Did I say “Yankees in 6?” I clearly meant “Yankees in 7.” Because, after last night’s 10-3 drubbing, the Yankees can only advance to the World Series by winning Games 5, 6 and 7.
The sentiment around Yankee-land is that, once again, AJ Burnett let Yankee fans down. I disagree. AJ Burnett (6 6 5 5 3 4) pitched a credible game and certainly better than anyone could’ve expected after a 16-day furlough on the bench. Instead of laying this loss at Burnett’s feet, I blame the Yankee lineup which, once again, was inept. With a 2-for-13 performance with runners in scoring position (6-for-39 thus far in the ALCS (.154 AVG)), the Yankees squandered their most favorable pitching matchup by not beating up on the hittable Tommy Hunter.
What more can be said beyond that? The offense didn’t show up last night, as they have not shown up all series. Bullpen implosions the past two nights notwithstanding, the Yankees can’t win a pennant when Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira are held to a collective 2-for-29 through four games.
A special mention to Yankees skipper Joe Girardi. He’s had a lousy two months on the job, first schizo-managing the Yankees down the stretch (“we’re playing to win…no, we’re not…yes we are!”) and then, last night, leaving Burnett in when going to a relief pitcher would’ve made more sense. It was clear that Burnett was tiring yet, somehow, Girardi failed to understand that losing the lead in the sixth inning of the second most important game of the season would not be a good thing. One pitch into Bengie Molina’s at bat, the worst happened.
Finally, a speedy recovery wish to injured first baseman Mark Teixeira, who strained his hamstring while running out a grounder in the fifth inning. Hopefully he recovers around mid-May, so as to avoid the usual early-season troubles that plague him. His April and October disappearing acts have grown tedious so, frankly, an “out of sight, out of mind” status will help me cope with my growing disaffection for Mr. Ed.
CC Sabathia vs. C.J. Wilson in a rematch of Game 1 this afternoon at 4pm. Perhaps Sabathia extends the season. Perhaps not. In the end, it’ll be the offense that decides this game. Hopefully ours, not theirs.