Long Off-Season Begins For Yankees

Published on: 19th October, 2012

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ARod
Long Off-Season Begins For Yankees  | read this item

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New York — The dominance of the Detroit Tigers over the New York Yankees in their just concluded American League Championship Series was complete and thorough. In defeating the New Yorkers today, 8-1, there was not a shred of doubt about who the better team was.

It also left not a shred of doubt about the problems facing the Yankees this off-season.

The Yankees lineup, focused on home run hitting and disdaining the notion of situational, small ball hitting, was overmatched by the Tiger staff. In the four games, the Yankees had a total of 24 hits while scoring just six runs. Worse, they struck out 40 times, including 12 more today.

After scoring in just three of 39 innings during the series, New York headed home to face unpleasant questions about its future after a postseason of awful hitting, benched stars and veterans showing the wear and tear of age. Rodriguez, the $275 million third baseman, was out of the starting lineup for the third time in the playoffs. Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera could only watch following season-ending injuries.

The Yankees, with a big league-high $222 million payroll, hit .188 in the postseason — a record low for a team that played at least seven games — and .157 in the LCS. New York went quietly in the ninth inning, with the Comerica crowd chanting “Sweep!” while the last three batters were retired in order.

Detroit outhit New York 16-2 in the finale and 46-22 in the series. The Tigers’ starters are 4-1 with a 1.02 ERA in this postseason.

The Yankees, without a World Series title since 2009, lost Jeter to a broken ankle in the opening game, and the slumping Rodriguez was benched for Game 3. He was out of the starting lineup for Game 4 too, but A-Rod did have one last chance to turn his postseason around when Scherzer was lifted for left-hander Drew Smyly with two outs in the sixth and the Tigers up 6-1.

As Smyly finished warming up, Rodriguez popped out of the dugout to hit for Raul Ibanez, but with runners at the corners, he hit a routine fly to center field. He grounded out in the ninth, completing a 3 for 25 (.125) playoffs with no RBIs.

New York owes the 37-year-old Rodriguez $114 million over the next five years. His contract includes a provision that requires he approves trades, and he wants to stay.

“I love New York City and I love everything about being a Yankee,” he said. “The highs are very high and the lows are extremely low.”

The Yankees failed to win a game in a postseason series for only the fifth time. They hadn’t been swept since a best-of-five ALCS against Kansas City in 1980. The last team to sweep four straight against them had been Cincinnati in the 1976 World Series.

Detroit also beat New York in the division series in 2006 and last year. The Tigers became the first team to win three straight postseason series against the Yankees, according to STATS LLC.

“They threw the ball really well,” Rodriguez said. “They outplayed us in every facet of the game and they were the better team.”

New York never led in this series — the only other time that’s happened to the Yankees was when they were swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1963 World Series. The only other team to sweep an LCS without trailing at any point was the 1984 Tigers, who won three straight against Kansas City, STATS said.

After a rainout Wednesday, Game 4 started under a sunny sky, and Detroit immediately took the lead on series MVP Delmon Young‘s RBI single. Young became the first player with four game-winning RBIs in one postseason series, STATS said.

Avisail Garcia drove in an unearned run in the third with a single before the Tigers broke it open in the fourth. Cabrera, the first Triple Crown winner in 45 years, made it 4-0 with a towering drive to left field. Peralta drove in two more runs with his shot to the same part of the ballpark.

After Andy Dirks doubled, Sabathia was pulled. He allowed five earned runs and 11 hits in 3 2/3 innings.

“It’s embarrassing to me,” Sabathia said.

When the fourth inning finally ended, the crowd at Comerica gave the Tigers a standing ovation, sensing that an even bigger celebration wasn’t too far off.

Scherzer made sure of that. The right-hander was terrific down the stretch for the Tigers before his throwing shoulder acted up near the end of the regular season. He made it through 5 1/3 innings in the division series against Oakland without allowing an earned run, then kept the Yankees off the scoreboard until Eduardo Nunez tripled in the sixth for New York’s first hit and scored on Nick Swisher‘s double.

“They’re a good team with dominant pitching. Give those guys credit — they pitched great,” Sabathia said. “And we didn’t match them. We pitched good, but not great. They pitched great.”

Swisher, likely playing his last game with the Yankees, was 1 for 35 with runners in scoring position in his postseason career before that hit. He struck out with two on and two outs in the third.

About the only thing the Yankees had done well in this postseason was pitch, and Sabathia failed to keep that going. He didn’t have much help from his defense. Teixeira, a four-time Gold Glove winner at first base, misplayed two grounders in the third — one for an infield hit and one for an error.

New York’s hitting was abysmal throughout the playoffs. Robinson Cano was at .075 (3 for 40) with no home runs, including a 29 at-bat hitless streak. Curtis Granderson was 3 for 30 with 16 strikeouts, Nick Swisher hit .167 (5 for 30) with two RBIs, Russell Martin hit .161 (5 for 31) with one RBI and Eric Chavez finished 0 for 16 with eight strikeouts.

