"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

When Seasons Change

The 2010 season ended for the New York Yankees tonight as they lost Game Six of the American League Championship to the Texas Rangers 6-1. The Rangers pounded out the big, two-out, run-scoring hits that win pennants, and the Yankees put forth a display of offensive futility against Colby Lewis that will leave a gag-inducing aftertaste long into the winter.

Light rain fell on the first inning. Curtis Granderson walked and was eager to get into position to draw first blood. He tried to steal second as Cano popped out, and then doubled down and ran again as Alex Rodriguez was working his count. Granderson beat the throw, but his foot hiccuped on the damp dirt and delayed touching the bag for a split second. It was enough time for Ian Kinsler to snatch the ball and slap a tag, and enough of an incongruity to confuse the umpire into a blown call. As the replay clearly showed otherwise, the announcers congratulated the umpire for getting it right. That was it for the sound.

The Rangers jumped onto the scoreboard in the first inning, again. This was the fourth time in the series they scored in the first inning. The Yankees have put nothing on the board in the first inning all postseason. With two-strikes on the leadoff hitter, Phil Hughes couldn’t sneak a fastball up and in. Elvis Andrus shot it through an heavily shifted outfield and pulled into second with an easy double. Josh Hamilton singled when Hughes again tried to go up and in, but missed badly up and out over the plate. Washington, fearing the double play, put Hamilton in motion and when Vlad grounded to second and the Yankees needed two outs to prevent the run from scoring, they could only muster one.

Lewis held the Yankees hitless through four. Curtis Granderson worked two walks, but was erased on the bases both times. In the fifth inning, Alex Rodriguez doubled, his second hard-hit ball of the game. He moved to third as Lance Berkman flew out to the warning track.

That brief instant, when Berkman’s shot flew into the night was the only happy moment of the game for the Yankees. It looked like a 2-1 lead was in reach, but Josh Hamilton tracked it down. Alex scored on a ball that hit Nick Swisher and bounced away, but the umpires missed it. That’s the second time they’ve missed Nick Swisher getting hit in the leg. Both times it cost the Yankees an out, as Swisher couldn’t do anything as the at bat continued.

In the fifth inning, the game fell apart. Much like the sixth inning of Game Four, the Yankees faced a relatively benign one-on, one-out situation. An intentional walk to a left-handed batter to gain a platoon advantage raised the stakes and the Rangers held the trump. Vlad Guerrero ripped the game-changing double on the hangy-i-est of curve balls. After Robertson replaced Hughes, Nelson Cruz ripped the season-ending homer on the flattest of fastballs.

Hughes hung a few curve balls and was up in the zone with his fastball too often. He didn’t give the Yankees what they needed tonight, but since the Yankees only got three hits tonight, who could have given them what they needed? The Yankees were in this game as long as the pitching was perfect. The Rangers hitters are too hot; perfection was never an option.

From the point where it was 1-1, with the Yankees proud owner of two shiny doubles in one inning, it was hard to imagine the game would be effectively over a few minutes later. The Yankees managed one more hit the rest of the way. Kerry Wood got in trouble in the seventh, and Girardi called his third and fourth intentional walks of the night. The Rangers still plated another run to set the score in stone at 6-1. Recapping the Yankee offense from the sixth through the ninth is too depressing to endeavor. You’ve seen better wood from the “before” guys in Viagra ads.

At this point, I had one request from the baseball gods. Do not let the stink of this game get on Mariano Friggin Rivera. They obliged. Mariano threw a scoreless, meaningless inning and for a few outs, if you squinted, you could turn the Rangers’ “6″ into a “0″ and imagine better times.

There’s not much shame losing any best-of-seven series. Texas has good players and won their fair share of games. They beat a very good Rays team before the Yankees. They are worthy American League Champions. But the Yankees did not just get beat by the Rangers. They got blown off the field. For a six game series, it was about as lopsided as I have ever seen.

When the Yankee season ends, that’s the start of my winter. And the only kind winter I enjoy is one wrapped up in World Championship. Things were put off with baseball as the excuse. Dentist? Hard to schedule until I know when the Yankees play. Dinner with friends? Are they Yankee fans? Yes, well they’re busy too. No? I don’t want to see them until after the Yankees win. The weight of the world comes crashing in, and there’s no good reason to keep it out.

This is not the time for a review of the season. But with no division title, no pennant, and a really poor showing in this final game of the year, no matter our conclusions, the 2010 Yankees are not going down in franchise history as anything special – the curse of being the Yankees is that the minor successes of 2010 will be completely ignored.

I hope it will be a team that is skipped over, as we track along to more championships, and not one that stands out as the start of a long, bleak drought as the players age into mediocrity and the team cannot replenish their bank of stars. This hurts, but it could be as early as next year that the empire regroups and strikes back – the blessing of being the Yankees is that they are the only team that intends to win the World Series every year. And sometimes, they do.

