Oct
07

A Disappointing End To A Fun Season

By

(Michael Heiman/Getty Images)

As you surely know by now, the Yankees season came to end last night, a 3-2 loss to the Tigers in the decisive Game Five of the ALDS. Fingers will be pointed, blame will be assigned, and (of course) little credit will be given to Detroit for their win. We’re going to see a lot (and I mean a lot) of talk about what went wrong this year and why the Yankees failed (again!) to win the World Series, but the bottom line is that the Yankees lost a best-of-five series in which they outscored their opponent by eleven runs. It happens.

No one ever likes to see their team finish the season with a loss, but that’s what will happen to seven of eight playoff teams every year. For a lot of clubs, just getting to the postseason is exciting enough; get there and anything can happen. In New York it’s considered a birthright though, and rather than acknowledge that achievement, we’re too busy tearing everyone down following a postseason exit. Last night’s loss puts a bit of a damper on what I think was an otherwise incredibly fun season, one full of surprises and milestones.

First of all, there weren’t many people expecting the Yankees to make the playoffs in the first place. After losing out on Cliff Lee, the starting rotation was going to crumble to pieces and the Yankees would be lucky to win 87 games. We were all sure of it. They instead won 97 games, finishing with the best record in the AL and six games better than the second place Rays. The Red Sox, aka the reincarnation of the 1927 Yankees, were seven back of New York following their pitching-fueled September collapse. Oh the irony. That alone was pretty awesome.

Then there were the individual performances, especially the unexpected ones. Bartolo Colon came to camp as a non-roster invitee and was throwing 96 on the black for the first three months of the season. Freddy Garcia got more ugly swings and misses than any Yankees pitcher I can remember. Ivan Nova went from not being able to get through a line more than once (he had that problem this April, remember) to being undefeated in the second half and a legitimate number two starter in the playoffs. Jesus Montero starred in September. Curtis Granderson completed the transformation from platoon outfielder to MVP candidate. David Robertson was the best Yankees reliever since Mariano Rivera in 1996. Robbie Cano was still the great Robbie Cano.

While those guys were doing that stuff, we had quite a bit of history to enjoy. Derek Jeter picked up his 3,000th career hit on a homerun of all things, part of a 5-for-5 day that including a game-winning hit in the later innings. Mo saved 44 games, tied for his most since 2004, and became the second man to ever record 600 career saves. Because that wasn’t enough, he later surpassed Trevor Hoffman’s career mark of 601 saves to become the game’s all-time saves king, as he should be.

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to look back at the 2011 Yankees before switching gears and looking ahead to the 2012 (and beyond!) Yankees. An early playoff exit is never fun, but it shouldn’t take away from all the good things that happened during the regular season. The Yankees gave us a lot to root for and cheer about in 2011, a lot more than they gave us to complain about.

Categories : Musings
  • http://thewebsitemarketingagency.com Staten Island

    Yeah, it sucks we’re out of the playoffs, but this was *gasp* a rebuilding year for us. It’s just that our offense was so good that even our rebuilding year was a playoff year.

    • http://twitter.com/jmhs Jake S

      I honestly think that next year will be more of a rebuilding year. With or without CC, I expect the rotation to be a dumpster fire, as A-Rod and Tex continue to decline.

      Not to take anything away from this year. The Yankees were legit underdogs in their division for the first time in awhile, and it was real nice to defy expectations. DJ’s 3000th hit was the coolest moment I’ve experienced at Yankee Stadium in quite some time.

      • Avi

        Agreed. The Yankees are going to reload and feast on the 2013 SP class. In the meantime (2012), nearly every player will be one year older and removed from their prime. The positive factors for 2012 will be the emergence of Jesus Montero, the return of Joba Chamberlain, and possible impact from the Killer B’s.

        By the way, anyone buying the theory that CC and the Yankees are mutually parting ways? Bobby Valentine keeps asserting this, though I can’t seem to find a shred of credibility to it.

        • Gonzo

          You forgot a couple players in 2012 that might improve. Nova doing his thing for a full year (barring injury setback), Hughes might take a step forward, and even Gardner might hit a career year (he just turned 28).

          Bobby Valentine? He’s just bitter that he keeps getting passed over for jobs.

      • Johnny O

        Those first two sentences could have been written right after game 6 of the 2010 ALCS.

  • http://www.memphisdivorce.com George

    Atleast it was a good game and they put up a good fight. It just happens sometimes. There is always next year.

    • Stevis

      and what fight is that??? bases loaded TWICE with 1 out and nho one could drive a run in???? PLEASE

      • Cris Pengiucci

        I think there was another team on the field that was pretty determined to NOT let that happen. Yeah, it sucks that they couldn’t score, but give the Tigers a bit of credit too.

        • Kevin Grey

          This.
          There were so many lousy Yankee fans at the game last night. Some yelling at Jeter in an early inning after he made an out. “Jeter, you f-ing suck.” Or later, “A-Rod, get a hit, you sh- bag”, while he is batting! Plus no concern for the little kids around.

