Oct
19

Somewhere over the rainbow

By

After a 162-game grind, you would think you know a team pretty well. After watching the same group of players face off for nine innings every night, winning many more games than they lose and scoring runs in bunches, you would think that the same team would show up for another round of games as they work toward a World Series title. You would think.

Instead for the past eight games, since their ninth inning outburst in Game 1 of the ALDS, we’ve watched the Yankees’ great bats disappear. While Alex Rodriguez has taken the blame, it was truly a team effort. Robinson Cano put up a historically awful post-season while Nick Swisher, despite his meditation efforts, continued his trend of vanishing once the clock struck October. Eric Chavez was abysmal as A-Rod‘s erstwhile replacement. Curtis Granderson failed to get a hit against the Tigers, went 3 for 30 with 16 strikeouts in the playoffs and is batting .208 with an OBP under .300 since June 6. Mark Teixeira managed one extra-base hit and drove in one run, and even the Yanks’ stellar pitching couldn’t overcome this offensive malaise to prove true the adage that pitching wins championships.

Here at RAB, we’ve tried over the years to explain baseball. One of the beauties of the sport is how, after enough at-bats, innings, games, trends and patterns emerge. We see how a team should perform over the long haul, and what their strengths or weaknesses are. As I’ve watched the Yanks disappear, my main thoughts have focused around the confusion of it all. Rather than being angry, I simply don’t get it. How could a team that was this good during the season, that finished the year 16-5, that nearly led the majors in runs scored turn into a worse version of the Astros?

Most of the explanations I’ve heard turn the Yanks into some cut-rate version of The Wizard of Oz. With runs at a premium, no one could find a way home. Spooked by boos raining down on them from the Yankee Stadium faithful, the team had no courage. The players played with no heart, and of course, the coaches and Joe Girardi had no brain. That’s not a particularly satisfying conclusion to the 2012 season.

Maybe there’s no real reason for the Yanks’ slide. Maybe they all started pressing. Maybe the Tigers and Orioles had their scouting reports down to a tee. Maybe an aging club saw its flaws exposed, and maybe the Yanks’ brain trust panicked a bit too much when the club struggled to score runs early in the postseason. Maybe, as John Sterling likes to say, you just cannot predict baseball. But something happened, and right now, I have no idea what that was. All I know is that the 88-win Tigers — the 7th best in the AL — made besting the Yanks look like a walk in the park.

So we wait out the off-season now. It will be a tumultuous one as A-Rod trade rumors swirl, and Brian Cashman reimagines a team. I think we’ll leave the last word with Ichiro though, who summed up everyone’s frustration perfectly. After the game, the quotesmith had this to say: “The feelings of dissatisfaction and hurt inside right now is something that I hadn’t experienced in a while. So to be able to experience even this pain right now, I’m just so grateful to the Yankees to give me this opportunity to do that.” It is a pain we all know too well today. May it not return next year.

Categories : Musings
  • greg

    reposting this hoping to get a discussion going.”ok so we trade granderson to the phillies for brown then we flip him in a package of nunez phelps and mason for justin upton. so it ends up being Nunez, Phelps, Mason Williams, Dominic brown for upton. sign his brother bj, move Gardner to center and we got ourselfs a new outfield………thoughts?”

    • your mom

      No.

    • Tcmiller30

      Not gonna happen

      • Tcmiller30

        I don’t get why people want to trade Hranderson and sign Upton. They’re the same player except BJ is a righty with less hr power

        • forensic

          And Upton can actually play defense and still has speed.

          • http://twitter.com/mikhel2 Mikhel

            Make that: the Uptons “can play” defense. They’re more or less as bad as Granderson, they can strikeout as much, draw more or less the same walks, and have the same awful OBP.

        • 0 for infinity and beyond

          Because Granderson just went down like a drunk chick at a frat party.

    • 0 for infinity and beyond

      Why would the Phillies or the D’Backs do that? D’Backs want major league ready infields in return right?

      • greg

        nunezs bat is major league ready, and phillys appear to have lost faith in brown, and could use the offense

        • http://twitter.com/mikhel2 Mikhel

          A major league ready bat is not the same as “a major league ready infielder”, Núñez at best could be a reliable OF with a good bat.

          Though, if you knew the trend of JoeG’s teams, you would stay away from the type of players you’re suggesting they trade/acquire.

          Granderson has a 0.320’s OBP at best at 0.330’s.

          Domonic has the same OBP, more or less the same AVG at the 0.330’s.

          BJ Upton has a 0.330 OBP and a 0.240 – 0.250 AVG.

          Justin Upton has a somewhat better AVG at 0.270-0.280 and 0.350 OBP.

          The Yankees need good AVG and good OBP players, otherwise the trend of getting eliminated rather easily will continue.

          This Yankee team put up the lowest collective OBP since 2001 (0.334 back then) and those are the only two times to be as low since 1992 (0.328), the year Showalter took the reins of the Yanks.

          With Girardi this team has turned into Joe Girardi himself. A mediocre catcher who never was a star and had below average lifetime stats.

          Heck, this postseason, the Yankees stats before game 4 vs Detroit looked like Joe Girardi’s lifetime postseason stats.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      It must be the off-season. We’ve dug up Dominic Brown’s grave for the first time last off-season.

  • your mom

    Lazy-ass Cano should’ve been benched a game. He did jack shit in the ALCS.

