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Rangers 10, Yankees 3: An ugly night in the Bronx has the Yankees on the ropes

Oct 20, 2010, 12:13 AM EDT

Texas Rangers' Bengie Molina hits a two out three run home run as New York Yankees' Francisco Cervelli waits for the ball during the sixth inning during Game 4 of their Major League Baseball ALCS playoff series in New York Reuters

On an objective level there have been worse losses in recent Yankees history. They’ve been blown out. They’ve lost big games. Bad things have occurred to even this most historically blessed team.  But I can’t recall an uglier night, all around, than what we witnessed tonight. Among the lowlights:

  • Tommy Hunter was quite hittable, but the Yankees didn’t take full advantage of his vulnerabilities, missing multiple scoring opportunities;
  • Mark Teixeira injured his hamstring and may very well be done for the year, no matter how far the Yankees advance;
  • Joe Girardi was gifted with what had been a more than serviceable A.J. Burnett start, went to the well with him once too often and ended up paying for it with a Bengie Molina three-run homer;
  • In the bottom of the eighth Girardi allowed Lance Berkman to bat right handed with the bases loaded. It was the Yankees’ last, best chance of the game and maybe the season, and Berkman hits, like, -.397 right handed. He grounded out to third to end the threat; and finally
  • Yankees fans were simply pathetic, first pulling a Jeffrey Maier — and acting like total morons afterward — then pulling a Steve Bartman on a foul ball that, while it ended up not mattering, didn’t distinguish the fan base. Oh, and then that fan base left the place in droves beginning in the seventh inning, despite the fact that it was still only a four run game. Yankees fans are the best around, I’ve heard. Well, I guess I’ll have to take their word for it.

Like I said, just ugly stuff. And now maybe it’s over.

No, not technically over, because the Rangers need four wins, not three. But do the Yankees have a chance? Sure, anything is possible, and if the old saw about momentum being the next day’s starting pitcher means anything, that’s good news for CC Sabathia and the Yankees.

But the fact is that they’re not hitting a lick, not even on a night when the Rangers ran out their worst starter and a Game 1-style bullpen brigade. They’ve lost Teixeira who, while he hadn’t been hitting, could certainly be expected to hit eventually and can still certainly pick it at first. If they’re going to run the table — which they must — they must do it against C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis and Cliff Lee, three pitchers who gave the Yankees fits the first time through.

You can’t predict baseball, because baseball is inherently unpredictable. But you can make some educated guesses. And my guess is that the Yankees suffered a terminal blow these last two nights. Even if they linger on for another day, the end is near. They’re not going to pull this out.

  1. steveflack - Oct 20, 2010 at 12:17 AM

    Can we just call a moratorium an posts about how terrible a fanbase a team has? Honestly, all teams have terrible fans, and all teams have great fans. It’s unfair to everyone, and just provokes people. Just let it die.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Oct 20, 2010 at 12:19 AM

      Sorry, but it was part of the game tonight. The Cano homer was certainly fan-affected, and even Yankees beat writers who cover every single game were shocked at the early exodus. It’s a totally legit topic.

      • Jack Marshall - Oct 20, 2010 at 1:22 AM

        I agree with you, Craig. The Yankees have tacitly encouraged fan interference for decades by rewarding rather then penalizing it, and the early exodus would never occur in St.Loius, Boston, or Philly.

        Really, how can anyone not root for Texas, a franchise that has never had a WS appearance in its 50 year existence?

      • Kevin S. - Oct 20, 2010 at 7:14 AM

        A) If they’re already Yankee fans.
        B) Cruz reached over the fence – not fan interference. Sorry, this wasn’t Maier part II.

      • hasbeen5 - Oct 20, 2010 at 8:49 AM

        http://a323.yahoofs.com/ymg/ept_sports_mlb_experts__68/ept_sports_mlb_experts-457124550-1287542577.jpg?ymxs.8DDQK9FCy6g

        Cruz did not reach over the fence.

      • professorperry - Oct 20, 2010 at 8:55 AM

        Wow. That’s a great picture.