Categories:  Bronx Banter  Game Recap  Jon DeRosa  Playoffs  Yankees

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83 comments

1 cult of basebaal   ~  Oct 23, 2010 12:35 am

Well, I don't know if the better team (as in over 162 games, or 1000 iterations of this series) won, but the deserving team won, as Texas outplayed the Yankees in every facet of the game.

I suppose that's what irritates me most about this series, that the Yankees basically never showed up and played anywhere close to the level they were capable of.

Pity.

In the end, a disappointing year leading into an offseason with holes to fill and several tough decisions ...

2 monkeypants   ~  Oct 23, 2010 12:39 am

[1] I agree. Now, I made more than my fair share of "resting" jokes---and I get that you can't go balls to the walls for 162 games, especially with an older team---but didn't it feel like the Yankees didn't show up and play at their expected level a lot over the last couple months of the season?

3 Mattpat11   ~  Oct 23, 2010 12:43 am

Cliff Lee or bust

4 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Oct 23, 2010 12:53 am

Three hits and a bullshit run. We did better off Schilling in Game 7. Just fucking pathetic. We deserved to lose.

And Girardi deserves a new job.

5 Jon DeRosa   ~  Oct 23, 2010 12:54 am

[3] Sign Cliff Lee, trade Gardner and Joba for Grienke, sign Werth to replace gardner.

(i know it will take montero too, but right now, just let me have it...)

6 cult of basebaal   ~  Oct 23, 2010 12:55 am

[2] Yeah.

I'm pretty sanguine about September. I understand why Cashman and Girardi handled it the way they did. There are arguments on either side and I don't know if there's any right answer.

The Yankees mailed in the end of 2000 as well, but got it going in again in the post-season.

I wonder how much of an effect the long layoff between the end of the ALDS and the ALCS hurt.

The team didn't look like the September Yankees against the Twins, they looked that and worse against the Rangers.

Though I will say that after watching the Rangers beat the Rays, I figured we were in for a tough series and I feared for something resembling 2002, which is what this ALCS feels like to me, a total dismantling by a younger, hungrier, more athletic team.

7 Jon DeRosa   ~  Oct 23, 2010 12:57 am

I can accept the "resting" but it did usher in the "losing" and then it just never stopped.

8 vockins   ~  Oct 23, 2010 12:57 am

Dump Girardi.

9 Jon DeRosa   ~  Oct 23, 2010 12:58 am

also, i'm 99% sure some version of this conversation happened and we just never heard about it:

Joe: So, CC, you cool to go 1,4 & 7 like last year?
CC: No.

10 cult of basebaal   ~  Oct 23, 2010 12:59 am

[5] FIrst off, Gardner + Joba doesn't even get us Greinke's jockstrap, let alone Greinke (and no, neither does Joba + Gardner + Montero).

Next, Greinke has a no-trade clause in his contract to 20 teams (that he gets to pick) and I'd bet my balls in Vegas the Yankees are on it.

3rd, even if the Yankees *aren't* on the list, you REALLY want to burn the prospects to find out whether a pitcher with SEVERE social anxiety and depression problems can hack it pitching in New York???

Uh, no.

11 Jon DeRosa   ~  Oct 23, 2010 1:01 am

[10] you're the winner of the debate!

12 Jon DeRosa   ~  Oct 23, 2010 1:06 am

[10] in case you could not tell from [5], it was not a serious proposal.

13 cult of basebaal   ~  Oct 23, 2010 1:10 am

[12] Ah, my bad, my sarcasm detector is malfunctioning at this point in the evening. Too many beers have shorted out the circuits ...

14 thelarmis   ~  Oct 23, 2010 1:11 am

[10] i'm pretty sure it's been stated that the yanks and shit sox are both on his list. he doesn't wanna pitch for either ballclub...

betting your balls in vegas? good one, cult!

15 thelarmis   ~  Oct 23, 2010 1:11 am

[13] mmm, beer. thanks for having one for me. i'm counting down the days til my next sixer... six days, actually.

16 Jon DeRosa   ~  Oct 23, 2010 1:23 am

[13] No problem at all.

I think RAB had some good stuff on Grienke today. I'm sure we'll discuss him again during the hot stove...

17 jjmerlock   ~  Oct 23, 2010 1:42 am

I celebrated tonight's loss by giving my cat's "cat genie" the thorough scrubbing it's been needing for a while. Time well spent, and it seemed an appropriate coda.

18 williamnyy23   ~  Oct 23, 2010 2:43 am

[2] I've made my position clear on that point. Regardless of whether it impacted the postseason, I hope the Yankees never approach the end of the season that way. They robbed us of several weeks of compelling baseball, which bothers me more than not making the World Series.

[9] I'd be shocked if C.C. said he couldn't go on three days rest, especially because he was scheduled to do so if the ALDS went to game 4. This was just a case of Girardi reading too much into 15 innings Hughes had thrown in Texas. There is no way AJ/Hughes should have thrown as many games as C.C./Andy. That was a gross misuse of the Yankees best assets.

19 cult of basebaal   ~  Oct 23, 2010 2:49 am

The final pitching line is awful, and he took his second loss of the series, but Phil Hughes was actually one pitch away from a pretty good start.