    • 0 for infinity and beyond

      Benching is not the answer. Running laps is. Make them run laps around the field until the collapse! :)

  • Reggie C.

    Ichiro is classy to the end. I really hope there’s a role for the man on this ballclub for next season.

    • Tcmiller30

      I seem to remember hearing there’s an opening in right field next season.. I hope he wants to stick around.

      • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

        Ichiro is classy to the end. I really hope there’s a role for the man on this ballclub for next season.

        • MannyMachete(Geee)

          I would want him to stick around… if it wasnt for his goddam lying whore mouth:

          “The feelings of dissatisfaction and hurt inside right now is something that I hadn’t experienced in a while. So to be able to experience even this pain right now, I’m just so grateful to the Yankees to give me this opportunity to do that.”

          Why do not believe this when I know he’s been experiencing that day in and day out in Seattle for the past decade…

          • forensic

            There’s no dissatisfaction and hurt when you know your team is going to suck year in, year out. Having the best record in the league and then not showing up through basically the whole postseason, and especially this series, is completely different than that.

          • TomH

            Your remark is quite stupid, where “stupid” means a choice people make on how to be in the world.

  • Thunder Road Runner

    Everyone criticizing A-Rod (much of it justified) but the real goat should be Cano. He totally disappeared. And how about Chavez? 0-16??
    In the end a total Team failure…

    • Tcmiller30

      And an error and a play that should have been ruled an error. Chavez was worse than useless this post season. He actually attributed to -2 runs

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

        -3. An error in game 3 as well.

    • your mom

      But aside from CC’s stinker yesterday the pitching was good. So not a total team failure. Total offensive meltdown is a better description.

      It’s all Melky Cabrera’s fault for Cano’s struggles.

      • 0 for infinity and beyond

        Cashman should have kidnapped Melky and threatened to kill him if Cano didn’t hit. :)

    • cr1

      Are you including the pitching staff in your ‘total team’?

      I thought they were pretty good — plenty good enough to win some games if they had had any run support … not a failure in my eyes.

    • stuart a

      arod makes $35 mill… chavez makes maybe $2 mill…

      ROI, look it up….

      • Get Phelps Up

        arod made $29 mill… chavez made $900k…

        accuracy, look it up….

      • SammySosasBleachingCream

        Hey Mr. “look it up,” ARod made 29 million this year. I looked it up.

        Jeez, you’re a fucking lunatic. Even when Alex doesn’t play you’ll find a way to blame him for stuff. The team could trade him away and you’ll still be blaming him for failures that are team-wide.
        Who knows, maybe your Mets will trade for him. Then he can bat in front of your hero Ike Davis.

  • Bobby P

    One thing I hadn’t realized is that outside of the strike year this team scored less runs than any other Yankees team since 1992. I’m not saying that it completely explains the utter offensive collapse but that really does give some credence to the “relying on the home run theory.”

    • thenamestsam

      Have to keep in mind that league offense is way down from what it was during most of the intervening years.

      • DF

        Right. They finished second in all of baseball in runs scored, and only 4 runs behind Texas for 1st place. It doesn’t make any difference how many total runs they scored.

    • http://twitter.com/mikhel2 Mikhel

      You need to contrast the series of data to see what’s wrong and it is fairly easy to explain “the collapse”, which, in my opinion, there was no collapse, just a reflection of the type of team it has been since Girardi became the manager:

      The lowest OBP since 2001, the only other time it was this low: 1992.

      It is the first time since 1990-1992 that a NYY team had a collective batting average at or below the 0.260’s:

      1990: 0.241 AVG / 0.300 OBP
      1991: 0.256 AVG / 0.316 OBP
      1992: 0.261 AVG / 0.328 OBP

      2010: 0.267 AVG / 0.350 OBP
      2011: 0.263 AVG / 0.343 OBP
      2012: 0.265 AVG / 0.337 OBP

      Sure, they’re still above average, and the league AVG/OBP has decreased in the past few years except 2009, when the yanks had a big surge and overall were a whole lot better than the American League average:

      http://img1.uploadscreenshot.c.....7-orig.jpg

  • https://twitter.com/KramerIndustry Kramerica Industries

    Ben has always been a master of the English language.

    Even in his extremely rare appearances now, he’s still very much on top of his game. At least we know RAB doesn’t fall into slumps when the Yankees do.

    • Cris Pengiucci

      Now pinch-hitting for RAB ….

      I enjoy all the RAB writers. It’s nice that Mike can occasionally get a break.

  • jim p

    You can’t pull outside pitches might have something to do with this.

    And when umpires are calling outside pitches strikes, that doesn’t help.

    Some games, not all, the TBS pitch-placement insert seemed to have nothing to do with what was happening on the field. I remember one Cano at-bat where there were four pitches in the right-hand batting box, 2 called strikes, and 2 swings for a foul and a miss. That he didn’t make the adjustment to hit the ball to left-field… well, that’s part the umpire, part Cano.

    Not to blame the umpires. Nor Kevin Long. From what I’ve read the Yankee management wanted their left-handed batters to pull the ball over the short porch in the stadium, and from there we got Long’s famous home-run drills. I’m sure Long could come up with a “hit the ball to all fields” drill instead if management asked him to.

    I think it was pretty obvious the Yankees were going for the homer instead of just humble contact on almost every swing, with the exceptions of Tex, Jeter & Ichiro.