      • unbiasedfan - Oct 20, 2010 at 10:03 AM

        Unfortunately, I don’t hear the Yankee sports writers calling out the classless fans who interfere with the game.

        But then again, it’s New York — what else do you expect?

    • Chris Fiorentino - Oct 20, 2010 at 12:27 AM

      I love the animated gif…awesome doucheness. I disagree on the call though…seemed that he was reaching into the stands and if he does that, it’s fair game for a fan to grab the ball. I guess it’s just a matter of judgment.

      Couldn’t agree more on the Yankers fans leaving early. Pathetic.

      The Yankers are done. Even if they win game 5, which they should, they probably won’t win with Hughes in game 6. Even if they do that, game 7 with Cliff Lee in their heads is a surefire win for the Rangers unless andy pulls out the game of his life and keeps it a 0-0 game through 9. However, in a battle of the bullpens, the Yankers bullpen hasn’t shown much while the Rangers pen, after game 1, has been lights out.

    • Ari Collins - Oct 20, 2010 at 12:28 AM

      I think Steve’s got a point, though. It was a pretty bad night for Yankee fans, but a lot of fan bases have nights like that. Lot of classless people in this world, and they’re not really particular to any specific city. They make the rest of the fanbase look bad, but they’re the vocal minority. Generalizations aren’t helpful, here.

      (That said, the idea that any fans are “the best fans” is an equally stupid statement, and I guess that’s what you were pointing out? Maybe?)

    • Old Gator - Oct 20, 2010 at 1:06 AM

      I disagree. Fan-bashing is a proud tradition here. I should make clear that I am opposed to stereotyping any fan base except maybe for some European and South American backandforthandbackandforthandbackandforthball teams, even though bashing them is kind of gratuitous because if you remove the hurricane fences they’ll just run across the field and bash each other. I also chasten Feelies fans for their horsemeat and velveeta sandwich diet, but that, of course, is for their own good.

      Nevertheless, there are so many folks out there who are virulently antipathetic to both Borg and Feelies fans that if either of their teams lose, there’s going to be an orgy of dungslinging going on here where promises hours and hours of jolly diversion to those of us who don’t otherwise have a rooting stake in either team. Fan bashing is haute entertainment for the Trailer Park Network crowd, but it’s also great fun to observe from a safe distance if you’re an armchair anthropologist. If these are short series, I’m going to have lots of leftover popcorn and a couple of pomegranates I haven’t cracked open yet and, as Peter Sellers famously remarked in Being There, “I like to watch.”

      • God Himself Can't Make Me Root for the Yanks, But Fiorentino Might - Oct 20, 2010 at 2:15 AM

        Me, too, I’m all in for any fan bashing. And let’s face it, not all fan bases are alike. Not all have the same douchenozzle quotient (DQ). Certainly it’s fair to say that if you wear the opponents’ jersey in Yankees Stadium or in CBP, you’re much, much more likely to suffer hateful verbal and even occasionally physical abuse (here I include not only actual fisticuffs, but also, as an example, the “accidental” beer spill) than say in almost any Midwest or West Coast ballpark (perhaps Chicago excluded). Some (like he who is as a god to me) actually argue that this kind of zeal makes their fans “the best fans in the world.” Well, if that’s the DQ scale we’re using, hundreds of dead soccer fans (thanks, Gator) around the world would find you be quite pathetic pretenders to that particular throne.

    • teegood - Oct 20, 2010 at 9:56 AM

      Fan base climates change when new stadiums are built. Changes the The price per seat at Yankee stadium is a minor purchase for those that buy them…the left early to get good seats at the Top of the World club. Just a different kind of fan that used to be. No better example of fan base changing than the Arizona Cardinals. Most of the fans when they played at Sun Devil Stadium were from the other team. NOW..new stadium..strong fan base. Not rich like Yankee stadium, so they want to get their moneys worth and stay for the entire game…but the gist? FANS ARE WHAT YOU ASK THEM TO BE. In this case…you get what you sell!

