Nothing to lose (except everything)

Thoughts following ALCS Game Three
Hughes cleared to throw following back stiffness
(Jonathan Daniel/Getty)

The Yankees are playing with house money at this point. No one realistically expects them to win the next four games and mount a historic comeback from a three games to none deficit in the ALCS. The pitching has been fantastic and the hitting has been dreadful. Even is CC Sabathia goes out and dominates the Tigers in Game Four tonight, there’s a pretty good chance the Yankees will support him by scoring zero runs.

I hope that’s not the case though. Maybe those tough grind-it-out at-bats in the ninth inning last night were an indication that the Yankees are starting to figure things out offensively. Robinson Cano even got a hit in that inning, and they always say that all it takes is one hit to turn things around. Max Scherzer had a great regular season but has been battling shoulder problems of late, which is why his fastball velocity fell off in a big way in September. He averaged 94.2 with the fastball during the season but just 93.0 in Game Four against the Athletics last week.

Maybe that reduced velocity allows the Yankees to scratch a run or two across early and actually take the lead, something they’ve yet to do in the series. Maybe that’s enough for Sabathia to squeeze out the win. Then the Yankees have Andy Pettitte going in Game Five and Hiroki Kuroda on regular rest in Game Six. Sabathia would come back on three days’ rest to square off against Verlander in the winner-take-all Game Seven. It could happen. It’s incredibly unlikely, but not impossible.

At this point, the Yankees are the underdog. They’re not your typical small market underdog, but they’re an underdog nonetheless. No one expects them to win the series and I’m sure most people believe they’re going to lose Game Four tonight and get swept out of the playoffs as well. Expectations are low or just flat out non-existent, which can be a dangerous thing. It’s easy to forget how good of a team the Yankees really are, and if one or two (or three!) bats wake, they could become a headache for the Tigers in a hurry.

The Yankees have nothing to lose at this point other than their entire season, and I think most people assume that it’s only a matter of time before Detroit wraps up the series. Joe Girardi & Co. are going to take it one game at a time and blah blah blah cliche cliche cliche. There’s nothing to say, they just have to start hitting and hope the pitching holds up. It would behoove the Tigers to end this series as soon as possible though, you don’t want to give the Yankees that Game Four win. Anything can happen after that.

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Thoughts following ALCS Game Three
Hughes cleared to throw following back stiffness
  • Eddard

    I saw a lot of grit and gut last night from Nunez and Gardner. That’s what we’ve needed all along in this lineup, guys who can work the count and put the ball in play.

    Sabermetrics folk always love when their pitchers strike guys out because the ball isn’t put into play, yet they love Adam Dunn and Curtis Granderson when they strike out all the time. It’s hypocritical. Play Nunez, play Gardner and see what CC, Andy, Kuroda and CC can do. I think they’ll get the series back to NY and then all bets are off.

    • jjyank

      It’s not hypocritical. A strike out is the best case scenario for a pitcher in an at bat. It’s the worst for a batter, but guys like Dunn and Grandy compensate by also accomplishing the best case scenario (a homer) far more often than most players.

      • 0 for infinity and beyond

        Need more grit. Grit can’t be quanitified. Gotta love a gritty player. :)

      • Athenian

        More often is true, but that is a fallacy in terms of real production. Looking at 2012 for Granderson, yes he hit 43 HR’s, producing less RBI’s than 2011 in less AB’s, with BA dropping by 30 points.

        But his HR’s – 16 came when the Yankees were ahead; 13 came when the Yankees were behind(9 were solo shots); 14 came when the Yankees were tied(8 were solo shots).

        Where as his strikeouts 39 came with RISP, 80 with men on, 70 with just 1 out. When the team was within 1 run he struck out 103 times.

        I guess this is all to say that the HR is a false sense of hope.

        • Jim Is Bored(CC the Savior)

          Plus, “sabermetrics” guys don’t love Granderson or Dunn. They just show that guys like them can be more valuable than they’ve been assumed to be in the past.

          Real sabr guys also look, offensively, at walks, singles, doubles and triples, and the rate at which all those things occur. Modern sabrmetrics is even starting to look at how hard hitters are hitting the ball, which kinds of pitches they hit well, and so on.

          The narrative that sabermetrics guys love guys who strike out but hit a lot of home runs is an oversimplification.

        • jjyank

          I was defending the concept, not Granderson spefically.

