• October 5th vs. The Tigers

    Posted by on October 5th, 2006 · Comments (25)

    I told you that the Tigers would show up to play for this game. I also warned you about Guillen and Zumaya.

    As much as I want to say that Mussina did his job today – going seven on 93 pitches – the wild pitch and 2-out hit allowed in the 5th and the 0-2 triple in the 7th were big mistakes.

    Now you have a situation where it’s a best two-of-three and the Tigers have the homefield advantage. The game tomorrow night, for Randy Johnson, is “must win.” And, if the Yankees lose tomorrow, they have to think about bringing Wang back a day early to pitch Game Four.

    When Matsui led off the 9th today with a single, and Torre had Melky pinch-run, I questioned that move. Cabrera is faster than Godzilla. But, Miggy Cairo is 37 for 44, over the last 3 years, in SB attempts. If ever there was a “Dave Roberts 2004″ situation for the Yankees – this was it. Get Cairo in there and take a shot at second base – or, at the least, take a shot at second once there were two outs and Damon was up.

    Lastly, where have Sheffield, A-Rod and Cano been these last two games? O.K., Sheff did have an RBI in Game One. But, Cano and A-Rod have been invisible.

    Over the last two games, Alex Rodriguez has whiffed 4 times where 3 of them were looking. For a guy who was seeing the ball great in September, all of a sudden he’s lost at the plate again. Maybe Torre needs to move him down in the line-up some more?

    Comments on October 5th vs. The Tigers

    1. MJ
      October 5th, 2006 | 4:53 pm

      This game had all the makings of a typical Moose playoff game and it did not fail to live up to my expectations. Moose did just enough to lose the game even though he accomplished Goal #1 which was to work deep into it.

      Robby and ARod have obviously been left behind in the regular season. I thought Robby would show a bit more although the law of averages should’ve predicted that he’d slump eventually. I’ve realized that it’s pointless counting on ARod any more. I can’t defend him. He flat sucks in meaningful games. Sheff’s been just as cold as ARod since Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS. The two of them are auto-outs.

      RJ’s a piece of shit. Season really comes down to whether or not Jaret Wright or Chien-Ming Wang will pitch Game 4 to keep us alive long enough for someone to suck it up in Game 5. Well, 2006 was fun – maybe 2007 will work out better.

      Amazingly, I can’t even blame Torre for anything this time around. This one’s on Moose and the putrid performance of the “best lineup ever”.

    2. bfriley76
      October 5th, 2006 | 4:56 pm

      Not a great showing, obviously, but I didn’t realize the series was over. Here I thought it was only 1-1. Thanks MJ. Now my weekend is free. No need to watch any of the games.

    3. JJay
      October 5th, 2006 | 4:58 pm

      I agree on A-Rod. I defended him for the majority of the season but seriously…this guy disappears when it matters most.

    4. October 5th, 2006 | 4:59 pm

      Hey, maybe the big ballpark in Motown will help Unit tomorrow? Plus, who’s pitching for the Tigers in that game. The Yankees have a shot, somewhat.

    5. MJ
      October 5th, 2006 | 5:07 pm

      Last time RJ faced Detroit at Comerica was on Memorial Day. He broke a string of shitty starts by throwing 6 innings of no-hit ball, I believe. So maybe there’s some symmetry here?

      bfriley76 – you’re entitled to your opinion. My opinion is that today was a must win and the team didn’t get the job done. I don’t think the matchups favor the Yanks for the next two or three days but if you’re optimistic, I’m happy to hear it. I’d love to be wrong and to see the Yanks hosting an exhausted A’s or Twins next week but I just don’t see it happening. Anyway, today was what it was – a giant fuckin’ letdown.

    6. Don
      October 5th, 2006 | 5:07 pm

      About what I expected from Mussina.

      As for Alex, what more can be said?

      Too many DH’s, Sheffield, Giambi, Matsui, sucking down $50 million or thereabouts. Not well thought out. Not Cashman’s fault.

      Pitching and defense win in the post season.

    7. October 5th, 2006 | 5:08 pm

      Let’s try to be a little objective on ARod’s whiffs…

      In the first, Verlander blew two 97+ heaters by him and then dropped a 73 MPH hammer curve over for a strike.

