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What they’re saying about the Yankees’ first round exit

Oct 7, 2011, 7:27 AM EDT

New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez strikes out with the bases loaded against the Detroit Tigers during the seventh inning of Game 5 of their MLB American League Division Series baseball playoffs at Yankee Stadium in New York

It’s audacious, I realize, to attribute the result in this series to the Tigers winning rather than the Yankees losing. Derek Jeter acknowledged it (see below), but that’s just not how New York rolls. So let us absorb the New York sturm und drang, shall we?

Joe Girardi:  “It’s an empty feeling for everyone in that room. And it hurts. You just got to remember this feeling and we’ll be determined next year.”

Bob Klapisch: “There were culprits up and down the lineup, but none so obvious as Alex Rodriguez, who’d turned into Public Enemy No. 1 by the ninth inning. There he was, swinging so feebly at Jose Valverde’s last fastball he should’ve done himself the favor and stayed in the dugout.”

Joel Sherman: “… the Yankees lost three games by a total of four runs. So they were a star turn away from winning this series; a game-turning pitch, a big hit, and, in particular, Sabathia and Rodriguez never delivered.”

Mike Lupica: we kept hearing about these great swings [Alex Rodriguez] was getting. How he was going to bust out. It makes more sense to call him the same kind of October bust he was for the Yankees before he had his one shining moment in 2009 … if A-Rod thinks doing it once gives him some kind of lifetime pass with Yankee fans, he didn’t hear the boos he got after he struck out in the bottom of the seventh Thursday night.

John Harper: “After a season spent worrying about whether the Yankees had enough pitching, it was the big bats that cost them in the end. Above all, as always, there was Rodriguez, striking out swinging with the bases loaded in the seventh inning, when even a single likely would have tied the game, and then striking out swinging to end the game.”

Wallace Matthews: “When Rodriguez swung through Valverde’s 94-mph, 1-2 fastball, not one honest person in Yankee Stadium could truly say they were surprised.”

Ian O’Connor: “Worried his hitters would be distracted, Joe Girardi, manager of the New York Yankees, had the umpires strip Benoit of his bandage, exposing what Tigers manager Jim Leyland called “a big lump on his face.” But Girardi couldn’t strip the pitcher of his powers, or of his ability to throw an 86-mph splitter on a 1-2 count that would reduce A-Rod to a flailing Game 5 mess and, ultimately, leave him once again as the face of a first-round flameout, the master of another Yankee disaster.

Steve Politi: The finger pointing will begin Friday, and there are plenty of directions to point. The manager and his six pitching changes will be a target. The broken down third baseman who struck out to end the game will be one, too. The lineup that hit 222 home runs during the regular season failing to make one good swing with all those opportunities — there are plenty of culprits, to be sure. But sometimes, there are no easy answers. Sometimes, when a 162-game season comes down to one night in October, the ball off the bat of the star shortstop dies on the warning track.

Tyler Kepner: “For all of the success of the Jeter/Mariano Rivera/Jorge Posada era, the Yankees have lost in the first round more often than they have won the World Series. They have five championships and seven first-round knockouts — in 1995, 1997, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2011. Their expectations never change: they win, or the season is a failure.”

Jeff Bradley: “It was almost eerie in the Stadium as the highest-paid player in the game waved at a pitch from Detroit closer Jose Valverde. The crowd was barely making a noise. The old anticipatory thundering applause that’s been know to rattle an opponent was not there. Almost like the crowd had seen enough of A-Rod. And did not believe.”

Derek Jeter: “They pitched, man. They pitched That’s why they’re here, that’s why they’re moving on. They’ve got a great pitching staff. Their starters are tough, their bullpen is good. And Valverde closes the door. You get to this point in the season, it’s usually about pitching for the most part. They were tough on us.”

  1. visnovsky - Oct 7, 2011 at 7:34 AM

    Derek clutch, clutchy, clutchly, clutchness, Jeter.

    Alex choke, choker, chokerly, chokerest, Rodriguez.

    • purnellmeagrejr - Oct 7, 2011 at 8:38 AM

      You must have been watching with one eye closed (the one on Jeter)

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 7, 2011 at 8:58 AM

        Might be sarcasm? Or might be someone who reads the NYP/NYDN every day.