        • OldYanksFan

          You can’t talk about HRs in a vacuum.
          You have to look at OPS and wOBA.
          Granderson’s 2012 43 HRs with an OPS of .811 has a lot of downside.
          However, 43 HRs with an OPS of .860+ is pretty darn good.

          Adam Dunn has a carrer OPS of .870, so you can’t put 2012 Granderson in the same class.

        • toad

          This is a little unfair. It’s not like every single comes with runners on second and third in a close game. There are lots of wasted hits and walks.

      • TomH

        When it comes to teams, however, there’s no “best case scenario” better than to have a player who hits like a Musial (696K/22 yrs) or Dimaggio (369/13) or Williams (709/19)–as opposed to a Granderson 1098/9). Yeah, cite me the Babe and I’ll bow in acquiescence, while noting that .344 batting average of his (or Gehrig’s .340 and the 790k/17 yrs).

        If Granderson had hit 30 HRs while hitting .300, there would be no talk now of how the Yankees got the short end of the stick on the Jackson deal.

        His 195 Ks on top of a .230ish BA made him look ridiculous more often than heroic. Walk back to the dugout Curtis, look over your shoulder to see how lousy your swing was, and lament the single or double or even triple you might have had by adjusting your swing to the needs of that particular moment. That’s the way of the intelligent hitter, not the Hitter-as-statistician.

    • Wil Nieves Number 1 Fan

      What’s your deal with sabremetrics?

      • Jim Is Bored(CC the Savior)

        He doesn’t understand it.

        • jjyank

          Shocker.

      • Francesa

        Sabremetrics is the science of sword measurement.

        • Jim Is Bored(CC the Savior)

          Can’t tell if serious or if quoting Francesa.

          Sabremetrics is “the search for objective knowledge about baseball.”. That’s all it is.

          • 0 for infinity and beyond

            Sabremetrics = Mathlete

            • Jim Is Bored(CC the Savior)

              O:S

          • Graig not Craig

            Doesn’t get the joke and then uses the punny sabremetrics spelling to defend sabermetrics. Classic.

            • Jim Is Bored(CC the Savior)

              Guh. *hangs head in shame*

    • Little CANOlli (Big ChickenCutlet)

      Verlander only struck out 3 guys last night and still shoved it. Big Leaguers know how to catch the ball when it’s put in play.

      • MannyGeee (Dead Men Walking)

        he also should have walked that many, but that’s a different argument

        • Jim Is Bored(CC the Savior)

          Verlander is hard enough to hit with a regular strike zone. If he’s getting pitches 3-4 inches off the plate called for strikes, goodnight irene.

          • Thunder Road Runner

            Thank you, that was a wide zone last night, wasn’t it?

    • 0 for infinity and beyond

      They love it because they think it makes them sound smarter than average fans. That’s why they run baseball, oh wait a minute…

      • Jim Is Bored(CC the Savior)

        So now the search for knowledge is a bad thing?

        • 0 for infinity and beyond

          No, being a snob about it is

          • Jim Is Bored(CC the Savior)

            While I can’t stand you, that is a good point.

            One of the biggest problems with sabermetrics is the problems trying to explain the concepts. A lot of sabr guys do start to talk down to people who won’t or don’t want to listen. There are many ways to watch and enjoy baseball, and your way is no better or worse than mine.

            • 0 for infinity and beyond

              You can’t stand me? WOW pal. Taking the comment section of a baseball blog too serious is like taking sabermetrics too seriously.

      • thenamestsam

        You’re aware that they’re pretty darn close to running the game at this point right? And that this influence is increasing every year?

        Take alook at who’s running baseball front offices and who’s getting hired by those front offices. It’s not really an old-boys club any more.

        • Louis

          Sabermetrics makes sense because it’s based on things that players have done and trends in what they probably will do.

    • WhittakerWalt

      “Sabermetrics guys” are also the ones who note that Dunn and Granderson had the two worst 40-homer seasons ever this year, owing to their inability to do much else besides homer.

  • Little CANOlli (Big ChickenCutlet)

    one.

    at.

    a.

    time.

  • Austin Aunelowitzky

    House money analogy fits when you’re ahead, not behind. :-)

    • Eddard

      Yeah, and I actually hate it when people say that. There’s no such thing. The Yanks either win the series or they don’t. If they win 3 in a row and lose in 7 it’ll be just as if not more devastating. There’s no such thing as house money.

      • Jim Is Bored(CC the Savior)

        There is a such things a house money, at a casino.

        It’s used as a phrase that means “Nothing to lose”, in english. Mike is using it ironically, clearly indicated by the flippin’ headline of the post(except everything).

