"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Panic on the Streets…

The Manhattan Bridge is the closest, and the Brooklyn Bridge isn’t far, but such a cliche — the Verrazano, now that’s fairly convenient, bit more interesting, less overdone…

Oh, hi! Sorry, I didn’t see you there. Is it recap time?

That was a hell of a game, and not in the good way. Join me on a journey back through the mists of time to the first inning of Game 4… ah, we were all so young then. A.J. Burnett profoundly surprised me by pitching, under the circumstances, pretty well. Certainly as well as anyone could have expected given that the last time he pitched a good game, pterodactyls soared above the ballpark. The crowd was behind him, but to me it wasn’t heartwarming so much as desperate – c’mon, fella, you can make it! It’s just a flesh wound! You’ll be fine! He was okay, though. He allowed two runs in the second, after walking David Murphy (fatefully, not for the last time), hitting Bengie Molina with a pitch (if only he… no, no, mustn’t think like that); Mitch Moreland bunted and Elvis Andrus grounded out, but then came Michael Young, who hit a softish two-RBI single. Burnett may not have been dominant, but he got out of the inning and held the Rangers there through five innings; going into tonight’s game I would’ve taken that and not complained.

Meanwhile, the Yankees scraped together a few runs: a Robinson Cano homer that just ticked over the right field wall, possibly aided by some fans who made it hard for Nelson Cruz to make a catch – that’s what Cruz argued, anyway. I thought it was out anyhow, but the fans didn’t exactly improve anyone’s image of Yankee supporters. (Although I have to admit they cracked me up). The umpires declined to review it, which seems weird since that’s why instant replay exists, but again: it was out, so no damage done. Later in the inning a Lance Berkman fly to deep right was reviewed and correctly found to be foul. It wasn’t the umpiring tonight… it was just, you know, everything else. Anyway, the Yanks tacked on in the third inning when Derek Jeter tripled (!!!) and Curtis Granderson singled him home, and again in the fourth, when A-Rod was hit by a pitch, singled over by Cano and Berkman, and scored by a Brett Gardner ground out. Paralleling Burnett, this was not exactly Murderer’s Row, but they had a 3-2 lead in the fifth inning.

Which is when the baseball gods started pulling at a loose bit of yarn, and before you knew it, but also in a kind of weird slow motion, the whole sweater unraveled.

I don’t think you can say that Mark Teixeira is underrated or underappreciated – he is an extremely well paid star on a popular team; he’s not under any radars. But I was a little unprepared for what a gut-punch it was to watch him cringe while running hard to first, fall into an awkward slide, and stay down until the Yankee trainers could help him off the field. It was a grade 2 hamstring strain, and the last we’ll see of Mark Teixeira until spring. And while he didn’t have his best year at the plate, I’d sure rather see him up there than Marcus Thames; and you know you’d rather see him manning first base than Nick Swisher. He’s not A-Rod, and these days he’s not Cano, and he’s not one of the remaining 90s Yanks, and hell, he’s probably the blandest star athlete in recent memory… but the Yankees are going to miss him quite a bit, even if they only have one game left in which to do so. It sucked all the air out of the Stadium.

That came during an aborted rally in the bottom of the fifth, after a somewhat shaky Burnett got himself through the top of the inning. Many people were surprised to see Joe Girardi turn to Burnett again in the sixth, and although I didn’t think it was such a clear-cut choice, in retrospect it was clearly not wise: Vladimir Guerrero singled, moved to second on a force out, and then — this, I did have a problem with — Burnett intentionally walked David Murphy, in order to face Bengie Molina.

What did I say about Molinas before this series? Huh? WHAT DID I SAY, A.J.?! JOE? Goddammit, no one ever listens to me.

Molina homered, the Rangers took a 5-3 lead, and while that’s hardly insurmountable, this began the “slow-motion unraveling” portion of the evening. Burnett got out of the 6th, but Josh Hamilton homered off Boone Logan in the 7th, and the Rangers tacked on another run off of Joba Chamberlain. Ron Washington’s love of the bullpen shuffle worked out well for him this time around; the Yankees had chances — they even got the tying run to the plate in the 8th inning — but couldn’t break through. In the ninth Sergio Mitre came in and everything went south (HR Hamilton, HR Cruz), but by then it was all over but the crying, anyway. 10-3 Rangers is your final.