  • Sean C

    I’ve been catching a lot of flack today from my co-workers that are Cubs/Cardinals/White Sox fans… But you know what? I don’t think there’s anyone that can call this season a bust (unless you think World Series or bust, which will leave you disappointed pretty much every year). I really enjoyed the ride this year. Yes, the ALDS exit hurt, but I was thrilled the Yankees finished with the best record in the AL/second best in baseball, and AL East Champs. I’ll gladly take it.

  • Rich in NJ

    With a little strategic pinch hitting and/or maybe some tweaks to the lineup, they may well have won Game 5.

  • vin

    Great year… it really was a lot of fun to follow this team.

    I am curious to see how this team compares with the 2010 team (which was also aweseome, especially after the deadline acquisitions). Maybe I’ll look into it after the dust settles. In the meantime, I’ll just continue to be glad I’m not a Mets or Red Sox fan.

  • The Dude

    Some definite positives:

    D-Rob emerged as an absolute beast, putting up video game #s.

    Ivan Nova looks like a rotation mainstay (fingers crossed on the MRI).

    Jesus Montero showed preternatural power the other way in the limited ABs Girardi decided to parcel out.

    • Jay T

      Dude-

      We can take it one step further.

      The emergence of Noesi has a swing man candidate.

      The emergnece of Nunez, showing he can play full time, all over the IF and a bit of the OF if needed.

      Good AB’s for Romine to get his feet wet. A couple of strong innings by Brackman and Bettances, also getting a taste.

      The future looks bright.

      • vin

        All that and ManBan is still lurking.

        Bright indeed.

      • Rich in NJ

        Noesi really emerged as a candidate for the rotation.

      • Jimmy

        Mason Williams just raking at the lower levels.

  • Ro

    I entirely agree with every single word you wrote Mike and I implore you to post this repeatedly over the coming days and weeks. No one should freak out about anything. No one should point fingers. Everyone had their moment this season and supported the team when they could. No one player (maybe Arod) was a huge let down for the season. They were a fundamentally solid team and Girardi did a great job managing them. I have no issues with this loss and if we’re going to lose, I want to lose to a team that is deserving to earn it through us. The Yankees are always the team to beat and we got beat. We didn’t beat ourselves. No that award goes to the 2011 Red Sox.

  • pat

    I just hope Ivan is OK.

  • RJ

    If Jeff Maier grew up and had longer arms and a ticket to last nights game, he would have secured Jeter’s HR and we’d be smack talking the Rangers.

    • vin

      Except for the whole instant replay thing.

  • JimAbbottFan

    It’s funny how we replay tough losses in our heads in that saying if something happened slightly differently, the game could’ve ended differently. However, the same is true for wins in that any changes could’ve led to a loss, but we tuck away wins as absolute and losses as “what could have beens”.

    Yeah, the loss sucks, especially with all the opportunities they had, but that’s how the game goes. Postseason victories wouldn’t be as sweet if the losses weren’t so painful.

    Looking back on the season where the Yankees were only expected to make a run for the Wild Card if at all, and played the majority of the season in Boston’s “shadow”, they definitely exceeded expectations. The 2011 Yankees had major milestones for Jeter and Mo, they contributed to Boston’s epic collapse, and we got to see what’s to hopefully come with their home-grown talent.

    No, we don’t get to buy the dvd set or the merchandise for a championship win, but the seasons was definitely anything but a failure.

  • TomG

    Even a relatively good catcher is going to look terrible after having a Hall of Fame caliber guy all these years. I pity the next closer and shortstop on this team.

    • Jimmy

      If Tino Martinez survived replacing Mattingly, the next closer and shortstop are going to do just fine.

      • Cris Pengiucci

        I understand your sentiment, but it’s not quite the same. Yes Donnie Baseball was loved by the fans, but he became a shadow of himself at the end and was not a first ballot hall of famer, as Jeter and Mo surely will be. On top of that, Mo appears (if he decides not to opt for another contract) to be headed out as the game’s top closer (despite what the MSbout Valverde). If Jeter can continue to out up numbers as he did this year (excluding the ALDS, which is a sss), then replacing him will be a tough act for anyone but a top SS. The players replacing these 2 either need to be elite or simply seen as stop-gaps till the next great player at that position comes along. I have a hard time believeing the Yenkees will find Tino-types for both of them.

        • Cris Pengiucci

          *MSbout MSM says about

          • Jimmy

            Your point is vaild, replacing their actual production will be more difficult for whoever ultimately replaces them than it was for Tino.

            My poorly worded point is that sentimentally, replacing #2 and #42 in the eyes of fans isn’t going to be too difficult because no one can reasonably expect another Jeter or another Rivera.

