2011 MLB Playoffs: 5 Yankees Responsible for Game 5 Loss
Dear middle of the New York Yankees lineup,
I would like to take this time to thank you for showing up this October. Your performance will forever be remembered as one of the all-time worst performances in MLB history (right up there with the collapse of the 2011 Red Sox).
Whether Nick Swisher was too busy arguing with the umpires or Alex Rodriguez was sidetracked gazing into the mirror, there’s no mistaking the facts: the 4-6 hitters didn’t show up this postseason.
Rodriguez, Teixeira, and Swisher combined for a whopping .163 average against the Detroit Tigers in the ALDS, a far cry from their performance during the regular season.
Although the Yankees hit .260 as a team and scored the second-most runs in franchise history in a single postseason division series, they hit .234 and fanned 16 times with runners in scoring position (RISP).
(All stats compiled from ESPN)
Girardi needs to brush up on his managerial skills this offseason. Or maybe he should have taken a page out of Joe Torre's book.
If you remember, A-Rod was dropped to eighth in the batting order by manager Joe Torre in the 2006 ALDS against the Detroit Tigers. Perhaps Girardi should have made a similar move, bumping A-Rod down in the lineup.
But no. I'm sure it would have been too difficult to move Gardner to the leadoff spot where he belongs, put Jeter back in his accustomed number two spot in the lineup, and from there move everyone down: Granderson, Cano, Teixeira, Swisher, Posada, A-Rod, Martin.
While we can't blame Girardi for his team's miserable offensive performance, we can criticize him for his lack of lineup shakeup and his atypical pitching strategies.
Joe, I have absolutely no managing experience, but I do recognize when CC Sabathia is slowing down (Game 3), I know not to bring Luis Ayala into a close game (Game 2), and I know not to not let the entire season ride on the shoulders of a guy who posted an 11-11 record and a 5.15 ERA (A.J. Burnett in Game 4).
Not even the vibrant smile of Nick Swisher can help him get out from under all of the strikes he looked at this postseason.
While he did have the highest OPS of anyone on this list (due to the fact that he's the only one who homered), Swish still couldn't come through when it counted.
Hitting .200 with RISP and quarreling with umpires after the bat never left your shoulder is just unacceptable.
But hey, if you're going to leave the bat on your shoulder and watch strike three consistently pass by, at least we don't have to look too hard for a replacement for Jorge Posada next season.
There was no muscle from Russell this postseason.
Not much was expected of Martin coming into this season, until he posted 18 HR and 65 RBI with an OPS over .700 in his first year in pinstripes.
So Russel, please excuse us for thinking you could muster more than three hits in the playoffs.
There were countless at-bats this postseason where fans were hoping for the up-and-coming star Jesus Montero to steal a plate appearance from Martin.
Forget stealing. Montero earned it. Martin, on the other hand, did not.
So who was the bigger bust? Teixeira or A-Rod?
While both were horrendous, Tex showed some life, even if it was just warning track power.
But make no mistake, some rookie named Paul Goldschmidt from the D-Backs hit two more home runs and drove in five more runs than the Yankee All-Star first baseman, and he did it in seven less at-bats.
Though it's no excuse for his atrocious offense, Teixeira was solid in the field as usual.
Teixeira needs to step up in the postseason, or else he's going to find himself in the same boat as A-Rod as one of the biggest playoff busts in MLB history.
That's one lonely boat.
We get to the $275 million choke artist himself. What is there to say about A-Rod in the postseason that hasn't already been said?
Well, at least he had better production this October than he did five years ago.
But seriously, he is just depressing to watch in playoff at-bats. Aside from his 2009 campaign, which was a complete and utter accident, he's been the most overpaid and over-hyped athlete of this generation.
Two of his three RBIs came via weak ground balls, and his three strikeouts in a decisive Game 5, with the third concluding what was a disappointing season for the Bombers, solidified him as the biggest postseason bust in modern day sports.