Can I just say I'm sick and fucking tired of this particular canting nonsense.

AJ Burnett was not "1 pitch" away from a good start ... Phil Hughes was not "1 pitch" away from a good start.

Otherwise, we would have lost when they gave up a solo homerun as opposed to losing because they pitched shitty, put men on base (THANK YOU JOE GIRARDI) and then got beat in a bad situation that *they* worked themselves into.

Andy Pettite's the only one who could honestly claim he was "1 pitch" away from a good start, everybody else deserved their losses.

20 Mattpat11   ~  Oct 23, 2010 3:35 am

[19] I posted almost the exact same thing at LoHud

21 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Oct 23, 2010 4:44 am

I'm totally into the Burnett for Zambrano trade, Big Z will rise to the occasion in NYC..can't hurt to try it anyways.

With a few hours reflection, I'm more confused about Girardi...3 years and he's got a WS title, another trip to the ALCS..in -game decisions are baffling at times, but look at Ron Washington or Charlie Manuel, just as odd...though both those guys have well-reported skill at "player management", a key job of any manager...does Joe G's "leadership" outweigh his strategic blundering..?

22 Jon DeRosa   ~  Oct 23, 2010 6:04 am

Hey cult, who are you referencing in [1] and [19]? Are posts from the game thread, or something on another website?

23 Jon DeRosa   ~  Oct 23, 2010 6:20 am

[18] I'd be shocked if the option was available to pitch CC and Andy 5 of the seven games and it was ignored. It that was the case, I agree it was a terrible mistake.

But we'll probably never know, unless Girardi throws CC under the bus to defend himself, which I don't think he would do.

24 OldYanksFan   ~  Oct 23, 2010 7:30 am

Trading Gardner, Montero, Romine, et al is a bit like my last cigarette. A moment of pleasure in exchange for a bleak future.

I know people want to avoid 'rebuilding' more then a rectal examine, but the writing is one the wall. How many would have happily traded Cano some years ago (and it almost happened a few times) for the newest shiny toy? Most would have traded Gardner last year for a bag pf balls.

In 1996, 4 of our Farm hands ended up being here for for FIFTEEN years, and also being dominant players in their positions (not to mention a decade of Bernie). You can't compare that to a long, very expensive contract to the 'latest stud', who may or may not pan out, and even if he does, often has a year or more of dudness at the end of his contract.

Even with all our money, at some time we HAVE to hold and develop SOME of our youth, and hope for the best. Just like Cano, Montero could turn into a centerpiece for this team. Or not. Gardner, Romine and others may be important, inexpensive role players (sort of like 75% of the Texas team).

Yes.... CC, Teix and others have been very important aquisitions. We will always buy a part of our championships. But the last 15 years of dominance was build on a foundation of farm hands. Surely we got better picks 20 years ago, but we still managed to find some pretty good youngsters, including Cano, Phil... and Joba.... and even Gardner... and maybe D-Rob.

It's gonna be painful, and we may not be able to continue to 'expect' to Win ever year. Our Kids.... Jeter, Mo, Andy, Po and Bernie are all but gone. We need to find some new kids to replace them.

25 OldYanksFan   ~  Oct 23, 2010 7:47 am

Last year, of our 9 top offensive players, 8 topped their career average in OPS+, and one tied (ARod), Of those 8, FOUR beat or tied (Jeter) their career years. That's why we Won.

This year, the core of of line up (1, 3 and 4) all had well below average years. ARod (-22 OPS+), Jeter (-29) and Teix (-9... but brutal in the first half) basically were even more absent from the PS the then regular season.

If not for Cano (142 OPS+), Swisher (130) and to some extent Gritner (106), (2 kids and a low cost trade) we wouldn't even have been close. In truth, had not more then 1/2 of the Red Sox has serious injuries, we would have finished 3rd anyway.

26 RIYank   ~  Oct 23, 2010 8:02 am

I don't understand [19]. Why wasn't Hughes one pitch away from a good start? The one pitch was the double that drove him from the game, obviously. If he had thrown a better pitch, he would have had a five inning start (admittedly too short to be really good), giving up three hits and one run.

27 OldYanksFan   ~  Oct 23, 2010 8:20 am

[26] You Sir..... are CORRECT!
Want proof?
Go back to any close game where CC or Andy gave up 3 runs or less and we won the game. Now... were there any bases loaded situations, or 2nd and 3rd siutuations they GOT OUT OF??
And what, if instead of getting 'that 3rd out', that last pitch was 2" more inside, and it was hit for a double? At least 2 runs, and the possibility of 'floodgates opening'.

I think in half the games of the regular season, 1 or 2 pitches, or 1 or 2 ABs, was the difference between Winning or losing.

How about CC on Thursday night? How many times was he 1 or 2 pitches away from getting blown out?