  • yankees=warriors

    It’s painful to watch them out of the playoffs so early, but thank God I have the MLB special game here next month to look forward to. Though Cano and Granderson are the only ones coming from the Yankees, it’s good to have live baseball to watch…

  • Doctor Jimmy

    The plain fact is the Yankees are built to dominate in the regular season and crash and burn in the playoffs. Until they get a better starting rotation, they’re going to continue to have years like this one. Unfortunately, you can’t build a rotation through free agency anymore, you have to develop pitching through your farm system. Problem is, the fan base wants to see the team win EVERY year, and doesn’t have the patience to wait for young pitchers to succeed. And with A-Rod, Jeter, Teixeira, etc., getting older the problem is just going to get worse.

    • Cris Pengiucci

      Mr. Jim agrees with you. :-)

      • Nuke LaDoosh

        He’s pilled and doesn’t notice him.

    • CountZero

      This narrative is no more true in this thread than it was in the other thread where you posted it verbatim just six minutes earlier.

      If I remember correctly, the starters (including both CC and Nova combined in game 1) gave up these ERs: 3, 3, 4, 1, 2

      Those numbers against a good-hitting, 95 W team are hardly the cause of a series loss. In fact, if that was the only info you had available to you, you would expect that we won at least three of those games, probably four, maybe even all five.

      But keep going ’cause you’re on a roll.

      • Doctor Jimmy

        Yeah, I reposted because the other thread went dead.

        The combined ERA for Yankee starters was 4.50, which is not all that great. By the way, I never said it was the reason they lost this particular series, but why their chances are that great in playoff series year in and year out. You can’t argue with that. Whenever they have faced pitching heavy team in the past decade (Arizona with RJ and Schilling, Texas last year, etc.) their bats go flat and they struggle to score runs, and people scratch their head why a team that wins 95+ games in the regular season looks so beatable in the postseason.

        Thanks for responding in such a friendly manner by the way. You can disagree without being immature

  • UncleArgyle

    Actually I didn’t think the year was that exciting. The team continually got embarrassed by the Red Sox in the first half. Very few late comebacks and walk off wins. The continued decline of A-Rod and Texiera. The best thing to come out of this season was Ivan Nova’s emergence. The Yankees desperately needed a home grown kid to come in and provide cheap, high quality rotation help, and he blew out his elbow and will be gone for 2012 (most likely). If the Yankees do what they are probably forced to do, resign CC to more years and dollars, we could be looking at a 2014-2016 with 75 million in payroll tied up in three players who are at the bottom of the roster production wise (A-Rod & Tex, being the other two). Even with the Yankees vast resources, thats a killer. I’m far from optimistic about the future if you can’t tell.

  • Matt DiBari

    I really, really, hope the Yankees never become an organization where getting to the playoffs is exciting enough. One of the things that’s special about being a Yankees fan is that we don’t embrace lesser accomplishments.

  • Matt DiBari

    I will say I enjoyed 2011 more than 2010 though. 2010 was a long slog, with that awful September where it appeared we were actively trying to lose the division so we could face the Twins.

    • Mike HC

      I agree. I enjoyed this year a tad more than last.

  • thenamestsam

    Nice Post Mike. One thing to add to your list of positives was that despite a rough season, Jorge had a monster series and gave the fans a chance to remember him as he was at his best, not at his worst. Shame he couldn’t go out on a win, but still nice.

  • Bavarian Yankee

    You can’t win the WS every year. Sure we could have beaten the Tigers but that’s baseball. We had another fun year and at least it didn’t end like Boston’s season :D

    Thanks god I’m not one of those people who say the season sucked just because we didn’t win it all. In my world it would be absolutely enough to win 2-3 WS every decade and even that is pretty hard to do these days. Even for the Yankees.

    • Bavarian Yankee

      btw: just read that A-Rod said that the Yankees’ season was a “major failure”. Sure bro, so let’s thank god that this major failure wasn’t crowned with a WS victory, that would’ve been embarrassing :D

      • Mike HC

        ARod can’t win no matter what he says. And quite frankly, if I was ARod, I wouldn’t be that happy with how the year turned out either. As a fan I can turn the page, but as a player, the shitty postseason hitting would be eating at me.

    • Yes That One

      That sounds about right. They win the WS every four years on average, I believe.

  • Foghorn Leghorn

    I thoroughly enjoyed this season – a very fun team to watch. Great lineup and pitching from top to bottom. Its great to see some of the older guys still get it done as well as the great contributions from the bench, young players and then unexpected results from Colon/Garcia/Nova. Add to that two huge milestones….

    Funniest thing for me is seeing comments from Red Sox fans about how happier they are with the result of last night’s game. Meanwhile, their team is a mess right now. I honestly can’t believe that those idiots continue to bring up payroll with the Yanks. That was a terrible performance by their team, their manager is gone and their GM is probably gone as well. What was supposed to be a clubhouse full of gritty leaders has turned into a college frat house. I knwo they will be a good team next year but it was enjoyable to watch that team fall apart down the stretch.