    • OldYanksFan

      “From what I’ve read the Yankee management wanted their left-handed batters to pull the ball over the short porch in the stadium, and from there we got Long’s famous home-run drills.”

      Aside from sounding wrong, it sounds stupid (from a baseball perspective).
      You got some links to back that up?

      • jim p

        i read the baseball section of the Post, Times, DailyNews, visit RAB and the Yankee Analysts every day. It was somewhere in there in the last few days if you care.

        You think Long decided to turn the lefties into a pull hitters, practicing the homerun drill, all on his lonesome?

  • Eddard

    Poor Ichiro. He gave it his all for one chance at a ring and the rest of the offense let him down. I hope they bring him back. RF is available and Ichiro is still a great defender and a good contact hitter which we need.

    • MannyMachete(Geee)

      I agree with everything Eddard has to say here.

      Now excuse me while I drink this bleach cocktail.

  • thenamestsam

    I really like this post. Mystified is definitely the best way to explain my overall feeling about the last week or so. I kept thinking that we were just one big inning, one good at-bat, one little base hit from breaking out…and it just never happened.

    How many times did I say to myself “Maybe X will get them going”? Maybe switching the lineup. Maybe benching. Maybe unbenching. Maybe beating the Os. Maybe Raul’s homer. Maybe Jeter getting hurt. Maybe hearing the boos. Maybe going to Detroit. Maybe being down 3-0.

    It was a team wide slump as bad as any I’ve ever seen. There’s 50 different possible explanations, but I honestly can’t say I have any idea why it happened. Mystified and confused.

  • jdp

    I know this will be viewed as an unsatisfactory answer that cannot be proven by statistics or precedents, but after watching baseball intensely for more than 50 years, I really believe it. When the Yankess finished the season playing so well, scoring lots of runs, I became worried about the playoffs. I’ve seen it happen so many times–teams usually follow hot streaks with slumps. The good teams have longer hot streaks and shorter slumps, and shorter periods of just stumbling along playing .500 baseball. I know that sabremetrics–which I otherwise consider to be the greatest thing since lights at the ballpark–does not support this, but I’ve seen it happen too often not to believe it. The Yankees were hot at the end of the year; they slumped in the playoffs, as I expected them to.

    • Jose M. Vazquez

      You are probably correct. How many times in the season did the Yankees score a bunch of runs only to be shut out or score one or two runs the next day sometimes against mediocre pitchers.

      • MannyMachete(Geee)

        Also (semi-related), how many times have you looked at the box score of a Yankee game this season to see it look like:

        0 0 0 0 0 7 0 0 0

        That one 7 run inning where they “got something going”, if avoided more often than not by better pitching in the playoffs, is the difference between a 95 and a 80 win team… I think

        Again, don’t know if this is a real answer, or the right answer, just spit-balling and airing grievances like everyone else.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Quit sounding like my wife, Jose. Really. :)

    • TomH

      Sounds right to me. The game is very cyclical, streaky if you wish. Even great hitters of consistency like Musial–wasn’t he .331 at home and on the road, with hits just about equally divided–go on tears followed by cold spells, as if the level of concentration and intensity just can’t be maintained day in and day out over a six-month schedule.

    • joe

      absolutely agree; see my last post….

  • Jose M. Vazquez

    I have seen where voters in a NY paper have voted to fire Long. I am not one of them, but if it is done, I would like Rick Downs as the hitting coach again. When he was the hitting coach the Yankees thrived. He was let go only because the Yankees wanted to put Mattingly as the coach. I hope Downs is in good health and available.

  • forensic

    Most of the explanations I’ve heard turn the Yanks into some cut-rate version of The Wizard of Oz. With runs at a premium, no one could find a way home. Spooked by boos raining down on them from the Yankee Stadium faithful, the team had no courage. The players played with no heart, and of course, the coaches and Joe Girardi had no brain.

    Heh, very well done.

  • http://www.twitter.com/matt__harris Matt :: Sec110

    Way out of the box trade proposal, and it involves Cano, so if that’s not your fancy, keep scrolling.

    So, I think Cano is going to Pujols the Yanks, and that’s his right. He’s not giving a hometown discount, he’s not going to extend in the offseason, Scott Boras is his agent after all.

    He’s going to take every last dollar on the table (as he should). The years is where it worries me. 10 years/$240 is what Pujols got, and why wouldn’t Cano get that?

    So….

    Cano, Granderson, Nova to Arizona for:

    Upton, Montero + pitching prospect?

    Not sure if either team does it, but is that crazy? (probably)

    • http://www.twitter.com/matt__harris Matt :: Sec110

      1) Jeter, SS
      2) Ichiro, LF or RF
      3) Tex, 1B
      4) Upton, CF or RF
      5) A-Rod, 3B
      6) Montero, C
      7) DH platoon (Ibanez and…)
      8) Nunez, 2B
      9) Gardner LF or CF

      1) CC
      2) Andy
      3) Kuroda
      4) Hughes
      5) Pineda

      • Cris Pengiucci

        With Phelps waiting in the wings or filling in until Pineda proves he’s ready, and Nix on the bench with Adams and CoJo available should Nunez not be able to cut it at 2nd.

        Not sure the trade would work, but if it came about, I’d be OK with this.

        • http://www.twitter.com/matt__harris Matt :: Sec110

          I think if Nunez knows that he only going to play 1 position and can focus on that he’d be fine defensivly.