28 OldYanksFan   ~  Oct 23, 2010 8:24 am

There is a lot of sour grapes here, and a lot of irrational hate for Girardi. One man, who isn't even on the field. Sure, his moves impact the game. But I don't hear a peep about:

Teix: .000 .176 .000 .176
Swish: .091 .200 .273 .473
ARod: .190 .320 .286 .606

Girardi did NOT win the 2009 PS. ARod did.
And Girardi did NOT lose the 2010 PS.

29 monkeypants   ~  Oct 23, 2010 8:47 am

28) False dichotomy. As you admit, Girardi's moves impacted the games. He contributed to the losses.

Does that mean that I think he was the primary reason why the team fell short? No. Does that exonerate him? No. Do I think that he should be fired? Probably not, but....several players are under contract for years while Girardi is not. Replacing him would be easy.

30 monkeypants   ~  Oct 23, 2010 8:53 am

25) would have finished 3rd anyway.

The myth of the gritty, gutty, plucky 2010 Red Sox grows.

31 Chyll Will   ~  Oct 23, 2010 9:10 am

This season, and especially the post-season, had all the passion and excitement of a math exam. And it's cool if that's what gets your heart pumping, no offense to the true mathematicians here. But I thought baseball incorporated more than Tetris-style stat management, just like I think it there's more to it than belly-full-of-guts management. To me, it seems like the pendulum's swung too far again.

But again, the question is (although reportedly "mute"), who takes Girardi's place if you let him go? Cashman has seemingly not given it a second thought; I imagine the only way Joe leaves is if he leaves first (not that this is what's called for). Well, whatever; onto who plays better in Dallas, Jints or J-E-T-S...

32 RIYank   ~  Oct 23, 2010 9:43 am

[31] I'll thank you not to impugn math exams.

Girardi's in-game decisions sucked, especially in the post-season. Obviously, he was not the only member of the Yankees who sucked. As monkeypants says, he's much easier to replace. And there's another important point. When Teixeira sucks in the post-season, well, all batters go through cold spells and we're confident that Mark will be an excellent hitter next year. And Hughes lost the two games we really needed him to win, but we're optimistic about how well he'll do next year.
But Girardi is going to keep calling for IBBs in idiotic situations.

I guess I wouldn't fire him, for Chyll Will's reason (anyone he gets replaced with is apt to be at least as bad). But I used to think he was arguably a good manager, and now I don't. He's bad.

33 jfd001   ~  Oct 23, 2010 9:54 am

(23) think Girardi's biggest mistake was not starting Andy in game 2 and so by preventing Andy from starting game 6 with a possible 3 to 2 lead!

34 JeremyM   ~  Oct 23, 2010 9:59 am

I seriously doubt CC turned down going on three-days rest in the ALCS. He did it for what, a month in Milwaukee? I just hope it's not all catching up to him as he seemed pretty fried this October.

35 JeremyM   ~  Oct 23, 2010 10:02 am

[33] I tend to agree. Like Matt said, Girardi read too much into Hughes' previous success in Texas.

As far as game decisions, my only real complaints are not going to Mo in game 3 to keep it close and intentionally passing Murphy, even if it was to face the crappy Molina.

Anyone realize that if San Francisco advances, Molina will get a ring either way? Actually, he'll have a set of both rings, right? You can't stop the Molinas in October....

36 williamnyy23   ~  Oct 23, 2010 10:09 am

[19] Couldn't agree more. By the same token, should we say a pitcher who gave up one run, but got out of a bases loaded jam, was one pitch away from having a bad outing? Either you pitched well or you didn't. Hughes did not.

[21] That's a great question. Maybe the players really do enjoy playing for him, and he does exhibit leadership skills. I don't know. All I see if the in game blunders. I just wish the Yankees would hire a manager who does everything well.

[23] I was shocked by the decisio too. Considering CC was ready to go on three days rest in the ALDS, so why would that have changed in the ALCS? I just think Girardi outsmarted himself with small sample size statistics.

[24] Why are you talking about rebuilding. The Yankees need retooling, but not an overhaul. Also, with Lee and Werth on the market, they probably don't need to make any trades. Having said that, I wouldn't mind seeing the Yankees sell high on Gardner. Maybe they could package him along with Joba and get a young, front end starter (Matt Cain?).

37 seamus   ~  Oct 23, 2010 10:15 am

[35] Girardi read too much into Hughes previous success in Texas. Well, that's true. But many folks here saying Hughes needed to start in Minnesota because he was better on the road? Isn't that basically the same kind of decision? So why is it bad now? Or is it just because the result didn't work out? I don't think it's a bad move to have Hughes throw two in the ALCS. He had a good year and he's one of your top 3 guys in the rotation. And I believe that in this case, let's face it, Texas bats were super hot all series against all of our pitchers (save Mo of course). And we just had a bunch of bad breaks.

William's favorite scenario aside, if you don't throw Hughes in Texas against Lewis, he is facing Lee in game 7 and I dont' see how that's any better.

38 monkeypants   ~  Oct 23, 2010 10:19 am

36) selling high on Gardner would be ok, even though I really think he's a fun a player whom I like to root for. However, i really believe that Grandy going forward is at best a platoon player. I'd prefer to keep Gardner and rotate him into CF more often. But you'rw right, he is one of the few truly packagable players they have.