    • NEPA Yankee

      +1
      We all know its much easier on the fan base to just go 5-20 in September and lose your 9 game WC lead. I wish the Yankees respected us, the fans, enough to do this for us.

  • Supernova

    It’s time to blow up this team and come to the realization that this club as it is currently constructed will not ever win another WS. We need to retool and become much younger. Swisher’s gotta go. That clown does nothing in the postseason. Teixera needs to seriously work on his swing. Don’t give CC another penny.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      It’s time to blow up this team…

      That seems rational, realistic, and doable. I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

      • Foghorn Leghorn

        i believe you can subsribe if you go to “www.imacrazysunofabitch.com”….its free!

    • Johnny O

      WTF?! Imagine what this guy would have said a week ago if he was a Red Sox fan….

      On second thought, maybe you’re on to something. The yankees should DFA Tex/Burnett/Arod and pay them to go away. Then we can come in last 5-6 years in a row to get some nice draft picks (they shouldn’t sign any free agents, they’re all way too old and expensive), then watch them develop for 4-5 years and maybe we can contend for the 2021 world series after 9 losing seasons.

      • Cris Pengiucci

        And after the Yankees DFA Tex, Burnett and ARod, we can watch them play for another team (being paid league minimum, since the Yankees will still be paying their contract) and complain as they do their part to ensure the Yankees don’t make the playoffs. Makes perfect sense to me.

    • Yes That One

      Look kids: Big Ben, Parliament…

  • Mike HC

    Very nice little recap. While a disappointing ending, I definitely think overall the year was a success and a fun year. I wish Tex and ARod would have hit better during the postseason, but they both played superb defense and it can’t really be pinned all on them.

    Expecting/demanding a WS victory every year is just too much to ask for. We were once again one of the best teams in baseball. Saw MVP seasons out of Granderson and Cano. A rejuvanation from Jeter. Jorge went out hitting well during the playoffs. Got some great catcher D out of Martin and the emergence of Nova. And much more.

  • TrepiFoor

    I know it’s not likely, but there is still a chance that Jorge returns next year in a part-time DH role if the Yanks trade away Montero for a SP. Rotation could be awful next year so a Montero trade is a realistic possibility.

    • Mike HC

      With the way Montero hit in September and for what he is going to be paid for the next like 4-5 years, the Yanks would have to be insane to trade him for basically anyone, in my opinion.

      • Foghorn Leghorn

        i really hope they keep montero. I know he’s the biggest chip for a trade with a pitcher. But I think the best option is to bring back Martin and have Montero catch about 40 games and DH the rest. And when he’s catching, DH Arod.

        No way in hell you bring back Jorge. Great career…he’s been awesome, but he doesn’t fit on this team anymore.

      • Cris Pengiucci

        I agree. There are only a very limited few pitchers that the Yankees should trade him for. Still, I think there is a potential role for Posada as a part time DH should the Yankees decide they want to offer him another contract, even with Montero on the team. However, I think the Yankees have made it pretty clear they don’t want to.

      • Johnny O

        I want to keep Montero too, but the Yanks financial might is their great advantage. He should definitely be available in the right scenario. A capable DH is a lot easier to find than a top flight SP, especially if it only costs money. Martin/Cervelli/Romine can hold it down at C.

      • Preston

        I’ve always loved following minor league players. But at the same time I think with the uncertainty involved in developing players and our payroll, we should always sacrifice the future for the present. However at this point I’m inclined to agree with you. I don’t view Montero as a tradeable asset. Unless the return is Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez etc.

      • TrepiFoor

        The Yankees selectively used him to mash lefties. Don’t expect him to be a beast right away in 2012 if suddenly 70% of his PA’s come against righties. It is possible that his value is high enough now where the Yankees might make better use out of him as a trade chip for an area of weakness (SP’s). I think the likelihood of a trade also hinges on whether or not they really think he can catch at this level. If they only view him as a DH, then there will be playing time issues with older players needing an occasional DH turn over the next few years.

        • Mike HC

          Yea, your argument definitely makes sense if the right pitcher is available.

          Just personally, I would hang on to him unless I get blown away with an offer. Catching 40 games a year, playing first or maybe even corner outfield for another 20-30, and DHing the rest, with the money he is getting paid, holds a lot of value.

          • TrepiFoor

            I hope they keep him too.

            If CC leaves though the rotation would be AJ, Hughes, Nova…TBA 1, TBA 2. It would be tempting to trade for an upgrade.

            So I am hoping CC returns. If he comes back I think it increases the chance that Montero stays as well.

            • Mike HC

              If CC leaves, we are in deep shit.

  • Jose M. Vazquez..