  2. dayrunner9 - Oct 20, 2010 at 1:01 AM

    a mediocre starting pitcher… $70 million
    a box seat…. $1,800
    one hot dog…. $9.50

    seeing another team celebrate in yankee stadium… priceless.

    – a mets fan.

    • bxcheer - Oct 20, 2010 at 8:46 AM

      It’s nice to see a Met fan get some enjoyment from the baseball season. Lord knows the Mets have given their fans anything but abject failure for the last four years stright!

      Met average payroll for the last four year … 132 Mil

      Met average finish dur the same time …. 3rd

      Met fan giving Yankee fan a hard time about not winning in the playoffs …. Ironicly priceless

  3. apbaguy - Oct 20, 2010 at 1:07 AM

    Questionable decision to IBB Murphy to face Bengie Molina. I told my girlfriend before Murphy made it to first that it was a mistake. She’s a SoCal girl and remembers the 2002 Angels vividly, and was on the edge of the couch pulling for Bengie to do what he did. Bengie is a very good hitter who’s later in his career, but has these hot streaks and when he does he’s very destructive. Of course he’s also the opposite, very destructive to his own team during his cold streaks, but so far, he’s the Rangers best late-season pick-up. And he handled Hunter and Holland beautifully tonight, blocking pitches and taking as much time on mound trips as the kids needed to work through 7+ with on 3 ER combined.

    The Rangers can now dare to think about putting this thing away without having to use Lee again. That would set Lee up as the Game 1 starter against the….Phils presumably. Although as I said yesterday the Bumgardner game tomorrow is the wild card in the series, since he’s on paper much better than Big Joe, but also far less seasoned. Jonny5 says it’s all about the bats. Only 3 hits today against Cain. The Phightin’s have to improve or we could have a Selig nightmare, a low TV rated Texas v. SF series. At least the weather would be good: not too hot in Texas, sunny and mild here by the Bay. But the fun of seeing Bengie face his old team, revenge is sweet. Dare we hope it?

    • Utley's Hair - Oct 20, 2010 at 1:52 AM

      The Phightins need to get some sort of offense going. With all due respect to the Dwarves pitching staff, the Phils are MUCH better than this. To be shut down like this is ridiculous. And Chase’s defense has been a bit lackluster this postseason. Here’s hoping Blanton can stop the bleeding tonight. If he does, I promise to stop with the turkey and turkey leg references.

      • Reflex - Oct 20, 2010 at 2:24 AM

        Meh, the Giants have the best pitching in the league. Have all season. I love the Phils top three, but I think the Giants top four are better. Do I think Sanchez is better than Hamels? No. But I think Cain is better than Oswalt. And Bumgarner is far better than any number four the Phils have. Lincecum is Halladay’s equal.

        Clearly the Phils have the better offense, but great offenses tend to put up a lot of runs against mediocre pitching. They are as baffled as anyone else against ace pitchers, and thats why pitching dominates the postseason. And the Giants marginally better pitching is proving to be all the difference.

  4. mtner77 - Oct 20, 2010 at 2:24 AM

    “The Rangers can now dare to think about putting this thing away without having to use Lee again. That would set Lee up as the Game 1 starter against the….Phils presumably.”

    Your kidding, right? Down 2-1 with 2 more at AT&T, and the FREAK up again in game 5? And (presumably) the Phils are favored? Let me make a guess here. You live east of the Mississippi?

    I love watching East Coast fans scamble for explainations, when their high payroll teams lose. “But, but, It ain’t suppose to happen like this”….

    I am LOVING EVERY MINUTE of this! It would be very nice to see Neither the Yankees or the Phillies in the world series this year!

    • jangocat - Oct 20, 2010 at 3:13 AM

      If you think SF has a chance in hell of beating Halladay 2x in a series you are delusional. The truth is he got screwed the first game with Burrell getting a 4 strike at bat and Ibanez dropping that ball. The Phils are fine. They are down 1 game in a five game series now with Halladay and Oswalt ready to go again. Blanton has been their most consistent pitcher the last three years too. The NLCS is far from over. It will go at least 6 games maybe 7. 2 games to 1 is hardly anything to chirp about.