39 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Oct 23, 2010 10:19 am

Winter begins. The dreaded C.L. did us in last night. Oh, wait. They had another one waiting.

I'm with OYF (as usual). It is entirely legit to talk about 'one pitch away' and I was outraged at the ball 1 call to Vlad (ball wasn't even close to not being a strike) and how much that changes dynamics, I was ranting as he wound up for the 2nd pitch.

BUT, didn't matter, did it. Get 1 (undeserved) run you aren't winning anyhow.

Same as to Blame Girardi, when OYF accurately cites the batting stats. I do feel a bit badly about Rodriguez - he was hitting balls hard all series right at people. It looks worse for him than it was.

Still, I firmly believe that this is a very hard championship to win, that no one on that team was mailing it in, that Texas was very good, and won the Smoak/Montero sweepstakes (want to figure this series if we have Cliff then CC at the top?). If Philly gets beat this weekend, that'll be a bigger shock, to me.

I admit I am worried about aging, our 1990's bats are not young. The OF is okay, and Cano and Teixera. A Rod will remain a solid bat but is not a wrecking crew. Yankeeland can rebuild on thje fly (a luxury next to no one else has) but it needs thinking through.

And yes, Lee or Bust feels about right for the one major FA acquisition. Give how well Pettitte (retiring?) pitched till he got hurt, it doesn't actually make us wildly better on the mound, though.

To my mind, this was a good team, an interesting season. Cano and Gritster were highlights. (Nod to Swish.)You can't always get what you want.

40 jfd001   ~  Oct 23, 2010 10:19 am

33) 19) Once it looked like we had two young hard throwing starters, Hughes and Joba and now? How tight was Hughes: hanging breaking pitches, wild pitching on an IBB, failing to cover first?. Now he has lost an All Star game and a pennant. Is he that bad? He was 10 and 1 at one time in the season.

41 williamnyy23   ~  Oct 23, 2010 10:20 am

[25] That analysis is flawed because offense was down significantly this season. Another reason OPS+ is misleading is because the full park factors for theyear haven't been calculated. When they are updated, the results could swing wildly. Having said that, I agree that the offense was down, but that is only relative to a great 2009. It was still the most potent offensive in baseball, so it's not like they were playing handicapped.

[27] But C.C. and/or Andy made the pitch. Hughes did not. It is silly to try to define a start by ignoring "one pitch".

[28] If the manager is irrelevant, then why pay Girardi so much money. Just find a good organization man to pay 100,000 and use the savings on players? The job of a manager is to put his team in the best position to win, and try to help them along when the players struggle. Girardi failed on both counts.

[33] Ditto.

42 RIYank   ~  Oct 23, 2010 10:21 am

By the same token, should we say a pitcher who gave up one run, but got out of a bases loaded jam, was one pitch away from having a bad outing?

Yes.
Isn't that incredibly obvious? Who would deny that the guy was one pitch away from having a bad outing?

Either you pitched well or you didn’t. Hughes did not.

On the whole, he did not pitch very well, but he was, as a matter of plain fact, one pitch away from having a very good outing. Why deny this? I find that really weird.

43 monkeypants   ~  Oct 23, 2010 10:21 am

37) I agree. I may disagree with many of Girardi's game tactics during the PS, but I do not disagree with the way he set up the rotation in either series.

44 seamus   ~  Oct 23, 2010 10:21 am

[40] Hughes is still young. We'll find out in the next two years if he he'll be an ace, mid-rotation guy or what. His development has been fine but he has always needed to rely on the fastball too much. ANd it's not quite fast enough to get enough swing and misses at times. His secondary pitches will dictate his career I think.

45 randym77   ~  Oct 23, 2010 10:22 am

I'm afraid the Yankees are looking awfully old and creaky. Our SS is playing SS at an age when most of his peers have moved to other positions or retired. A-Rod looks stiff and clumsy - my guess is his hip is bothering him. Posada...never known for his great defense, he's looking pretty bad now. Next season, they'll all be a year older.

And ugh, I'm already tired of hearing about Josh Hamilton, ginger ale, and Jesus.

46 RagingTartabull   ~  Oct 23, 2010 10:25 am

In a bit of a reflective mood this morning. I think ultimately I'll look back on 2010 as this decade's 1997...a nice little season that was ultimately not much more than just that. Anytime you win 96 games in the toughest division in baseball, make the playoffs, advance in the playoffs, and at the very least push the LCS back to the host city you can't call it a **bad** season, just not an all-timer. Really you know what this team was? It wasn't the 1997 Yankees, it was the 2008 Red Sox.

There are clearly major question marks for next year, but I think they're so glaring that I'm not even that worried about them. Begin to transition Montero into the everyday lineup, go out and get another starter (Lee? maybe, but most importantly someone who can give you at least comparable production to what you got from Hughes or Pettitte this year), and begin to lead Jeter out to pasture while letting him think that he's still in control here.

