’d) by UZR will admit that’s not a legit sample size to use.

    • Mike HC

      I like Gardner a lot, but quite frankly, if he is not needed as a centerfielder, he should not be in the Yanks starting line up next year. We obviously don’t have such a surplus of offense anymore that we can just stick a defense, speed guy in left.

      • http://www.twitter.com/deanezag Zack

        They scored 41 more runs than the next best team, #1 in OBP, #3 in SLG……but #15 in ERA.

        What’s the difference offensively if it is Garnder(LF)/Granderson(CF) or Gardner(CF)/Granderson(LF)?
        Gardner wasn’t the problem. And people will complain about the offense, but if you watch 162 games of every team then you’d call every team streaky, unclutch, etc.

        • Mike HC

          I’m not complaining about the offense. I’m looking to how I would improve the team next year and years beyond that.

          And the difference is the potential for offensive improvement. Centerfield should be a defense first position, offense second. Corner outfield spots profile as big bats, defense is secondary. Granderson is clearly our centerfielder and a superior player to Gardner. That gives us the opportunity to have three big bats in the outfield. Gardner is just a centerfielder playing left right now which we don’t really need in my opinion.

          • http://www.twitter.com/deanezag Zack

            I see your point, but up above you want Crawford no, he’s not a “corner OF big bat” either?

            • Mike HC

              He is one of the best players in baseball in my opinion and very strong with the bat. Light years ahead of Gardner and infinitely more power too. Granted, not a typical power hitter, you are right.

      • Chris

        Gardner has been very solid this year especially for his salary. The best lineup the Yankees could put out would be Grandy in CF and Crawford in LF but are they gonna go out and spend $300 million in free agency this year not including Jeter and Mo? They need Cliff Lee a lot more than they need Crawford.

        • Mike HC

          Well, it is impossible to predict how the off season is going to play out right now. And you never know what Cashman has up his sleeve. I’m of the thinking that Pettitte is retiring, obviously just a hunch. So my off season includes signing Lee and Crawford, and plugging Joba into the rotation. That does not add that much salary considering Javy and AP are coming off the books.

          • Chris

            I don’t think you can start the season with both Joba and Burnett starting. Having 2/5th of the rotation as major question marks is asking for trouble. I agree Joba wasn’t given enough of a chance as a starter though it worries me that he didn’t exactly dominate as reliever.

            • Mike HC

              Yea, you definitely make a good point.

  • Larry

    It doesn’t bother me that none of Girardi’s moves paid off. Last year he didn’t have to make tough choices as the players came through.

    This season he had to and he failed at every turn.

    Hughes and Burnett are not playoff ready pitchers and never will be.
    Yankees’ pen is so mediocre.

    What’s needed? A $300 million payroll! That’ll show them.

    • http://www.twitter.com/deanezag Zack

      and never will be

      Fact: Phil Hughes will never improve, ever

      • Mike HC

        ha, I forgot that 24 year olds starting their first full year in majors are already at their peak. And they should especially be judged after they are long past their previous high in innings.

        • Mike HC

          /unintentionally Joba’d.

        • http://www.twitter.com/deanezag Zack

          Wait he’s 24? If you’re not an ace by 21 then trade him!!!

        • CBean

          It’s true. Phil Hughes never had a win in the post-season. Well, you know, except for that ONE ABSOLUTELY DOMINATING GAME where we actually had outpitched our veteran pitchers in that series.

          /rolls eyes.

      • Murakami

        LOL.

        Never, never, never, never.

    • Murakami

      AJ had an awful year. He probably was the pivotal reason we didn’t advance, even though he pitched pretty well in Game 4.

      But let’s not forget that AJ pitched us to a clutch Game 2 WS win in 2009. We don’t win the WS if he doesn’t come up big after we lost Game 1. He was “playoff ready” for that start.