    I have seen talk still of trading Montero in a package for King Felix. As I see it Montero is the clean up hitter for many years to come. Besides, Felix did not look so good the last few weeks the same as Sabathia. If you do make a trade for him make sure you do an MRI of the right elbow and shoulder first. I was one of those that did not believe that we would make the postseason on or about midseason there were too many doubts. Somehow we managed to make it. Now we must get younger and give our minor leaguers a chance to make it in the big show.

  • JT

    A fun season? They just got bounced from the playoffs by an inferior team in a Game 5 at home.

    I don’t know any Yankee fan who looks back on any non-championship season as “fun.”

    This is the Yankees. 26 championships in 78 years from 1923-2000.

    Fun is measured in championships.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Speak for yourself.

    • Foghorn Leghorn

      you must be a miserable person most of the time then.

      I get what you are saying, but the playoffs are a freaking crapshoot.

      • JT

        You don’t spend $40 million more than the #2 spender and over twice as much as the average team and then say “Gee, well its all just a crapshoot, you know in any given series…”

        This was an awful first round exit. Hideous. Don’t sugar-coat it.

        And Mike, get real, you know I don’t speak for just myself.

    • Mike HC

      Game 5 was not fun and the ending was disappointing.

      But this year was still in the midst of the “Jeter” era, or the “Core 4″ era, or whatever you want to call it. 5 world championships. Playoffs every year but one. This is really as good as it can get. Enjoy it while it is still here.

    • gc

      So you don’t find any satisfaction or enjoyment in, say, what the team did in the 2001 post-season because they lost game 7? I feel sorry for you.

    • TomG

      Just so I understand, you don’t enjoy watching baseball April through September? You only enjoy the game of baseball in retrospect in years that the Yankees win a World Series. That’s terrible.

    • Tom O

      Wow, JT must not have a lot of fun in his life. I feel bad for you, man.

      • Tom O

        Also just saying, by your numbers there the Yanks win a championship about every 3 years. So technically they’re not “due” till next year!

  • Jose M. Vazquez..

    P.S. in 1983 just before Mattingly came up , I predicted that he would win a batting crown. You can look it up in a Yankees Magazine of that period. There are other predictions I have made but do no call me Nostradamus.

  • JT

    Come on. You really are comparing the “Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty” 2001 team to this team?

    • gc

      What do you care? They’re both teams that LOST. No “fun” even talking about it. Losers, one and all, right? Don’t sugar coat it.

      • JT

        There’s a huge difference between those teams. And yes, I don’t get a warm and fuzzy feeling thinking about Mo throwing a cutter into center field on the force out at second.

        • gc

          Nor do I expect you to. Nobody *enjoys* watching the team lose. But if you can’t allow yourself to enjoy the great moments or those times when history is made, then what’s the fucking point to watching the game??

          And for the record, you’re the one who stated that fun is measured only when the team wins it all. If that’s true, then you should make no distinctions between the 2001 Yankees and the 2011 Yankees. They both LOST, and the 2001 loss will be talked about long after the 2011 loss will be forgotten. You made those rules, not anybody else. Stand by what you say. If not, don’t complain when someone calls you out for it.

  • 15 DAY DL

    I truly believe Kevin Long needs to go. He’s a very good mechanical guy when it comes to power but these guys need to hit for average. The argument about all the runs they score holds no water. They beat up on alot of bad pitchers but they can’t hit the good ones. Time for a change….

    • Mike HC

      We beat up on Fister the first game he pitched and he shut us down the second game. Some games you get the clutch hits and others you don’t. We had chances and couldn’t even hit a sac fly. Not on Kevin Long at all.

      • Mike HC

        We also got to Verlander for 5 runs in 9 innings. Verlander was the best pitcher in baseball this year.

        • 15 DAY DL

          Cano beat up on Fister…4, 5, and 6 were non-existent. Jorge Posada led the team in hits. I totally blame Long for not working with these guys to hit to all parts of the field. The have become One Trick Ponies and that’s why we aren’t moving on. The Pitching was excellent and the hitting was terribly inconsistent.

          • Mike HC

            Agreed that the lack of hitting out of 4,5,6 was probably the largest reason we are not moving on.

            I don’t think you can blame Kevin Long for that. But when it comes to coaches, it is subjective, so if you want to put it on him, I don’t really have that much of an argument. I am going to put most of that blame on the hitters personally.

            • Cris Pengiucci

              Good response. While the coach can make suggestions to a hitter (see Long’s work with Jeter leading into the season) he can’t make him change his approach. With some players it works (Granderson) and for others it doesn’t (Jeter came around on his own). Arod sought out Long’s help. His issues were possibly related to his thumb injury. Don;t know what happened with Teix & Swish.

    • Johnny O

      “these guys need to hit for average”

      This blog might not be the place for you. Maybe Joe Morgan can start one up? Or Jeff “If OBP is so important why don’t they put it up on the big screen” Francouer.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        The funny thing is that Joe Morgan is the poster boy for great OBP players. Morgan doesn’t even seem to realize what made him do great.