Joe Girardi made a number of questionable moves tonight. I can’t get too worked up about them since I think, ultimately, the Rangers have flat out-hit and out-pitched the Yanks, and different managerial moves probably wouldn’t have made a huge difference. But there’s no way to know that for sure, and it’s still plenty frustrating, which may be part of why tonight’s game got under my skin in an unpleasant way. Tomorrow, the Yankees have to win or go home — and if they win, they need to do it twice more. I’m not optimistic, frankly. But every day in late October that you still have a game to watch is a good day, so here’s hoping C.C. Sabathia pitches like C.C. Sabathia tomorrow, and the Yankees live to see Game 6.

Molinas… why’s it always have to be Molinas?


1 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Oct 20, 2010 4:46 am

Won the World Series last year, got back to the ALCS this year. Can't really complain about that given that this was a down year for so many players on the team.

This thing is over. The Rangers are mopping the floor with them. It's a slaughter. I did not see this coming, but I'll tip my hat. I'd just rather then end it quickly now rather than get my hopes up only to lose to Cliff Lee in Game Seven.

I also hope Andy comes back again next year.

2 vcbdfvbg   ~  Oct 20, 2010 5:50 am

h ave so me che ap thi ngs ...(Jew erly...)

ni k e sh o es , fa s h i on cl o th es ; br a nd ha n d b a gs , wa l l et ...

I f y o u th ink o ur web site is go od , y ou c an p ut th is web site t o bookmarks or ot her pl aces, ea sy t o fi nd ...


3 joe   ~  Oct 20, 2010 6:02 am

[1] I'd rather see them fight all the way to game seven than have CC turn up another lame start. Yeah, the Rangers look way better but maybe CC can shut 'em down. I just wanna see them play with some fire, not like they have their balls locked up in a box.

...By the way, the poster above me is spamming all your threads

4 Mattpat11   ~  Oct 20, 2010 6:03 am

Barring a miracle run into the World Series, I really don't see how you can bring Girardi back next year. Last year's team was charmed and could overcome all his strange moves. This team was flawed and needed a manager who didn't always outsmart himself.

His plan to rest everyone over the last two months accomplished nothing and led to bad, boring, baseball by the team and a loss of the division. Starting Francisco Cervelli in a playoff game exploded in his face. His faith in AJ Burnett was completely misplaced. He finally made one bizarre, pointless pitching change too many. Sergio Mitre has pitched more than Mariano Rivera.

I think any two of those would be a firable offense.

5 knuckles   ~  Oct 20, 2010 6:26 am

The fact that the Yanks were down 7-3 to start the 9th in no way absolves Girardi of the crime of bringing in Meat Tray. He stuck with Burnett an inning too long- maybe easy to say in hindsight but the guy is known for falling apart, quickly. I don't know what he's thinking, but I think as soon as the season is over, Cashman should call the Cubs and try and trade him for Quade.

6 Mattpat11   ~  Oct 20, 2010 6:53 am

I also think one or both of Chamberlain and Burnett are gone. Burnett is now the face of a failed season (literally. We'll be seeing that shot of him with his hands on his head quite a bit in the coming months) and I think Chamberlain as a Farnsworthy inconsistent middle reliever can have a decent run somewhere, but not in NY after all that hype.

7 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Oct 20, 2010 6:58 am

[4] Mitre has pitched more than Lord Mariano...that is indeed grounds for termination.

CC will save the day tomorrow, don't underestimate the big guy.

8 Jon DeRosa   ~  Oct 20, 2010 7:09 am

Girardi has been bad in this series. But, to me, there are only two things that might have mattered:

1) pitching pettitte in game 2 might have given the yanks an extra win
2) taking AJ out after five might have given the yanks last night's game

on #2, i really doubt it, since the yanks relievers were mostly bad and they would have had to pitch a whole extra inning. the rest of the reason they are getting beat is that they are being out hit, out pitched and out defended.

9 RIYank   ~  Oct 20, 2010 7:42 am

I guess I agree with that, Jon, although on (1), even if it's true, you can't say that Girardi's actual plan was unreasonable.

I also won't complain about Mitre in last night's game. That's what Mitres are for.

But I do have complaints about two Girardi moves last night. First, the IBB to Murphy. Now I am much more anti-IBB than most, but this one was just plain stupid, wasn't it? Is this just me? (And even after Emma specifically warned everybody about Molinas?) And second, why on earth would Marcus Thames go in to pinch run for Teixeira? Isn't that, once again, just plain stupid? Golson is a better runner. He's a better fielder. Obviously he should be the PR. Then, sure when that spot in the order comes up again, go ahead and PH Thames.