“It wasn’t one guy. It wasn’t two guys,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “It was a bunch of guys.”

After scoring in just three of 39 innings during the series, New York headed home to face unpleasant questions about its future after a postseason of awful hitting, benched stars and veterans showing the wear and tear of age. Rodriguez, the $275 million third baseman, was out of the starting lineup for the third time in the playoffs. Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera could only watch following season-ending injuries.

The Yankees, with a big league-high $222 million payroll, hit .188 in the postseason — a record low for a team that played at least seven games — and .157 in the LCS. New York went quietly in the ninth inning, with the Comerica crowd chanting “Sweep!” while the last three batters were retired in order.

Detroit outhit New York 16-2 in the finale and 46-22 in the series. The Tigers’ starters are 4-1 with a 1.02 ERA in this postseason.

You can count on us trying to stay in it to win it,” said general manager Brian Cashman. “That’s the way the Steinbrenner family has always done it.”

The Yankees, without a World Series title since 2009, lost Jeter to a broken ankle in the opening game, and the slumping Rodriguez was benched for Game 3. He was out of the starting lineup for Game 4 too, but A-Rod did have one last chance to turn his postseason around when Scherzer was lifted for left-hander Drew Smyly with two outs in the sixth and the Tigers up 6-1.

As Smyly finished warming up, Rodriguez popped out of the dugout to hit for Raul Ibanez, but with runners at the corners, he hit a routine fly to center field. He grounded out in the ninth, completing a 3 for 25 (.125) playoffs with no RBIs.

New York owes the 37-year-old Rodriguez $114 million over the next five years. His contract includes a provision that requires he approves trades, and he wants to stay.

“I love New York City and I love everything about being a Yankee,” he said. “The highs are very high and the lows are extremely low.”

The Yankees failed to win a game in a postseason series for only the fifth time. They hadn’t been swept since a best-of-five ALCS against Kansas City in 1980. The last team to sweep four straight against them had been Cincinnati in the 1976 World Series.

Detroit also beat New York in the division series in 2006 and last year. The Tigers became the first team to win three straight postseason series against the Yankees, according to STATS LLC

“They threw the ball really well,” Rodriguez said. “They outplayed us in every facet of the game and they were the better team.”

New York never led in this series — the only other time that’s happened to the Yankees was when they were swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1963 World Series. The only other team to sweep an LCS without trailing at any point was the 1984 Tigers, who won three straight against Kansas City, STATS said.

After a rainout Wednesday, Game 4 started under a sunny sky, and Detroit immediately took the lead on series MVP Delmon Young‘s RBI single. Young became the first player with four game-winning RBIs in one postseason series, STATS said.

Avisail Garcia drove in an unearned run in the third with a single before the Tigers broke it open in the fourth. Cabrera, the first Triple Crown winner in 45 years, made it 4-0 with a towering drive to left field. Peralta drove in two more runs with his shot to the same part of the ballpark.

After Andy Dirks doubled, Sabathia was pulled. He allowed five earned runs and 11 hits in 3 2/3 innings.

“It’s embarrassing to me,” Sabathia said.

When the fourth inning finally ended, the crowd at Comerica gave the Tigers a standing ovation, sensing that an even bigger celebration wasn’t too far off.

Scherzer made sure of that. The right-hander was terrific down the stretch for the Tigers before his throwing shoulder acted up near the end of the regular season. He made it through 5 1/3 innings in the division series against Oakland without allowing an earned run, then kept the Yankees off the scoreboard until Eduardo Nunez tripled in the sixth for New York’s first hit and scored on Nick Swisher‘s double.

“They’re a good team with dominant pitching. Give those guys credit — they pitched great,” Sabathia said. “And we didn’t match them. We pitched good, but not great. They pitched great.”

Swisher, likely playing his last game with the Yankees, was 1 for 35 with runners in scoring position in his postseason career before that hit. He struck out with two on and two outs in the third.

About the only thing the Yankees had done well in this postseason was pitch, and Sabathia failed to keep that going. He didn’t have much help from his defense. Teixeira, a four-time Gold Glove winner at first base, misplayed two grounders in the third — one for an infield hit and one for an error.

New York’s hitting was abysmal throughout the playoffs. Robinson Cano was at .075 (3 for 40) with no home runs, including a 29 at-bat hitless streak. Curtis Granderson was 3 for 30 with 16 strikeouts, Nick Swisher hit .167 (5 for 30) with two RBIs, Russell Martin hit .161 (5 for 31) with one RBI and Eric Chavez finished 0 for 16 with eight strikeouts.

“It wasn’t one guy. It wasn’t two guys,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “It was a bunch of guys.”

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