          • Cris Pengiucci

            I like his bat and his speed/agressiveness on the bases, but I’m not sold at all on his D. He was told he’d only play SS when he was sent down to AAA and only played there when he was brought back up, yet he was hardly stellar (or even solid) defensively during the playoffs.

    • DC

      AZ is not going to give up Upton and Montero for two players that are free agents to be.

      • http://www.twitter.com/matt__harris Matt :: Sec110

        probably not, but maybe. Granderson prob get something like what Montero got (5 yrs/$60M)…so that’s a ‘wash’.

        That was the highest DBacks contract given out, so they would have to be able to be willing to give a Pujols like contract to Cano…and that’s what I’m not sure about.

    • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

      did you say ‘keep scrolling’ or ‘keep trolling’?

      • http://www.twitter.com/matt__harris Matt :: Sec110

        well no, it was ‘scrolling’ NOT ‘trolling’. I would never ask anyone to troll on a blog, that just leads to chaos and the thread then goes nowhere.

        So I wouldn’t ask someone to do that.

    • OldYanksFan

      NO way Cano touches 10 years or $200m.
      Dude, Pujols, so far, is one of the greatest players in HISTORY!
      He has a carrer OPS+ of 168, tied for 9th place ALL Time with Ty Cobb.
      And most people think this deal will kill the Angles down the road (see: Rodrigues, Alex).

      ARod is at 143. Cano is at 123.

      Pujols is a 1Bman. He can probably stand on 1B until he is 42.
      Cano does not have that luxury.
      I’d be surprised to see him get anymore then 7/$154m.
      And I’m not sure I would take him at that.

      Although there is always one moron GM who will do something incredibly stupid (see: Crawford, Carl), so ya never know.

      • TomH

        And at age 32, Cobb’s OPS+ was 184. Who knows where Albert will be when he’s 41!

        • OldYanksFan

          A lot lower… but so will Cano’s.
          The point is comparing Cano with Pujols is not right/

  • dalelama

    Why this was a surprise to anyone is the shocker. This team folded like a cheap suit the last two post seasons, why would this year have been different? When your roster is packed with choke artists this is the result. This team has not recovered from having its guts and heart ripped out (Posada, Damon, & Matsui) and the injury to the one remaining gamer, Jeter, was the final nail in the coffin.

    • Jose M. Vazquez

      Agree 100% with that!

    • Get Phelps Up

      Nothing about ARod?

      • dalelama

        Oh yeah, he was mentioned. He is one of the Mama Cass impersonators.

        • basil

          classic!

    • Winter

      I dunno. I would describe Jeter, Mo, Andy and CC (yes, he’s a more recent addition, but I think he counts) as a pretty good veteran core to build a team around. Even if Mo’s not playing, his presence adds a lot. Ibanez, while new this year, also adds a great deal of “guts and hearts” as an experienced veteran one of the best-liked players in the game.

      • dalelama

        No offense but Ibanez is a pinch-hitter. Mo, CC, and Andy were all on the 2009 squad, and 2 of the 3 played a lot more that year. My point is the Yanks lost 3 gamers with heart and guts and haven’t replaced them. We have pretty much 6 post season auto outs in the line-up: Cano, Aroid, Tex, Swisher, Granderson, and Martin.

  • tommydee2000

    ++Maybe the Tigers and Orioles had their scouting reports down to a tee.++

    This. And the Yankees’ inability/refusal to shorten up their swings with 2 strikes.

    Usual Granderson/Swisher AB:
    1. Strike 1, taken down the middle.
    2. Outside corner, fouled off to the left side.
    3. Surprise! In the dirt, swung on and missed.

    • DF

      Almost no one in the majors cuts down their swing with 2 strikes. Why the hell would you want them to? This isn’t little league.

      Cutting down your swing improves your odds of making contact, but increases the odds that that contact is weak. It’s not worth the tradeoff. Would you rather watch them all ground out or fly out weakly? Why is that any better than just striking out. If you’re slumping and making bad contact, who cares how your out is made? Striking out is not a moral issue (I feel like a broken record with this sometimes)

      The only thing that happened this postseason was a random, meaningless offensive crater, probably deepened by the pressure of short series and the playoffs.

      • Long-Past-His-Day-Rod

        Except in situation where a fly out or ground out scores a run…

        Or a situation where Miggy shortens his swing with 2 strikes and goes with the ball to the opposite field for a RBI…

        But by all means, keep being delusional.

      • Francesa

        That’s even more disturbing than saying they’re unable to change their approach.

      • OldYanksFan

        Ichiro’s entire career is build on a ‘cut down’ swing.

      • TomH

        This is the kind of preposterous comment that should be classified under “metaphysics of statistics.” People who believe this will believe anything.

      • joe

        yeah, and it is well established that a strikeout does nothing; making contact puts the ball in play and means there’s motion; tag ups, errors, infield hits, forceouts, fielder’s choices, run downs, plays at third and home….yeah, I’d take contact anyday…and it is a moral issue, baseballwise….striking out 8 times is a heck of a lot worse than hitting a screamer back through the box that is deflected into an out, or a fly to the track, or a bullet line drive to an infielder. At least you know you are hitting the ball…so i respectfully disagree.

  • mark

    Breathtaking: “Curtis Granderson…is batting .208 with an OBP under .300 since June 6.”