      In the fifth, he got the benefit of some questionable calls on a pair of inside sliders.

      In the eight, Zumaya went 103-102-100 on Rodriguez.

      Sometimes you just have to tip your cap.

      He also got a bit robbed by Monroe in the fourth – that’s three times in the past two games now he’s gotten a little snakebit. He’s 1-for-8 in the series, but he easily could be 4-for-8.

      The Yanks came out flat, made some minor mental and physical mistakes and got beat, sometimes you just have to tip your cap.

      That said, the Unit needs to be big tomorrow or its all over.

    8. MJ
      October 5th, 2006 | 5:08 pm

      Not sure how Matsui gets sucked into this conversation after getting 3 hits, including representing the tying run in the 9th.

    9. MJ
      October 5th, 2006 | 5:12 pm

      I’d tip my cap to Verlander and Zumaya, no doubt. They both have good stuff and kept the righties at bay all afternoon.

      That being said, it’s not as if the outcomes weren’t entirely unpredictable…

    10. October 5th, 2006 | 5:15 pm

      Sean – fair points on A-Rod. But, at the end of the day, 30 years from now, when people check the stats of this series, they’re just going to see the Ks and not the location and MPH of the pitches.

      It’s the Yoda thing – and, so far, in this ALDS, Alex is just not doing it (and trying matters little for the history books).

    11. October 5th, 2006 | 5:21 pm

      You gotta give some credit to Verlander and Zumaya. JV made some very good pitches when he needed to. He made 3 great pitches to Arod with the bases full. And Giambi & Jeter k’ed too vs. Zumaya, Arod wasn’t the only one looking bad against him. But overall, yes, Arod and Cano have to step up.

      What about Abreu’s shot off the RF wall? I cant believe that wasn’t a HR.

      And damn does Detroit hit a lot of extra-base hits! 12 of their 20 hits have been xbh. If we hold just a few of those 12 to singles, it might be a win today. Mussina had 2 terrible at-bats, where he fell behind Guillen 2-0 and grooved a FB, then when he had Granderson 0-2, and grooved another FB.

      I dont like counting on Randy. I see 2 probabilities for tomorrow: A. 7 ip, 5 er; or B. 7 ip, 1 er.

    12. Don
      October 5th, 2006 | 5:48 pm

      Alex in his last ten (10) post season games: 4-35.

      This ALDS, Sheffield, Alex & Cano: 2-24, 22 LOB.

    13. JeremyM
      October 5th, 2006 | 6:26 pm

      It was not a good game, and I sure don’t feel comfortable staking the season on Johnson and Wright. The killer instinct has been lacking from this current crop of Yankees and it’s getting kind of tiresome, but I don’t think they are out of the series by any means. To me, the key right now is Cano has truly been hitting like a 9th place hitter instead of the Cano we all know and love. The double play he hit into was a bummer.
      I’m not thrilled with A-Rod of course but the guy did see some filthy stuff-that said at least swing the bat and maybe you can foul that nasty curve off instead of staring at it twice. The thing I’m afraid of is that Kenny Rogers somehow turns into the blind squirrel that eventually finds a nut, and actually pitches well tomorrow. Well, here we go again, I would hate for things to be somewhat easy. Where are the Rangers in the DS when you need them?

    14. October 5th, 2006 | 7:30 pm

      I agree Jeremy. If Cano hits, we should be ok.

      The Yanks haven’t swept a PS series since the ’99 WS. Maybe they DO lack that killer instinct…

    15. baileywalk
      October 5th, 2006 | 7:55 pm

      Well, at least Moose isn’t totally getting killed in here. I was afraid he would be. The first run came in on a bloop single and the second run scored because Posada let a man get to third on a passed ball. The home run was his fault, obviously.

      The one thing I haven’t seen anyone mention was the horrendous play Matsui made in left. The batter hit a flyball to left to start off the seventh and Matsui completely misplayed it. It was a catchable ball and he backed off of it and let it bounce down. That runner eventually scored and was the winning run. I couldn’t believe Matsui didn’t catch that ball. He’s hitting right now, but is it time to replace him with Melky late in the game?