        Tough to tell

      • paperlions - Oct 7, 2011 at 9:23 AM

        I vote sarcasm

  2. halladaysbiceps - Oct 7, 2011 at 7:38 AM

    After the game quote;

    Alex Rodriguez: “Leave me alone. I have a poker tournament in Reno that I have to fly to.”

    • Old Gator - Oct 7, 2011 at 8:58 AM

      …and what’sername is waiting for me too.”

    • jwbiii - Oct 7, 2011 at 9:39 AM

      Rodriguez hit .191/.345/.353 after his knee surgery. If anyone was expecting big things from him, or even sort of average things from him, that’s their fault.

      • danandcasey - Oct 7, 2011 at 10:07 AM

        Didn’t Girardi expect “big things” (or at least “sort of average things”)? Why else was A-Rod batting clean-up (add that he did not have a power swing after his DL stint for his injured hand)?

  3. philliesblow - Oct 7, 2011 at 7:42 AM

    Tigers Win! Thuhuhuhuhuhuhuhuhuhuhuhuhuhuh Tigers WIN!!!!! (that felt so good)

    Jeter wasn’t very clutch in this series either. Yankees only had 3 dangerous bats in this series, Cano, Posada & Gardner.

    At this time of year, 20 million $$$ gets awfully heavy and can really slow down a bat.

    • purnellmeagrejr - Oct 7, 2011 at 8:42 AM

      true; Cano is a monster – has that mpossble to get out aspect at the plate – like a Manny in his prime or Pujols.

      • tashkalucy - Oct 7, 2011 at 10:59 AM

        “true; Cano is a monster – has that mpossble to get out aspect at the plate – like a Manny in his prime or Pujols.”

        Nah, the guy is better then Ruth and Gerhig combined!

        This is the internet Yankees we’re talking about here! Everyone that plays for them belongs in the Hall of Fame. As well as all the guys that play for the Red Sox. The other teams don’t count.

        P.S. I’ll take Miguel Cabrara over Cano and any other Yankee you try to trade to me for him.

    • boston992 - Oct 7, 2011 at 9:06 AM

      I HATE when the Yankmees anouncer says that, and it sounds SOOOOOOOOOO good to replace Yankmee with TIGERS.

    • proudlycanadian - Oct 7, 2011 at 9:23 AM

      The Detroit Tigers were the reason the Yankees lost. The Tigers were a hot team in the final month of the season and remain hot so far in October. As I wrote after Craig posted the video for the trailer for the followup movie to Moneyball, I had seen the movie and usually it does not have a happy ending. There are 30 teams in baseball and only one will win the World Series.

    • tashkalucy - Oct 7, 2011 at 10:56 AM

      Congrats to all Tigers personnel and fans!

      Unfortunately, all the articles are about why the Yankees lost.

      No articles complimenting the Tiger players, Manager and coaching staff.

      Boston and New York’s whiny, arrogant, entitled “fans” live on these national sites and the sitees cater to them, and it’s the reason that MLB is not a national sport on par with the NFL.

      The Tigers moves made going into to trading deadline were simply sensational. If Epstein or Cashman had done half as well, all would be reading are articles about them. By the way, anyone know the name of the Tiger GM?

    • purnellmeagrejr - Oct 7, 2011 at 11:51 AM

      tashalucy – I’ve got a statue of Frank Lary in front of my house but I calls ’em as I sees ’em.

  4. yankeesfanlen - Oct 7, 2011 at 8:00 AM

    Lost by ONE run. When you leave 10 men on base and add one who was not waved in on weak throwing Austin Jackson, what do you think is going to happen?
    Yeah, Joe, bring in the ACE. That’ll show him how smart you are. Oh, he gave up ONE run.
    And, line-up, it would have been better to stand there like cigar store Indians and let them walk in ONE more run.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 7, 2011 at 8:28 AM

      Should pretty much avoid most websites/news today as the monday morning qb’ing is going to be pathetic. Too many people offering idiotic opinions on what should have happened (see the other article about how Tex should have swung away instead of taking ball four).