I think Washington also makes very dumb moves. Gardenhire is bad. I wish we could divide the manager job: Girardi can be the Clubhouse Guy, calming influence, morale-booster, media interface, etc. For calling the shots during the game we could have a geek with a laptop.

10 Mattpat11   ~  Oct 20, 2010 8:03 am

You think Girardi is good with the media?

11 Boatzilla   ~  Oct 20, 2010 8:15 am

[5] If not Girardi then who? I'll tell ya who: Willie! Give him his due.

12 Boatzilla   ~  Oct 20, 2010 8:17 am

You can't walk your way to a championship. And that's pretty much all the "Bombers" are doing on offense.

13 The Hawk   ~  Oct 20, 2010 8:23 am

I had no problem with Hughes going in game 2. He's been historically good in Texas, and had a great outing vs the Twins.

I guess they really had no choice with Burnett. And he came through for the most part, but that IBB was the kiss of death. Proudly I say william and I both called it before Molina muscled that ball into the seats.

It's absolutely true that the main reason the Yankee season is dying on the vine is the hitters are not hitting. (Only so much of that is Cliff Lee.) But as others have pointed out, managing actually becomes a bigger part of the game in times like these. Girardi has not optimized the opportunities he's had to influence the game.

That being said I have almost no doubt he'll be back next year.

Anyway, I assume we'll win today. I wouldn't be surprised if the Yankees won the series. They just gotta start hitting, like now. Don't get me wrong, I won't be any more surprised if they lose it today. But CC gives the team a great chance usually. Get that one in the books, take a day off and reset. Hughes probably will do better right? Win that and it's down to Game 7, where - as everyone knows - anything can happen. Yes even with Cliff Lee on the mound.

14 monkeypants   ~  Oct 20, 2010 8:34 am

[9] The Thames-for-Teixeira move was infuriating and incomprehensible, and it had a domino effect later in the game. Not PH Posada for Cervelli in the fourth was also infuriating, but predictable...though it was also bound up with the stay-with-AJ-too-long tactic.

Adding Nuñez to the roster instead of Miranda is..I need another word...how about "perplexing." The blame for that goes with the GM, I guess, though I imagine in this case the GM only responds to a recommendation from the manager. Whoever made the decision, though, the team is guaranteed, effectively, not to be able to PH for Berkman or Thames. But they will be awash with pinch runners.

15 monkeypants   ~  Oct 20, 2010 8:36 am

[13] I called Rangers in seven, and I'm sticking with it. As frustrated as I am about the game yesterday...and the team's performance so far this series...I still think they take it to seven games. And at that point, as you say, anything can happen.

16 Just Fair   ~  Oct 20, 2010 8:40 am

No need to throw in the towel, yet. Win today and move it on to game 6. And I don't get the complaining about AJ coming out for the 6th. You may as well say you should have taken him out after the 1st. Or 2nd. Or 3rd. Or 4th. Bah.
The hitting this series has been putrid.

17 monkeypants   ~  Oct 20, 2010 8:41 am

[16] I would have taken him out after the fourth, when I would have PH for Cervelli, as I posted last night. But what's done is done.

CC comes up big today.

18 Yankster   ~  Oct 20, 2010 8:45 am

AJ pitched better than Hughes and CC through five and the bullpen has an era of like 13. In the 6th Joe is in trouble either way. Does Lee's performance compared to CC's demand he get a better contract?

19 Joel   ~  Oct 20, 2010 8:57 am

[1] I don't share your perspective, and hopefully neither does ownership. This $213 million team was the 3-1 favorite in Vegas to repeat this year. From the lackluster play in the second half, to blowing the division and HFA, and now this "mopping the floor with them" series....

This is a very bitter pill for Yankeeland to swallow.

20 monkeypants   ~  Oct 20, 2010 8:58 am

[18] Does Lee’s performance compared to CC’s demand he get a better contract?


21 The Hawk   ~  Oct 20, 2010 8:59 am

Speaking of their lackluster play to end the season, it does appear that the Twins series was an anomaly. Hopefully we can get another one of those going starting this afternoon.

