On Tanking

Random thoughts on The Collapse
For Cashman, it's best to be lucky and good

I was still stunned when I woke up this morning. I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that last night was the most exciting and intense night of regular season baseball I’ve ever seen, and I can’t imagine forgetting something like that so soon. Joe will hate me for using this word, but it was epic.

One of the many things I’ve seen thrown around this morning is that the Yankees “tanked” that series to keep Boston out of the postseason. I’m sorry, but I don’t buy that for a second. “Tanking” implies that they intentionally lost, and that certainly didn’t happen. The regular lineup played in all four games for the most part (save one or two bodies a night), and the bullpen management with a one-run lead on Tuesday was exactly what we’d seen all season. I was actually surprised that the regulars played as much as they did in Tampa.

Now, did the Yankees and Joe Girardi place a great deal of importance on winning these games? Obviously not. That’s why David Robertson and Mariano Rivera were nowhere near the mound last night. That’s why Robinson Cano was lifted for pinch-hitter Jorge Posada in extra innings. Did the Yankees play this way for the sake of losing? No, they played this way for the sake of rest and preparing for the ALDS. By clinching a playoff spot and homefield advantage so early, the Yankees earned the right to do whatever they wanted down the stretch. They took care of what they had to do, and they didn’t owe the Red Sox or the Rays anything.

Essentially, what the Yankees decided to do was not overwork their bullpen or play their regular position players in extra innings twice in the final four games of the season. They had the Triple-A lineup in when they lost to the Sox on Sunday night, and they had them in again last night. Boston and Tampa each had their shot at the Yankees D-team, and both took advantage. There’s nothing crazy about wanting to give your top three relievers (including a 42-year-old closer, remember) two full days off before the ALDS. At some point, the Red Sox have to look at themselves in the mirror. They didn’t blow their nine-game lead because Scott Proctor threw 56 pitches last night, they were a lost cause long before that. Girardi’s responsibility is to his team and no one else.

I can understand how it appeared as though the Yankees were losing on purpose (Proctor sends off that kind of vibe), but I’m sure the Yankees would have absolutely loved to see Cory Wade nail down that save last night so they could get back to New York as soon as possible. They didn’t “tank” so much as they took advantage of the situation they put themselves in. The Rays benefited, sure, but give them some credit for taking advantage. The Red Sox certainly didn’t.

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Random thoughts on The Collapse
For Cashman, it's best to be lucky and good
  • Mike Myers

    Paps getting rocked while making that lemon sucking face is my favorite moment of the year.

    • Nick

      i keep thinking that somebody needs to offer him preparation H

      • thurdonpaul

        lmao , i agree

      • Joltin’ Joe

        The Sox trainers gave him Prep H, Paps just takes it orally

    • http://twitter.com/andrewjcalagna Drew

      It’s the kissy face, you know like….I’m going to kiss this season goodbye.

      • Dale Mohorcic

        It’s the anus mouth.

        • johnnybk

          Totally butt-mouth.

  • pat

    Sure seems like they got wild at opportune times and threw meatballs in others. I could be wrong, but I def think the pitchers were told to give up runs. Sounds stupid, I know.

    • gc

      That’s two things: 1) unprovable, and 2) requires that Tampa hitters are in on it, because a pitcher can throw a meatball, it doesn’t mean it will be hit hard, or hit in a gap, or hit over the fence.

  • Monteroisdinero

    99.6% chance of success is dangerous territory for the Sux.

    • Dale Mohorcic

      I’d like to see that fangraph

  • MattG

    I totally agree last night was AMAZING, and we could talk about this for weeks, but we can’t. Playoffs start tomorrow. It is time to talk post-season rosters, Tigers, and match-ups.

  • LennonJames

    If Jacoby Ellsbury hits a home run off of Proctor, it earns him the MVP.

    If Evan Longoria hits a home run off of Proctor, it means the Yankees tanked.

    Thank you national media. You’ve made hundreds of thousands of people less intelligent.

    • Rainbow Connection

      Who in the national media is saying this?