    • apbaguy - Oct 20, 2010 at 11:00 AM

      Not hardly. You must be new to the site. Welcome. I live within Caltrain distance of AT&T. And much as I would like to see the Gigantes take it, as was pointed out below, the Phils are the series favorites. Though down 2-1 it’s really a toss-up for the Phils. That’s why I said the Bumgardner game was a tossup. He’s the better pitcher, but unseasoned, so nerves can be an issue like they were with Hunter last night.

      • apbaguy - Oct 20, 2010 at 11:01 AM

        Should be a reply to Reflex, not Jangocat. Sorry.

  5. jangocat - Oct 20, 2010 at 3:04 AM

    Ya there fans have always been lame. A bunch of front runners. No real fan leaves a playoff game early no matter how ugly.

  6. frankvzappa - Oct 20, 2010 at 3:17 AM

    i said last night that the yanks season was over, but had few believers…i think it is safe to say a lot more of you agree now…way to spend a cool half billion and not even win the pennant

  7. pianomanrsn01 - Oct 20, 2010 at 3:42 AM

    The Yanks have a payroll about twice that of the Rangers and on paper are brimming with talent, yet they don’t seem able to score in the late innings. I cannot imagine Texas Rangers’ fans leaving in the 7th inning while behind four runs. I simply don’t think the Yanks can win three games in a row including the last two played in Texas.

    • Richard In Big D - Oct 20, 2010 at 8:16 AM

      Actally, their payroll is closer to FOUR TIMES that of the Rangers. There is a 150+ million dollar gap. The biggest gap in postseason history, by a lot. “I don’t care too much for money. Money can’t buy me” WINS!

  8. itsmekirill - Oct 20, 2010 at 6:32 AM

    All the people gloating here about the Yankees’ payroll going to waste are showing themselves naive and absolutely ignorant about how this game works on a macro scale. Any team, absolutely any team, can go on a 3 game losing streak or a 3 game winning streak at any point in the season. On any given day, the worst team in the league can beat the best team in the league. So think about that reality before you start gloating about how awful it is that a team with a high payroll lost several 55-45 (or closer) virtual coin flips in a row.

    In the immortal words of Billy Beane, “My s–t doesn’t work in the playoffs. My job is to get us to the playoffs. What happens after that is f—ing luck.”

    • tortillared - Oct 20, 2010 at 8:35 AM

      Come on itsmekirill, are you really saying every WS the Yankees ever won was pure luck? Are you saying the 2 times the Yankees embarrassed the Rangers in the post season back in the 90s was pure luck instead of having more talent and better coaching?

      The Rangers have better players this year. The Rangers have better pitchers, better hitters, and the fielding is probably even. That isn’t the norm over the long haul, but that is the case this year. The Rangers are just the better team this year, which is why the Rangers have home field advantage.

      Here is the reality of the situation, the better team wins nearly every time. Luck can affect 1 game but in a 7 game series, the better team will win every time. Talent always shines through over time.

      Other than fans like itsmekirill refusing to give opponents credit for being better, I agree with too much being made against the Yankee fans and wonder why the media constantly looks for reasons to complain about fans. It is like they want people to spend good money, money that usually means sacrificing something else, and trek out to the stadium just to sit on their hands and politely applaud when they are told to.

      Yankees have great fans and a pox on the media for trashing them. Yes it is funny for us to watch the mass exodus but only because we were on the other end in the 90s.

      • Detroit Michael - Oct 20, 2010 at 9:47 AM

        “The better tean wins nearly every time. Luck can affect 1 game but in a 7 game series, the better team will win every time. Talent always shines through over time.”

        That is wrong. There is never a theoretical point where the better team wins 100% of the time. The probability of the better team a series depends on the length of the series and the difference in the teams’ true talent levels. A 7-game series is quite short and the chances of an upset, the team with less talent winning, is still quite substantial.