I think with the requisite tinkering this team is still a championship calibre one, but I think over this past week we just saw a group that finally ran out of gas. I mean they got shut down by Derek Holland and Colby Lewis...if that doesn't tell you they had hit a wall, I don't know what does.

Again, nice little season, just not one you're gonna tell your grandkids about. Sometimes in life you get a 1997 instead of a 1998.

47 williamnyy23   ~  Oct 23, 2010 10:27 am

[38] Granderson's second half really complicates things because his last two months were so good. Who will he be in 2011?

As much as Gardner is fun to watch, he second half and postseason were brutal...for all the same reasons we doubted him in the first place. I can't but help thinking Juan Pierre when I watch him play. If I was Cashman, I would definitely be open to offers.

48 seamus   ~  Oct 23, 2010 10:27 am

[45] I think we have to see how they look next year to know for sure what's up. It could just be that A-rod needs 4 months rest on that hip. Or it could just be that he is aging and no longer using roids to keep himself healthy.

The real dilemna could be that we have 3 guys who need to be DHs but we can't DH all 3. Posada seems the most obvious choice to move to DH. We have amazing catching talent waiting in the wings. Let's bring them up to try their best. Let them ride the wave - succeed or fail or whatever. Rotate Posada in as the backup C once every 3 games and rotate A-rod and Jeter into the DH slot in those games for frequent half-rest days.

49 RagingTartabull   ~  Oct 23, 2010 10:30 am

oh eat my ass Lupica

They got out-managed Friday night, too. Big time. Joe Girardi got away with walking Hamilton in front of Vlad Guerrero once, in the third inning. Girardi did not get away with it in the bottom of the fifth, when the Yankee season really ended, after which they really did look as if they had quit on the game and the season and the defense of their title. All that money spent. One title in 10 years.

50 seamus   ~  Oct 23, 2010 10:31 am

[47] I agree on Grandy. Who is he? I think you start 2011 with him and hope for the best.

On Gardner I'd guess that AL pitchers made adjustments in their approach to him in the second half. Here's the thing though. Gardner has shown in his major league and minor league career that he is also capable of making adjustments after struggling for a bit. So I wouldn't give up on him at all. I'd start 2011 with him in LF (he did always manage a decent OBP) and give him some time to see how he adjusts.

51 RIYank   ~  Oct 23, 2010 10:32 am

[49] I hate it when Lupica is right. (Not the money thing, but I barely even notice that idiot trope now.)

52 seamus   ~  Oct 23, 2010 10:34 am

By the way, I want to look closer at this IBB thing. We had four last night and only one that came around to score or that seemed to have bad results. I'm skeptical about the notion that IBBs are never good. I can't remember who, maybe mp?, but someone said their was a link to the studies of IBBs in the thread. I looked but couldn't find it. Does anyone have that now?

53 monkeypants   ~  Oct 23, 2010 10:35 am

48) Jeter needs more days off, period. i don't know if he is cooked or not...my gut says he has a couple of decent years remaining. However, his bat really doesn't play at DH. i'd rather they transition him to a 120-130 game player.

Posada is a different story. His bat would make a decent DH. So they need to make the call and either ride him like a rented mule at C or transition him to more or less starting DH (and BUC). But if they do the latter, they need to find a legitimate starting C. I'd be willing to take a shot one of the young guys, but maybe the more prudent move would be to find a mediocre starting catcher (are there any FAs?) and work Montero in more slowly.

54 The Hawk   ~  Oct 23, 2010 10:35 am

Rather than pick the team apart - a fine, worthwhile endeavor, don't get me wrong - I'm inclined to see this as just a general failure. Because every facet of the team that misfired (which happened to be every facet) could have been a lot better.

The Rangers are very good, excellent - what have you. And they played better than that, even. But there's no doubt in my mind the Yankees as a whole simply did not perform to their capabilities. It says something that the series went six games with their abysmal play: The Yankees at their worst still have enough muscle to push the other team around with a spasm or two.

So I'm not sure what kind of improvements can be made. Certainly getting rid of AJ or at least getting a solid #2 (not Andy Pettitte, though it'd be good if he returned). The bats were just dead. What can you say? They just stunk. There's no moves to be made that will make Tex and A Rod actually hit.

55 RagingTartabull   ~  Oct 23, 2010 10:36 am

I'm 100% fine with the IBB to Hamilton...Girardi isn't the one who hung a 75 mph beach ball to a future Hall of Famer.

56 monkeypants   ~  Oct 23, 2010 10:36 am

52) Regarding IBB, I'll hand it over to RIYank...

57 seamus   ~  Oct 23, 2010 10:36 am

And just to be my usual pro-Girardi self, doesn't Girardi deserve some credit for taking Grandy out of the lineup and then giving him a chance to face lefties down the stretch? A lot of managers would not have done that.

58 williamnyy23   ~  Oct 23, 2010 10:37 am

[42] I am not denying it. I just think it is irrelevant. That "one pitch" is incredibly meaningful. What's more, you can pretty much say Hughes was "one pitch" away from giving up runs in every inning. Result aside, I think it is more accurate to say he was lucky to last as long as he was than lament his failure to escape.

