The ride is over! I do think though, it ended prematurely due to a lack of preventative maintenance and some poor short term decisions.
That being said, Texas deservedly moves forward while we go home. I thought Texas’ offense was very good all series. They fouled off pitchers pitches and waited for mistakes and took advantage of them. Somebody asked me about what I thought would happen before last game and I said Texas is getting great AB’s from almost everyone; they contributed GREATLY to our pitching looking bad. That being said, Hughes AND Colby Lewis were both pitching awful through 4 innings; so bad in fact, I sent out a text after 4 innings stating, “It is shocking the score is 1-0 with such horrible pitching…so many hittable pitches.” At that point, we had 3 hard hit balls and unfortunately we hit them right at people, but it was crazy we didn’t knock Colby out of the game…our bats were simply worse. It was one of the worst hitting performances we have had. Many people will say good pitching beats good hitting and throw that out without any context…the same people will incorrectly talk about the "gem" Colby Lewis threw against us as his line 6 IP, 3 hits, 1 ER, 3 Walks and 7 k’s, looks great…they would be so off base it is comical though. The guy was throwing meatballs all night and we just stunk the joint up. He couldn’t even get his soft stuff over for strikes, so he resorted to throwing his straight 89 MPH fastball over the plate and I mean over the plate. The only time all game he threw some off speed stuff for consistent strikes was against ARod as he threw a not-great-moving slider that ARod eventually doubled off. BTW, ARod hit the ball on the screws all night.
I think the story of the game was how bad the Yankee bats were…
It is a shame Hughes came up so short too. No command at all and he didn’t even cover 1st twice. The 1st time, Berkman got back, but the 2nd one was the one Cano ranged to his left and threw wildly to 1st. I am not sure whether Hughes would have caught it if he were on the base like he should have been, but he might have and he was clearly late (the angle was not good).
As for the rest of this game, I didn’t think Girardi did much wrong, I think he pulled Hughes at the right time, although I would have had more faith in Joba than Robertson after Robertson was lit up so bad in the series. We caught a terrible break when the 1st pitch to Vlad was called a ball after we correctly intentionally walked Hamilton (yes I agreed with his intentional walks because he averages more than a base every time up against a righty). That put Hughes in a 1-0 hole in a tie game (1-1), with 1st and 3rd and instead of throwing a fastball for a strike, Posada and Hughes decided to go with a breaking ball strike (not really a wrong choice). Unfortunately, Hughes hung it and Texas took advantage of a bad pitch for a double that opened up the game. One call can make a huge swing in a game, but the main difference was that Texas took advantage of that mistake and the incredibly horrible pitch Robertson threw to Cruz in the next AB (why not put it on a tee for him Robertson?) while the Yankees bats missed similar pitches all night long from Lewis. I will say that Feliz made some great pitches in the 9th against us though.
SO NOW WHAT?
First, let’s step back and say that making the final 4 is not too bad. I have said many times that advancing in the playoffs is a crap shoot; many times the hot team can ride you to victory…Texas batters really hit well all series and the Lee outing was special as he did not leave hittable pitches over the plate almost at all.
We will be making a lot of changes because I expect (and hope) Montero will be up at the major league level splitting time with Jorge. I think we will probably drop Berkman, Nick Johnson, Kearns and make some moves with guys like Cervelli and Mitre/Moseley and possibly even Robertson or Joba.
I think I would hold onto Joba unless I got some good value for him. I think he will be a solid arm.
I would keep Thames as he does what we need and that is a good bat against lefties. While he did a good job against righties this year too, that was just a good groove and in general he is too susceptible against the slow stuff from righties.
SHOULD GIRARDI BE BACK?