      • CP

        Here’s an article about Ellsbury:

        http://articles.boston.com/201.....mvp-voting

        As for last night and tanking? There’s plenty of that talk going around…

        • Joltin’ Joe

          Was there a follow up article dashing his MVP chances when he didnt make the play in the field the following night?

          • Tom O

            I haven’t seen that, but I have seen a ton of tweets to the effect that Ellsbury’s case is weakened by the Sox getting bounced. Guys like Heyman saying that this strengthens their support for Verlander.

    • Don W

      Scott Proctor giveth and Scott Proctor taketh away.

  • Brian

    They have every right to tank if they actually wanted to – even tho they didn’t lose to the Rays on purpose

  • Thomas Tu

    In my mind, we tanked the last 3 games for the sole purpose of saying “bleep you” to the Sawx. I prefer it that way.

  • Monteroisdinero

    I guess Matt Moore isn’t going to start in the post season but he looked great against us last week. We may play the Rays again!

    The Legend of Sam Fuld is epic.

  • Marsha

    The last four games of the regular season were a major disappointment for this Yankee fan. To be swept by TB is an embarrassment. The Yanks should have been chasing 100 wins. Instead they pitch Proctor (why is he even on the team?). I found the last four games to be very depressing. I don’t understand why it was so important to rest players who have been playing all season. It’s their job to play baseball. An extra day off is not going to make the difference when we play Detroit. Maybe getting a few last wins would have.

    • Graig not Craig

      Do they give you a trophy and rings for 100 wins? Just wondering.

    • Thomas Tu

      Why? Getting to 100 wins isn’t that important. We already locked up homefield for the AL series. Phillies play in NL. What if Robbie gets hit on the hand? What if Granderson hurts himself in the late innings trying to make a play? If those things happen in the postseason, oh well. But in meaningless games at the end of year? Not so sure.

      • JAG

        “Getting to 100 wins after you’ve already clinched a playoff spot, the division, and home field advantage isn’t important at all .”

        Fixed.

    • http://Twitter.com/Jmarlowescully Scully

      This is a joke right… you’re joking? HAHA you’re funny!… great joke.

    • ED

      I don’t think the Yanks should have been “chasing 100 wins.” Would it have been nice to get 100? Sure. But, like Jeter coming close to hitting .300, it doesn’t matter. The regular season was a success. No need to go all out the last few days of the season just to reach an arbitrary number.

    • Monteroisdinero

      You can argue this till you’re blue. What if we get an injury in a meaningless game? Montero got hurt last night and could have sustained a season ending injury. To be swept by a pretty good team at home with their season on the line when you have NOTHING on the line is NOT an embarrassment. There is losing and there is LOSING.

      Even with our scrubs, it came down to a miracle HR on 2 strikes in the 9th to tie the game.

    • Andy In Sunny Daytona

      That’s it. I’m tweeting soccer again.

      (Ben will get the joke)

    • rek4gehrig

      This has GOT to be a joke, right?

    • Erica

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

      …Seriously?

      It’s important to rest our players so that they’re running on a full tank of gas when they’re facing Detroit.

      I swear to God, this team has some of the most ridiculous, irrational fans.

      • Slugger27

        its not a yankee fan.

        • Erica

          But I know Yankees fans that talk like this, too. It’s scary.

          • Slugger27

            touche

          • http://fendersonandhampton.com Cuso

            This one, in particular, is not emblematic of the caliber fan on this site. But Marsha is probably on an island with her stance on that particular topic.

            As far as irrational fans, I saw on OTM last night the belief that the Sox could acquire King Felix for Lackey, Lavarnway and Iglesias.

            But I’m guessing you’re just here to disparage Yankee fans….or…what, exactly?

            • http://twitter.com/JimIsBored JimIsBored (Jim S)

              No need for the attack on Erica, she’s posted plenty of other stuff besides this.

              And we do have some of the most irrational, ridiculous fans. So does Boston. Winning breeds bandwagons, breeds idiots. So it goes.

    • Slugger27

      ive checked with my (sox fans) friends that post here frequently to stir shit up… this isn’t any of them. this is fresh new meat.

      kind of a weak and generic troll handle, so negative points there.