  • mick taylor

    i want josh hamilton under the yankee christmas tree. after the way this team choked, i would take my chances with him. maybe he can teach arod and cano the core with whores how to hit again. everyone says he would be a disaster in ny but i disagree

    • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

      How much of a train wreck would that be?

      Yankees sign Hamilton for a bazillion dollars over 10 years.

      They go to Toronto.

      Arod takes him to a strip club.

      Drunk, they’re both arrested with prostitutes at the hotel later.

      Odds that happens? 1 in a million. Yes, I’m saying there’s a chance.

    • Get Phelps Up

      Yeah, Hamilton was so impressive down the stretch when his team was busy blowing a 13 game lead.

      • forensic

        He’s also only had 1 good postseason series in his career (of course it was the one against NY). Outside of that he’s a .205/.255/.321 hitter in the postseason. Not exactly the guy to teach them how to hit in the postseason either.

  • OldYanksFan

    “Maybe there’s no real reason for the Yanks’ slide.”
    No. This PS offensive slide was SOOOOOOOO extreme and pervasive, I don’t think it was just a random event.

    Maybe they all started pressing.”
    Bingo. BINGO!

    Remember when we had a 10 game lead?
    Remember like a month later, we ended up tied with Baltimore?
    Remember all the articles written about how this could be the worst collapse in Yankee history? WORST COLLAPSE!

    Yes. The Yankees have been there before. Been there, done that. They’re tough. They’re veterans. They don’t rattle. They’re THE YANKEES.

    Ya know what? As a fan, September was brutal. Every game seemed like a must Win. Collapsing and being the ‘New Red Sox’ was always in the back of my mind. It seemed like the entire season hinged on this game…. this inning… this AB. Honestly, sometimes I was afraid to watch the games. It was brutal. I wasn’t enjoying it, but like a train wreak, I had to watch.

    For all the Mystique and Aura floating around, it’s unfair to think these guys are above it all. They are human (well… maybe not Jeter). I think we forget that. I think we get wrapped up in the narrative.

    I’ve personally had it happen to me.
    I had something I had to get done by a certain date.
    And I mean HAD to get done.
    A huge task.
    I knew up front, it was going to be brutally hard. Brutal.
    Both physically and emotionally brutal.
    I wouldn’t admit it out loud, but I wondered if I could do it.
    But I had to do it.
    So I go for it. All out. Balls to the walls. Food, sleep, sex… everything becomes secondary. If I take my eye off my goal for even a second, I could lose it. Once the presure is on, it nevers stops. No let up, no breaks, no excuses.

    And then.. when I amaze myself and actually meet my goal… I should be proud, happy, joyful, whatever. I should want to celebrate big time. But I can’t.

    Because all I feel is relief.
    Relief that I got there.
    Releif that it’s over.
    And then my mind and body say… “we’re there? Great”
    and then they collapse.

    It’s note conscious.
    The adreneline is just ALL used up.
    The reserves are gone.

    And I think this is what happened to the offense.

    For a month straight, every game was a game 7.
    And from being tied with a month to go, they never lost the lead, but it was rarely bigger then 1 game.
    But they held on… and held on… and held on… and held on…. until finally it was over.

    But it wasn’t really over, as the PS had just begun.
    And really, the team didn’t beat Baltimore, CC and Raul did.
    But they ‘beat them’, and it was over.

    But it wasn’t really over.
    And Girardi’s situation with his Dad didn’t help.
    Joe did a great job holding it together for the team, but I think he was on the edge for a long time.

    You can only push the mind and body so far.
    Some people are better at it then others.
    But I really feel, that in mass, these guys were pushed over the edge… and simply collapsed.

    Emotionally. In the head. But the head controls the body. Doesn’t matter how strong the body is, the head calls the shots.

    But they did it!!
    They avoided the worst collapse in Yankee history!
    And then they collapsed.

    Their heads just said “Sorry, I’m done. See ya. Bye. Outta here”
    And that’s exactly what we saw on offense,
    Zombies.
    Bodies without heads.

    • John Reyes

      TL;DR. How did they collapse in the LCS if they didn’t have a lead to blow in the first place? Simply put, this team feasts on bad pitching and the postseason exposed that flaw.

    • TomH

      Actually, there’s something to this. “Randomness,” “regressions to the mean,” etc., never take into account that the numbers are not being applied to natural forces but to human beings who are centers of intention, possess varying levels of concentration, endurance, psychic resilience, etc.

      September was exactly as how you described it. Everything at concert pitch. Then, pfouuf. Game 162 finished. Yankees in 1st, with best NL record, heat’s off, etc. The temptation to let go must have been considerable for those guys and, if so, entirely understandable.

      It doesn’t quite cover the ARod collapse, which began about mid-September. But that, I think, is most parsimoniously understood as a function of his six weeks’ absence and his very serious hand injury (try swinging a baseball bat at full force with even a wrist sprain).

      People need to take a break from their number fixation. Read some serious books (major works of fiction, biography, and narrative history), about people.

      • OldYanksFan

        “… The temptation to let go must have been considerable”

        My point is this is not a conscious decision.
        The players didn’t let go, their bodies and minds did.
        The still wanted to play, but after a prolonged period of high stress, the body amd mind needs to protect itself. It’s an autonomic response based on self preservation/survival.

        • TomH

          No, I’m not disagreeing with that at all. My “let go” doesn’t really entail having some sort of conscious, decision-like response.