If we step back and look at his track record, he has won a WS in 3 years and not made the playoffs in the one of the years and then this year. That is not bad. I don’t think Girardi is a terrible manager, however, I think he was terrible the final 1/3 of the year and in the playoffs…simply awful. He was inconsistent in every one of his approaches and he had no clear direction. I also don’t like his disingenuous way of acting and he rubs me the wrong way and honestly I don’t want to root for the guy very much. You have recently read some of my views and there are many examples I have, but one that stands out was the time where ARod was coming back from his injury and he was babying ARod to the point where he might have cost us some important games and then when ARod got on base where it was clear he should have been pinch run for, he left him out there to risk injury (if he was as bad as Girardi had been saying). He then answered the questions as to why he left ARod in to run, only to take him out the next inning for Nunez or Pena (I forget) to play the field, when they could have just pinch run and stayed in the game, by saying, “I thought if we batted around ARod could have gotten up again.” What? Talk about being FOS! That was the start of Girardi losing his mind the final part of the season.
One other point is that if you look back on the moves made down the stretch and in the postseason with 20/20 knowledge, Girardi pushed every wrong button and was behind Washington at almost every turn in this last series. The moves he made never worked and the non moves didn’t work either, therefore he could have only hurt us.
So my answer is that while I think many times the grass is not greener and a change just to change is actually a bad thing usually with managers, I would be OK with replacing Girardi because he rubs me the wrong way and he was awful down the stretch. That being said, while Joe may still always rub me the wrong way, he has some good qualities and could improve as he is still relatively young in his coaching career. I do not know of any good options out there (although I am sure there are) and more important I would be extremely surprised if Cashman would replace him just because of the way he talks about him.
WHAT ABOUT CASHMAN?
The hardest part in sitting in my chair is I don’t how much Cashman gets involved with Girardi’s decisions and how much is made by Cashman. In other words, who made the decision to leave a 2nd lefty off the post season roster? I get the feeling it was Girardi because Cashman said that Ring pitched extremely well all year in the minors to get lefties out. As for his other moves, I have agreed with most of them so I can’t criticize them in hindsight. Vazquez didn’t work out, but I thought it was worth the move as we didn’t give up much…we also got Logan in the deal and while he failed to get Hamilton out twice he did pitch 1.2 innings allowing a hit and a walk in his other postseason work and was extremely valuable all year. Obviously, I didn’t like the Kearns trade right away and was vocal about it and that was not a smart deal, but I liked getting Wood and Berkman and they both were valuable. I would expect Wood to be retained, but I doubt Berkman unless he is willing to take a little less to be part of the team.
I liked the Granderson deal, but I still don’t think the team recognized his weakness against lefties and I am still not sure whether they do. He was better against lefties down the stretch, but he still wasn’t good; overall his OPS was .240 points lower against lefties…a huge difference.
Overall, Cashman knows what he is doing and I like his work with our minor leagues as well; he is a keeper, even if he failed to get a lefty killer or a lefty pitching specialist.
WHAT ABOUT THE TEAM?
It is early so a lot can happen, but I hope Andy wants to come back and I hope lee is open to pitching here…I would go get him.
Mariano should be given whatever he wants; he is the Genius Maker and once again did his job brilliantly.
Jeter; the toughest answer. I tend to think he is better than he played this year (which was not good). Even when I was hoping to see something new out of Jeter ion the postseason he didn’t deliver again posting a weak OPS of .709. I think you go to Jeter’s agent and some arbitrator and get a number that they feel is what Jeter would get on the open market if he were a free agent. I would then say we will give you a 50% premium on that and sign him for that deal. So if he could get 3 years at 20 mil then you give him 3 years at $30 mil and be done with it.
Swisher – I am only bringing him up because he struggled mightily in the Texas series with an OPS of .473 (ouch). He was putrid. He did well in the Minnesota series, but overall his postseason numbers are .162/.302/.314 OPS=.616. That is not good and while it is not anything about clutch, he is a guy who hits mistakes (and fastballs) and in the postseason you will have less mistakes and more breaking ball pitches. In fact, when I did my review about how well Nick did in the regular season I made a comment, “I hope he keeps this up.”
A lot of guys struggled in the postseason and while Lee pitched, I think the Yankees offense was just bad. No, I don’t want to fire Kevin Long, sometimes these things just happen.
Tip your hat to the Texas hitters and Lee and they deserve to be going to the WS.
I will get out an update on some of my thoughts throughout the year to see how I did...
One last thought though…what would have happened if Seattle didn’t screw us out of Lee at the last second?
I hope you have enjoyed my rantings and I will update the site and via email as I get some thoughts.