      Also, Arod was dead to rights on that play. Jackson threw a strike to the pitcher just as he was rounding third.

      Regardless, they lost by one run in a deciding 5th game. Tigers did a great job pitching wise in their wins, Yanks just couldn’t get the big hit. Always next year.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Oct 7, 2011 at 8:40 AM

        I agree with that assessment on the A-Rod play. Jackson’s throw was perfect and it would have nailed A-Rod by about 10 feet. Yet, the announcers seemed to make it sound like A-Rod would have cruised into home plate. No way.

        About the Tigers pitching great…I don’t know if I want to just call it that. When you load the bases TWICE with less than 2 outs and only get 1 run because the pitcher walked it in, I chalk that up to poor choking hitting more than pitching. In a game where you are down 3-0, there is no way Martin can hit a weak popup there. That’s choking to me, more than great pitching.

        Same with A-Rod’s K in the 7th…Benoit had one of those “struck out the side…loaded the bases…walked in a run” innings. I’m not sure I would give Benoit as much of the credit for A-Rod’s K as I would say that A-Rod spit the bit. Strike 3 was a nasty pitch, but A-Rod needs to put the ball in play that at bat.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 7, 2011 at 8:44 AM

        Yeah, great was probably a bad word. Good enough is better.

      • protectthishouse54 - Oct 7, 2011 at 9:22 AM

        I have no problem holding up Arod on that play either. It would have been a very close play. The bottom line is that with the bases loaded and one out, the Yanks failed to knock in a run TWICE. They got a Martin popup, a Gardner popup, an ARod K, a Texeira walk and a Swisher K.

      • tacklemeelmo - Oct 7, 2011 at 10:06 AM

        You do not sound the slightest bit outraged… Your name appears to be misleading.

    • Old Gator - Oct 7, 2011 at 9:05 AM

      Yeah, very disappointing. Pardon the morning-after postmortem but I think I’m not alone in having felt that Girardi should have sat A-Roid down when it became obvious that he wasn’t in any shape to play, and had proven it from the day he came back off the DL over and over again. Maybe it’s not kosher to shut down a $20mm salaried ballplayer for the last month of a season when the doctors are telling you he’s OK, but frankly, nothing about his performance during that time indicated he was anything like OK. Regardless, he sucked and he wasn’t going to stage a miracle recovery – whatever else he is, he is no Reggie Jackson. You can’t trot a guy’s iconography out to the plate anyway – if he’s not hitting, he’s not hitting. Put someone in there who’s hitting twenty or fifty or a hundred points higher. They were there on the bench. Girardi did no one any favors, A-Roid included, by playing him.

      Obviously my own rooting interest had tanked by June, but I was hoping for an ’09 rematch. Really hoping. Ah well.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 7, 2011 at 9:29 AM

        whatever else he is, he is no Reggie Jackson

        OG, fellow Fordham alum, much respect but in the postseason:

        RJ – .278/.358/.527
        AR – .277/.386/.498

        [similar PA 318 for Reggie, 299 for Arod]. Contrary to trolls like Lupica, Arod has had good postseasons other than ’09. Lying about it makes it easier to sell newspapers though.

      • Old Gator - Oct 7, 2011 at 10:26 AM

        Ooooh, we’re gonna git all jungled up in the stats-versus-clutch argument, are we? Simple illustration: A-Roid goes 3-for-4 when it doesn’t matter and strikes out with the game on the line. Reggie goes 1-for-4 when it doesn’t matter and crushes one with the game on the line. You know. Clutch.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 7, 2011 at 12:33 PM

        Sigh, here we go again:

        ’09 ALDS G2 – Yanks losing 3-1, bottom 9th, Arod 2r HR to tie
        ’09 ALDS G3 – Yanks losing 1-0, bottom 7th, Arod HR to tie
        ’09 ALCS G2 – Yanks losing 3-2, bottom 11th, Arod HR to tie
        ’09 WS G3 – Yanks losing 3-0, top 4th, Arod HR
        ’09 WS G4 – Tie game, top 9th, Arod 2b to score 2

        Terrible player, never did anything good for the Yanks

      • purnellmeagrejr - Oct 9, 2011 at 8:02 AM

        Outrage – Is your point that Arod sucked every year but 09?