        But expecting you to realize this means I expected you to exhibit a level of intellect unseen up to this point. Which is a me-problem.

        • 0 for infinity and beyond

          That’s not very nice.

          • Jim Is Bored(CC the Savior)

            You must be new here.

          • Eddard

            Typically when you don’t have an argument you resort to personal attacks. I’ve never attacked anyone personally here and I don’t think that type of behavior should be tolerated.

            • 0 for infinity and beyond

              Preacher to the un-washed masses!

              • Jim Is Bored(CC the Savior)

                Ironic.

                • 0 for infinity and beyond

                  How is that ironic? Ironic is like a black fly in your chardonnay, a death row pardon two minutes to late…

                  • Jim Is Bored(CC the Savior)

                    Ironic that you just compared SABR guys to mathletes, which seemed insulting, then praised someone for trying to prevent personal insults.

                  • MannyGeee (Dead Men Walking)

                    you may have just date yourself… as did I by acknowledging the lyric.

                    fuck

                    • 0 for infinity and beyond

                      Nah, older sisters. I know every crappy song from the late 80’s through early 90’s by heart :)

                  • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals
            • Jim Is Bored(CC the Savior)

              You never respond to my “arguments”.

              The first 2/3rds of my post were an “argument”.

    • Austin Aunelowitzky

      Hah! Nevermind. I love the House Money Analogy. As you were gentlemen.

  • sodapopinski

    Last night was exciting.

    Lets play 4 more exciting games, and see where we stand then.

    • Cris Pengiucci

      Well, the ninth inning was exciting. And it wasn’t too bad watching the pitching turn in a solid performance again (usually, 2 runs in 8 inning will win you the game). But, yes, I agree, let’s play 4 more like this and seee how things turn out.

  • http://none Ton Lon ton

    Bring back Scott Brodius and Cecil Fielder – then we is talking

    • 0 for infinity and beyond

      Fat guys win championships. Every team has a big guy that comes up big for them in the post season.

      • Bavarian Yankee

        The Yanks have CC, so that’s no problem.

        • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

          The problem is CC is only out there every 3-5 days. Prince is out there every day.

          My evidence is Prince 3 games, Tigers 3 wins.
          CC not out yet, Yankees no wins.

          FAT GUYS MUST PLAY TO WIN.

        • 0 for infinity and beyond

          I’m ready to see CC be the DH. Can’t hurt! :)

  • Nice Scheister

    Anything can happen in the WWF.

    • vin

      I’d love to see Girardi hit Cabrera with a folding chair while Gary Cederstrom isn’t looking.

  • dkidd

    win or lose, just string some hits together so i can remember what it looks like

    it’s like we’ve been watching 2003 WS game 6 for two weeks

    • Jim Is Bored(CC the Savior)

      A line drive or two would be most welcome.

      • MannyGeee (Dead Men Walking)

        bloops or bust, fuckers.

        Funny, I was looking at the 2003 Game 7 post Mike threw up yesterday, and I forgot how much I loved bloop hits. and bloop hitters, as it were. A team full of Adam Dunns makes my dick hurt, but a team full of Jorge Posadas??? A thing of beauty

  • JJ

    I can’t fully explain why, and it defies all logic, but I do feel as though if we can somehow mange to win tonight, we may actually have a decent chance of pulling off this miracle. Not sure if I’m the only one with that frame of mind …

    • Jim Is Bored(CC the Savior)

      Three words: Pettitte, Kuroda, Sabathia.

    • MannyGeee (Dead Men Walking)

      Wishful thinking, but I am totally with you.

  • stuart a

    all the runs in the ALCS via the homer.

    this team cannot get a hit with RISP unless it is a homer if their lives depended on it.

    the arod situation is a boat anchor over the yankee franchise like you cannot beleive.. $115 mill. for zilch, he has become a joke for whatever reason.

    • Jim Is Bored(CC the Savior)

      …a boat anchor “over” the yankee franchise? Do you know what a boat anchor is, and what it does?

      • jjyank

        Of course, it throws parades.

      • 0 for infinity and beyond

        Well the ship has sunk so maybe the anchor is up higher than the boat on the ocean floor.

    • MannyGeee (Dead Men Walking)

      you seem to have forgotten the luck factor. this team had the bases chalked in the first game when Peralta got lucky with a dive and a bad call at 2b. and again later in the game with a lucky grab and bad call out on Cano.

      You dont get lucky with home runs.