    • TomG

      I don’t know how anyone could suggest this after seeing the results of his work with Granderson this past year. The guy went from a platoon player to an MVP candidate after working with Long last summer. No way are the Yankees even in the Postseason without this year without Granderson’s metamorphosis.

      • 15 DAY DL

        SO let’s keep him around because he helps one player? Hell, Jeter was struggling mightily and it took a farm hand n Florida to point out what he was doing wrong in the first half. What the hell was Long doing for him?

        What’s he done for Tex and Arod and Swisher and Gardner and on and on. He needs to go.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

          A-Rod, Jeter, and Posada got old. Give me a break, that’s not on Long. Swisher’s had the three best years of his career in New York. Gardner was considered a fourth outfielder by most, and he’s exceeded that.

          • 15 DAY DL

            Old? That’s crazy. There are plenty of guys that are the same age or older that are still hitting the ball well. I agree with you on Posada, but Jeter’s adjustment made him a .300 hitter again, and Gardner coud be a much better hitter than .259. Bernie was old, O’Neil was old, Brosius was old, Tino was old, and so on. They knew how to hit and how to approach good pitchers in the playoffs and this team doesn’t.

            Bases loaded twice with one out and we can’t even get a sacrifice? That’s all about approach and changing your style to match the situation and the Yankees have been useless where that’s concerned.

            I’m giving Arod a bit of a pass because of his injuries.

      • 15 DAY DL

        MVP’s don’t hit .260 in the regular season and .250 in the playoffs. And strike out 170 times.

        MVP my ass.

        • Mike HC

          Cano has really been the Yanks MVP for years now. Him or CC.

          • 15 DAY DL

            Agreed….I would give it to Mo but Cano is right there.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

          The AVG and strikeouts are literally the only stats you can point to that say he’s not the MVP. Everything else says he is.

          • Kosmo

            Granderson is the most god awful streakiest hitter. He had TWO stellar months in 2011, the rest of the time he was a .250 hitter. I think he hit .200 in September.
            He´s not an MVP caliber player.

        • Yes That One

          I’ll have to check the rule book but I don’t think your ass is eligible…

          • 15 DAY DL

            LOL…I agree with that 100%

  • JT

    In retrospect, yes. I don’t look back on non-championship seasons fondly.

    • Mike HC

      2008 was a terrible, disappointing year.

      Any year we make the playoffs is not all that bad, in my opinion.

      Obviously, winning the WS, or even making it, is even better.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      That’s a you problem.

  • Gonzo

    Anyone else notice something about Jorge’s line?

    His line was:
    .429/.579/.571/1.150

    Mattingly’s line in the ’95 postseason:
    .417/.440/.708/1.148

    I know it’s an insane SSS, but it seems kind of fitting that these two Yankee heroes will tried their best.

    In other related news, Montero will come in and help bring in 4 WS titles in 5 years!

    • LGY

      that’s awesome

  • Kosmo

    I don´t buy into this Tex is in decline B.S. He had an injury plagued 2010 and he had a disappointing 2011, no reason to think he can´t straighten out his pull happy LHH.
    AROD is very capable of a rebound season in 2012. He takes great care of himself.
    The Yanks will have to make a 4 for 1 deal for a quality SP. I don´t see NY standing pat with only the addition of Montero to the starting lineup.
    I´d say go after Garza and post the high fee for Darvish.

    • Gonzo

      I really hope Nova is ok. If he’s hurt, it will put the Yankees in a worse bargaining position.

    • Yes That One

      You have to worry about Arod continuing to get injured because of his age but if he stays healthy, he should do fine. I don’t know what it is with Tex though. He just doesn’t seem the same since 2009. I’m not sure it you can chalk it all up to injuries.

    • Murakami

      Garza isn’t a great fit for the Stadium.

      Tex will be fine, still young, going to address his lefty swing. ARod will rebound. Montero needs to split catching chores and be DH. Every day guy in the lineup. If the manager isn’t on board, replace the manager.

      • Kosmo

        Maybe so . I´m going on Garza´s career stats vs. Boston were he´s certainly more than held his own.

        • Flynn

          See: Burnett, A.J.

    • Midland TX

      If it’s all the same, I’d prefer he go back to sucking in the spring and then catching fire, instead of what happened this year.

  • Darren

    If you knew Jesus was going to put up the exact same numbers Mike Piazza did for his career, and have the smae defense, would you still trade him for a King Felix type?

    I wouldn’t.

    And that’s what last night felt like; Girardi kept Mike Piazza on the bench and let Russel Martin hit instead.

    • TomG

      But Montero isn’t Piazza, he’s a 21 year old September call-up with next to zero experience with this pitching staff. He probably would have looked just as overmatched as Martin in that 8th inning at bat, and even more so on the defensive side. I can understand Girardi not making the move there.

      • Darren

        I don’t think you can dismiss Montero as just another September call-up. He’s consistently been ranked one of the top minor leagues prospects, as we all know, and he absolutely raked in his SSS of September.

