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ALCS 2010: Why the New York Yankees Lost

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.

It is a first World Series appearance for the Texas Rangers organization. Texas will face either the Philadelphia Phillies or the San Francisco Giants, who are still battling it out in the NLCS.

After dominating the Minnesota Twins in the ALDS, the Yankees had eight days off till the ALCS started down in Texas.

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. Continue reading ‘ALCS 2010: Why the New York Yankees Lost’ »

2010 ALCS Game 6: Why Arod’s Bat Will Decide New York Yankees Fate

 

History in sports usually has to do with some sort of stat, which can be a predictor for the future regarding similar circumstances.

So, with the Yankees down 2-3 in the ALCS series to the Texas Rangers, it got me thinking of how the bats could stay hot for more than just one game.

Pondering over the past two seasons at what had facilitated the Yankees to get hot and stay that way. I looked at all kind of stats for the team, individual players trying to see how what affected more wins and fewer losses. Did anything make the line-up respond in 2009 and 2010?

Nothing was blatantly obvious, but the one factor that did generate more wins and all around team production depended on Alex Rodriguez.

When Arod drives in runs or hits home-runs the team tends to follow his lead about 25% of the time, but in the playoffs it was around 80% in 2009. Problem is that the same goes if Arod posts all zeros as well.

Still, everyone can’t stop blaming the Yankees middle-of-the-road pitching for getting the team into this ALCS mess, which has not made it easier by any means. The bottom-line remains the same, scoring runs wins ball-games. This is regardless of who is starting on the mound, because a starter’s teammates main job is to driving in runs or else you need five pitchers who never let a run score.

If Arod’s performance in the team’s 7-2 win of Game 5 is any induction that the slugger is about to get hot, watch out.

The Yankees tend to get that extra push when Arod swings; something they so desperately need right now.

Don’t forget that New York need to win both games over the weekend to survive, sans superstar Mark Teixeira.

Tex had been cold as ice in both the ALDS and ALCS prior to the injury, but statistical history over the past two seasons proves this to be a working formula.

The tandem, that graces the Yankees three and four spots in the line-up are a lethal combination and everyone’s job just goes a little harder.

For now all eyes will be on Game 6, Friday night in Arlington, TX.

For the Rangers, it’s a place in history as they’re looking to clinch the franchise’s first trip to the World Series ever.

While, the Yankees only focus is just to win. What other options does New York have other than digging themselves out of this hole they climbed into.

They don’t, but this is the Bombers reality now and they know what they have to do.

If history means anything in the postseason, which is a debatable topic, Alex Rodriguez’s bat will hold the key to the New York Yankees destiny in the ALCS.

2010 ALCS Game 5: New York Wins And The Real Yankees Are On The Way To Texas

As the saying goes, if you can’t hit the baseball get the hell off the field was the theme coming into Game 5 tonight in the Bronx.img_1105

Instead, it was the New York Yankees who got the job done beating the Texas Rangers 7-2, in a must-win to stay-in the series game.

The Rangers are still ahead of Yankees 3-2 in games. If this Wednesday afternoon game is an indication of what’s to come in the next game, Texas should be running home nervous.

The Yankees flat out put the Rangers back where they belong when Cliff Lee is not pitching.

I have held to my opinion about the Rangers all season long; I do not think the Texas Rangers are as good as people think.

The Rangers have some good players like Josh Hamilton, but someone had to replace Alex Rodriguez production when he came to New York. Overall the team is just not well rounded, because without Cliff Lee, the Rangers would not be in the ALCS and maybe make the playoffs because the AL West was such a joke in 2010.

Cliff Lee Yankees are without all-star, gold glove first baseman Mark Teixeira for the rest of the playoffs. Tex’s Yankee teammates do not crumble without him, life is not easier by any means but the Yankees are talented enough to still win. Unlike the Rangers, who without Hamilton at the end of the regular season, fell apart.

Sabathia did not have one of his smooth days on the mound, but CC grind-ed his way through six innings and held the Rangers to two earned runs. This is what defines an ace, and it is why Sabathia was brought to New York in the first place.

The pitching has not been its best for the Yankees, but the main problem seems to be fixing itself because the Bombers are hitting again. This is the first time in the ALCS that the Yankees kept the lead from the start and never gave it up all game.

Finally reality hit the Yankees who seemed to be riding the late bus to school the last two games.

The Yankees entire lineup participated in the win, with a hit, RBI, home run or a walk. It is about time that the Yankees started playing like themselves again.

Imagine if the pitching and hitting could get it together for the same game, the Rangers would not stand a chance.

Guess the Rangers will have to wait another day to try and make it to a place they have never been.

The Yankees need to continue to just be themselves, but it’s another must-win for Game 6. When the Yankees have their backs against the wall, they seem to right themselves pretty quickly.

Cliff Lee will be on the mound for the Rangers in Game 7, but let’s get through Game 6 before anyone starts to get ahead of themselves, even a lowly sports writer and die-hard fan like myself.

2010 ALCS Game 4: New York Yankees Lose A Double Tex

Going into Game 4 of the ALCS, the New York Yankees were down 2 games to one to the Texas Rangers.

So, it’s understandable how hesitant Yankees fans were to trust the decision of starting AJ Burnett in the most important game of this postseason for New York.

Burnett did okay, better than expected but once again the Yankees couldn’t hit the baseball and once again stranding runners on base.

Things hit rock bottom in the fifth inning when Mark Teixeira grabbed the back of his right leg trying to get to first. What might have seemed like a slide into the base was actually Tex in pain that was so bad Tex needed help off the field.

Skipper Joe Girardi said that it would be a miracle if after the MRI Tex would be cleared to play. So, season is over for Mark Teixeira and that will hurt the Yankees at first-base big time. Regardless of Tex’s recently ice-cold bat, he was bound to warm up if the team went on to play more games.