[48] The Yankees can not go into 2011 with Posada or Cervelli behind the plate. Whether they promote the youngsters or make a stop gap acquisition, they shouldn't plan on Posada behind the plate for more than 30 games. That's one reason I think getting Jayson Werth and shifting Gardner to fourth OF or trade bait makes sense. This team will likely have a hole at catcher and can't have three slots without power. Also, with Jeter in decline and Arod starting to drop off too, the team needs some righty power.

59 RIYank   ~  Oct 23, 2010 10:38 am

[52] IBBs can be okay when there's a huge difference between giving up one run and holding the line at no runs, and a small difference between giving up one run and giving up several. Otherwise they are only advisable in very special circumstances, when the guy you walk and the guy you're going to face are enormously different in hitting ability (like walking a good hitter to face the pitcher, say).
I don't remember any studies linked. You can get a pretty good idea just by looking at the run expectancy matrices.

60 RagingTartabull   ~  Oct 23, 2010 10:39 am

[54] I think calling the season a failure is a bit harsh, had they pulled an '06 and gone out in the first round without a peep then that would be one thing...but this team at least gave us a few weeks of playoffs. If I had to grade this season it would probably be somewhere around a B-. Nothing you're gonna put up on the fridge, but not the most shameful chapter in franchise history or anything.

61 monkeypants   ~  Oct 23, 2010 10:41 am

54) Yep. Outside of outlandish proposals there are few places where the team can be improved. They could target a pitcher or two and a corner OF. Outside of that, what position can be improved upon next year? CF, RF, 3B, 2B, 1B are set. Jeter will play SS...and there really is not a better option out there this year. maybe improve at C if Psada moves to DH.

Not much wiggle room, it seems.

62 seamus   ~  Oct 23, 2010 10:42 am

[59] Would you agree that hitting ability isn't just about how good hitter A and hitter B are hitting at a particular moment in time? Because I feel like there was a huge difference between Hamilton and Vlad this week. Just as we all know from watching the Yankees every day when A-rod or Tex are black holes or unstoppable forces. In this way, I felt that walking a hot Hamilton to face a relatively cold Vlad was a good decision.

63 RIYank   ~  Oct 23, 2010 10:42 am

[58] I don't think he was lucky to last as long as he did. Through four he was pitching very well.

Look, obviously, every pitcher is always one pitch away from giving up a run, because any pitcher could throw a gopher ball on the next pitch. So that is not, in fact, a very interesting feature of a start. But it's definitely not true that all crappy starts are one pitch away from being good starts. So that does seem to me to be significant.
If Girardi had just a slightly quicker hook, Hughes' performance would have been very good. That doesn't mean Hughes' performance was very good, on the whole, but it does mean he was quite close to having a really good outing. And that's worth noting, when true.

64 monkeypants   ~  Oct 23, 2010 10:44 am

58) I disagree regarding Posada. He is still net asset behind the plate, no matter how bad he looks doimg it.

65 RIYank   ~  Oct 23, 2010 10:45 am

[62] I'm not sure I understand your question.
I personally think managers would be better off if they just ignored which batters are "hot".
Does that answer your question?

66 williamnyy23   ~  Oct 23, 2010 10:45 am

[54] The Rangers really aren't excellent, although they did play well at the right time. I wouldn't even consider exchanging rosters for the 2011 season, even if they keep Cliff Lee. It's just hard to figure out why the Yankees played so poorly against them. Then again, maybe it really isn't a mystery. Hughes and Burnett were ill fated matchups against Texas, and sometimes a team can sense that. For example, maybe the bats would have been less anxious last night knowing Andy was on the mound? Who knows. I just think there is more to it than the Rangers played betters, even though it is obvious that they did.

67 williamnyy23   ~  Oct 23, 2010 10:47 am

[60] I do think this season was a failure, but not because they got bounced in the ALCS. Rather, the indifferent approach they took to September made this a WS or bust season for me. I would rank it behind every season since 1992, including the 2008 season when they didn't even make the playoffs.

68 RIYank   ~  Oct 23, 2010 10:48 am

[64] You know I love Posada.
But in practice, there isn't much to this disagreement. What the team should do is start to bring Jorgie's replacement. When he's ready, he takes about half the starts, then the following year Jorge is slipped into the BUC role.

69 monkeypants   ~  Oct 23, 2010 10:51 am

68) i agree with THAT plan. William was suggesting, I thought, that NEXT YEAR Posada should only start 30 games at C. I disagree with the latter sentiment.

70 Diane Firstman   ~  Oct 23, 2010 10:55 am

An IBB with NO out is suicide .... it just raises the potential run scoring too much.

71 RagingTartabull   ~  Oct 23, 2010 10:58 am

[67] to say a season in which you won the second most games in the AL (by a whopping margin of 1), made the playoffs, and advanced in the playoffs (which to me is the true key to a "successful" season for a team that has any sort of expectations on it) is a failure just strikes me as almost self-parody of being an overprivileged Yankee fan.