      • thurdonpaul

        fresh new meat…hmmm..no, i wont say it

        • Slugger27

          in hindsight, i shouldve worded that better

          • thurdonpaul

            lol, ill leave hindsight alone too.

    • Rainbow Connection

      First name only female screen name strikes again.

    • Ted Nelson

      There is a trade-off between being rested and not being rusty… There are arguments both that resting is the way to go so that you’re sharp and that playing your absolute hardest is the way to go so that you’re sharp. Unless you have some evidence besides “because I say so” you cannot just dismiss one of those arguments.

      • Ted Nelson

        Girardi seemed to toe the line between getting guys reps and rest… He and his staff very well might have done it on a case by case basis dependent on the health, personality, requests, and game of the player.

        • Slugger27

          im on team “rest”… though obviously theres no quantitative analysis to prove it right or anything. with the exception of arod, these guys have been getting regular playing time for several months. 2 full days off i doubt would affect their swing or timing. i mean its still 1 day less than the all star break is.

    • Jorge

      Marsha, you must be new to this postseason baseball thing. That’s OK. Stick around. The Yanks will be in the postseason often enough for you to catch on quickly.

      • Marsha

        Just so you know, I was at the game when Reggie Jackson hit his three HRs against the Dodgers, when Chris Chambliss was barely able to touch all the bases after his game-winning HR, and other memorable moments. So no, I am not new to the post-season. See you tomorrow at the game.

    • Victoria

      Considering that Marsha is Ben’s mom, I can tell you with certainty that she’s not a troll on this site, a Red Sox fan, or someone who’s new to the postseason; in fact she’s probably been a Yankee fan longer than most of the people who comment here have been alive. But those are all really cool assumptions to make when you disagree with someone!

      -Ben’s sister/Marsha’s daughter

      • CMP

        Who cares whose Mom or sister she is.

        Her opinion about the Yankees losing the last 3-4 games is ridiculous. Winning any of those games has absolutely no impact on what’s gonna happen this friday against Detroit.

        I for one am ecstatic that the Yankees contributed to the fucking of the Red Sox in such epic proportion.

        • Victoria

          I didn’t say she was anyone’s sister–good reading comprehension/understanding of familial relationships though. I’m not saying you should CARE but I was proving the point that she’s not a Red Sox fan or any of the other ridiculous accusations leveled at her.

    • JAG

      Isn’t there also next year’s draft to consider? After all, the Yankees already clinched home-field advantage, but there’s no tangible gain to beating out the Phillies for best record in MLB…but there IS a tangible downside in that they would pick 31st instead of 30th if they finished with a better record than the Phillies. I’m not even entirely certain home-field advantage is that big a deal, but there is at least something besides just pride there, so I’m ok with that.

      One draft slot probably doesn’t matter, but 100 wins REALLY DOESN’T matter in this situation, so I have absolutely no problem with what happened, and applaud the Yankees for sticking to their guns and resting people when they said they would.

    • Evan3457

      Phillies lost EIGHT in a row after clinching. Now they’re back to being the favorites to win it all. I wonder if any of their fans were disappointed in a major way.

  • http://bronxbaseballbloggin.mlblogs.com/ mlbnyy35

    So…how does this work? The Yankees basically hand the game to the Sox on Sunday night in extra innings, but when they do the same against the Rays yesterday night it’s tanking?

    • CBean

      Not to mention, the Sox and Rays both had off days this month. The Yankees didn’t. Girardi had to be a lot more careful with his players to give them time off and he’s always been careful.

  • AJ

    I’ve been defending the anti-tanking arguement all day at work. My friend here, a Sox fan, said he has no respect for Girardi for not bringing in Mo. My response was that Mo pitched Tuesday, so why bring him in Wednesday and potentially Friday and Saturday (in the playoffs) as well? Pitching a 41-year-old four times in five days would be dumb and unnecessary. He then said “well the Phillies pitched Lidge” and I said “well, they don’t play again until Saturday and have two days off.” The Yanks didn’t tank…they shelled Price with their regulars. What more do you want?

    • Josh S.

