Via Bill Madden -
If nothing else, the Yankees’ inability to close out the ALCS in five games exposed some of their vulnerability that didn’t show up during the regular season when they led the majors with 103 wins.
Johnny Damon and Nick Swisher, who combined for 53 homers in the regular season, have been quieted in the postseason – especially Swisher, who will lug a .103 (3-for-29), one RBI, 10-strikeout postseason into Yankee Stadium for the rescheduled Game 6 tonight. And for whatever reason, the young power arms in the bullpen, Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain, have not fared well under playoff pressure.
A National League scout following the ALCS admitted Saturday he’s had to alter his report on the Yankees. “Before the series, I felt they were about the best overall team I’d seen in 30 years, with almost no weaknesses,” he said. “But in Swisher’s case, in hitting those 29 homers over the course of the 162-game season, he saw a lot of a mediocre or worse pitching and now he’s hit the wall in the postseason against much better pitching. You can see his mechanics and confidence are all messed up now.
“As for Hughes and Chamberlain, I didn’t like either of their body language in Game 5. It was the same with (A.J.) Burnett. That’s the Burnett I’ve seen over the last 5-6 years, a guy with great stuff who doesn’t pitch well in big-game pressure situations.”
I don’t agree with including Johnny Damon in this one. He’s had two homers in this series already. And, Hughes’ overall numbers this ALCS have been O.K. – but, agreed he has allowed some baserunners in bad spots. Joba & A.J.? Burnett choked in Game Five. Of that, I am pretty sure. And, Chamberlain has just been terrible this post-season. His WHIP is 5.00 pitching in 3 games and only recording 3 outs.
Now, Swishalicious has just been flat out exposed this October. He has 10 whiffs in 29 BA, overall. At this rate, he may be posting one of the worst post-season showings ever by a Yankees full-time position player. But, if the Yankees need to count on Nick Swisher to win a post-season series, then they have much bigger problems than Nick Swisher.