      Let’s be honest here: the offense ultimately sucked today. They had Verlander on the ropes about ten times in the first three innings and did nothing. The only runs they scored were on a Damon home run. A-Rod is useless. And Cano killed us today, too. I don’t blame A-Rod for striking out against Zumaya. Giambi couldn’t touch him, either. But at this point there’s no reason to even hope A-Rod is going to get a big hit — the guy CANNOT hit a fastball. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. Anything hard, in and up — even if it’s 90 miles an hour — and he’ll swing right through it. He never had a chance against Verlander in the first, even though a hit there probably gives us the win. It’s time to move Posada up to the six hole.

      The Yankees basically gave this one away. I couldn’t believe they didn’t scratch a run out in the ninth.

      I came into this series confident the Yankees would sweep. Now I’m not confident they’ll even win the series. Johnson is hurt, so we’ll probably have to score 11 runs to win that game. And even if we do, the season rests on the shoulders of Jaret Wright. How is it possible that we went from the odds-on favorites to looking at another one-and-done?

    16. ynks4life
      October 5th, 2006 | 8:32 pm

      It was definitely a tough loss but don’t give up yet!!! You guys all sound like you’re throwing in the towel…Don’t forget who we are! We are the New York Yankees. We’re still going to win the series 3-1. Where is the faith NY???

    17. Joel
      October 5th, 2006 | 8:36 pm

      We all just got a stark reminder about the importance of pitching and defense in playoff baseball. Some thoughts:

      Moose: Up 3-1 after 4, you have to give us at least a tie going into the 8th. These are the freakin’ Tigers, not the 2004 Red Sox.

      Matsui: Misplayed a ball that Melky catches in left in the 7th. Sure he hit well, but he drove home none and cost us one.

      Posada: Misplayed two balls. I don’t care if one was called a wild pitch, a major league catcher must make those plays.

      Sheffield: An absolute, no-holes-barred accident waiting to happen at first base. Jeter’s “error” is routine for a decent first baseman.

      The Bullpen: Has Joe already lost confidence in Myers? With a runner on third and one out with a lefty up (Granderson), where is Myers for the strikeout? So what if Granderson got to him yesterday. Curtis Granderson is not David Ortiz! Why have Myers if you’re not going to use him in a spot like that?

      A-Rod: We’ve seen this movie before: Has one standard swing for every situation. Refuses to shorten his swing with 2 strikes. Feasts on mediocre pitching. Problem is, you don’t see so much mediocre pitching in the playoffs, so there’s your 3-23 with a gazillion stikeouts in the last 2 ALDS.

      The Manager: I have generally defended Joe on this site. But now it is gut-check time for him too. He managed in 1996 like every game was an elimination game, and he didn’t care who he pissed off. No one player is bigger than this team. If someone is cold, we don’t have time to “wait for him to come around.” With Jaret Wright going against Bonderman on the road in game 4, tomorrow MUST be managed as an elimination game.

      I must be in time warp. It just seems like yesterday that Randy Johnson was starting a critical game 3 in the ALDS. I hope the results are better this time around.

    18. JeremyM
      October 5th, 2006 | 8:56 pm

      I’ll be honest ynks4life, I no longer have confidence in the Yankees as the YANKEES anymore.

      Announcers are still amazed that teams are not “intimidated” by the Yankees. First off, these guys are major leaguers. Second off, the Yanks have not won it all since 2000. It’s nothing new. We’ve seen this script in 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005, to varying degrees. Tons of stranded runners, missed opportunites, little numbskull plays, shaky defense, etc.

      Do I think the Yanks are dead? No. But when I watch a game like today, all I think about are the failures from the past anymore, and how this compares. Before, I would think “hey, they’re down 2 runs and it’s late, no problem, they’ve been there before.” Basically, we’re turning into Braves fans!

      Maybe we’ll be better off if Giambi can put on a glove, Melky can go back to left, and Matsui can DH. I think they win with that setup today.

    19. Joel
      October 5th, 2006 | 9:20 pm

      JeremyM,

      That was one of the most depressing entries I have ever read on this site. Depressing but true. I hate to say it myself, but the Atlanta B-Word entered my mind today too.