        But more than that, if you watched his ABs, including his playoff ABs, he looks absolutely, supremely confident at the plate. He does not look phased by anything and he has the skills to back it up. It looks like it took him about 2 games to learn to adjust to MLB breaking pitches. So no, I can’t imagine him looking overmatched the way Marin did.

        And I’ll take my chances that he’ll be able to catch Robertson and Mo. This isn’t asking him to catch a start from AJ or even Nova.

        Or you could have pinch hit him for Swisher and that would been just as good.

        • TomG

          I’m not dismissing Montero, but he is a September call-up with limited experience. The game could have gone extra innings. Look at Benoit last night, the guy stepped off the mound half a dozen times in the eighth to confer with the catcher. You can’t just overlook the relationship that Martin has developed with these pitchers.

  • well you know

    The entire fan experience is so fundamentally irrational that there is little point intructing people in what way, shape or form they should find satisfaction from it.

    Strictly from my own possibly idiosyncratic POV, I would find it more fun to root for a team that had a GM like Dombroski who went out and got Delmon Young and Doug Fister at the trade deadline. Rather than a team that has a GM who (both in the offseason and at the deadline) cannot admit to the flaws in players he has selected and promoted (they’re such nice people!) and insists there are no feasible and available avenues of improving the team’s performance.

    The 2010 Yankee team exited the postseason scoring a total of six runs in four ALCS losses. The 2011 team that exited scoring a total of five runs in two home losses was 8/9 the same lineup, with the 1/9 difference being that Russell Martin replaced Lance Berkman (vs righties).

    If insanity is repeating the same action and expecting a different result, downgrading an inadequate offense and expecting a better result is either disingenuous or not particularly astute.

    September Montero was a breath of fresh air. Here’s to more of that.

    • gc

      Nobody is stopping you from rooting for the Tigers. As you said, insanity is repeating the same action and expecting a different result. It’s clear the Yankees are just not your team and you’d be better off taking your own advice and rooting for someone else.

      • Darren

        That’s a ridiculous reaction to a reasoned post.

        • gc

          Knock knock…..

  • David, Jr.

    An excellent article, Mike.

    The stuff written here that says that the season was some kind of a disaster is called predictable nonsense. They won an AL East title, the most games in the AL, and were clearly one of the top two or three teams in baseball. The fact that they lost a five game series in which they weren’t terribly lucky doesn’t change that at all. There is no reason to panic or blow up anything.

  • Risto

    I’m starting a movement that recognizes winning the AL East as the MLB’s pinnacle achievement, as opposed to the World Series. Winning the big-boy division in baseball (like MLB’s version of the SEC) is based on 162 games, not some flukey 11-19 grab-bag of games. Tigers, Rangers, Cards, Brewers, D-backs — they’re lucky if they edge Toronto for 4th place. We’re gonna raise that AL East banner. Way to go, Yanks.

    • David, Jr.

      Fourth place might be overdoing it, but Detroit for example would be lucky to be over .500 in our division, given the unbalanced schedule with eighteen games each against teams like Boston, Tampa, Toronto and the Yankees instead of their current Minnesota, Kansas City, Cleveland and Chicago.

      Of course the World Series is the pinnacle instead of the AL East, but that doesn’t change the truth of this.

      The point is that it was a primarily positive season, not one that is cause for panic or “blowing up” the team.

  • Alibaba

    Pitching was less of a problem than hitting. Our pitchers allowed only 17 runs in 5 games. But, our offense was in feast-or-famine mode.

    • Kosmo

      patch work pitching is not going to get you anywhere. Yanks need a stud pitcher who can come in toss a shutout or low run game.

      • Alibaba

        Again, our pitching was okay. In fact, better than okay. Failure to hit with RISP killed us. We could not get the run in twice, with bases loaded and less than two outs. We could not score on a single twice (neither infield) from the second.

  • Erica

    Great post, thank you. It felt like the verbal equivalent of a hug.

    I will never, ever, ever forget being at Derek’s 3000th hit game – it’s a special memory and a special moment.

    Also, I have to say, being at the Yanks vs. Sox game on 9/24 where Jon Lester got knocked out in the early innings was pretty satisfying. What made it better was that I was sitting right with the Bleacher Creatures.

    While it’s terribly upsetting that the team didn’t achieve their ultimate goal, we can’t overlook the fact that there were some great things going on with them. Perhaps it was a case of the parts being greater than the whole.

  • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

    Really can’t wait to see the young guys get their chance next season.

  • Thomas Cassidy

    At this point, I’m over the Yankees losing. It’s whatever, I just hope they make some good moves in the offseason. A very disappointing year, but the Yankees don’t win every year.

    The one thing I hate is knowing that Posada is probably gone. Man, that’s gonna really suck if he’s on another team.