  5. danandcasey - Oct 7, 2011 at 8:11 AM

    I like Wallace Matthew’s statement the best — cuts to the “heart” of the matter.

    As for what Jeter said – sure, the Tigers can pitch. What did he and his fellow Yankees expect – you usually do not make the playoffs unless you can pitch. However, statistically speaking, the Yankees pitched better than the Tigers in the regular season and the Yankees hit better than the Tigers in the regular season.

    The real story is that the Tigers went out and did what they had to do when they had to do it. The Yankees did not.

    • JBerardi - Oct 7, 2011 at 8:19 AM

      “However, statistically speaking, the Yankees pitched better than the Tigers in the regular season and the Yankees hit better than the Tigers in the regular season.”

      The Yankees won also 1.3% more games over the course of 162 than the Tigers did. How much of an advantage for them does that translate to in a five game series?

      • paperlions - Oct 7, 2011 at 9:27 AM

        Realistically, based on talent, the Yankees were probably 52/48 favorites to win.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 7, 2011 at 8:26 AM

      I like Wallace Matthew’s statement the best — cuts to the “heart” of the matter.

      There’s never been a reason to listen to Wally Matthews, ever.

    • mattjg - Oct 7, 2011 at 8:42 AM

      Maybe no one was surprised because in baseball even the best players fail 60% of the time. Or maybe it’s because A-Rod is not a True Yankee and his arrogance single-handedly ruined what was destined to be a championship year for the Yankees. Yeah, it’s probably the second one.

      • halladaysbiceps - Oct 7, 2011 at 8:44 AM

        Actually, the best players fail 70% of the time. If it was 60%, they would be hitting .400.

      • mattjg - Oct 7, 2011 at 8:48 AM

        Walks happen. An OBP of .400 or better is very attainable for the game’s best hitters.

      • halladaysbiceps - Oct 7, 2011 at 8:51 AM

        True. But I was talking in a more quotable context what doesn’t factor in OBP. “The best players fail 7 out of ten times”. The quote goes something like that.

      • paperlions - Oct 7, 2011 at 9:29 AM

        …but that quote is wrong…the best player fail 6 out of 10 times….the primary goal is to get on base (i.e. not make an out)

  6. thefrenchyconnection - Oct 7, 2011 at 8:31 AM

    Selig: @%#!

    Fox Execs: Come on you @&*S^@% Phillies

    • paperlions - Oct 7, 2011 at 9:30 AM

      Selig doesn’t care….Fox pays the same regardless of who winds up in the series

      • thefrenchyconnection - Oct 7, 2011 at 11:17 AM

        Agreed…..this year, but if the big market teams continue to fall flat before they reach the big stage Fox wont be shelling out the same amount of $$$ next time the contract comes up for renewal.

  7. El Bravo - Oct 7, 2011 at 8:37 AM

    Wait, but how did ARod do over the course of this series?

  8. tigerfanintn - Oct 7, 2011 at 8:39 AM

    Why can’t the Yankees just lose? Why does there have to be finger pointing and blaming one person who obviously may not be as good as he was years ago (with or without steroids). We have showed they are beatable, money may be able to buy you a “team” but it can’t buy you a “heart” and thats what Detroit played with…all heart in that win they knew what they needed to do and they did it.

    Way to go boys!! See you in Texas…….Love from TN.

    • 3kittymama - Oct 7, 2011 at 9:25 AM

      Why can’t the Yankees just lose? Because, tigerfanintn, they feel entitled. They think that because the team has more money than God, that automatically entitles them to win every game, every time. Every team wants and expects to win in a healthy perspective, but these arseholes are too arrogant to even consider that any team could possibly play better than they do. That’s why is is so very satisfying to watch them lose.

      • paperlions - Oct 7, 2011 at 9:31 AM

        I don’t think it is the team, per se, that feels entitled….I think their fans and the media that covers them have that feeling, but not the team.