    • Erik Erikson

      That is a great post, OldYanksFan

    • dalelama

      The only flaw in your theory is they did the same thing in 2010 and 2011.

  • bobby two knives

    I’m with Ichiro… as a yankee fan from as far back as the early 1950’s… I am thankful that I am a fan of this team, and for the thrills and disappointments that are part of that; more than any other team in the history of the baseball. I would like a perfect season every year; butI’ll take Jeter, Reggie, Paulie, Donnie, Mickey, the Scooter, Yogi, and Jim Mason and Bob Shepard and Even John Sterling with thanksgiving and joy. It’s a great sport, a great team and a great franchise. I can’t ask for anything more than what they’ve given me. Spring training ain’t so far away.

    • joe

      great post; really sums it up. MUch of the yanks is about that history. NO matter how you slice it, you just don’t get that with the Marlins even with their two WS rings….but on the other hand, Mickey and Scooter aren’t playing any more, and I fear we are going into another 1980’s malaise….

    • TomH

      Some Frenchman once said that people who lived “before the [French]revolution will never know what the sweetness of living was.” I say Yankee fans who were not around in the early 50s will never know what the sweetness of fandom was. Great, raw, never-let-up teams. Now and then I would see them on tv, when I visited my uncle who lived near NY. Once they were kicking the tar out of some team, must have been in the area of 9-0 or 10-2. Whatever. A big lead. There was a camera shot of the dugout, from the kind of distance shots occurred in those days. You could make out Casey standing there bounding his fist into his other hand. Years later I read that what he used to say on such occasions was “Don’t let ‘em up, don’t let ‘em up.”

      • Kosmo

        That´s true Stengel would push real hard when they were winning and ease off when they were slumping.

  • stuart a

    no josh hamilton, no old friggin guys.

    cut the chord you addicts…

    cut the chord…..

    reading the posts, the astute fandom more or less wants to sign all the Fa’s again because a year older they all will perform better……………

    swisher is a clown, they can win without him just as much as they did with him..the biggest 2 dissapointments by far were grandy, tex, and cano, arod alreadys sucks so his bad performance is not a suprise.

    tex gets a pass because the resto f the dogs sucked worse. the guy cannot drive the ball in the playoffs and cannot hit for avg during the regular season. the guy is a 250 hitter. they signed 280 + hitter…these guys sucked and they are not that old…cano with a long term deal would be a joke, DO NOT SIGN THAT LAZY SACK TO A LONG TERM DEAL. let him walk or trade him….

    • OldYanksFan

      “…. the biggest 2 dissapointments by far were grandy, tex, and cano…”

      Who else counts 2 here?

      • basil

        there are three types of people in this world, those who can count and those who can’t.

        • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

          There are 10 types of people. Those that understand binary, and…

    • DF

      Cut the “chord”? Is that like shredding on guitar?

      Cause if so, shred on. Cut that chord baby.

      (Joke was so funny WordPress just had to post it twice…)

  • Yank the Frank

    Until we win 28 I’ll never trust the post season again.

  • JohnC

    Its unreasonable to expect Pineda to be ready to start the season. Shoulder injuries take alot longer to come back from than elbow problems. Would expect Pineda to stay in Tampa when the Yanks break camp after STto stay in the warm weather, then get a few rehab starts at Tampa when the minor league season starts. Hopefully, he can join the rotation by late May. We need to keep 2 of Hughes/Nova/Phelps and hopefully resign both Andy and Kuroda to 1 year deals.

  • fin

    I didnt think the Yankees were going anywhere in the playoffs. Beating up on the Sox at the end of the season didnt give me any false hope. Hell, the Jays shut them out once, and almost twice in the last week of the season. However, I certainly didnt expect the offense to be that bad every night. I expected a big out burst in a couple games and no shows in the rest. In the end the flaws of the Yankees offensive were completely exposed in the playoffs.

    We all watched the RISP failure during the season, which I think had a lot to do with guys not wanting to shorten their swings and just get the base hit. This was magnified in the playoffs when guys, against better pitching were not willing to make adjustments and just take a single. The problem was certainly exasperated by the umps calling balls 6 inches outside strikes. Again, no one made adjustments and went the other way with those pitches. Instead they rolled em over for weak grounders in the infield, or took them for called strikes. I really do think that outside strike was a huge contributor to the Yankees hitting issues. I do also think that it was a huge contributor to why the O’s and Tigers didnt score many runs either.

  • grassnot paper

    dump the hitting coach
    it wasn’t arod; who apparently can’t chew and hit at the same time and with age and without chemicals has lost about 50 feet
    they won without him throughout september
    granderson swisher cano tex martin et. al seem not to have been prepared and had no clue what had made them successful

  • DF

    Cut the “chord?” Is that shredding on your guitar?

    Cause if so, shred on. Cut that chord, baby.

    • DF

      Reply fail.

      Send me down to Commenting AAA

  • Barbara Booey

    Re-signing Ichiro would be one of the smartest things the team could do. Jeter likely will not come close to repeating his performance next year. Having Gardiner and Ichiro would be a wonderful change to our lineup. Apart from not bringing swisher back (though we surely will make a qualifying offer and get a pick), the team would be wise to exercise Granderson’s option and then trade him for a decent haul of prospects from an unwitting GM.

