Let me start by saying congratulations to the Texas Rangers.
The Rangers are the ALCS Champions and well deserve to be just that after winning Game 6 against the New York Yankees, 6-1.
The Yankees could have won this series, but you have to play baseball in order to win.
Let’s look at the three factors, hitting, pitching and managing for the Yankees in the postseason to figure out what happened:
1) Hitting, a word that became unfamiliar to the Yankee batters. If you do not score runs, you will not win ball games. Maybe if a team had Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, The Freak or CC Sabathia in the same rotation, you could afford not to hit, but even that Cy Young foursome would lose a game or two.
A-Rod continued his horrible 2010 postseason, coming into Game 6 with three hits in 17 at-bats, with a .176 batting average. Last year, A-Rod hit six home runs, batting a .365 over 15 postseason games. His slump was a HUGE problem and reason the Yankees struggled so much.
It’s not as if the rest of the Yankees were much help anyway. Swisher’s batting average was .194 and Teixeira (pre-injury) was even worse, hitting .148 in the postseason. Both regular season sluggers lost their swagger completely for the second postseason in a row.
2) Shockingly, the pitching was second to the hitting, because if you can’t score runs, the game is over no matter who is on the mound. Otherwise, the pitching was almost as terrible as the batting, following the ALDS where the pitching was phenomenal.
Sabathia got the job done winning both his ALCS starts, even though he grinded in both games against Texas. CC is an ace and that is why he gets the title. Sabathia had an ERA of 5.63 over 16 innings and struck-out 15 batters. The Yankees won all three games CC started, which is the only stat that matters in the post season.
As usual, Pettitte came through enormously posting a 2.57 ERA over 14 innings, striking out nine and only allowing one walk in his two postseason starts. He was 1-1 because Cliff Lee beat him in Game 4, but once again, the Yankees didn’t hit and back-up Pettitte’s performance.
The bullpen of Kerry Wood, Mariano Rivera and Joba Chamberlain all did a solid job. Robertson and Mitre were a mess, shocker. Robertson is usually a go-to-middle reliever because he has been so successful the last two years, but Mitre should never be allowed in Yankee Stadium again.
Girardi needs to go see a shrink in the offseason for the separation issues he seems to have with Mitre, who he coached as a Florida Marlin. Whatever it is, nobody wants to ever see Mitre on the mound again.
The starting pitching in the ALCS was not as dominate as the ALDS at all. Blame it on the eight days off between games or maybe Joe Girardi’s managing calls, but the starters looked rattled. Sometimes it got painful to watch as a fan because you know how good they can be or usually are.
Pitching posted a record of 5-4, with a 5.01 ERA, giving up 44 earned runs, 32 walks and 63 strikeouts during the 2010 postseason. Those numbers will not get you though the postseason, Yankees or not.
3) Skipper Joe Girardi had New York fans questioning—excuse me, criticizing—his every move over the last two weeks. When any sports team loses, the manager or coach always gets blamed, but in all essence, Girardi is a good manager. The Yankees won the World Series in 2009 and made it to the ALCS this season.
The only move Girardi made that made absolutely no sense happened in Game 6 of the ALCS. Hughes was the starter, and though it was not the smoothest performance, he had held the Rangers to one earned run through the fourth inning. He walked Josh Hamilton for the second time, which I would have done too.
Vladimir Guerrero was up next and the aging DH is still a risk but not even close in comparison to Hamilton. Vald knocked the ball over Granderson’s head for a double and two runs score. I hoped Girardi would let Hughes get the last out to finish the fifth inning, but knew that was a pipe dream when it comes to Girardi.
Guerrero’s hit only made the score 3-1, which is still manageable. Hughes had been throwing a lot of pitches, but he held the Rangers and that is his job. The bigger mistake was when he replaced Hughes with Dave Robertson instead of Kerry Wood.
Robertson had struggled all postseason, and it would seem only logical to put your best reliever out there to hold the score. Instead. by the time Robertson got the one out needed to end the inning. he had allowed a home run and three earned runs, leaving the score 6-1 entering the sixth inning. It drove me nuts that Girardi pulled Hughes, but to put in Robertson was irrational and just plain out stupid.
Well, now the Yankees and their fans will watch another team be crowned World Champions. It sucks to lose, but a true Champion would come back ready to win even more in 2011.
Overall, great season once again for my New York Yankees and can't wait for next season.