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Ranking the blame as Yankees get swept

Oct 18, 2012, 7:47 PM EDT

Robinson Cano AP

It takes more than a couple of goats for a team to get swept in a seven-game series. Let’s run down the five people most responsible for the Yankee meltdown.

Derek Jeter‘s ankle not being a person, we’ll leave it out of this.

5. Eric ChavezAlex Rodriguez struggled mightily, yet Chavez was worse. A-Rod finished the ALCS 1-for-9 with three strikeouts. His replacement at third base was 0-for-8 with four strikeouts. Chavez also committed an error in Game 3 and made what seemed to be a lazy defensive play in Game 4, hanging back on Omar Infante‘s infield single in the first inning. Infante came around to score the Tigers’ first run of the game.

4. Mark Teixeira – After a nice ALDS in which he went 6-for-17 with five walks, Teixeira hit third and fourth in the ALCS, displacing A-Rod, yet he went without an RBI in the series. Of course, that hardly makes him unique among Yankees players. Still, it was bad enough that he wasn’t hitting; his two defensive miscues in Game 4 led to a run in the third and probably contributed to CC Sabathia‘s blowup in the fourth, given that the big left-hander had to face three batters too many the previous inning.

3. Joe Girardi – Sitting Rodriguez was appropriate, if oddly timed. And while I’m in the minority, I don’t really blame him for not hitting for Raul Ibanez at the end of Game 3. Benching Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson was pure desperation and was counterproductive to the Yankees’ chances of winning. Then in Game 4, he suddenly became more interested in getting everyone into the series than trying his best to set up an unlikely comeback. Still, it’s really hard to look at this series and suggest that Girardi’s performance was worse than the guys who took the field.

2. Curtis Granderson – Granderson’s big homer in Game 5 of the ALDS didn’t let him off the hook for long. He went 0-for-10 with six strikeouts and a couple of walks before taking a seat prior to Thursday’s Game 4. When he did make an appearance in the finale, he struck out once again. Granderson’s pull-happy, uppercut swing has made him a big threat in Yankee Stadium, but his old Tigers approach might have done him more good here. That said, he was surely more likely to help in Game 4 than a rusty Brett Gardner.

1. Robinson Cano – Really, this isn’t even close. Cano had one hit in 18 at-bats in the ALCS, a single in the ninth inning of Tuesday’s loss that ended his 0-for-29 skid. He also never drew a walk in the series. And in the Game 2 loss, he mishandled a double-play relay, giving the Tigers their first run of the game in the seventh inning.

Now, I still wouldn’t go so far as to say Cano was the Yankees’ worst player in the series; Rodriguez and Granderson probably had more bad swings while getting fewer at-bats. But Cano is the one who had the opportunity to do the most good — half of his at-bats came with men on base — and he never got the job done. His performance is the biggest reason the Yankees went down so easily.

  1. elwaysmilehighdenver - Oct 18, 2012 at 7:55 PM

    Cry me a river !!

  2. jaybird22seven - Oct 18, 2012 at 7:57 PM

    This is an end to the powerhouse Yankees !!!! Now they can battle it out in the basement with the Redsox !!!

    • mike5606 - Oct 18, 2012 at 8:03 PM

      remind me who had the best record in the american league this year?

      • frank433 - Oct 18, 2012 at 8:15 PM

        Remind me who is in the World Series, I seemed to have forgotten after all the Yankees being swept for only the 3rd time in a 7 game series ever talk.

      • vintage1496 - Oct 18, 2012 at 8:32 PM

        So 4 games mean more than 162? Yea that makes sense.

        Any team’s bats can go cold at any time; the Yankees’ happened to stop hitting at the wrong time. New York did better this season than 26 other teams. To say that this sweep means that they’ll be in “the basement” next year is a bit of a rush to judgement.

      • eugenesaxe - Oct 18, 2012 at 9:06 PM

        vintage1496: When those 4 games eliminate you from the World Series, yes.

      • vintage1496 - Oct 18, 2012 at 9:26 PM

        So because the Yankees were the second-best team in the AL, they’re now destined for a last-place finish? I really think people are overreacting.