    And, unlike whatever Axisa says, there is a significant chance the Yankees get rid of Arod. This notion of “there is no one available to replace him” is sheer nonsense. Axisa doesn’t realize that Arod actually is nothing but a part-time player. Look at the stats, he hasn’t played a full season in 5 years!

    • fin

      I’ll trust that the Yankees do the best thing for the team with Arod. It seems hes still fighting his wrist as hes hitting under .200 since returning from the DL. Maybe, that injury was the final straw for his body and hes now done, or maybe he has something left. Either way he misses alot of time to the DL and is a more productive hitter at DH than 3b so I’m not sure how hard it will be to find a guy to replace Arod’s and Nix’s production at 3b.

      I’m all for signing Ichiro as the 4th OF’er, but I think its nuts to trust him as a starter for a full season and ignore what he did in Seattle the last couple of years.

      • Long-Past-His-Day-Rod

        Not quite sure what you mean by “ignore what he did in Seattle the last couple years.”

        2010: 162 games, .315 BA/6 HR/ 42 SB

        2011: 161 games, .272/5/40

        2012: 162 games, .283/9/29 (.322/5/14 with the Yankees)

        Seems like a guy that’s still perfectly capable of starting and contributing to me. Yeah he started to get kind of burnt out in Seattle, but years of losing could understandably do that to someone. He was great after coming over to a contender, and he hasn’t missed any significant time to injury. I say bring him back!

  • Rich in NJ

    “Brian Cashman reimagines a team.”

    He knows one way; it’s time for a change.

  • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

    So…are we saying trade Arod for a bag of balls and eat all his salary plus more in ’13 to cut AAV for luxury tax in ’14/’15, then let Swisher walk, let Martin…Lowe, Soriano, Cano, Granderson, Feliciano, Garcia, McGeHee, maybe Pettitte, maybe Kuroda, Andru Jones, Raul Ibanez, Chavez Nix Dickerson Rapada Stewart all walk?

    Sure, sounds crazy, but think of the cash we’d have on hand.

    • forensic

      I think I read someone say that even if they eat A-Rod’s money, it still counts against their AAV, but not positive.

      Who is this Feliciano you speak of though??? Don’t remember seeing anyone with that name play…

      • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

        Ack. So it wouldn’t matter how they structured it? So if the Yankees paid more one year but less in another it would still count equally?

        Still probably worth blowing up the team and starting over. If you can trade Tex too, then you’ve pretty much got a clean slate.

  • Jose M. Vazquez

    A little off subject if you will pardoon me. Getting older in `03 after the WS I said to myself that I would probably not witness another championship and then in `09 it came. Now I am almost certain that I won’t live to see another one. Thank God that I’ve seen many.

    • Jose M. Vazquez

      Er pardon.

  • rek4gehrig

    I, for one, just feel a huge sense of relief that this seasonis finally over. It’s been a heart-wrenchingly painful 6 weeks.

  • joe

    mike love this site. A true yankee fan without the obnoxiousness, say, of a hater like Klapisch of the Bergen Record.
    I agree with much of what is said.
    This team has felt old to me for severalyears and that is what I say to my fellow fans. I mean, why do other teams end up with the David Wrights, the Trouts, Harpers, Pujols, Longorias? Why are we always trading prospects for used players like Andruw JOnes? Why do guys like Tex underperform in the playoffs? Why do we get a Swisher, who I like, who was basically a top notch OBP guy, who now can’t work the count or make contact? What has gone wrong that we seem to see a .220 season with 40 HR and 100 RBI as a success instead of the second coming of Dave Kingman or Gorman Thomas? Wouldn’t you have traded anything for Raul Ibanez to hit another grounder through the infield in Game 3?
    I likeJoe Girardi a lot, but he is among the worst at managing pitchers according to this righty lefty paradigm. Joe Torre was almost as bad and I think when it works it is luck and when it doesn’t it is stats. I’ve said this before. Why can’t Boone Logan pitch to a righty when Andy Pettite and CC SAbathia (who i personally feel is the most overrated “Ace” in Yankee history) can? Like the planets lining up in a syzygy, I think what happened was a freak confluence of statistical events. Guys who were having a career year like Grandy went cold. RUssell Martin reverted to form. Jeter was probably playing on a subclinical fracture for weeks. ARod’s decline continued. Swisher, who has always been streaky, hit a slump at the wrong time. Cano burned out after his .600 run, also statistically predictable. Girardi, who seemed to make a lot of the right moves during the season, saw them go flat.
    Part of it was chance. Part was managing, part coaching. Part of it, as they said in Moneyball, is that basically Joe G. makes the lineup with and moves the people around that the GM gives him. Can’t blame him entirely…sure, I would like to see a bunt here and there to shake things up and put the ball in play…maybe a squeeze with some of those bases load situations…..but those things could backfire too. And I don’t blame them for playing Chavez. At least he lit into a number of pitches, more than ARod or Cano or Granderson. Remember, when ARod was out, the Yanks hit a winning streak and Chavez got his ba up to .300. Chavez is a better third baseman than Arod ever will be. He’s just at the tail end of his career and it is naive (although desirable) to think Chavez could maintain that level of play all year.
    Just weird stuff…the bad calls were really bad, the fielding seemed to collapse all at the same time. Tex made an error? Two? Odds are, Tino notwithstanding, i’ve never seen a better first baseman. Tex’s glove got the yankees to the series, in a way. Plus another one rolled through his legs in an earlier game?
    The Yanks sadly have made their bed with the arrogance that sort of characterizes New York (I’m from Jersey, so I can speak frankly here….) It is what I have learned to detest about NYC since leaving the area. The NYTimes is the best. The restaurants are the best. The food is the best. The blah blah blah. I’m still rooting for the team that had Mantle, Munson, Chambliss, Guidry, O’Neil, Martinez….sometimes I don’t even recognize this team. When Cashman started going for the big free agents again, like Giambi, I predicted the downfall of the team. Even though we had him, and Randy Johnson, and Clemens, we still had a lot of talent that was traded for or homegrown, and our world series heroes were guyslike Ricky Ledee, Brosius, Chad Curtis, Luis Sojo, Leyritz and Knoblauch.
    Favorite question for the last decade has been: you are building your new team and can pick ARod or Scot Brosius. Who do you want?
    So I fear that NY’s arrogance will make them blind to what many of us see, a bloated machine that has started to deteriorate from the inside; can’t sustain itself anymore; other markets have figured it out. It happens in other areas as well – hey, i’ve eaten better in Portland Maine and New Orleans for less than I ever have in NY; i had season tickets to the Philadelphia ORchestra for less than it would cost me to PARK in NYC to go to LIncoln Center…the beer revolution started all over the country and NYC was in last place, and performers I’ve seen in NY and elsewhere played longer, better, and cheaper outside NYC. YOu don’t need to live in NYC to see good theater or listen to opera…and maybe now we are at the cusp where you can see great baseball in St. Louis or Texas or Cincinnati without the BS you have to put up with in the Big Apple. Sad…
    The Yanks need another core four. We’ll see if they can come up with them.

