After barely getting past the Baltimore Orioles in the ALDS, the New York Yankees now find themselves in a 0-2 hole as they head to Detroit for Game 3 of the American League Championship Series Tuesday night against Justin Verlander and the Tigers. It has been an extremely frustrating playoffs for the Yankees and their fans.
If the entire team collapsed, it might actually be easier to take. That’s not the case, however.
The Yankees have received more than they could have expected out of their pitching staff. The starting pitching has been tremendous, and the bullpen has done it’s job for the most part as well. The starting rotation of CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda, and Phil Hughes have given up just 14 runs in 54 innings of work this postseason.
Game after game, the Yankees pitchers have kept the team in the game. The problem has been the offense’s inability to score runs. A lineup full of stars like Derek Jeter (before being injured), Alex Rodriguez, Nick Swisher, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson and more should be able to score runs regularly. The Yankees have scored four runs just twice in the playoffs so far. They scored seven runs in Game 1 of the ALDS against Baltimore, and four runs in a 6-4 extra innings loss in Game 1 of the ALCS. In the other four games, the Yankees have scored a total of just nine runs. Not the production Yankees fans are accustomed to seeing from this team.
Outside of Raul Ibanez, Mark Teixeira, Ichiro Suzuki and the now injured Derek Jeter, the Yankees lineup has been silent. Alex Rodriguez has taken the brunt of the negative comments and lineup changes, but he is not the only problem. Sure, Rodriguez is batting just .130 this postseason, but he has made some solid contact at times. Nick Swisher (.154) and Curtis Granderson (.115) have looked absolutely pathetic at the plate, constantly swinging and touching nothing but air.
The one person that anyone would tell you could carry this Yankees lineup all the way to a championship is Robinson Cano. However, this postseason, Cano has done nothing. Through seven games, the second baseman has just two hits in 32 at-bats. Both hits are doubles. If the Yankees are going to get back in this series with Detroit and have any hopes of making the World Series, Robinson Cano will need to get his bat going and carry this team.
Rodriguez was pinch hit for twice and held out of the starting lineup once as well this postseason. However, the way they are performing, Swisher and Granderson should be on the bench. Let’s give some others a chance, they can’t do any worse.
Granderson, Swisher and Rodriguez have struck out 34 times in the seven playoffs games this year.
It’s a team sport and the entire team needs to perform at peak level in order to reach the ultimate goal. The players will stick by each others sides and say all the right things. However, imagine what must be going through the minds of the pitchers. The ones who, each and every game, are taking the mound and giving excellent performances, all for nothing.
Hopefully, the Yankees lineup can make a quick turnaround and give the pitchers what they deserve, although it won’t be easy when the face arguably the best pitcher in baseball in Justin Verlander tomorrow night.