      • livebanchies - Oct 20, 2010 at 9:53 AM

        tortillared, you can’t just say that the Rangers have better players and that the Rangers are “just the better team this year”. (I’m a Yankee HATER, BTW) The Rangers had a better team batting avg this year but the Yanks scored nearly 100 more runs. Both teams’ ERA’s were almost identical. And the Yankees fielding ranked #4 in baseball to the Rangers paltry #23.

        The reason why the Rangers have home field advantage is because they won 90 games. Oh, wait…which is 5 games WORSE than the Yankees record. In reality land (not the land you live in), the Rangers have home field advantage because the Yankees are a wildcard team with the 2nd best record in the American League and the 3rd best in all of baseball.

        Believe me, I’m cheering the Rangers on against the Yankees as if they were my local team. But if you’re going to support them, give credit where credit is due. The Rangers are peaking against the Yankees and thankfully, embarrassing them. But the Yankees aren’t losing because they’re an overall inferior team. It’s because the Rangers are playing as good of baseball as it gets, at the right time of year.

      • woodenskillet - Oct 20, 2010 at 2:44 PM

        The Yankees had a better record this year, but the Rangers are a better team at the current time. The Rangers had a lot of injuries this year. Nelson Cruz and Ian Kinsler both spent significant time on the DL. Hamilton missed almost all of September and is only now just returning to form. And Cliff Lee didn’t join the team until July – and he even had to deal with a back injury. Unfortunately for the Yankees, a lot of the Ranger players are on top of their game at this time, which makes the Rangers a very, very dangerous team.

        I do find it interesting that so many people assume that CC is a much better pitcher than CJ and that the Yankees should easily win in that matchup. Look at the stats. CJ was 15-8 and had an ERA that was pretty much that same as CC’s. CC has the longer history of success, but CJ Wilson is a very talented pitcher, and he has benefited greatly from playing with Cliff Lee. He outpitched CC in game 1 – he is definitely capable of doing it in game 5.

    • megary - Oct 20, 2010 at 8:44 AM

      Billy Beane is wrong (and probably used those words to make himself feel better.)

      While it is true that any team can beat any other on a given night, if you think that the Yankees being down 3-1 is synonymous to them losing a “coin flip” 3 of the last four games than I don’t think you understand how this game works on a micro level and you certainly haven’t watched this series in particular because if any team has been fortunate so far it’s the Yankees in Game 1. The Rangers aren’t ahead in this series by mere chance nor will it be explained away by luck if the Bombers happen to win the next 3 in a row.

      The “reality” is the Rangers have played very well so far but I hope for their sake they haven’t made any World Series plans yet.

  9. bertsirkin - Oct 20, 2010 at 8:03 AM

    At least the Yankees fans didn’t boo them – that will happen today.

    • Cyn - Oct 20, 2010 at 8:34 AM

      By all accounts, AJ Burnett certainly did get booed.

      I blame Bud Selig for that first blown call. He’s so damn excited about moving the game along that the umps decided to do just that and not bother reviewing it even after Washington requested they do so. They’re just following his orders.

      • unbiasedfan - Oct 20, 2010 at 9:21 AM

        Cyn:
        You’re absolutely right….If the umps thought they would hear from the “league office”, they certainly would have reviewed that play.
        Instead, they know where Bud Selig lies on this one.
        What a shame……especially where Major League Baseball is trying to win back its fan base…you would think Selig would want to show the fans that the MLB still have integrity.

      • Utley's Hair - Oct 20, 2010 at 11:27 AM

        “…He’s so damn excited about moving the game along…”

        Yeah. THAT happened. It still took four hours. I’m just glad it wasn’t the BooSux, because it would’ve been five hours long.

  10. paperlions - Oct 20, 2010 at 8:38 AM

    Yankee fans repeatedly tell the world how great they are. If you do that, then you need to back it up. Yankee fans are loud, passionate, and abusive, but I’ve never seen evidence that they great or knowledgeable fans (as a group). Every time something like this (interaction with Yankee fans) happens people say “every fan base has some assholes”. True. But EVERY TIME it involves Yankee fans, they are assholes, which seems to indicate that a large proportion of their fans are assholes.

