By the time that Lidle, in relief of Wright, was knocked out of this game in the 5th inning (with no one out), this game – and the Yankees season – was over.
Five days ago, about this ALDS match-up, I wrote:
I know that some might see this match-up as the 2003 World Series all over again – facing a young and care-free rags to riches team, with pitchers that throw hard, and they play in a big ballpark, with crafty manager, etc.
But, the Marlins in 2003 were peaking towards the World Series. The Tigers limped into the post-season.
That sounded smart. After all, the Tigers only won 19 of their final 50 games this season. I was wrong. I should have listened to a friend of mine, who told me (on that same day) that, according to the BP keys to post-season success, it would be the Tigers over the Yankees in the ALDS.
In terms of recent Yankees post-season failures in the ALDS, this ALDS loss is not as painful as 1995 – but, it’s just as bad as 1997 or 2002. In terms of overall recent Yankees post-season failures, this series loss is not as painful as 2004 – but, it’s just as bad as 2003.
Yup, in many ways, this Yankees October was 2003 all over again. The “no-names” beat the “big-names” and they stuffed it down their throats in the process.
Watching Jeremy Bonderman cruise through the first 5 innings today, on only 40 pitches, against “Murderer’s Row & Cano,” really drilled the Yankees problem home, to me. Working the pitcher, playing for deep counts, etc., is only successful against bad-to-average pitching. It does not work against good, great, or hot pitching. When you face pitchers who can pound quality strike after quality strike, you better start stringing together some singles for a rally – because you’re not going to get that fat and/or cookie pitch to blast for extra bases. Go ask Sheffield, or Giambi, or A-Rod about that.
Lastly, there will always be a part of me who will wonder if this game would have been different with Wang on the hill for New York – and Mussina pitching Game 5. At the least, if Wang could have kept the Tigers off the board for the first three innings, or so, maybe it would have kept the crowd out of the game for a while and their energy would have not been something for Bonderman and the Tigers to feed from in this contest. As it was, between the Yankees going down in the first on seven pitches, the Ordonez homer in the second, and the Pudge 2-out RBI in the fourth (after the A-Rod error), the Motown faithful were rocking before this game hit the fifth inning.
On the whole, for those in Yankeeland, this game was as ugly as Jeanie Zelasko’s freckled cleavage.
Congrats to the Tigers. They won, fair and square – and in convincing fashion. I hope they win the ALCS now – because I’m not interested in seeing the A’s win and then having to listen about how smart Billy Beane is, all winter. And, since it looks like the Mets have a good shot at making the World Series, I want the team that beat the Yankees to beat the Mets in the World Series. That will keep the Mets fans quiet after this October.
Pretty sad that this is what’s left for a Yankee fan to root for, huh?