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Forget A.J. Burnett, forget Cliff Lee; the real story is the Yankees offense

Oct 19, 2010, 8:23 AM EDT

Texas Rangers v New York Yankees, Game 3 Getty Images

The first thing everyone wanted to do after the Rangers’ domination of the Yankees last night was to speculate how much New York would now pay for Cliff Lee this winter. Fun topic, but let’s save it for the hot stove season, OK?

The second thing everyone wanted to do after the Rangers’ domination of the Yankees last night was to fret about A.J. Burnett starting a pivotal playoff game. Also a fun topic, but with Joe Girardi making it clear that he’s sticking with Burnett, it’s not really a debatable point anymore.

The third thing on people’s minds is the most interesting and most important: where is the Yankees offense? Yes, Cliff Lee was incredible last night, but the Yankees lineup didn’t do much against Colby Lewis of C.J. Wilson either. But for a single breakout inning in Game 1 that was probably more the fault of Ron Washington’s bullpen mismanagement than anything else, the hitters have been silent. The tale of the tape:

  • Mark Teixeira: 0 for 11;
  • Alex Rodriguez: 2 for 13;
  • Derek Jeter: 3 for 13;
  • Nick Swisher: 1 for 11;
  • Jorge Posada: 2 for 10;

Of the Yankees’ primary offensive weapons, only Robinson Cano, who is 5 for 13 with a couple of homers, has been contributing in a material way.

So covet Cliff Lee all you want, Yankees fans. And freak out about A.J. Burnett all morning and afternoon.  But know this: if the Yankees end up losing this series, it will not be because of those two guys. It will be because the vaunted Yankees offense is not getting the job done.

  1. psujay - Oct 19, 2010 at 8:54 AM

    Well they test for steroids now, so Aroid can be explained away.

    Jeter had a great career, and is an all-time great, I think he changes his workout routine next year and has one final very good year before he needs to move to outfield or DH. Once he moves to DH or outfield I think he’ll extend his career for a few more years, but he’s not going to be that amazing forever…unfortunately.

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Oct 19, 2010 at 10:35 AM

      Have you paid any attention to Arod in the last two seasons? Explain that away for me please.

  2. Detroit Michael - Oct 19, 2010 at 8:58 AM

    Or it could be that anything can happen in a short series between two teams that each won 90+ games during the regular season.

  3. Jonny 5 - Oct 19, 2010 at 9:11 AM

    It has been said. “Frenchie’s team will advance.” and so it will be….

    • Chris Fiorentino - Oct 19, 2010 at 9:37 AM

      He’s a great defensive player that Frenchie. How could they pinch-hit for him late in the game when his defense could have come into play LOLZ.

      • Jonny 5 - Oct 19, 2010 at 11:22 AM

        He was only put on this earth to antagonize Braves fans as much as possible. He’ll be player of the game next game. Just watch.

  4. Chris Fiorentino - Oct 19, 2010 at 9:18 AM

    Oh come on, Craig. Give the man his due. He IS scary. He IS awesome. He IS the greatest postseason pitcher in the history of the game. Before the game, it is “What’s with all this Cliff Lee Hysteria???” and mockingly saying “Cliff Lee is the scariest thing ever”. Now after his game…his HISTORIC game…it’s “Forget Cliff Lee; the real story is the Yankers offense.” Puh-leeze. What exactly do you have against Cliff Lee? Sure, you say “He’s great and all, but…” Why the but? 13Ks. 1BB. 8 innings. 2 balls left the infield. Against the Yankers. In Yanker Stadium. If Beckett’s performance, on 3 days rest, in 2003 was the best game ever pitched against the Yankers in postseason, then this was a very close second.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Oct 19, 2010 at 9:21 AM

      Chris — this is a forward-looking post is written to address concerns or questions of Yankees fans (i.e. the big issue right now is not “how can we go out and get Cliff Lee,” it’s the Yankees’ offense). That you’re reading it as some kind of slight on Cliff Lee is rather astounding.

      Read D.J.’s game recap from last night. Read my ATH post in which I put Lee’s performance on par with some of the best ever.

      Sometimes it just strikes me that you’re looking for a fight.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Oct 19, 2010 at 9:32 AM

        LOLZ…I’m not looking for a fight…you are when you you put “forget Cliff Lee” in your headline :P

      • IdahoMariner - Oct 19, 2010 at 12:39 PM

        “Sometimes it just strikes me that you’re looking for a fight.”

        Usually, Craig, you avoid the blindingly obvious statement, but given who you are trying to actually have a clear, rational conversation with, this one can be forgiven.