      • lukeslice - Oct 7, 2011 at 12:49 PM

        Know why we feel entitled actually? Because we’re the most storied major sports team in the history of America, so our expectations actually have been validated over time. Know why there are so many Yankee haters? For the same exact reason.

        Even the Rays management pointed fingers when they lost…it’s human nature for people to search for blame following a failure.

  9. purnellmeagrejr - Oct 7, 2011 at 8:44 AM

    Why did they include a quote from Mike Lupica among the sportswriters?

  10. Panda Claus - Oct 7, 2011 at 8:46 AM

    For winning 28 more games than my Orioles the Yankees got to extend their season by a week. Seems fair to me.

    • sdelmonte - Oct 7, 2011 at 9:27 AM

      I was thinking the same thing about the Yanks and the Mets.

  11. mattjg - Oct 7, 2011 at 8:47 AM

    For the record, I was rooting for the Tigers this series; I’m glad the Yankees lost. However, I really wish all series were 7 games in the playoffs. So much of who wins a five-game series is determined by luck (not that there isn’t a substantial amount of luck involved in winning a 7-gamer) that having the better team is hardly a material advantage in the first round of the playoffs. I know that the playoffs are as much about spectacle and entertaining the fans as they are about crowning the best team in baseball, but it cheapens the World Series, IMHO, if you rarely have the best teams making it.

    • Old Gator - Oct 7, 2011 at 8:57 AM

      For the record, I will have been rooting for whomever finally wins.

    • philliesblow - Oct 7, 2011 at 11:00 AM

      “So much of who wins a five-game series is determined by luck (not that there isn’t a substantial amount of luck involved in winning a 7-gamer) that having the better team is hardly a material advantage in the first round of the playoffs”.

      mattjg – so winning a 5 or 7 game series is luck? The regular season is made up of mostly 3 and 4 game series betwen two teams. Using your logic those regular season series winners must also just be lucky since those are shorter series. That must make a team’s entire season record lucky. Are you looking for a 9 or 11 game series? We’ll be playing baseball until December. By the way, the Tigers beat the Yankees 4 to 3 in the season series so this 5 game series isn’t a fluke. The Yankees have bigger names – the Tigers are the better team.

      • mattjg - Oct 7, 2011 at 11:41 AM

        Of course luck plays a large role in who wins a given 3-4 game series. That’s why the MLB regular season consists of between 40 and 50 such series instead of one. Luck evens out over time. The best teams in baseball only win about 60% of their games. Between two playoff teams, I suspect that the largest gap you’d find if teams played an infinite number of games is 55%-45%. If a team has a 55% chance of winning a given game, there will be plenty of five game series in which that team loses at least three games.

        I sincerely hope you’re either trolling or have yet to reach high school age because your grasp of simple math and statistics is mind-blowingly deficient.

      • mattjg - Oct 7, 2011 at 11:43 AM

        I don’t advocate 9 or 11 game series because, as you pointed out, those would take too long. I’m fine with 7 games, which is why I suggested making the Division Series 7 games and not 9 or 11.

  12. Detroit Michael - Oct 7, 2011 at 9:02 AM

    I love this quote:
    “When Rodriguez swung through Valverde’s 94-mph, 1-2 fastball, not one honest person in Yankee Stadium could truly say they were surprised.”

    Well, given that no batter in the majors in 2011 got on base more than 45% of his plate appearances and that Jose Valverde is at least an average or better pitcher, you could substitute any human’s name for “Rodriguez” and no rationale person would be surprised by the outcome.

    Losing three out of five to the Tigers does not indicate that anything is fundamentally wrong, Yankees fans.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 7, 2011 at 9:08 AM

      Go away with all your rationale and intelligence, don’t you know today is a day for knee jerk reactions and emotions?!?!?


      Was a great series, wish it turned out differently but was nothing like previous bad series (05-07). Also, how the F do people hit a good changeup? Once Benoit got some control, it just makes hitters look ridiculous. Same with Valverde. Looks like a fastball only 10 mph slower and that absurd movement. Hitting a baseball is definitely the most difficult task in sports.