      Mo should’ve been on a plane back to ny with cc before wed night’s game even started so screw tht. Besides if papelbum didn’t blow the save to a last place team, they at least would’ve played game 16 yesterday. Sox fans are idiots (well maybe not all, but most)

  • http://RAB Nuke LaDoosh

    Epic, Epic, Epic, Epic, Epic, Epic, Epic, Epic, Epic, Epic, Epic, Epic, Epic, Epic, Epic, Epic, Epic, Epic, Epic, Epic, Epic, EPic,

    /Don’thatemejoe

    • Erica

      EPIC! Nuke-lear!

      • http://RAB Nuke LaDoosh

        :)

  • Frank1979

    Who the hell is saying the Yankees tanked? If tanking is starting most of your regular lineup and going into the eighth inning with a 7-0 lead, then I give up.

    I think certain people are just going to hate the Yankees and Yankee fans no matter what happens.

    • thurdonpaul

      bingo.

    • http://twitter.com/JimIsBored JimIsBored (Jim S)

      “I think certain people are just going to hate the Yankees and Yankee fans no matter what happens.”

      Bingo. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

      Bingo.

      • Woodrow Sweats

        THAT’S A BINGO!!!

    • Erica

      Yahtzee.

      (I’m trying to be different.)

      • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

        How about “Abondanza!!” ?

    • Slugger27

      to be honest, i was actually disappointed in how many regulars were in the lineup yesterday. i wouldve preferred 2 full days off for anyone 30 and over, which is almost the entire lineup

  • emcee

    The thought of Sox fans crying about the Yankees tanking cracks me up. Unfortunately the only Sox fan I know well enough to personally rag on won’t respond to my emails.

  • YanksFan

    They tanked the last 4 games by not using all their regulars? Two games go extras & 1 they lose in the 8th – I think most teams would love to tank like that.

    That means they didn’t tank the 1st game on Sunday when 4 guys sat & won? How about the Toronto series, Minny game & TB series at YS prior to that? They were giving guys off in those games also.

    Francona also said on Monday that he had no problems w/ what the NYY were doing – they had earned that right & he would love to be in that position.

    • Woodrow Sweats

      Classy move by Francona…

  • Rainbow Connection

    Still looking for evidence that the national media is saying the Yanks lost on purpose. Can’t find any yet.

    • http://fendersonandhampton.com Cuso

      1.) No, you’re actually NOT looking.

      2.) Karl Ravech addressed it in the very first segment of the West Coast BB2N broadcast last night.

      3.) Willful ignorance (a.k.a. covering your eyes and ears screaming “LALALALLALALALLA”) doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.

      Your passive attempt at requiring proof backfires and fails here. While your boys at NESN may not be doing it, ESPN certainly is.

    • http://fendersonandhampton.com Cuso

      PS.
      check out 7:23PM for your “evidence”. ANd I wasn’t even “looking for it. I was just reading the article…

      http://www.grantland.com/story.....y-game-162

      • Woodrow Sweats

        but he’s a fan, not a journalist… or at least that’s how he was writing that running diary… not the same thing really…

  • Andrew

    skip bayless was calling the maneuver classless on first take today.

    • CMP

      To call Skip Bayless an asshole is an insult to all the assholes of the world.

      • Slugger27

        lmao, cosign.

      • Woodrow Sweats

        +1

    • thurdonpaul

      skip clASSless

  • Alibaba

    The Yankees did not tank, but clearly no importance was attached to these games. In fact, winning yesterday would have meant another game for both Boston and Tampa.

  • Ghost of Scott Brosius

    I’m sure they didn’t intentionally tank. But I have a slight feeling that if the situation had been reversed, and the Yanks were playing the Sox this weekend while the Rays played the Orioles, we would have put up a little more of a fight. You might have seen DRob last night. If you hadn’t, and the Red Sox were let into the playoffs, the fans- including many people here- would have been livid.

    • Jorge

      I respectfully disagree. The game would have meant just as little, and getting the team ready just as much.

  • Ted Nelson

    Good article

  • Ghostwriter

    Great write up, Mike. You summed it up, perfectly

  • Ghostwriter

    Great write up, Mike. You summed it up, perfectly.