The Yankees are not themselves, and handing the Rangers the wins. It is due to lack of production and not playing to their established potential.

Fact remains if both ALCS teams were playing at the top of their game, the Yankees would prevail.

Well, that is not reality for the Yankees but it still can be. Nothing is set in stone just yet, but if the Yankees want to win they have to play.

The Rangers are playing ALCS-worthy baseball right now and deserve to move on to the World Series. It would be a first for the Rangers franchise and nothing is standing in the way of that happening as of now.

If the reigning World Champions want to keep that title, than winning Game 5 on Wednesday afternoon is the perfect and last chance to start playing New York Yankee baseball.

With CC Sabathia on the mound the Yankees should be able to get this series back to Texas.

In sports, you simply aren’t considered a real champion until you have defended your title successfully. Winning it once can be a fluke; winning it twice proves you are the best. ~ Althea Gibson


New York Yankees: Not Scoring Runs Just Blame It On The Pitching

The ALCS has not been good for the New York Yankees thus far, but blaming the pitching is just a mask for the real issue.

The issue is not hitting, which means runs don’t score. With zero or two as a team’s score, it forces the pitching into having to be almost perfect to get a win.

For example look back at CC Sabathia’s start in Game 1 of the ALCS. Sabathia, who is an ace in all terms is human at times and that CC was on the mound against the Rangers that night.

Sabathia posted his shortest outing of the season, leaving the game after four innings, giving up six hits, five earned runs, one a home-run, while walking four and striking out three. To say he imploded would be correct, but guess who won that game?

The Yankees did in one inning, being down 5-1 entering the top of the eighth the bats scored the five runs needed to take the lead. Then it was over because Mariano Rivera in the ninth is a postseason God.

So, the reason behind the Yankees losing ALCS Game 4 is not AJ Burnett’s fault, as he pitched much better than Sabathia.

In the sixth inning Burnett threw one bad pitch, which turned into a Bengie Molina homerun. Molina scored the two Rangers on base and turned the Yankees 3-2 lead into a 3-5 New York deficient and an eventual Yankee loss.

Whatever is not happening on the mound is also not happening at the plate and that is the Yankees or any other team’s recipe for disaster. This holds even truer in the tough postseason.

Philadelphia Phillies seem to be following in the Yankees footsteps in the NLCS, as the Giants 3-0 shut out the Phillies. A post-game quote from Phillies Shane Victorino sums up my point:

“If you don’t hit, it doesn’t matter how good the pitching is,” Shane Victorino said. “So you can’t blame our pitching right now. We need to find a way. Cole gave up three runs today and we scored nothing.”

It is crazy that the two best teams can’t seem to hit the ball and it is a shame for baseball. A rematch of a Yankees-Phillies World Series make for an awesome series, ratings would be through the roof.

Without question, MLB will see it’s worst ratings if the Giants-Rangers both make it into the championship ever! No one in the northeast (huge sports media market) will even care to watch, which only hurts the game itself.

A rematch is still possible but surely the Yankees and Philles are cutting it too close.

2010 ALCS Game 3: Cliff-Less New York Yankees Lose to Texas Rangers

Even knowing the Texas Rangers had Cliff Lee on the mound, the New York Yankee fans arrived at the game ready for a win and made it loud and clear

That dream became a nightmare pretty fast, as Lee brought his A-plus game once again and the Rangers won 8-0.

So, instead fans left confused, discouraged and embarrassed. Below are the three dilemmas I had, after freezing my butt off in the Bronx:

1) Everyone was confused by Joe Girardi’s decision not to use Mariano Rivera for the last three outs. The hope was to hold the Rangers at two runs through the ninth. In turn, that would give the Yankee batters a chance at the bottom of the ninth inning to maybe get back in the mix.

What happened was embarrassing, as Texas scored six more runs mainly off sloppy fielding mistakes by New York. With Texas up 8-0, any hope of a comeback was just too far out of reach.

Up to this point, Girardi had used Mo in all five postseason games and one would think to go with the best you have to offer. Especially considering the Yankees are the comeback kids and Lee’s pitch count was already in the mid-120, which is why it made no sense. Maybe Girardi forgot this was a playoff game?

2) Why the game was so discouraging is that Andy Pettitte pitched solid as a rock after giving up a first inning home run to Josh Hamilton. Pettitte put the Yankees in the position to win posting five strikeouts and walking zero batters.

In order to win, teams have to score runs, and Pettitte got no insurance whatsoever. Pettitte deserved a win, but his performance was not overshadowed by the loss as every fan at the Stadium cheered for the southpaw big time.

3) Did the umpires loss the game for the Yankees? Well, there was definitely one questionable call that might have made the difference. Not taking away from the surreal performance by Lee because with 13 strikeouts and not a run scoring surely can stand on its own.

The call is now a confirmed a mistake made by first-base umpire Angel Hernandez in the bottom of the third inning. Umpire Hernandez called Brett Gardner out when the replay tells a different tale. Gardner hit a blooper and slid into first, which might have been more out of habit for Gardner who might have been safe on his feet too.

Regardless, he was clearly safe and not a whimper from Girardi at all. Pathetic for a manager not to get out there and defend his player.

There was one other call that again favored Texas, when Michael Young was a foot from the bag when Teixeira had already scooped the ball up.

This was not what Yankees fans came too see. Ultimately most fans knew that it was going to take a semi-miracle to beat Lee if his current pitching postseason trend stayed on target, but who knew it would be a bull’s-eye.

Yankees will send AJ Burnett to the mound Tuesday night, which is scary to think about considering how awful Burnett has been. Burnett has an opportunity to become a New York hero in Game 4, as we know he has the stuff to be lights-out, so let’s hope Burnett has found it.