      Hughes kept us in last night’s game until he coughed up the Vlad hit. He was great in the ALDS, and definitely didn’t give us a chance to win Game 2 in this series. AJ’s failures this season and Vazquez’s loss of velocity put Hughes in a situation that can only be viewed as a learning experience. This was his first full year of starting, and he pitched a lot of innings.

      Saying Phil Hughes will “never” be a “playoff ready” pitcher is all emotion and hyperbole.

      • first time lawng time

        AJ had an awful year. He probably was the pivotal reason we didn’t advance, even though he pitched pretty well in Game 4.

        So many things wrong with that statement.

  • Chris

    Burnett and Vasquez were the biggest disappointments this year IMO. If either had been just decent, the Yanks would have won the division going away. That being said, the Texas series was a total team failure. Starting pitching except Pettite was mediocre or worse, the bullpen except for Mo and Woods was awful, hitting except for Cano and Grandy stunk, Posada was miserable behind the plate as usual.

    • Reggie C.

      I agree. I think we all had a grasp of the fact that Burnett would be inconsistent through stretches. Yet, to see the man struggle for essentially an entire season was shocking and something no one saw coming. The Bad AJ moniker is acceptable as long as Good AJ exists. Good AJ didnt exist aside from a month of starts.

      Now its time to cross fingers and hope Hughes can take a step forward and learn to put away guys in 0-2, 1-2 counts. We’re in dire need of a quality #3 starter if Good AJ is only showing up 25% of the time and Pettitte another day closer to retirement.

  • Murakami

    Chris,

    You would start Joel Skinner over Josh Gibson.

    Only you, and Joe Girardi would.

    • Chris

      Funny the first thing Joe Torre did when he started the Yankees dynasty was dump Mike Stanley, a good hitting but lousy defensive catcher and bring in Joe Girardi. You can give up a little Defense for a good bat but at least give me someone who’s about league average behind the dish.

      • JohnnyC

        Had nothing to do with Torre. It was David Cone’s request — get rid of Stanley or I don’t re-sign. It was Don Zimmer who suggested acquiring Girardi. Torre probably had no idea who Girardi was.

  • Chris

    Catching is a big problem for the Yankees next year. Posada just doesn’t belong behind the plate anymore and platooning him between DH and C with Montero would seem logical except Montero is worse defensively than Posada. It puts to much pressure on the pitching staff to have guys running wild on the bases like Texas did.

    • Reggie C.

      I’m pretty sure all the homeruns and doubles hit by the Rangers did us in. Posada’s catching is lousy, but with our team as constructed it isn’t a fatal flaw.

      • Murakami

        Lousy is an exaggeration. It’s below average, but he’s not Victor Martinez.

        If this guy was so inept, why did guys like Clemens and El Duque love throwng to him?

        But you make a great point – his shortcomings back there, in the larger scheme of things, aren’t fatal, and they certainly have NOT cost the team championships, whereas his bat has helped us win them.

        Now, he’s not going to be the full-time catcher any more, any way. So these Posada bashing fests are real head scratchers.

        The Yankees are probably not going to have a defense-first catcher ever. They’re not into light-weight hitters at C, thank goodness.

        Gary Sanchez is the one in the system who so far seems to have a nice balance of a big bat plus some defensive talent, but he’s just a kid, yet.

    • JohnnyC

      Cervelli’s percentage of throwing out basestealers was even lower than Jorge’s…and he’s supposed to be a superior defensive catcher. Montero may not be any good defensively either but a lot of the blame has to go to the pitchers outside of Andy having no earthly idea how to hold runners on. And some of that blame has to go to Dave Island…among other issues.

      • Ray the Anti-Handle

        Not a fan of Cerv, but he did log a lot of his innings with AJ. At least Posada had the benefit of having Andy pitch to him.

        But I do think that’s something to work on. Holding runners is important. It makes the runner think twice and should also help the pitcher himself focus knowing the runner will be more careful.