  • Blah

    The 2004 Red Sox say hellllooooooooo!!!

  • tipsie

    How about a 3-1 lead in the fifth inning or so? Anyone?

    • JohnC

      I’d take it

    • Jim Is Bored(CC the Savior)

      Yeesh, I’d take a 1-0 lead in any inning, at this point.

    • bobtaco

      Yankees have not led once this series.

  • MannyGeee (Dead Men Walking)

    It would be fantastic if the squeak out a 3-2 win tonight, a 6-3 win on Thursday and all of the sudden all these guys are hitting again.

    that said, I am already making plans for Saturday night. MAKE ME CANCEL THEM PLEASE!

  • paul a

    Unless CC can throw 24 scoreless innings, and that might not even be enough, its all over.

  • mitch

    nothing to lose at this point…might as well go back to the regular season lineup. They’re not going to small-ball their way to 4 straight wins. Lineup up the big guns and hope they figure out in time.

    • jjyank

      Agreed. I thought trying to spark something yesterday was a good idea, but you’re right. It’s probably more likely that the regulars get it together than hoping Nunez and Gardner can bunt our way to 4 straight wins.

      • Jim Is Bored(CC the Savior)

        Yeah, dance with the one who brought ya, and all.

  • Jonathan

    I honestly didn’t think Verlander pitched that well. He didn’t throw his curve for strikes and was behind 3-0, 3-1 and 2-0 all night and they just kept swinging at ball 4 or taking fastballs right down the middle. You work the count to get to 3-1 or 2-0 because you can reasonably guess you’re getting a fastball and can gear up for it. But they acted like every time they were ahead it was 1-2 or 1-1, definitely not ahead in the count. I know everyone will say Verlander was throwing hard and he definitely was but if you know it’s coming major league hitters should be able to hit it and they were completely unable. I guess that’s because right now they aren’t major league hitters.

    I still can’t believe we’ve lost the last 2 games in large part to Cano dropping a double play ball he turns 99% of the time and then a couple of bloops to right after a terrible call that would have been the 3rd out and then they score their 2 runs last night on Hughes hanging a curve when his back was hurt and he was dropping his arm like Wang used to and an unearned run. This has been hands down the least enjoyable team to watch in the post season in my lifetime. I really hope they turn it around but it’s just hard to believe they’ll even score a run, nonetheless win.

  • Blake

    Scherzer is unlikely to last as long as Verlander if they battle and make him throw pitches….so even if they can’t score perhaps they can get him out by the 6th or 7th and score a run or two off their bullpen …….and hopefully CC throws a shutout

    • MannyGeee (Dead Men Walking)

      I’m scared they’ll forget this and go balls out on Scherzer early, have him throw 40 pitches in 6IP or some shit.

  • Graig not Craig

    I say we DL Hughes and bring Dickerson in for game 4.

    Suzuki LF
    Nunez SS
    Cano 2B
    Ibanez DH
    Tex 1B
    Dickerson LF
    Chavez 3B
    Martin C
    Gardner CF

    • Francesa

      In the middle of a playoff series you can only replace an injured player with a player at that position. So you cannot replace a pitcher with an outfielder. Before a series you can make changes regardless.

      • Graig not Craig

        So scratch that, then.

    • Winter

      If you DL Hughes then he’s not available for the WS. If you somehow do manage to win, who’s your #4 starter? Phelps? Nova? I guess you could go with a 3 man rotation, but I don’t like it.

      • MannyGeee (Dead Men Walking)

        and why do we pine for Dickerson again?

        • Graig not Craig

          Watching Nunez swing relaxed and freely as opposed to the tight and tired veterans makes me pine for more youth. Its not a logical baseball argument at all – just a desire to see someone fresh as opposed to the stale.

          • jjyank

            Fair enough, but Dickerson isn’t exactly some young prospect. He’s a 30 year old journeyman.

          • Darren

            It’s very logical. He has some life in his bat and hit the two hardest balls all night. Everyone else looks tired and old. Only problem is that includes Cano, Tex, Swish and Grandy. none of whom are in the old category. the only real old dudes are Jeter and ARod, one of whom WAS hitting. So really this only applies to AROD.
            OF course.

    • paul a

      I love Dickerson I love dickerson I wanted him on the post season roster

  • Jim Is Bored(CC the Savior)

    Time to go be a more productive employee.

    Yanks in 7.

    THIS TRAINNNN!