      • normcash - Oct 18, 2012 at 10:29 PM

        Apart from the obvious fact that their regular season record is utterly irrelevant,
        they are a VERY old team. I think this was their last hurrah for quite a while.
        The power in the East has shifted to Baltimore and Tampa Bay (their pitching)
        and Toronto, if they can stay healthy. Don’t be surprised if the Red Sox and Yankees bring up the rear next year and for some years thereafter…

      • vintage1496 - Oct 18, 2012 at 11:29 PM

        I’ll remember that when the Yanks win the division – again – next year.

      • vintage1496 - Oct 18, 2012 at 11:32 PM

        And how is the regular season irrelevant? I never said they’d win the World Series next year. The initial comment was “Now they can battle it out in the basement with the Redsox,” so I think doing well in the regular season would be relevant when someone states that they’d finish in last place during the regular season.

      • passerby23 - Oct 18, 2012 at 11:37 PM

        Remind me who had the best and second best records in all of baseball and didn’t get out of the NLDS. That’s right, Washington and Cincinnati. Regular season records don’t mean a lot because good hitting wins you a lot of games during the regular season. Great pitching wins you playoff games.

        Detroit and St. Louis are playing the best baseball right now, just like Texas and St. Louis were last year. The Yankees will be in the mix again next year. What was sad about the Yankees this year was the complete lack of confidence and passion they played with and their fans displayed. That was the quietest Yankee crowd I’ve ever heard.

    • protius - Oct 19, 2012 at 11:18 PM

      Wishful thinking. The Jays will be fighting for last place in the AL East for the next 10 years.

      • dgmorris1963 - Oct 23, 2012 at 7:51 PM

        And you’ll be taking Geritol and wearing Depends.

  3. elwaysmilehighdenver - Oct 18, 2012 at 7:58 PM

    Come on Matt. The reason the Yankees went down so easy was Tigers pitching!

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 18, 2012 at 8:02 PM

      The Tigers certainly executed their game plan better than the Yankees. It did help, however, that the plan against these Yankees was, “try some stuff, and if that doesn’t work throw it down the middle.” That is a pretty simple plan that ended up being far more effective than it should have been.

    • protius - Oct 20, 2012 at 4:59 PM

      elway:

      You wrote: “The reason the Yankees went down so easy was Tigers pitching!” Sorry, no.

      If the Yankees had hit the hell out of Baltimore and where shut down by Detroit, then I’d have to admit that your argument has merit. However, the Yankees anemic hitting narrowly got them past a feisty Baltimore team, and they went into Detroit with the same low blood count.

      Now if good pitching beats good hitting, then it’s not unreasonable to believe that mediocre pitching will devastate lousy hitting.

  4. jayquintana - Oct 18, 2012 at 7:59 PM

    Losing game 2 had to be incredibly deflating. It’d have been one thing if Kuroda was mediocre on three days’ rest, but he pitched very well. You got to win those games!

    • captn58crunch - Oct 18, 2012 at 11:08 PM

      I think more that Coke striking out Ibanez was bigger and more deflating. There was a great chance to tie the game and maybe take the lead. But Coke made a great pitch; Ibanez had to swing, that was probably going to be called a strike the way the ball moved. What can you do? The pitcher got the better of them on that one. Game 4 was just…. inevitable.

  5. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 18, 2012 at 8:00 PM

    Whatever, after seeing Illitch’s appearance after the game I can be at least a little happy for him and the Tigers. They certainly deserved the win more than the Yankees, and that guy has been doing everything in his power to knock “get world series rings” off his bucket list. Here’s hoping you get it done this year, guy.

  6. chill1184 - Oct 18, 2012 at 8:03 PM

    Let me get my violin

  7. wrg885 - Oct 18, 2012 at 8:06 PM

    #6 Kyna Treacy?

  8. royalsfaninfargo - Oct 18, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    Matt, do you think that Jeter”s ankle had anything to do with it? Even with him healthy the Yankees would still have been swept.

  9. proudlycanadian - Oct 18, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    I blame Luke Skywalker.

    • proudlycanadian - Oct 18, 2012 at 8:30 PM

      Either Luke or the Detroit Tigers defeated the Evil Empire. Take your choice.