  • Darren

    I 100% believe the Yankees did not tank and Girardi did nothing wrong and everything right. (Did I just say that?)

    But I do wonder about Corey Wade’s awful 83 mph change up over the heart of the plate to his former Triple AAA teammate Dan Johnson. Do you think even 1% of Wade was thinking, I’m gonna groove one Denny Maclean style to my homie and see what happens? He didn’t look that upset by the homer, even compared to Braveheart (Proctor), who looked genuinely distressed when he saw Longoria went yard.

    Probably unlikely in that Corey would want to get the save and go home, but if I was a Sox fan, I’d know I’d be irrationally furious about that pitch especially.

    • nsalem

      That’s nonsense and it’s Denny McLain.

    • Pasqua

      Considering that Wade is a guy on the borderline of being on the postseason roster – and an MLB roster at all, for that matter – “grooving” a pitch to a buddy doesn’t seem to follow any sort of logical thought whatsoever.

      What’s more important? You’re career, or making an acquaintance (maybe friend) feel good about himself for a day?

    • http://www.teamnerdrage.com dr mrs the yankee

      They were teammates for a few months, you mention it like they had a long established history.

  • Brian Cashman is Watching

    Does anyone have any links to media saying this stuff about the Yankees tanking, or at least some sources? I don’t watch ESPN or NESN, but I’m curious if anyone wrote anything.

    • Pasqua

      For once I’ll credit the MSM…the story has been focused solely on the Red Sox implosion and not at all on the Yankees supposed role in the end result.

      Hell, even Bobby Valentine said the Yanks had every reason to play last night’s game the way they did. If that’s not a pardon from the MSM, then I don’t know what is.

  • mustang

    Whether they “tanked it” or not is not the point the point is this:

    “The Rays benefited, sure, but give them some credit for taking advantage. The Red Sox certainly didn’t.”

    The Yankees job is to take care of the YANKEES!!!

    • Jorge

      The Yankees did what was best for the team independent of what was going on with the rest of the races, which is the right thing to do. If anything, I agree they may have played too many regulars hese past couple of days. I would have liked to have seen more guys lifted after one at-bat.

      I appreciate the Rays’ playing hard, and there is no possible excuse for the type of baseball the Boston Red Sox played both at the start and end of the season. None whatsoever. They didn’t rise to the occasion, and the Rays did. End of story.

      Another story begins tomorrow. I love baseball.

  • Monteroisdinero

    Tanks Buck for all that you did.

  • mike r

    Hey Mike, Ben, Joe.. Was wondering when we could expect a series preview for the ALDS.. So siked can’t wait. Was also wondering your opinion as well as everyone elses on the Tigers SP.. Obviously Verlander speaks for himself Fister has also been great albeit against not too great of teams. I’ve heard little about Scherzer this year anyone have some thoughts on him? I’ll be at the game on Friday Bleachers 203 stand up! Go Yanks

  • BK2ATL

    I’m just wondering when the writers and bloggers are going to rag on the Red Sox for tanking September. 20 losses in 29 days???

    Surely, the Yankees can’t be held responsible for those.

    The Red Sox are losers, plain and simple. See ya next season.

  • Pasqua

    The Red Sox went into Baltimore with control of their own destiny. The only ones who “tanked” anything was them.

    • Jorge

      Could not have said it better.

  • Pasqua

    I’ll throw this out there regarding the Yanks “intentions” with that game / series. Even in a universe where they intended to lose the game(s), why would we presume that it’s that easy? The Yanks could put out as mediocre an effort as they want, but the Rays would still have to take full advantage of the opportunity, and there’s no guarantee that it happens! I mean, the Rays were pitted against our bullpen the entire night (ostensibly) and had nothing to show for it for seven innings! Does Aaron Laffey in the game equate to a “better effort” by the Yankees than Logan and Ayala in the game? The whole thing is ridiculous. If the Yanks had won that game 7-6, no one would question the effort. One change-up over the heart of the plate does not equal losing on purpose.

  • Yes That One

    My Friend the Red Sox Fan: “You know the Yankees tanked against the Rays on purpose, right?”