    • TomH

      An interesting, well written comment. Many thanks for it.

      One difference from the old days, when the Yankees built from within: increasingly there is this “leveling-of-the-playing-field” movement, mostly intended to give “small market teams” a fighting chance against teams like NYY or Boston or LA. Draft rules, for example, give a decided edge to teams that do poorly over extended periods than teams like the Yankees that do very well over the same periods. It seems to me much harder now to develop from within than it did when scouts like Tom Greenwade “discovered” and signed Mantle. Or, for that matter, when Ed Barrow could corral so many top-flight minor leaguers at Newark in the late 1930s.

      I would wager that it’s tougher now to develop from within than it was when Michael et al. put together the people who became the 1996 team. In terms of the business of baseball–including its leveling–that was a long time ago.

      In any of those eras, though, money played a big part, whether today with free agency or in 1939 with the Newark team that led guys from my father’s era to sneer at Joe McCarthy as a “push-button manager,” able to push a button and have a Charlie Keller sent to the Bronx. That also took (the intelligent use of) money.

  • joe

    BTW is it just me, or why are we playing RUssell Martin, who seems to have a passed ball a game, hasn’t thrown out anyone since the Boer War, got his average UP to 210 at seaons end, when Chris Stewart was hitting .270 and Francisco Cervelli is around? 2-3 years ago Gardner and Cervelli carried that team for the first half ot he year. Cervelli doesn’t strike me as abad catcher at all, has drive, and hits well. I mean, if they were all hitting .210 I’d maybe give Martin a SLIGHT defensive edge, but .270? Someone please clarify…thanks

    • Kosmo

      Stewart hit .241 for the season. He really can´t hit a lick. I´m not a fan of Martin but he did hit reasonble well post all-star break. IMO Cervelli would have been a better option than Stewart. I never really understood the Stewart for Kontos trade.

  • dalelama

    The story RAB refuses to cover:

    Meanwhile, Yankee management reacted privately with anger over the revelations that Rodriguez had been soliciting phone numbers from women in the stands during Game 1 on Saturday night, leading to widespread speculation that he has played his final game as a Yankee.

    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/spo.....z29ll9jSZu

  • OMG! Bagels!

    It annoys me to no end to hear that the booing rocked the players. There have been standing O’s at the Stadium that have been barely acknowledged by the players. I love Hirok but he has walked off to a few O’s and never acknowledged the fans. No tip of the cap. We get that Jeter doesn’t want to acknowledge personal accomplishments during a game, esp when they’re losing but these guys BARELY acknowledge the fans. I hate rude fans but the team folded and the people that pay money to see them play boo’d them. Boo Hoo.

    They heard things they never heard before because the Yankee front office raised ticket prices beyond the reach of many fans, the food prices at the Stadium are ridiculous and the Yankees acted like they didn’t give a crap.

    They’re going to blame their ineptness on the FANS? Are you kidding me? They should be thanking them for their support.

    The fans went NUTS on Sunday when the blown call at 2nd base was made.

    The players barely acknowledge that anyone’s in the stands.

    And as for Arod. 1) he always talks to kids before the game and 2) women are always throwing their numbers at him.

    I saw a mother at batting practice practically knock her own child over to give Arod something.

    The players can blame anyone they want but if they want to blame the fans then that’s just some bullshit.

  • flamingo

    The Wizard of Oz parallel is fantastic and gave me my biggest laugh of the day.

    Also, that Ichiro quote is awesome.

  • http://franklance godfather

    know baseball? no one does, has or ever will…we follow it and its perfidious ways…unable to admit it toys with our so-called expertise…i’ve had almost eighty years now, and all i’ve learned is how much i dont and will never know