      • Jonny 5 - Oct 7, 2011 at 9:27 AM

        There was a unofficial study pitting Baseball against Cricket. I don’t remember the players involved, but let’s just say the baseball player was able to hit everything the cricket player tried to get past him, and the cricket player couldn’t hit a baseball with a bat to save his life.

      • tacklemeelmo - Oct 7, 2011 at 10:13 AM

        I know Sport Science did a little bit with baseball and cricket and that was exactly how it played out. Their speculation was the larger area of the cricket bat made it a lot easier for the pro baseball player and he made contact an astonishing amount of the time.

    • protectthishouse54 - Oct 7, 2011 at 9:26 AM

      That may be true, but Yankee fans have the right to wonder if ARod will ever be ARod again. Sure the injuries played a factor this year, but that is becoming more prevalent every year. The power was completely gone… will it come back? Is he breaking down with so much contract left? It’s a fair question.

  13. Jonny 5 - Oct 7, 2011 at 9:23 AM

    Ok, when does the NY media start asking for the head of Cashman?

    • sdelmonte - Oct 7, 2011 at 9:33 AM

      The media like him. As long as he has A-Rod to take all the blame, it will take a while to get around to criticizing Cashman, let alone demanding his scalp.

      FWIW, I think Cashman should have be aggressive at the trading deadline, but I don’t feel like he did anything that bad in assembling this team. The starting pitching held together amazingly well, the bullpen was great, and the talent was there in the lineup. He will definitely look for younger starters, and look to shake things up with a team that seems a bit complacent in their “amiable slog”. But he wasn’t the one who left all the runners on base last night.

      • Jonny 5 - Oct 7, 2011 at 9:46 AM

        You’re right, I agree. Imagine if that high priced reliever he picked up didn’t get injured? But the NY media is tough and I’m sure some will blame this on him, others on Girardi, some on A-rod, and some on the price of eggs in China.

      • tbo1960 - Oct 7, 2011 at 9:51 AM

        How come you never hear or see anyone pointing the finger at Texeira, he didn’t exactly kill the ball and isn’t he one of the top players in baseball. The Yankees big money players didn’t deliver, A-Rod, CC, Texeira and yes Jeter. In a short series you can’t have so many stars fall short of expectations but that’s also what can an often does in the first round.

    • lukeslice - Oct 7, 2011 at 12:51 PM

      It shouldn’t regardless, because without Cashman finding scrap heap talent in guys like Colon and Garcia, the Yanks never would’ve even been there.

  14. frankvzappa - Oct 7, 2011 at 9:30 AM

    watching that game at a bar in ny was a glorious experience…there is nothing more enjoyable than soaking up the desperate frustration of yankee fans for nine whole innings…

    • retief1954 - Oct 7, 2011 at 12:08 PM

      Here Here!!! Must’ve been great!

  15. funkygoorilla - Oct 7, 2011 at 9:33 AM

    Is it possible to trade Arod or force him into retirement? I mean, how can you strike out with the bases loaded in a game 5?????

    • retief1954 - Oct 7, 2011 at 12:04 PM

      … it’s much easier than you think…

  16. retief1954 - Oct 7, 2011 at 12:01 PM

    I’m no A-Rod fan, and I understand he’s the lightning rod for all Yankee playoff failures now (great state of affairs, in my opinion :) ) but listen, Jeter failed numerous times in clutch situations late in games, Teixeira failed, Cano couldn’t get it done, Granderson… they live by the HR in the reg season, aided by that little pop-fly-home-run park, but come playoff time, you’re not facing the 4th starter on the Royals’ staff anymore. And, with Girardi standing on the dugout step, they just look as tight as a drum, especially when they get behind. No one in that dugout’s having any fun, that’s for sure. Long may it continue – it’s awesome for all of us who love to see the Yankees fail.

  17. materialman80 - Oct 7, 2011 at 4:16 PM

    They are saying what they should be saying, the Great Yankees couldn’t get it done and now they are through for the season. Now we don’t have to hear anything about them for months and that’s always a good thing.

  18. ta192 - Oct 7, 2011 at 8:47 PM

    This is why playoffs suck, we DESERVE Yankees/Phillies, we’ll probably get Rangers/Brewers…outside of their tiny fan bases, who will care?

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