    Me (playing along): “Yep, pretty much.”

    My Friend: “That’s cuz they were afraid to face the Sox in the play-offs.”

    Me: “And their strategy worked! Girardi’s a genius!”

    My Friend: …

  • Dave B

    This article doesn’t get into tanking, but I laughed out loud. Simmons has a hilarious take:

    http://www.grantland.com/story.....#footnote1

  • Finstor

    Its funny listening to the media complaining about Rivera not pitching last night, while Lidge did and not even mentioning that the Phils dont play untill Saturday, while the Yankees play on friday. I think its clear if the schedules were reversed that the Yankees would have pitched Rivera as he pitched the night before and the Phils would not have pitched Lidge.

  • toad

    If they were going to tank, someone forgot to tell Teixeira and a whole bunch of other guys.

  • http://www.twitter.com/tomzig Tom Zig

    All the Red Sox had to do was win 1 more game and they’d be still playing. Win 2 more games and they’re in the playoffs and not Tampa.

    Deal with it.

  • Claudell

    Anyone who thinks the Yanks deliberately tanked the game/series must have been watching minor league soccer instead of major league baseball this week.

  • stan

    Tanking is too strong a word, but the Yankees turned last night game into a joke. Why? Because Girardi used 10 pitchers, switching out guys who won’t pitch again until March after one or two innings.

    Of course he had no obligation to use Mariano or any of the other set up guys, but to manage a game with playoff implications like it’s a little league all star game is garbage. Why not leave in the scrub pitchers who are actually doing well instead of switching out guys until you find the guy who sucks? Why did the first three pitchers only throw 75 pitches combined? Anyone with a brain could see what would happen. Eventually, one of your barely AAA pitchers is going to get shelled. And now it’s being treated as miracle comeback.

    In football, the worst a team can play in a game is their 2nd or 3rd stringers. The rosters just aren’t big enough to play dreck. Because of the 40 man roster, the Yankees can make a mockery of the integrity of the game by playing guys who would be lucky to get into a spring training B game.

    And I’m a Tigers fan. Couldn’t care less if Red Sox get eliminated but if last night was a college basketball game they’d be talking to folks about point shaving.

    • nedro

      How is looking at all your bullpen arms to try and pick the sharpest ones for the P.S. roster managing it “like it’s a little league all star game”?

    • Evan3457

      I do believe that Hughes, Burnett, Logan, Ayala, and Wade all pitched in that game. All 5 of those guys are on the post-season roster, in the Yanks’ bullpen. All 5 had at least one day off, except for Wade, who threw all of 6 pitches the day before.

      The last three of those guys gave up 7 of the 8 runs. The only pitcher who isn’t going to pitch again until March who gave up any of the runs was Proctor, and that was only after throwing 2 1/3 scoreless innings and throwing 55 pitches in a relief appearance, and the run was a solo HR just over the fence and just inside the foul pole to the Rays’ best hitter.

      Betances was yanked because he’d been a starter all season, but he’d had exactly one live game appearance in about 3 weeks, so he was on a very low pitch count. And are we REALLY complaining about hooking great pitchers such as Kontos, Laffey, Hughes, Valdes, Brackman, Burnett after short appearances?

      Anyone with a brain could see what would happen? Really? That the Yanks regular season middle/setup relievers would combine to blow a 7-run lead in two innings? Anyone could see THAT coming? Excuse me, NOBODY saw that coming, not even the Rays, their manager/coaching staff or their announcers.

      Oh, and the object of point-shaving is to reduce the margin of victory, not LOSE the game.

      Other than those few points, your little garbage/little league/travesty of a mockery of a sham narrative is spot on.

      Well done, you.

  • JAG

    All I can say that hasn’t been said is, for a game that the Yankees were “tanking” there weren’t nearly enough no-swing-strikeouts, wild flailing strikeouts, bunts, 1st-pitch hit batters, intentional walks, intentional Balks, wild pitches to the backstop, dropped picks at 1st, or any number of other easy-to-do-intentionally-or-not mistakes. Man, the Yankees SUCK at tanking.