Yankees a game from elimination after 2-1 loss

The good:

  • The starting pitching the Yankees have gotten so far has overshadowed it a bit, but the Yankees’ bullpen has been every bit as good in the postseason for the most part. Tonight they were pressed into duty early when Phil Hughes had to leave the game in the fourth with what’s been called a stiff back (though not before giving up a home run to Delmon Young!), but the relief corps managed to pitch five innings of one run ball, and that was without Rafael Soriano or David Robertson getting into the game. The one run came on a Miguel Cabrera double that probably should have been caught, but Curtis Granderson was playing shallow for some reason and the ball sailed over his head for an RBI double.
  • Ichiro Suzuki is still hot, going 2-4 on the night with a couple of singles.
  • Eduardo Nunez had himself a game. Inserted in the lineup somewhat surprisingly (but correctly), Nunez provided the team’s only run with a home run off of Verlander to lead of the ninth, had solid at bats all night, and even made a great defensive play at short to save a run, though he and Robinson Cano couldn’t complete the double play to end the inning.
  • The Yankees didn’t give up, working good at bats in the ninth and even having Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano pick up two out hits in front of Ibanez. Ibanez worked the count full and fouled off some tough pitches, but a slider in the dirt finally got him swinging to kill the rally.

The bad:

  • As a whole, the offense was once again terrible. You can chalk that up to the opponent if you want, but the fact of the matter is that Verlander was very beatable tonight, getting behind hitters consistently, even working into three ball counts with regularity, but the Yankees couldn’t make him pay by hitting him when he was forced to challenge them with strikes. The script was repeated almost as a comedy: 3-1 count, fastball in the zone fouled off to get to two strikes. It’s one thing to get beat by good stuff, but the Yankees didn’t do that tonight,m they just couldn’t hit anything. Heck, they only struck out four times in the game, and one of those was registered by Phil Coke.
  • I’m just about done with Granderson. The strikeouts are bad enough, and looking completely lost at the plate is even worse. but his insistence on playing such a shallow center field is really just too much for me. It’s a stupid tactic to begin with, and I don’t know why so many center fielders insist on doing it now, but at least guys like B.J. Upton and Adam Jones are actually good at ranging back on balls. Granderson isn’t that, and to have him playing in with Miguel Cabrera, an extremely talented hitter who hits the ball hard to all fields, at the plate is just ridiculous.

The bottom line:

The Yankees are literally playing for their season tomorrow, as one more loss in this series will mean the end of the road for this team. They will have their ace on the mound, but that won’t matter one bit if the offense doesn’t build on that ninth inning rally and start doing something. Unfortunately Max Scherzer is hardly a slouch in his own right, so once again they’ve got their work cut out for them.

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

13 thoughts on “Yankees a game from elimination after 2-1 loss

  1. brian

    I hate to make it all about Arod… but seriously… something isn't right here, he is either being ultra protected or ultra punished…

    Protected…. meaning they are protecting his postseason stats by sparing him a few extra 0 for 4s… but thats just mind boggling

    Punished… for flirting with girls while a postseason game was going on… bad move, but u bench him for a guy who NEVER hit in the postseason even when he was in his prime (chavez)…

    Just brutal…

    • williamjtasker

      I did not agree with the strategy of benching A-Rod in favor of Chavez. If Chavez had been hot at the plate that would be one thing. Then again, Chavez made some plays at third that A-Rod might not have made, so who knows.

      I also did not agree with having Ibanez face Coke.

  2. srosegots

    This postseason is so weird.

  3. Bill

    Never have seen a team go into such a collective funk all at the same time during this time of year. And I agree with the comment about Granderson. Off the bat I thought Cabrera's ball was playable. Difficult, perhaps, but playable. A change of scenery would do him good. Buy him out and wish him well. Going to be an interesting offseason to say the least. Probably will dwarf what happened after 2008 in terms of upheaval. Got to believe that what we'll see in February will be vastly different (at least in terms of position players) than what we see today.

    • Tommy

      I totally agree. Granderson's approach to that ball was kinda poor. And once again, as bad as the hitting has been, you can now point to another play in the field that was the difference in the game. Swisher twice in game one, Cano's botched turn on the DP in game two, and Granderson's inability to field in familiar territory last night.

      But wow, the pitching has been amazing and that at-bat by Nunez and his fielding in big spots were really encouraging. Not over yet.

  4. jay_robertson

    WHY sit Alex in favor of Oh-fer Chavez?

    Great to put in Gardner – but why have him replace Swisher, instead of Oh-fer Granderson, who also can't play CF? Does anyone not see Gardner making that catch? (although, otoh, I don't see Suzuki making that catch in what – the 8th? VINTAGE Gardner – what we've missed in the outfield.)

    For all the experts saying managers don't count – Joe loses his father; that would mess anyone up, trust me. Yankees go into a funk and don't come out; instead of coming up with a solution, he waits for Brien to post his lineup for him. Coincidence? I think not.

    Had Mr. Girardi been fully engaged, Granderson would have watched the last two games from the bench, and A-Rod would have been in the field.

    • jay_robertson

      not cool to reply to myself, I know. But there was so much stupid on the field last night –

      I know – Ibanez saved a game for us, and tried to save another. That is STILL no excuse for him to make the last out in the ninth, with two out, against a LEFT HANDED pitcher. I'm pretty sure there was a younger, Hall of Fame righty on the bench. Well Rested. Eager to come in and redeem himself.

      Nope.

      I have to be outta here – I'm way too involved, and way to pxd.

    • You can’t bring A-Rod in because then Leyland brings in Benoit. If you pinch hit for Ibanez, you bring in Swisher, but I’m fairly comfortable saying that Ibanez faired better in the AB than Swisher would have.

  5. John

    Well all. Rough game, but as they say it ain't over til it's over. If the offense turns it around, the Yankees have their pitching set up to still make this a series.

  6. steve

    I feel bad for Hughes. He's a good pitcher who's been royally screwed by the injury bug.

    Granderson is just a basketcase. Makes no sense how he can be tanking so badly. He's someone I really want to be successful.

    I wish we could just pay off A-Rod to go retire. His chances of being the all-time HR king are now zero. And that means there is zero reason for him to be on the roster.

    Unless a miracle happens I have to think Swish is nearing the end of his yankee career.

    This is the first yankee postseason where I have really found it hard to watch, that I don't believe they can go all the way. I've never felt that way before. This feels worse than 2004.

  7. Moiuz

    Lets go ARod. I am glad that finally he is being left alone and not shouldering all the blame by himself. Everyone is at fault including him. I am glad. He should have played yesterday but he didnt. Good for you, Alex. :)

    Now thats settled. I would love nothing more than the yankees winning today and perhaps repeating 2004 ALCS. If this is to happen you need to have this lineup IMO.

    Gardner, Ichiro, Tex, Cano, Ibanez (LF), ARod 3B, Chavez DH, Martin, Nunez

    Bench swisher and granderson

    Lets go YANKEES and Arod being the MVP of ALCS. Wouldn't that be something? Whats there to lose?

    • I’m sorry, but playing Ibanez in LF at Comerica is just insane.

      • moiuz

        True. But still need to figure out a way to get both Arod and Chavez in the lineup. Its a joke.

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