  • Rudy

    LOL, think the umpire gave Verlander enough help against LH’s?

    http://www.brooksbaseball.net/.....type=3.gif

  • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

    Have any of our batters been HBP in the playoffs?

    Steal every base. Gardner, Nunez, Ichiro, Granderson, even Russell the hustle muscle all need to be told to go…greenlights are not enough. Force the issue.

    • MannyGeee (Dead Men Walking)

      i honestly cannot believe Ichiro didnt attempt at any point, the way they played Tex to shift.

      dumb dumb dumb. I rarely say a manager blew a chance at any point, but goddam Joe, have a shot. Avila aint lighting the world on fire with his arm.

      • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

        While I usually joke around here, I was pretty irked about Ichiro not going…if he steals second, they HAVE to undo the shift, and then maybe Tex drives one into right through a normal infield…who knows what happens next.

        Or Ichiro gets thrown out, and, well, no change.

        • jjyank

          Agreed, I thought he really had a shot at the double steal.

  • RetroRob

    As I said a couple days back, one of these years the Yankees will find themselves down 0-3 in a best-of-seven series and make a comeback. Maybe that’s 50 years from now, or now maybe it will be this year.

    And, no, I don’t expect it, but it’s all we fans got right now!

    • Thunder Road Runner

      As a fan, you never totally lose hope. Losing to Detroit 2 years in a row… it’s tough… and there’s no major fix coming this winter.

  • Andy

    I can’t believe the media is ripping on Alex for being too positive last night and smiling on the bench. If he had shown he was upset then he would have been tarnished for being selfish. Seriously the hatred for him so irrationally out of control.

    • AnthonyD

      I agree. Additionally, you can’t convince someone that “hates” him otherwise. It’s like arguing politics. He’s a choker. He has no heart. Literally in the same sentence someone will say he presses AND doesn’t care.

    • mitch

      at this point, arod has less to lose than anyone. Everyone and their brother has already written him off for the season and has him penciled in for an 0-fer with a couple ugly K’s. If he hits a 3-run bomb in the first inning that ignites a massive comeback, all of a sudden he’s the hero.

      • dalelama

        I am not surprised there has been little coverage of the current Aroid scandal on RAB. It is being reported in all other media outlets that Arod was having the ball boy throw balls to hot chicks and written on the ball was Aroid’s request for the girls to write their phone numbers on the balls and throw them back to ball boy so he could give them to Aroid.

        This was going on in the late stages of Game 1 during which the Captain broke his ankle giving the team his all while Aroid was flirting with chicks in the stands. This is, along with his propensity to break into a perfect impersonation of Mama Cass in key situations, is the reason Swisher was on deck to pinch hit last night and not El Douche’.

        • rek4gehrig

          “I am not surprised there has been little coverage of the current Aroid scandal on RAB”

          We have enough to worry about.

        • AnthonyD

          Are folks really still saying Aroid?

          • jjyank

            dalelama is, and that should surprise nobody.

            • dalelama

              My forecasts and predictions about this current Yankee squad have been spot on in the face of constant criticism from the homers. Some folks have trouble seeing the obvious, aka as fanatics or fans for short. I am just a dispassionate dispenser of truth.

  • Joe F (Believe)

    Only likable thing about this particular 0-3 situation. Bats can wake up and then the pitching seems to be consistently lights out. That means we can string 2 wins together and get this back to New York. Not sure if we’ll do it, but it’s possible.

    Believe.

  • http://fendersonandhampton.com Cuso

    Yeah….it’s over.

  • Robert

    The only thing that surprised me this playoff was how good the Yankee pitching has been!!!Of the 4 teams left they have the best staff.

    What has not surprised me was the offense,Outside of Jeter the Bats are old tired with some of the worst post season performers under presure of all time.

    Cashman more youth and speed next year please!!!

    • CBean

      and yet it was the old guys who were coming up with anything– ichiro, jeter and ibanez. The part that’s upsetting really is anyone of these bats woke up, it would be a whole different story. I mean, normally, 1 on, bottom of the ninth, with a chance to win, who would you want at bat other than Robbie Cano?

  • Mike HC

    Maybe Girardi can give them the “NOBODY BELIEVES IN US!” speech. Seems to work in every other sport.

  • jdp

    This might seem crazy, but that the Yankees have been SO bad offensively actually gives me reason for hope. When they have slumped this badly before they have bounced back with several high-scoring games. That could very well happen again. I say play the regular line-up [minus Jeter, of course], including Rodriguez and Swisher. Their replacements haven’t been better, anyway.