  10. historiophiliac - Oct 18, 2012 at 8:13 PM

    I am having a beer.

    • marinersnate - Oct 18, 2012 at 8:22 PM

      I am having Many, Many beers….

      • historiophiliac - Oct 18, 2012 at 8:24 PM

        Why, thanks, I’ll have another. I don’t want the limes to go bad.

      • bigharold - Oct 18, 2012 at 8:53 PM

        Many Many Beers. I’m with you! We here on the bridge of the Death Star approve your message.

        I don’t know who’ll win the NL but I hope the Tigers beat the hell out of them.

        Go Tigers!

  11. aceshigh11 - Oct 18, 2012 at 8:16 PM

    Man, those Yankees can never catch a break, can they?

    I guess they can comfort themselves with the fact that they’ve won 24.8% of all the World Series since 1903, and played in 36.7%.

    In all seriousness though, I’m pretty shocked how listless they played. I think Jeter’s injury shell-shocked the whole team to an extent.

    That doesn’t excuse them…they ARE professionals after all, but it could have contributed.

  12. sdelmonte - Oct 18, 2012 at 8:20 PM

    While I still think Cashman is among the better GMs, and deserves credit for a superb pitching staff that weathered injuries galore, I would give just a bit of blame for failing to create a younger, deeper offense. A-Rod is just a symbol of deeper problems for a club that is older and slower than it needs to be, with a limited bench and a tendency to coast.

    I fully expect to see that younger, hungrier team in six months. A team that will try to match the youthful enthusiasm of the O’s and A’s, or the ’96 Yanks. Though how Cashman does it with a bloated roster is beyond me at the moment.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 18, 2012 at 8:27 PM

      I would give just a bit of blame for failing to create a younger, deeper offense.

      The Yanks’ rank in all of MLB:

      Runs – #2
      wRC+ – #1
      OBP – #2
      OPS – #1

      The fact that they ran into some extremely good pitching in the post season doesn’t mean they didn’t have a great offense.

      • sdelmonte - Oct 18, 2012 at 8:33 PM

        Fair enough. But given how the team dropped off in the second half, I would love to see second half stats. I have a sense that age and injury wpuld play a role in a dropoff.

      • bigharold - Oct 18, 2012 at 9:02 PM

        There is a reason they call them the Bronx Bombers. The difficulty is that power hitters with long swings can be vulnerable against the better pitchers that they face in the playoffs. That being said that doesn’t explain the woeful at bats of A-Rod, Granderson, Cano and Swisher, .. etc.

        I don’t see the Yankees changing that approach much but they might not have to either. Gardner will be back as well as Suzuki and Jeter. What’s really needed is the right mix of power and speed.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 18, 2012 at 9:06 PM

        But given how the team dropped off in the second half,

        Is it possible they dropped off because their #1 starter (CC) got hurt, their #3 starter (Pettitte) got hurt, and their 3b (Arod) got hurt? Yes, they struggled, but the comparisons to Boston (not by you) are insane. This is a team that was the #1 seed in the playoffs, not someone who only won 69 games.

  13. jdmcg57 - Oct 18, 2012 at 8:31 PM

    The Red Sox have proved that a flawed team – one that counts on home runs, runs into trouble when facing good pitching. Thus, the sweep!

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 18, 2012 at 9:07 PM

      Statistics, and previous articles linked on this site, have proven you wrong.

  14. serbingood - Oct 18, 2012 at 8:42 PM

    The Yankees pitching in the ALDS and ALCS (except for game 4) was superb. There were no true blowout games, except game 4 ALCS.

    The hitting hasn’t been there since the end of August. Oh there was the occasional blowout, but they were rare. I think playing Granderson in 160 games got to him and he was simply worn out. Gardner’s injury might have had an impact, but he isn’t a power hitter. Using the DH spot to ‘rest’ Rodriguez and ‘The Captain’ was well intentioned but the jury is still out if it actually did anything meaningful.

    As a team they simply quit hitting or swinging with any authority. Maybe there is no explanation. It is what it is. There is always next year hopefully with some new young faces. Anyone over the age of 34 should be worried. Time for the Yankees to look at the Oakland A’s and the Rays on how to field a young team that can win. Field a team that is young and won’t break the bank in the process. I’m dreaming, that’s not the Yankee way; sigh……….

