After the 10-3 shelling that the New York Yankees took at the hands of the Texas Rangers in the "House that George Built," one can't help but begin to worry. What began in game one with the exception of an offensive outburst in one inning has only steadily gotten worse through the first four games.
Is this really what a payroll in excess of $200 million looks like?
It's not like the Yankees are losing close games. They have let a Texas Ranger team with almost no postseason experience outside of Cliff Lee make them look like amateurs.
Rewind only six months ago and the New York Yankees were coming off of their record 27th World Series title and looked primed to defend it. At the same time, the Texas Rangers were dealing with bankruptcy issues and a manager who was involved in a scandal involving his cocaine use.
My how things have changed throughout the course of the season. To the Rangers' credit, they didn't let the off-field issue distract them and even went out and picked up super-ace Cliff Lee just as the Yankees were primed to add him to their roster.
But even with all the success that Texas had throughout the regular season and against the Tampa Bay Rays in the divisional series, how many people were really expecting these Rangers to compete with the Bronx Bombers?
Through the first four games, not only have they competed, but they've dominated. After losing game one 6-5 in Arlington, the Rangers have outscored the Yankees 25-5. The powerful Yankees offense has been pedestrian. Outside of Andy Pettitte, their high priced pitching staff has looked average.
With the exception of Robinson Cano's incredible .467 average, no other Yankee has an average higher than .286. In fact, the entire team is hitting a paltry .198.
Compare that with the Rangers' lineup that has managed to hit .307 as a team. Six of the Rangers' nine offensive starters are hitting over .300 for the series. Of those nine, only Ian Kinsler is batting lower than .286.
New York has not only been beaten on the scoreboard. They've also looked old and tired. They don't seem to have the fire of the 2009 team that brought home that 27th World Series championship. In the eighth inning with the bases loaded when a pitch appeared to hit Nick Swisher's foot, Joe Girardi didn't even make an argument.
Even before the eighth inning, many of the seats began to empty after the Texas took a 7-3 lead in the seventh. By the time the Rangers put up their final three runs in the top of the ninth inning, the stands began to look like an early season afternoon Tampa Bay-Kansas City game at Tropicana field. It certainly didn't look like Game 4 of the American League Championship series.
With C.C. Sabathia heading to the mound in this afternoon's game five in the Bronx, it's make or break time for the Yankees. There is no tomorrow. Pitching on short rest, he gives New York by far their best chance to pickup a win and take the series back to Texas.
If New York is going to pick up a game five win today, they will have to do it without Mark Teixeira, who left Tuesday night's game with a strained hamstring and is finished for the remainder of the season. Of course, Tex hadn't been doing much anyway on offense after going 0-14 with three walks through the first four games.
Unfortunately for the Yankees, it may be too little too late. Even it they were to reel off two consecutive victories, Cliff Lee is set to start game seven in Arlington; not exactly a matchup with good odds.
However, baseball is a funny game. Things can change quicker than a C.C. Sabathia fastball. Just like last week when nearly everyone was counting the Rangers out, the court of public opinion is now certifying the Yankees all but dead. We all know how that has turned out so far.
There are some things one should always do in their life—love your wife, never bet the house, and don't ever count out the New York Yankees. If Sabathia comes out tonight and pitches like he's capable of, and the Yankee bats finally come out of hibernation, the momentum could quickly turn back into the Yankee's favor.
With all of that experience in the New York dugout compared to that of the Rangers, a change in momentum might be the only chance the Yankees have left.