I can’t remember when a MLB postseasonhas featured more madness, tension and thrills.
When you realize that three of the four teams still playing happen to be the last three World Series Champions…the Cardinals last year, Giants in 2010 and Yankees in 2009 maybe fans should have expected it.
Well, regardless as a Yankee fan I would sum up the 2012 MLB season as torturous, as it is no secret that the team is missing and wasting a lot of things.
All the regular season issues like continual injures, home-run or bust mentality, and not hitting with runners-in-scoring position (RISP), along with double digits LOB (left on-base) numbers seem to be getting exposed badly as they get deeper into this postseason.
The pitching is not to blame, as all four starters and the bullpen have been nothing short of extraordinary by putting the team in winning positions.
Now what I can’t figure out is why, what or how this is happening?
So, I scoured the Internet for some answers and here are the three most popular reasons/excuses:
1) “Yankees show age spots but find way to advance.” – Jeff Seidal; Detroit Free Press
Maybe in regards to hitting, as the Yankees average batters age is 32.7 years, which is the oldest in the AL by almost 4-years. The pitchers average age is 30.3, which is the oldest in the AL but only by months.
Also, the NY Times article about how 28-year old Robinson Cano just set a single postseason record by going hitless in his last 26 at-bats again contradicts any notion of age being the main issue. Cano is at an age that is considered your prime in baseball.
Cano’s skid is pretty unexplainable considering he posted a .347 BA, with 11 doubles, six homers, 24 RBIs, and drew 15 walks in the last month of the season. He is still the team’s best player as it will be tough to figure things out in Detroit, with Justin Verlander pitching on Tuesday.
Now if I recall, the Yankees have been called “too old” since I can remember, so have they been surviving off playoff experience all these years? Maybe but that would make age a good thing right?
2) “Losing because offense is slumping at record levels.” – ESPN Steve Berthiaume tweet.
– Yankees scored 16-runs total in the five ALDS, but seven of them came in-game one.
– And in the two ALCS losses the Yankees have scored a total of four runs, all came in the ninth inning, of game one and came courtesy of two homers.
– In total the Yankees left 36 guys on base in the ALDS; and have already left 21 in the two ALCS games.
– The Yankees have struck out 67 times total, 47 in the ALDS and 20 in the ALCS, which is the most of any postseason team. (all stats can be verified on MLB.com)
The Yankee players can say what they want about the bad calls by the umpires in yesterday’s loss but it wasn’t to blame. Yes, the terrible call at second base in the 8th inning allowed the Tigers to tack on two more runs making it 3-0 but the final score was 3-0 so they need to stop acting like sore losers.
Here are the stats:
3) “Yankees in strange new world without Jeter.” – Chicago Tribune.
Two ALCS games, two ALCS loses, since no #2.
Considering the Yankees are in the ALCS proves that they have been resilient in the face of terrible injuries from Rivera, Pettitte, Sabathia, A-rod and the list goes on.
Could losing Jeter be the icing on the Yankees postseason cake?
The last time the Yankees played a postseason sans Jeter was October 8, 1995. And anyone watching the game Jeter went down, it was clear how much this injury affected everyone including the Tigers. As a Yankee fan my first thought was it is over and see you in 2013.
So, what is the answer?
Well I think it is a combination of #2 and #3.
And with the Captain not traveling to Detroit with the team, his absence will be felt even more.
Guess that means it is time to score, or go home.
Bottom line here is that I have learned to never under-estimate the New York Yankees, which makes it hard to do it again. But if there was ever a time to doubt them it is now; and admittedly I don’t think they will make it out of Detroit alive unless some phenomenon happens.