    • bicyclemom - Oct 20, 2010 at 9:58 AM

      1. A large chunk of the current Yankee fan base are front-runners who, as has been demonstrated, will leave the game as soon as the team looks like it is going to lose. Every winning team has front-runners and casual fans. The Yankees, a team that has a winning history, has more than others.

      2. Many Yankee “fans” at Yankee Stadiums are largely the over-entitled CEO types who can actually afford post-season tickets. The prices are largely beyond the average fan’s recession addled means.

      3. There is a significant base of old time, hard core fans who can’t afford the tickets, watched on tv to the bitter end and are still confident of a 3 game rally to propel them to their 28th World Championship.

      4. I am none of the above.

  11. megary - Oct 20, 2010 at 8:58 AM

    Fan bashing is nothing more than an attempt at appealing to the least common denominator. It serves no purpose other than to make the basher feel better about himself. “Yeah my team lost but at least we aren’t jerks like you!” Is this as far as we have come?

    *sigh*

    This kind of stuff has been going on for years and won’t change. The more fans a team has the more assholes will show up to support them – same as the number of respectful fans. Unfortunately, in this day and age it’s not Mr. Nice Guy that makes a story nor make for an instructive and amusing anthropology lesson.

  12. BC - Oct 20, 2010 at 9:12 AM

    Yeah, the Yankees HAD to start Burnett in Game 4.
    Hate to say I told you so….

    • Utley's Hair - Oct 20, 2010 at 11:30 AM

      “Hate to say I told you so….”

      But…? You kind of trailed off there without completing your thought.

  13. unbiasedfan - Oct 20, 2010 at 9:18 AM

    I for one am glad to see the Yankees lose last night — their fans are classless and actually encourage the rogue behavior. Teams that have lousy (and interfering fans) shouldn’t be entitled to win a series.

    Hope Texas adds salt to the wound and ends the series in front of New York (I guess the only question is what inning will the fans leave ??)

  14. ndbilly - Oct 20, 2010 at 9:51 AM

    I am a huge Yankee fan, and I must say the fans are pathetic. They want it both ways in regards to the 2 plays with fan interference. My god these people are so sad. Leaving in the 7th inning, come on.

    • girlygirlsoxfan - Oct 20, 2010 at 12:26 PM

      As a season ticket holder at Fenway and huge Red Sox fan, I was there in 2004 at Game 4, down 3-0 to the Yankees, bottom the the ninth, two outs, down by one run, facing Rivera, but not a single person left the park – not one person. Shame on Yankees’ fans!!!!!

      • livebanchies - Oct 20, 2010 at 12:38 PM

        “not a single person left the park – not one person”

        lol

      • girlygirlsoxfan - Oct 20, 2010 at 1:59 PM

        The only thing that left the park that night was the home run by Ortiz!!!!!!!!

  15. changemustcome - Oct 20, 2010 at 1:58 PM

    As a Yankees fan, I have no problem saying that they deserve to be knocked out of this series! With a few exceptions, their overall performance and attitude has been nothing short of embarrassing.
    A-Rod, chewing his nails on the field!? Seriously!? If you missed it, rewind back to Molina’s 3 run homer, up-steps the next batter and you’ll see A-rod chewing away.
    The list can continue…
    There needs to be a MAJOR SHIFT in the compensation structure of this team!!! One, that preferably focuses MAINLY on “incentive based pay”, pay upon results (not on past history or media hype). Pay a realistic base salary not to exceed 1.5 mil and award hansom bonuses. i.e. get away from 10 yr. contacts with payouts exceeding $279 million and $16 million sign-on bonuses.
    If you think you won’t attract talent that way, I’d bet that you would be wrong. You’ll attract the quality, play-hard, love-for-the-game types (as seen in Nick Swisher, Brett Gardner, Robinson Cano) and the results will follow.
    In essence, look for players who are poor, hungry and driven.

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