Yankees swept in three-game set for first time all season in falling to Texas and Lee 4-1

Remember when people started getting all concerned about Cliff Lee a few weeks ago? Heh.

Lee once again showed why the Yankees will pay whatever it costs to lock his services up this winter, tossing eight masterful innings of two-hit, one-run ball in leading Texas to a 4-1 win and three-game sweep of the Yankees at home for the first time since 1996. It also marked the first time the Yankees were swept on the road this season and the first time the team was swept in a three-game series.

It sure has been an ugly week for the Yankees, who are now 1-6 in their last seven games and might be riding a nasty seven-game losing streak were it not for a timely Nick Swisher home run. However, things really aren’t quite as bad as they might seem. Consider the following:

1) The Yankees were three outs away from winning Saturday night’s game, and it required one of the rarest occurrences in baseball — Mariano Rivera being unable to shut the door — for the Rangers to pull the victory out. As I mentioned in the Series Preview on Friday, we had every reason to expect that the Yankees would lose the games started by C.J. Wilson and Cliff Lee, and they nearly won the Wilson start too.

2) In line with #1, the Rangers faced the Yankees’ three worst starters this weekend, while the Yankees saw three of Texas’ best. The Rangers haven’t even seen CC Sabathia since April. That’s a huge advantage for the Yankees come next month.

3) Somehow, someway the Yankees hit zero home runs in Arlington. That fact in and of itself is unsustainable, and I wonder if the Yankees have ever had a three-game set at Texas where they didn’t go yard at least once.

4) Hard to get too upset about today’s loss. Cliff Lee, as we all know, is amazing, and he also got to face a lineup that didn’t include Alex Rodriguez, Nick Swisher, Brett Gardner or Lance Berkman and that also featured Eduardo Nunez and Greg Golson at the bottom. Ironically enough Nunez wound up breaking Lee’s no-hit bid up in the sixth, but either way this was not exactly a postseason lineup. In fact, it seemed like at least one key member of the Yankee lineup sat out in each game over the weekend. Texas did what it was supposed to do: Beat up on an undermanned and understaffed (rotation-wise) Yankee team that’s trying to start getting some rest for its guys given that a postseason berth is all but assured.

5) Dustin Moseley actually pitched pretty well in this one (6 2/3 IP, 4 ER) before the wheels fell off in the seventh. Granted, he basically would’ve had to have been perfect to best Lee, but he still kept the team mostly in the game. Kudos, especially as I figured this one would be a blowout.

6) They only stranded three runners this game! Granted, that was a function of only producing two hits, but still, improvement’s improvement. Additionally, I can’t stress this enough: It’s very difficult to win baseball games when your lineup only produces two hits. If your lineup gets held to two hits by Cliff Lee, you tip your cap and move on. The man is simply amazing at pitching.

7) The Blue Jays walked off on the Rays, so the Yankees still have the best record in baseball and a half-game lead over Tampa Bay. The postseason’s three weeks away, and though they’re certainly in a bit of a September funk, I have confidence that the team will gets its act together for October.

As I said to several people last night, better to have this rough stretch now than a month from now. Imagine this 1-6 stretch happened back in April? We’d all be jumping off bridges. While I’m sure there are several fans who are doing that anyway, it’s a bit easier to stomach a stretch like this when you’ve still managed to maintain your hold on first place despite myriad injuries and a ragtag pitching rotation. We all know the Yankees are way better than they’ve shown this past week; it’s only a matter of time before they start playing great baseball again.

8 thoughts on “Yankees swept in three-game set for first time all season in falling to Texas and Lee 4-1

  1. Phew. I do feel better, thanks! Also, was this the first time they've been swept or the first time they've been swept on the road?