    • dalelama

      I won’t believe anybody is worse than Posada behind the plate until I see it.

  • Murakami

    Chris,

    You vastly over rate “defensive” catching. Posada will be fine for 70-80 games behind the plate. Less work there will probably freshen his bat, which still can be very potent.

    Posada still has bat speed and still has lefty power in our park. One of Girardi’s BIGGEST mistakes this season has been caving into AJ Burnett’s demands to have Cervelli catch him. NOT having Posada’s lefty bat in that game against middling RHP Hunter was another managerial mistake.

    The man has a career 123 OPS+. He doesn’t need to be Hercules behind the plate. Posada’s eroding defensive skills did not cost us this series. You are operating in a land of myth where defensive catchers have a bigger impact on winning than offensive catchers.

    All we heard last year was how Posada was going to kill us against the Angels. Funny that they managed their seventh trip to the World Series in 14 years, nonetheless.

    Joe Mauer, generally regarded as the game’s most balanced catcher in terms of offense/defense, threw the ball into centerfield TWO YEARS IN A ROW in the ALDS. You over rate this stuff.

    Ask yourself this question in earnest: if having some defensive stalwart behind the plate was such a priority, would the New York Yankees be so dogged about forcing Montero to try and make it at catcher???

    A catcher who brings OBP and slugging to the plate is highly coveted. I would say, the Yankees’ ability to throw Posada’s bat into the lineup for the last decade and change could arguably the tipping point for putting their offense over the top of other teams. They can turn the lineup over because of it, and his switch-hitting has helped frustrate matchups for opposing managers.

    You are waaaay guilty of disregarding how important he has been to the lineup for this slavish, mythical idea that defensive catchers have some major impact on the game.

    They don’t.

    • Chris

      Obviously I disagree. The Red Sox only want Victor Martinez as a DH/1st baseman and traded for Saltalamachia because Martinez was so terrible behind the plate even tough he mashed the ball all year. The Angels are trying to trade Mike Napoli for the same reason despite his big bat. The pitching staff doesn’t stand a chance if every single becomes a double or triple. You at least have to control the other teams running games a bit. The pressure the Rangers running game put on the Yankees was a big factor in this series.

      • Murakami

        You disagree?

        With what? That Jorge Posada’s bat has had more impact on the Yankees’ fortunes than his “lousy” catching skills?

      • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

        When the Red Sox start Salty as their regular catcher lemme know, okay?

        • JohnnyC

          Right, the same Saltalamacchia who came down with Mackey Sasser disease in the past season and a half? Red Sox were just exposing the lack of catching depth in their system by taking a flyer on him off waivers.

  • Camilo Gerardo

    biggest swing in game 6 was when it seemed like Girardi called the two/4 last curveballs to Cruz. Seemed posada was frustrated that they kept getting fouled off and wanted to throw numbah 1. he got his way, robertson let it cut middle-inner third, and boom. will be glad to see cruz get a heavy diet of breaking pitches next yr, though

  • first time lawng time

    They went 8 for 53 (.151) with runners in scoring position. They simply got outplayed, outpitched and outhit by a good Texas team that got hot at the right time.

    How they had 53 RISP is beyond me. Agree with the rest of it though.

    • JohnnyC

      53 at bats not runners.

      • first time lawng time

        Oh haha. My bad.

        But still. How they managed to have enough RISP for 53 at bats is beyond me.

  • first time lawng time

    I;m sick of all this talk about how AJ and Vazquez are the reason for our SP failing. I mean Vazquez wasn’t even on the roster and he gets blamed! AJ pitched 5 solid innings and he gets blamed!

    People saying that because AJ and Vazquez didn’ pitch well and screwed up the rotation is an absurd statement. Just because 2 guys don’t pitch well doesn’t mean the other pitchers have to pitch poorly.

    CC has got to pitch better in the PS this year. He was the number 1 from opening day. Him pitching poorly has nothing to do with AJ and Javy.