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Oct 19, 2010 at 10:43 AM

      You have the reading comprehension skills of a four-year-old. Must everything that is glaringly obvious be restated to death? Perhaps Craig should post something like this to make you happy:

      Cliff Lee is awesome. The Phillies are really good. Cliff Lee? Phillies. Cliff Lee and Halladay are sweet. I like Philadelphia. Cliff Lee. It’s always sunny in Cliff Lee’s ass. Go Philly! Holy Jesus, Lee and Halladay are gods among men. Cliff Lee is cool. The Phillies are darn nice. Cliff Lee, dude. Phillies, bro. Cliff Lee and Halladay are super duper righteous. I like Philadelphia’s fans so much. Cliff Lee! It’s always dark out in Atlanta. Go Halladay! Holy hell, Lee and Halladay should be my daddy. [submit]

      • Chris Fiorentino - Oct 19, 2010 at 11:08 AM

        Yesterday, I read three different blog entries telling people to calm down about all the Cliff Lee hysteria. Then he proves all the hysteria and scariness correct, and we get one line about how great he was, in a link to a NYT blog. OK, fine. That’s cool. THEN a short time later, we get a headline of “Forget Cliff Lee; the real story is the Yankees offense” Ugh.

        And I don’t disagree with anything you said about Lee and Halladay above. I do disagree about Atlanta though…it must get sunny there at least once or twice a year.

    • IdahoMariner - Oct 19, 2010 at 1:09 PM

      Ok, I just went over to Craig’s ATH post…with all due respect, Chris, I don’t think Craig could have made his respect for that performance any clearer without repeating the linked-to article word for word. He even made clear that facing Lee again for game 7 will be a nightmare. Let. It. Go.

  5. tuffnstuff - Oct 19, 2010 at 9:30 AM

    The Yankee offense has not shown up. Also, did anyone else notice that Derek Jeter seemed to be fighting a cold last night? When and if Cliff Lee comes to New York, he will notice that the love he now receives from all but Yankee Fans will disappear. There are those who hate all things Yankee. Just sayin.

  6. Old Gator - Oct 19, 2010 at 10:16 AM

    The Borg bullpen – Robertson and Mitre – couldn’t throw a pea past a cyclops last night. It’s one thing to come into the ninth against Feliz trailing 2-0, another to come into the ninth against him trailing 8-0. At a certain point heartsink takes over even amongst old pros.

    But yeah, the Borg hitters have gone to sleep. And as far as drug testing accounting for A-Rod’s captaincy of the Borg’s collective brownout, I guess it must also account for the season he had in general. Pathetic, wasn’t it? Duh-uhhh.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Oct 19, 2010 at 10:37 AM

      Do you think they would have brought in Feliz up 2-0? I thought they were going to bring Lee back in, but decided against it because the inning took long and they scored the 6 insurance runs.

      • Jonny 5 - Oct 19, 2010 at 11:20 AM

        You thought correctly Chris. There were no “atta boys” for Cliff in the dugout until it became hopeless for NY.

      • Old Gator - Oct 19, 2010 at 11:53 AM

        Typo. I meant Lee the first time, ie “Lee trailing 2-0 and Feliz trailing 8-0.” Still have Game 1 on the brain.

        But having thought about it, what difference would it have made? Lee looked about as ready to tire as the moon looks like it’s ready to fall out of orbit.

  7. IdahoMariner - Oct 19, 2010 at 12:55 PM

    I am happy to have the Yankees hitters just as wowed by Cliff as the rest of us. Or, you know, asleep, silent, whatever. Either way, Rangers up 2-1. S’cool.

    But my money says Cliff stays right where he is, if the Rangers make good on their plan to offer a reasonable deal. Why would he leave? The man clearly likes to pitch, and win, and he can do that anywhere. He likes to hunt and fish, and he can do that in Texas, (I wish he was still doing it in Washington, he seemed happy there, too). He likes to pitch. He likes to win — and he wins most of the time when he pitches, regardless of who he is pitching for (even the Mariners). He was happy at the Mariners (note his discombobulation at being traded again, when he would have been forgiven for sheer giddiness at being set free from my beloved, but clearly on a losing path, Mariners). So, I’m betting on his individualistic, quirky streak, wanting to pitch for a team that already appreciates him (and will likely win again next year, but at least it will certainly win when he’s on the mound), in a place where he can hunt and fish (or get home to hunt and fish pretty quickly). He’s a Ranger next year.

  8. artisan3m - Oct 19, 2010 at 1:48 PM

    Are you certain the Yankee bats are dead ~ ~ or could it be that they simply cannot hit Ranger pitching? One wild claim is a credible as the other. These are two very good, evenly matched teams battling it our for a pennant and its still a toss-up. The Rangers should get stronger as the series advances, learning there is no mystery about playoff game ~ is just another baseball game and they have played 162 of them with better than average success.

  9. sammydog99 - Oct 19, 2010 at 9:42 PM

    Your pinstripes are showing. Whatever happened to good pitching stops good hitting?

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