  2. Is it only a matter of time before A.J. Burnett(disappointment all season) and Javier Vazquez(disappointment all season) leave the rotation? ERA's over 5.00 for the SEASON. Pettitte hasn't pitched in 2 months. What will the postseason rotation look like? C.C., a rusty Pettitte,Hughes, C.C. again? New York has a pitching problem both in the rotation and in the bullpen and its been disguised by the top run scoring offense. Color it how you will. Texas was without the best hitter in all of baseball all 3 games. New York only rested players in the final game because the series was lost already. You presume too much.

  3. New York can't handle losing, especially when there is a $200mil payroll on the field. A team getting paid 1/5th as much beat what were supposed to be two difficult pitchers in Vazquez and Burnett. New York continues to disguise its inability to produce sufficient young talent by dumping easily sourced cash on free-agents to fill the void. Now those free-agents are simply dubbed "New Yorks worst pitchers" when they fail and "coincidentally" taking credit away from Texas in the process. Both Burnett and Vazquez were upper rotation starters before this season. But now they're just bad pitchers and Texas just got lucky.

    What a joke. Teixeira and Rodriguez were largely GHOSTS in this series. Cano was shut down. Don't fudge the details. The Yankees got beat by a better team

  4. Look at what Tampa did to Toronto pitchers this past weekend.
    Look what the Yankees have done against same.
    Since August the Yankees have been very difficult to follow.
    Starting pitching has put the pressure on the rest of the club.

  5. How come the vitriol is always served by those labeled 'Anonymous?' That's what I want to know.

    1.) The rotation is in a state of flux (at the moment) but all you need is a few quality pitchers to make a playoff run which the Yankees have. The starting rotation was a strength of this team this season much longer than it has been a weakness. This was proven last season.

    Additionally (aside from this weekend), the bullpen has been generally quite successful over the entire second half the season. Check out the stats and I think you'll find they suggest a similar story.

    One other point concerning Ranger pitching depth – I can almost assure you that unless Cliff Lee has an injury, Texas will march him out to the mound every other game if they have too. It's a 5 game series. 5 starters is not a prerequisite.

    2.) "New York continues to disguise its inability to produce sufficient young talent by dumping easily sourced cash on free-agents to fill the void." I think you should familiarize yourself with the organization a bit more.

    The Yankees farm system is quite deep – deeper than its been in years. It's probably not quite on par with Texas or Tampa, but it's not far off. If one needs an example of this, then he would have to look no further than a guy like Ivan Nova. Then of course, there is that other guy…Montero. Of course, these two guys are just the tip of the iceberg. For a team that prides itself on being competitive every year, I'd say their system is doing quite well.

    3. The Rangers are a tough team and Hamilton only makes them better. With that being said, it would be fool's gold to assume the Yankees will be a pushover in the playoffs. I wouldn't fudge that reality either.

  6. The beauty is that the game is played on the field. Time will tell how things will go in the postseason. That was an exciting three game series in front of an energized home crowd of almost 140,000 hungry fans. We can only hope that the postseason will be as fun and exciting.

    Nobody should deny the talent that the Yankees put on the field from game to game. But this isn't your grandmother's Ranger's team. Speed, agressive baserunning, small ball, long ball, gutsy pitching. This is a very new look, and exciting Rangers team.

    As I said, time will tell how the postseason will play out. But I love the new look Rangers.

  7. Agreed, Ron. Based on the tenor of your post I assume you're a Rangers fan, and if so, you have a lot to look forward to in October. Texas looked great this weekend; especially yesterday with the aggressiveness on the basepaths. Any team facing the Yankees is going to be able to exploit Posada and Cervelli's inability to throw runners out; and this is a deficiency that could loom large for the Yankees come the postseason.

    These are definitely not the late-90s Rangers that were swept out of the postseason by the Yankees, and anyone expecting a cakewalk will be sorely mistaken.

    If these two teams do match-up, it should be a great series, and presumably far more crisper than the two games played on Friday and Saturday.

  8. Pingback: A look at the 2011 Texas Rangers | New York Yankees blog, Yankees blog, A blog about the New York Yankees | The Yankee Analysts