    Hughes being the number 2 starter in the post season is not Aj and Javys fault. Pettitte is better than Hughes and he should have been the number 2. Regardless of what game Hughes is pitching in he has to make his pitches and keep us in the game. He failed to do so and that has nothing to do with Javy and Burnett.

    AJ didn’t even pitch poorly in game 4. Given his season, I’m pretty sure we all would have signed up for 5 innings 2 run ball (with those 2 runs not coming on a single hit btw.). He shouldn’t have been left in to face Bengie Molina. He was getting wild that inning and we should have gone to Joba or Wood or somone. We could all see that he was getting tired…I mean he almost threw the pitch away intentially walking Murphy. AJ was left in too long. He also hadn’t pitch in something like 17 days too.

    And as for Javy. Guy wasn’t even on the post season roster. Anyone blaming Javy for this needs to shut the hell up.

    Yanks got straight up embarassed and outplayed. Nothing to do with Javy or BUrnett.

    • dalelama

      Burnett’s ERA in game 4 was 7.50 in other words he sucked.

      • first time lawng time

        Yeah because era totally reflects a pitcher’s ability.

        He pitched well through the first 5 innings. Was left in too long in the 6th and now his outing looks bad.

        AJ Burnett is a good pitcher and should not have any blame for losing the ALCS.

        • Mike HC

          Good starting pitchers should be able to last longer than five innings. The very fact that everybody knew AJ should have been taken out and was one pitch away from imploding is why he was terrible this year. He didn’t pitch well in that game, and he surely deserves most of the blame for losing game four at least I’m sure you can agree.

          • first time lawng time

            He hadn’t pitched in 17 days. He was rusty and you can’t expect him tp pitch 7-8 innings.

            And no, I do not blame him for game 4. Obviously he had some difficulty in that inning. He got 2 outs with runners on 1 and 2 and Molina up. But he was tiring and never should have faced Molina (or even IBB Murphy).

            I thought he pitched well. He got out of some sticky spots at times and looked good. I mean Rangers just got plain lucky in that 2nd inning btw. If he doesn’t pitch to Molina and Wood or someone comes in, I’m sure we would all be applauding him.

            • Mike HC

              AJ made his own bed though. First of all, even when he did pitch on normal rest, he couldn’t be trusted in that spot either. Second, he hadn’t pitched in that long, because of how poorly he pitched all season. Which put the Yanks in a jam for game four. Do you pitch shitty, too rested AJ, or put the entire rotation on three days rest?

              • first time lawng time

                Neither. You pitch an inconsistent too rested AJ and take him out at the first sign of trouble.

                AJ Burnett was the victim of a poor managerial decision and bad luck.

                • Mike HC

                  Good starting pitchers do not get taken out “at the first sign of trouble.” That is what makes them good. Shitty, unreliable starters though do get taken out at the first sign of trouble.

                  • Reggie C.

                    What exactly had AJ showed in 2010 to give him enough room to work his way out of a bad spot in THAT situation? AJ was terrible for most of the season. I do admit that he had done his part admirably till the 5th, but having not pitched well in months, AJ should’ve gotten the hook earlier.

                    • Mike HC

                      I agree with you. Thats my point. AJ was so bad and unreliable this year that he needed to be taken out of the game. And a five inning, two run performance is OK, but also opens the door to our worst pitchers, middle relief.

                    • first time lawng time

                      He should’ve gotten the hook after they IBB Murphy. Or before IDK. He shouldn’t have been left in that inning too long after his season track record. He struggled alot during the season, didn’t have a good year, but pitched good enough for us to win the game through the first 5.

                      If you’re pitcher is obviously tiring, take him out before things get out of hand.

        • billbybob

          Yeah….no. He’s not a good pitcher and he definitely deserves some (though certainly not all) of the blame for losing.

          • first time lawng time

            He is a good pitcher, just inconsistent.

