Instead of screaming the word ADVERSITY, injury or A-rod as the reason the Yankees fell flat this postseason, I am going to point my finger elsewhere.
And that would be at the other teams who failed to meet expectations but have unfairly been benefiting from flying under the Yankees radar.
YES, YOU BLEW IT TOO…
To make this fair, so not to get called out for being an angry Yankees fan, I re-looked at ESPN’s MLB pre-season predictions to use as my basis. The annual preview features 50 of ESPN’s top baseball experts’ postseason predictions, which are released prior to Opening Day.
So I tallied up the just the World Series picks and here is how it broke down:
Red Sox – 1; Cardinals – 2; Yankees – 3; Phillies – 5; Tigers – 6; Rays – 7; Rangers – 8; Angels – 19.
Ok, the solo Boston vote was obviously BBTN’s Karl Ravage so just ignore that one. Otherwise, these are the four teams I thought crumpled way worse than the Yankees did.
1) The Texas Rangers were deemed by everyone from experts, bloggers, my dad and even my doorman as the most complete team in MLB heading into the 2012 season. To say the Rangers were the most popular pick would be an understatement, as most presumed that a team who had lost two World Series in a row would be humbled by it and ready to go. But not the Rangers, as unlike 2011 they were angry, and took the privilege of making the postseason for granted. Big mistake; just like relaying on a superstar who’s constant off-the-field issues distract from the game itself.
2) The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, also known as the Yankees of the West Coast, added the best player in the game Albert Pujols, and the Rangers ace CJ Wilson to be their #3 starter during the 2012 off-season. If that wasn’t enough they traded for the Brewers ace Zack Greinke mid-season, and had the best prospect ever to play the game in Mike Trout, who very well might be crowned the 2012 AL MVP. The Halos were 7.5 games out on September 1, and it seemed like all October hope was already gone. They wound up finishing the regular season with an 89-73 record, which was good enough for third place in the AL West. And any Wild Card dreams were about 5-teams, and $160 million bucks out of the Angels reach. I think you can presume that the Angels missed the goal completely.
3) The Baltimore Orioles “magical season” wouldn’t be so magical without the added Wild Card as the O’s would have missed the postseason otherwise. Beside that pointless piece of information, the O’s won 94-games but fell apart in the ALDS. Especially considering after Game 1, the Yankees basically put they on a silver platter for Baltimore’s taking. You don’t win 94-games only to fold, and even though no one with a brain picked the O’s to do anything more than sit in the AL East cellar, they were good all season so what odds did they defy accept being a great team to not. Also, the O’s A-rod, Adam Jones posted a .077 batting average with seven strikeouts and no walks over his six postseason games.
4) The Washington Nationals finished with a 98-64 record, which was the best in baseball. It was the first postseason in franchise history so obviously it makes complete sense to shut down your 25-year old ace heading into October. That was a joke…FYI. Stephen Strasberg went 15-6 record, with a 3.16 ERA, a 1.16 WHIP and 197 strikeouts over 159 1/3 innings pitched so can you say the Nats would still be around with him? No, but your odds went up ten-fold especially in the 5-game Divisional Series, which translates into better with him than with out him. And who knows when the Nats will get back the opportunity to win it all again. This is what I refer to as a stupid collapse based on a terrible managerial decision so the Nats got what they asked for.
– Now, the Phillies collapsed so early as they were 46-57 on August 1 so no one expected much out of this group.
– And the Rays lacked a big bat to go tandem with Evan Longoria from the get-go, so when he got hurt it affected the team too much. This is the greatest Moneyball team, with one of the most creative and dynamic skippers Joe Maddon. This team deserves a new home, but to get it ownership has to pony up to get that all-star supporting bat to go with Longoria’s; and then this team will be a force.
SUPER-STARS NOT NAMED A-ROD:
Here are two superstars who are their team’s version of A-rod. Both bombed in the postseason, and both teams couldn’t survive without their help. So, in essence they are more essential than A-rod, as Yankees can win without him but the Rangers and O’s cannot say the same.
HATE THIS PLAYER:
1) O’s Adam Jones was worse than A-rod in the postseason. And since Jones is the O’s superstar wouldn’t you presume that there must be some sort of expectation on him to come through? No one has really mentioned that in his 26 postseason at-bats, Jones posted a .077 batting average, with two-hits, one-RBI and seven strikeouts over 6-games. His lone RBI was in the Wild Card game vs. Rangers, and Jones didn’t draw a single walk. Not to discredit the Yankees pitching as all four threw like CY Young candidates.
2) Jose Hamilton is not so tough to figure out, as he is clearly all about Josh Hamilton. First let me say that I commend Hamilton for realizing he needed to turn his life around, but he just cannot seem to get himself right enough still. Look, this is a grown man who has to travel with a babysitter, cannot eat out with his teammates, nor even hold his own wallet. I mean can you believe that the Rangers have a no champagne popping rule that is at least till Hamilton has exited. Still it seems like nothing is ever Hamilton’s own fault. For example Hamilton’s most recent excuse for slumping this September-October at the plate was that he had to quit chewing tobacco because he was being disobedient to God; and he couldn’t hit because of it. Give me a break, as honestly I hope the Rangers let Hamilton walk this off-season. He is a grown man that the Rangers are only concerned for as a baseball player, so they offer everything to make sure Hamilton never has to be a person and can solely focus on helping Texas win. Too much attention takes focus off the team, and Hamilton could not have waited to quit his decade long habit.