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Thoughts on Game One and the future of the Yankees in the ALCS

There’s just too much going on in Yankees Universe right now to compute. Last night the Yankees offense went cold and stranded the bases loaded three times before their four-run 9th inning. It was the first time in franchise history that the Yankees did not score a run with the bases loaded when having three chances to do so. What really stands out though is the season ending injury to Derek Jeter.

1. It’s a tragedy for baseball that Jeter will no longer be able to participate in the post-season this year. With a single last night, Jeter became the first player to 200 postseason hits. A record that will take a while to be broken due to the incredible difficulty it takes to reach the postseason almost every season. Personally, I would have rather lost that game in 9 innings 4-0, than lose in 12 and lose Jeter to a season-ending ankle injury. The guys on the TBS broadcast said Jeter will be the team’s biggest cheerleader, but at this point what does that do? Jeter has been the Yankees most consistent hitter of the 2012 season and playoffs. Without him at the top the Yankees’ lineup now consists of cold and streaky hitters. Without Jeter the calm, cool, and collected narrative is thrown out the window. Today when Jeter is sporting a hoodie in the dugout it’s going to hit us that he won’t be there to save the Yankees this postseason.

2.(Editor’s Note: this writing was drafted prior to game time) The lineup will likely have Ichiro leading off now and that leaves a huge question mark for who will bat second. Pick your poison with Granderson or Swisher. Unless Girardi gives Brett Gardner a chance to swing the bat. In the final game against Boston I witnessed Gardner get a hit and score a run in just two at bats. Proving that he at least shows that he can do some damage at the plate. Otherwise Girardi will run out Granderson and Swisher who are both hitting .130 for the post-season.

3. My lineup would look like this.

Ichiro LF, Gardner CF, Cano 2B, Teixeira 1B, Ibanez DH, Martin C, Swisher RF, Chavez 3B

It’s obvious Granderson needs a day off. While both he and Swisher are both batting .130 at least Swisher has a higher OBP, which isn’t saying much at this point. This lineup also eliminates the rally killing provided by the terrible playoff threesome of Rodriguez, Swisher, and Granderson. All who have batted within four consecutive plate appearances of each other.

At this point I feel Rodriguez can’t hit an 85 MPH fastball down the middle. It’s time to give Eric Chavez a chance, who is at least hitting the ball hard. He lined out to third in Game 4 of the ALDS and was robbed by Austin Jackson on a deep fly ball to right center field last night. He can’t do possibly any worse than Rodriguez has over the course of this postseason.

4. The Yankees would have scored a run if the first base umpire didn’t blow a call at first base on Cano’s laser off Fister’s hand. That ruined the Yankees chances at a run, and who knows if they would have scored more that inning. I’m almost positive that the Ibanez home run would have been a walkoff and not a game tying blast. Jeter also wouldn’t have had the chance to get injured in extra innings. It’s easy to say that all that stuff would have happened, I know, but it’s easy to say that did change the game.

5. Robinson Cano came into the post-season getting at least two hits in each of his last nine games. That statistic has drifted away quickly as Cano is now 2-for-28, which is a .071 batting average. Talk about a complete 360-degree change of events. During the regular season Cano was the Yankees most valuable hitter. He too has been a major reason why the team is not scoring runs. If the Yankees are going to advance to the World Series this year, Cano is going to have to produce in key RISP spots. Something that has been given the Yankees trouble all season long.

After one game, this year’s ALCS does look bleak. The Yankees are without their captain and have shown no sign that runs will come other than from late inning heroics out of Raul Ibanez. I’d feel more confident if Girardi ran out the lineup I posted above, but I still believe no matter what that this series isn’t over. This team is full of streaky hitters who can get hot just as quick as they get cold. In this case, that’s a good thing.

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