            And he dserves blame for losing the series or the game?

      • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

        CC’s ERA in this series was 6.30 and he had a WHIP of over 2 which is really bad. He was 1-0 and we won both his starts.

    • Mike HC

      Nothing to do with Javy and AJ? Come on now. That is just ridiculous.

      Shitty starting pitching was basically the major reason we lost this series. And when two guys being paid like playoff caliber starter pitchers can’t even pitch well enough to deserve a spot on the post season roster really (I know AJ was on the roster, but he definitely did not deserve it), they surely deserve a large portion of the blame.

      • first time lawng time

        No. We lost the ALCS because we couldn’t hit, our bullpen sucked, and Hughes was terrible.

        • Mike HC

          I guess I just disagree. You are not going to win the WS with mediocre to shitty starting pitching, which is what we got this year. CC was mediocre, Hughes and AJ were terrible and Pettitte got out pitched by a better pitcher.

          No offense in the history of baseball can overcome that. You can’t give up 5-6 or more runs a game then blame the offense for not scoring enough.

          • first time lawng time

            I agree with this statement.

            Our pitching (outside of Pettitte) was not good. You need good pitching to win. Our pitching wasn’t that great. Combine that with our terrible offensive production and that is a recipe for failure.

      • Ray the Anti-Handle

        It was shitty starting pitching, shitty relief work, and shitty hitting that lost the series. We can’t pin it on one area. It was a complete team failure outside of Game 5.

        • Reggie C.

          We got outplayed in each of those facets of the game you listed. Outplayed handily. Even if we’d gotten a couple extra lucky breaks here and there, the Rangers fundamentally outplayed us. I’m actually not that upset or surprised.

    • Jonathan

      uh…ever think that it’s his fault for pitching so badly that he wasn’t on the roster? teams don’t keep 8 playoff quality starting pitchers just in case someone sucks as bad as Javy.

      • Mike HC

        Exactly

      • first time lawng time

        Did he force Hughes and CC and the bullpen to pitch badly?
        No,

        Did he cause the hitters to show no ofensice production?
        No.

        And besides if he were on the roster and pitched poorly you’d probably be complaining that he should never have been on the roster or trusted in a play off game (ZOMG 2004!!1) in the first place.

        Javy gets no blame from me.

        • first time lawng time

          Offensive not ofensice

        • Jonathan

          Nice to meet you Javy! I didn’t know you read the comments section on RAB!!! that’s the only explanation for your mind set. If he pitched well enough to be worth jack shit, Hughes would have been in the pen because he was way over his limit. So yeah, it is also his fault that Hughes didn’t pitch that well and the bullpen didn’t. Give it up man. He was brought in to soak up innings and be the reliable 4th starter in the playoffs. His total inability to do anything even decently for the last two months was impossible to forsee. I’m sure the plan was get Hughes to about 160-170 and then put him in the pen for October and go with CC/AJ/Andy/Javy. But Javy shit the bed and pushed a 24 year old way past his innings limit and during the most important part of the year. He was a tired overworked guy in the rotation and should have been a rested strong bullpen piece. The way the rest of the bullpen pitched don’t you think a rested Hughes would have helped?

          • first time lawng time

            Ummmm….no.
            No to everything in this post. Just no.

            • Jonathan

              i get you have a boner for Javy Vazquez….but if that makes it so you can’t see the reality of what happened and that he was ATROCIOUS and caused a black hole on the staff then you’re just blind.

  • Zach

    Even if Texas wins the WS this year, Cliff Lee has made it clear in the past he cares about one thing, $$$.
    Texas can offer him that, so can the Yankees. It will come down to what offer he likes better and nothing more.

    • first time lawng time

      He and CC are like BFFs so that might help the NY cause.

  • Jimmy McNulty

    If there’s one decision to second guess it’s not getting Cliff Lee, other than that Girardi did nothing wrong, the offense didn’t show up. That’s it.