22 Yankee Mama   ~  Oct 20, 2010 9:04 am

[21] That's just what I was thinking. They woke up for the Twins and then went back to the Yankees, September version. Hitting, but not capitalizing with people on base. It's hard to see all that rally killing.

23 RIYank   ~  Oct 20, 2010 9:05 am

[13] Good, I'm glad people were aghast at the IBB in my absence.
[14] Right, I forgot about the failure to PH for Cervelli. That was also just downright bad.

I give the Yankees a 1/10 chance of coming back and winning this whole thing. (If not for Lee I'd say more like 1/6.)

24 OldYanksFan   ~  Oct 20, 2010 9:15 am

Now, let's take the VERY BEST manager in baseball.
Let's give him an above average Rotation.
Now.... here's his offense.

Robinson Cano...... .417 .417 1.000 1.417
Lance Berkman...... .333 .500 .333 .833
Derek Jeter............. .231 .286 .385 .670
Brett Gardner........ .250 .333 .250 .583
Curtis Granderson .125 .417 .125 .542
Jorge Posada.......... .200 .273 .200 .473
Marcus Thames...... .222 .222 .222 .444
Nick Swisher........... .091 .231 .182 .413
Alex Rodriguez...... .154 .154 .154 .308
Mark Teixeira.......... .000 .214 .000 .214
2010 ALCS Team OPS: .584

We can point out that 3 of the teams best hitters (3,4 and 6)
have a combined OPS of around .320.
Now... that's not BA. That's not OBP. It's not even SLG.
That's OPS. That's a .320 OPS!

So talk about Girardi, Talke about AJ. Talk about Berkman batting RH'ed.

The Yankees are built on very ggod pitching....
very good defense....
and an explosive offense.
That's why we are playing in October.
2010 ALCS Team OPS: .584

Out of 176 players in MLB with 450 ABs, the THIRD WORST OPS was Jose Lopez, at .609. So...... on average, everyone on our team is worse then Jose Lopez. Everyone. Jose Lopez. Everyone.

C'MON! IS anything else really relevant?

(There are 4 reasons we lost. Girardi, the Blacks, the Jews and the Liberals!)

25 Evil Empire   ~  Oct 20, 2010 9:15 am

[2] I can't wait to buy all the great stuff.

Meanwhile the yanks have been outscored 30 to 11.

If you throw out game one, the Yankees have been outscored 25 to 5 in 3 Fucking games! I am disgusted.

26 OldYanksFan   ~  Oct 20, 2010 9:18 am

PS: The team that turned us into Jose Lopez was FORTH in the AL in ERA.... at 0.13 better then us. So every 8 games, our pitchers gave up 1 ER more then they did. 1 ER every 8 games. Jose Lopez. Yankees. Jose Lopez . Yankees.

27 ms october   ~  Oct 20, 2010 9:21 am

[23] yes i was also aghast at the ibb to murphy - i, like you, am also pretty fundamentally against ibb. the only ranger i would not have complained vociferously about ibb in that situation would be hamilton.

[21] [22] yep, my feelings too. their performance in this series is what i expected them to look like in the post-season after their september performance.

28 Diane Firstman   ~  Oct 20, 2010 9:53 am

I was sitting there in the stadium as the IBB was being dealt, and I turned to my friend and said "Girardi is overmanaging again, isn't he?"

two minutes later .... boom

also, why on earth was Berkman batting against a lefty in the 8th with the bases loaded ... I guess Girardi had no one else ... sigh

29 Pete   ~  Oct 20, 2010 10:04 am

[1] I'm with [3] - at this point, I'd rather see them go down fighting. Victories in 5 & 6 might go a lonnnnng way towards their confidence and their ability to even beat Lee in a game 7.

[6] I might venture to say we get something of value for Joba while he's still young, but you have to keep Burnett. At least AJ stepped up in the big spot last night - Chamberlain seems to spit the bit more often than not lately...

30 Pete   ~  Oct 20, 2010 10:07 am

[24] I think even the great Francona would lose with that lineup.

31 Joel   ~  Oct 20, 2010 10:30 am

[24] The team has played unevenly for long stretches over the past three months. We have seen this movie before. You can't fire all the players. At some point, you have to take a look at the manager.

32 hiscross   ~  Oct 20, 2010 10:36 am

Once the "Boss{ died, so did the current Yankees. This team is actually better than last years team, but haven't performed. It is that simple. I do agree that Joe has made some strange moves. He does use more players than Joe T did, but towards the end of the season you stick with a set line-up and let them play. I never understood Joe's outfield line-up, but at least he stuck with a set infield for most of the season. I wish they can work with Joba, but AJ has issues that only a trade to KC will fix. I'm with my team all the way. Go Yankees!