    Here’s to 2013. May The Farce Be With Them

  15. thebadguyswon - Oct 18, 2012 at 8:47 PM

    Who had the best record in the AL? WHO CARES? They won nothing and looked like garbage in this series.

    • greymares - Oct 18, 2012 at 9:03 PM

      just for this year i would like to see 7 games mandatory so they could lose all 7

      • sparky1002 - Oct 18, 2012 at 10:23 PM

        You have such an unreasoned bias against the Yankees that nothing you say should have any validity with regards to baseball.

      • protius - Oct 20, 2012 at 5:12 PM

        Sparky:

        Nothing either one of them says has any validity regarding baseball. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised to learned that either or both are employed as full time village idiots, somewhere in Arkansas.

  16. eugenesaxe - Oct 18, 2012 at 9:08 PM

    Blame Canada!

  17. smorrow66 - Oct 18, 2012 at 9:10 PM

    Lets be real. If you like the Yankees, then this collapse is 150% Obama’s fault.

    If you are pleased this happened, then the Next President of the USA – Mitt Romney brought this about.

    Or it could be that Detroit’s pitching was hot and the Yankee bats just went cold and showed their age.

    • aceshigh11 - Oct 18, 2012 at 9:24 PM

      Hold on there, sport…

      Romney is on record as saying Detroit should’ve gone bankrupt.

      Lay off the mescaline…we won’t know who the next Prez is until 2016, after Obama leaves office.

      • megl3155 - Oct 19, 2012 at 10:03 AM

        Right now, I couldn’t care less about the Yankees–my Tigers are going to the WS!!!!!

      • protius - Oct 20, 2012 at 5:19 PM

        Ace:

        Thorazine. Look into it.

  18. nofunleague - Oct 18, 2012 at 9:19 PM

    I think there was a spelling error in the headline. It wasn’t goat it was choke. Man I am so upset. NOT. Take all of your money and buy your own trophy. Good riddance

  19. richwizl - Oct 18, 2012 at 9:36 PM

    CARDINALS IN SIX!

  20. ingloriousbastardos - Oct 18, 2012 at 10:00 PM

    I have to say I’m really sad Ichiro didn’t finally get his title this year. I hate seeing elite players give their lives to the sport they love and never win the big one. It’s even worse because he’s such a solid guy. This may have been his last shot.

    • anythingbutyanks - Oct 18, 2012 at 11:42 PM

      I’m sure Ichiro is disappointed with how the season turned out, and I feel badly for him as well, but…he can cry into hundred dollar bills for the rest of his life and never run out. He’ll be okay.

  21. 83texasopenchair - Oct 18, 2012 at 10:35 PM

    I agree 100% with this article. Cano played like a dog, what’s more, he didn’t seem to be even trying. Maybe he was trying to be cool, but it just looked like he didn’t care.

  22. yourrealitybites - Oct 18, 2012 at 10:37 PM

    To be sure, I am not a Yankees fan. But, Derek Jeter is a true class act, and I hope his recovery is both swift and complete, allowing him to go out on his own terms. Glad they are out, but I wish Jeter well. He has been good for this game.

  23. adm272012 - Oct 18, 2012 at 10:39 PM

    I blame Leyland, if only he had pitched valverde in every game. oh and I blame the rest of the Tigers that OWN the Yankees in October

  24. jaybird22seven - Oct 18, 2012 at 11:47 PM

    Bronx Bombers? Hahaha. Playing on a field with a right field fence that close you should be leading the league in homers. That field makes an average left hand hitter into a power hitter. Time to make that field into a big boys park !!!

  25. thatyankeedude - Oct 18, 2012 at 11:56 PM

    Yes lets kick the Yankees when they are down. This will be entertaining come next season when they win #28 and the haters disappear. Haters gonna hate. Feel free to comment when your teams get into the 20s as far as WS go. Oh wait you won’t see that in your life time. The power and prestige of the Yankees will not fail them. It was a rough series but once healthy again it will be a bright future.

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