    And just to fit in, CC is fat fuck, Tex is a cocksucker, fuck Swish, Martin is a bitch, Girardi is a bitch, fire Long, etc.

  • Bombers5150

    The only complaint I have is when you are watching a playoff game on tv and you see the fans behind the plate not paying attention to the game is horrible I want to see people up cheering for our team!! It’s like it’s a social event but I guess that’s what we get for making the tickets so damn high!

  • http://www.memphisdivorce.com George

    Was a good season, made it to the playoffs and had a chance, not the best ending but can’t comlpain too much

  • BGrider85

    I read all the comments and until the last few thought to myself…am I the only one that thinks Tex needs to address his pull happy swing from the left side. With the shift they put on him, it would be nice if him and Kevin Long could work on his ability to go to the opposite field.

    • Alibaba

      It would also help if he did not pop out so much!

  • Red “The Strawman” Herring

    The amount of pitchforks and torches in here is astounding. Get off of the “We spend the most money, therefore we should win every year” kick and come back to reality with the rest of us. I swear the average age of the RAB reader must be around 15, because nobody remembers the early 90’s where the Yankees were dreadful. As Suzyn would say, you can’t predict baseball. Six of the top ten spenders in baseball didn’t even make the playoffs, including three of the top five.

    We knew this team had fairly noticeable problems going into the season, namely who was in our starting rotation. AJ Burnett, our pre-season #2, ended up pitching like a #5 at best. Ivan Nova, who was an after-thought, ended up being our second best. We caught lightning in a bottle with Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon. We saw the emergence of Montero at the major league level and the continued development of Betances and Banuelos. Gardner turned into a legitimate threat and looks to have a bright future. We’ll make some changes, as we always do, and look forward to next year. You can’t win it every year. Go Yankees.

  • Alibaba

    Credit also should be given to the tigers. The limited the vaunted Yankee offense in three of the five games. Who thought that we would score only two in the decider? We never have beaten the Tigers in the ALDS, if I am not mistaken.

  • wilcymoore27

    It was a fine season, as far as I’m concerned. I never thought the Yankees had the starting pitching to be World Champs. Losing a best-of-five to a good team, outscoring them in the process, is nothing to be ashamed of. Short series have random outcomes, pure and simple.

    • Doctor Jimmy

      That’s about the size of it. I don’t think anyone can be disappointed with what Colon and Garcia gave the team this year. If anything, this team overachieved.

  • Kevin

    In regards to Cashman not making trades like the Tigers GM did..people do realize that to the rest of baseball,the Yankees are still the Evil Empire and thus do NOT want to do trades with them unless they can gut our farm system.

  • detroit_yankee

    Yankees fans should be happy with such a fine and truthfully unexpected strong season — and the opportunity to see not one but TWO career accomplishments in a single season. I can’t recall the last time ONE team had that happen in the same season.

    Though it is ironic and perhaps in baseball’s way, poetic, that BOTH of the teams with the best records in their respective leagues were bounced in LDS.

    Bye Philly, enjoy your winter, too.

  • gehrig27

    I wonder why some Yankee fans can´t wait to trade Montero for…well, apparently for anybody who knocks on Cashman´s door…

    I am not saying that Montero is not trade material. But he should not be considered the ONLY trade material the Yankees may offer…And he should only be traded for a handful of great players out there. Not for any second-rate pitcher who does not belong to the TOP LEVEL OF MLB. The kid has proven HE CAN BAT, he´s only 21, for 4-5 years he will be paid peanuts, and last but not least,

    did you all notice how awful the -4-5-6 section (ARod, Tex and Swisher) looked in the postseason? Again? Montero should belong there already in 2012…Unless you believe in miracles, and expect without any doubts at all that those veterans will certainly return to their prime years…

  • dalelama

    Let’s face it we knew this Yankee team wasn’t going to go all the way this season as it was basically last years team one year older without Petitte. Similiar to 2010 we have too many players who shit their britches in the bright glare of the post season; Arod, Tex, and Swisher. When your #4, #5, & #6 hitters become offensive black holes in the post season you are doomed. We have yet to replace the clutch ability we lost when Damon and Matsui left. It is a nice team built around crushing patsies in the regular season but with starting pitching not strong enough to overcome hitters whose weaknesses are exploited by playoff pitching and who choke so hard their lips turn purple.

    • http://twitter.com/#!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

      At 97 wins and the AL’s 1st seed in the playoffs, we all knew there was a “chance” that this team could have gone all the way. Each of those players that “shit their britches in the bright glare of the postseason” was a part of the 2009 team as well. Let’s not act like because they didn’t do it this year means that they can’t, or won’t, do it again. Also, although the starting pitching was a concern basically all year, it isn’t what cost them in this series. They held the Tigers in check just about as well as we could have hoped. One more RISP hit here or there and they would have been moving on.

  • Dalelama

    All the britch shitters sucked in 2009 also with the exception of Arod who had his rare good Yankee post season that year.