This is really a worse year than 2008 where the season was done by Labor Day? or 2005 where it was basically a 6 month hangover from the previous year that ended with Bubba and Gary moshing in Anaheim? or 1994 where the entire league was swallowed by a wormhole? I think thats a little bit of emotion talking on the day after.

72 randym77   ~  Oct 23, 2010 10:59 am

[52] I posted this link. Diamond Mind found IBBs don't pay off, but the difference is actually very small.

73 JeremyM   ~  Oct 23, 2010 11:02 am

[49] The Yankees did not give up yesterday. Geez, the media really gets paid to write this crap? They didn't play their best or even near, but I have no doubt that they tried their best. There's a big difference.

Also, have to agree with someone above. A-Rod wasn't hitting the ball over the fence but he hit a lot of balls hard that were snagged for outs. His series wasn't as bad as it looks in black and white.

74 JeremyM   ~  Oct 23, 2010 11:06 am

I will say that I'm really on the fence on Girardi. He just doesn't seem like the right guy to handle this team to me, but I don't know who would be. He just look like he's gripping in the dugout. We need someone that falls between the comatose Torre and the hyperactive Girardi.

75 The Hawk   ~  Oct 23, 2010 11:12 am

[60] I didn't mean the season was a failure, but that the team in general failed in this series: hitting, pitching, managing.

76 The Hawk   ~  Oct 23, 2010 11:15 am

[66] Whatever the word you want to use, though, you have to admit the played excellent baseball vs the Yankees in this series. Yes the pitching was terrible for NY but you can't take away the great numbers Texas put up. And conversely with their pitching and our hitting.

77 The Hawk   ~  Oct 23, 2010 11:17 am

[74] Cosign.

78 The Hawk   ~  Oct 23, 2010 11:18 am

I am now carrying all y'all's water in this thread. Four in a row, bitches.

79 seamus   ~  Oct 23, 2010 11:23 am

[72] oh hey thanks man!

80 williamnyy23   ~  Oct 23, 2010 12:33 pm

[71] I am not sure how you can get the impression when I explicitly said what made the season a failure was not the results, but how the team approached the end of the season. If anything, it is the exact opposite of the WS or bust mentality because I am placing an emphasis on the team's approach in the regular season. Because I do not take winning for granted, I was greatly disappointed by the team's indifference to winning the division. They treated it as if it wasn't an inherent accomplishment.

As for my reaction being an emotional response,I've expressed the same repeatedly since about mid-September, so I am not overreacting to yesterday's loss.

81 cult of basebaal   ~  Oct 23, 2010 2:18 pm

However, i really believe that Grandy going forward is at best a platoon player.

I think that's a pretty premature thing to have decided after watching Granderson rake LHP since his adjustments with K.Long.

I mean, even in the post season, how many "bad" at bats did he have against LHP.

Anyways, the question is "mute" going into 2011 and I'd "bet my balls in Vegas" again that Granderson starts *and* finishes the year as the Yankees everyday CF and is, at the very least, croumulent against LHP.

82 cult of basebaal   ~  Oct 23, 2010 2:32 pm

On Gardner I’d guess that AL pitchers made adjustments in their approach to him in the second half. Here’s the thing though. Gardner has shown in his major league and minor league career that he is also capable of making adjustments after struggling for a bit.

I'm not quite sure what to do with Gardner.

On the one hand, I really, really enjoy watching him play, when he's playing well ... AND is healthy.

On the other hand, this is the 2nd year in a row that he's had a wrist/hand problem and the consequences, in terms of his production, have been dire.

I was going to write last night in the game thread, if I hadn't been on my phone that there's a difference between patient and passive when it comes to an approach at the plate. Pre-injury Gardner was patient, working the count, looking for a pitch to hit and being able to drive (for him) that pitch when he got it. Post-injury Gardner (and IIRC he sat games in September because the wrist was still bothering him that much) didn't seem to be working the count to get a ball to hit, he was working the count for the purpose of making the pitcher throw more pitches *and* drawing a walk.

I don't have the P/PA for before and after the injury, but Gritner's K & W rates both went up about 20% and his BA and SLG nose-dived.

The end result of the hitter he became was evident in the playoffs, where it was obvious that the opposing pitchers were instructed to just hammer him with strikes because nobody really had any fear that he was going to do much of anything with them, regardless of how fat a strike might be.

So. A good starter to have when healthy, a questionable one when hurt with the added question of whether the type of player he is lends itself to an added probability that he will get hurt (i.e. since much of his value comes from his speed and basestealing is his more susceptible to injuries (legs, wrist) that will severely curtail his value).?

Mid way through the season, there was no way I wanted the Yankees to pursue Crawford or Werth.

Now? I'm not so certain.

83 Bronx Boy in NC   ~  Oct 23, 2010 2:53 pm

[74] "We need someone that falls between the comatose Torre and the hyperactive Girardi"

Forget all the cogent rebuttals this will incite: Would you be able to suppress a smile if Randolph got an interview?

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