      I do not want to get ahead of ourselves, after all we’re still 1-1 in this series. But the murmurs are already beginning. I heard it today from usually unflappable Mike Francesa (a big Yankee fan and important opinion-maker in NY) of WFAN. Basically Francesa said that if the Yanks lose to the Tigers, he thinks there should/will be a total change in the “culture of the team.”

    20. RICH
      October 5th, 2006 | 9:33 pm

      I hope the people who are predicting the loss of the series after game 2 also said the same thing after the game 1 win. If not, the whiplash will kill ya.

    21. JeremyM
      October 5th, 2006 | 9:39 pm

      I take it all back, Joel. They’re winning the f’ing series. See you guys tomorrow, I need to stop obsessing and chill! There’s a good reason we’re all depressed, and it has nothing to do with the first 8 innings–Todd Jones got the save. They got the leadoff runner on and couldn’t score him against Todd Jones. That wouldn’t have happened in 98-00. Pretty easy to see why we’re all shaken to the core. But that’s over and done with. Kenny Rogers will get thrashed around like a photographer, Johnson will be ready to throw a gem AND give birth, and A-Rod is smoking one, maybe two homers.

    22. rmd0311
      October 5th, 2006 | 10:11 pm

      Maybe it has to do with changing the ENTIRE DYNAMIC of the team… Forcing Matsui and Sheff into the lineup. Not for nothing, but we were winning with Melky in left and Giambi in 1st. Not with the Line UP we have now. I feared this when I heard they would both be in the lineup.

      AROD: I am his biggest supporter. If he does not come through tomorrow and does something to help this team win the game I am really DONE. He was smoking HOT a week ago. Folds like my 3 year OLD.

      Don’t get me started on Randy…

      But I am not saying anything that has not been said like 10 times today alone. How can I trust the Yankees after this year? Failure is starting to seem like the name of the game. NO TRUST:::

    23. brockdc
      October 6th, 2006 | 12:03 am

      I still think the Yanks will take down the Tigers in 5, though I’m far from optimistic about advancing beyond the ALCS BECAUSE…

      A. This is not the same team that cruised to a division championship – I don’t care what the pundits say about “The best lineup in the history of mankind,” etc., this lineup is stacked with station-to-station power hitters and craploads of strikeouts. They will get stymied by top-shelf pitching. Melky was huge this year and should be insterted in leftfield without question (even if Joe has to DH Matsui and bench Sheff and his ailing ego).

      B.) The pitching is just too damned mediocre, CMW notwithstanding. For the life of me, I can’t remember the last team to simply bludgeon their way to a championship. Championship teams almost always have either two aces OR one ace, a strong two and three and a lights-out bullpen. Unfortunately, the Yanks have none of the above.

    24. antone
      October 6th, 2006 | 7:51 am

      I think some of us bought into the hype of the media predicting the Yankees to role through the post-season, which you can’t expect them to do anymore…the series is only 1-1 its not over sure but I know alot of people are down on the team because hey they basically need Johnson or Wright to come up big and that’s not the situation they want to be in…but Rogers and Bondermen are definitely beatable as well…

      As far as the game yesterday, the Yankees just got flat out beat in my opinion….Matsui is pretty bad in left if you ask me, I always felt he was kind of shakey, and Mussina threw a horrible pitch to Guillen..on the plus side Bruney looked good….I was hoping we would see Bernie DH for Giambi against Rogers in Game 3 but Giambi is hitting over .400 against Rogers so I guess the Yanks will be using the same lineup all series…it’s almost a no-win situation because these guys are so good, you can’t really sit one of them so you live or die with them if they are in a slump then your screwed…and as far as ARod yesterday…if he didn’t have a prior history of choking then yesterday wouldn’t have mattered but he’s just adding to it meanwhile Pujols is tearing up any pitcher he faces

    25. Raf
      October 6th, 2006 | 9:13 am

      The pitching is just too damned mediocre, CMW notwithstanding. For the life of me, I can’t remember the last team to simply bludgeon their way to a championship.
      ======================
      It has been a while. 1993, as a matter of fact

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