33 Evil Empire   ~  Oct 20, 2010 10:38 am

[28] Diane they did show on TV that Berkman had good numbers against Oliver in a small sample size. I think it was 4 for 8 with a walk AND Berkman did hit the ball pretty hard.

Also, I don't know who we could pinch hit there. Pena is terrible and Golson has never faced Oliver.

34 Mattpat11   ~  Oct 20, 2010 10:44 am

[24] And yet, somehow they were winning the game. The offense was doing enough to win. At that point is it really too much to ask that the manager not sabotage them?

35 Mattpat11   ~  Oct 20, 2010 10:49 am

[29] When they write the book on great Yankee playoff performances, I think AJ Burnett giving up five runs in six innins will somehow miss the cut

36 monkeypants   ~  Oct 20, 2010 10:56 am

[24] Yes, the team has as a whole played very poorly, and the players' poor performance is largely responsible for their losing. But...

The manager---or most anyone---can't really control player performance: sometimes a player does gooder, sometimes he does badder.

But the manager CAN control the decisions that he makes, and those decisions do have some impact on the course of the game and the series.

So just because many Yankees have played poorly---either playing to their typical poor level or under-performing---does not exculpate the manager who has made some staggeringly poor tactical decisions.

37 Mattpat11   ~  Oct 20, 2010 10:58 am

In happier news, I met John Lannan. That's pretty cool

38 Diane Firstman   ~  Oct 20, 2010 11:01 am


I bumped into Christina Kahrl getting out of the elevator at the Stadium. That was cool. (Actually, she saw me and grabbed my arm ... THAT was cool).

39 RIYank   ~  Oct 20, 2010 11:12 am

Yeah, the point (mine, anyway) isn't that we would have swept the Rangers if Girardi had managed right. It's that he hasn't managed well.

If you tell Mattpat that last night's loss wasn't Burnett's fault because our hitters scored fewer runs than our bullpen allowed, then (well, god help you) I imagine he'll say, "Yeah, but AJ still continues to suck". Which is true. Same with Girardi.

I don't even have a huge problem with his bullpen management. Could be better, and I hate the roulette. But the moves people have mentioned here are indefensible.

40 Mattpat11   ~  Oct 20, 2010 11:23 am

[38] They were talking about you on Up and In last week

41 Diane Firstman   ~  Oct 20, 2010 11:27 am


Yes ... I noticed.

42 Evil Empire   ~  Oct 20, 2010 11:52 am

BTW with all the Girardi blame out there, does Kevin Long have any responsibility for the terrible approach at the plate that's led to only 11 runs in 4 games?

I tend to blame Eiland less only because CC and Phil pitched poorly, which I don't think he controls, the bullpen saved us in game one, Andy pitched great in game 2, AJ pitched respectably in game 4 and I think a lot of the runs fall on running the trash out there.

BTW since Boone Logan has only one job could he Fucking do it?

43 williamnyy23   ~  Oct 20, 2010 12:14 pm

[42] Long's job is to help players' iron out flaws in their swing, not govern their approach. Long should remain as hitting coach regardless of who the next manager is.

As for Logan, kind of unfair for your one job to be getting Josh Hamilton out. If Girardi using him for Murphy in sixth, maybe he is a mini-hero today.

If the Yankees lose this series, I firmly believe they did so when Girardi set the rotation. Whatever direction the Yanks go, I hope they decide quickly. If a new manager is on the horizon, I hope they spend much more time searching. The Yankees need to finally get someone who is more qualified for the position.

44 Yankster   ~  Oct 20, 2010 12:25 pm

[43] True: Long is less liability than asset. Also true for Logan - his job sucks and his performance must be measured differently than others. If he gives up a hit in 1/4 at bats, he's basically a hero. And by definition (cause he's in the game) those will be high leverage moments.

45 The Hawk   ~  Oct 20, 2010 1:01 pm

[43] I don't see the flaw in the rotation. I suppose you could say if it aint broke don't fix it after the Twins series, but honestly it's not that big of a deal. Unless you're talking about pitching Burnett at all but it seems quite clear they had to use a fourth starter. Maybe it should have been Vasquez?

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver