Joe Girardi looks like the losing manager doesn't he? (Image:William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via US PRESSWIRE)

Yankees swept by Tigers lighting the Hot Stove

The New York Yankees, the American League East Champions were swept tonight by the AL Central Champion Detroit Tigers in the American League Championship Series, losing Game 4 by a score of 8-1. The Yankees made headlines in the series for their putrid offensive display which caused manager Joe Girardi to bench star players at a dizzying clip. The loss was rather humiliating in the end and has ignited the Hot Stove fire.

With their ace CC Sabathia on the mound the Yankees hoped they would make it to see another day and string together another win to get the series back to the Bronx. Even CC at his finest would have had a hard time recording the win as the Yankees offense continued to stumble managing to score only one run.

Detroit’s Max Scherzer was fantastic, holding a no-hitter into the sixth inning. A triple by Eduardo Nunez broke up the no-no and Nick Swisher got his second career hit with runners in scoring position in his 36th try. Yes, that’s 2-for-36. It’s been nice having you in right field these last four seasons Nick, but you may have worn out your welcome in the Bronx.

While Scherzer was setting down Yankee batters with ease (he had ten strikeouts) Sabathia labored from the opening pitch. He didn’t look like a guy with an extra day of rest. He looked worn and couldn’t make it out of the fourth inning. He was not helped by his defense early on and ended up leaving down 6-0 after two-run homers by both Miguel Cabrera and Jhonny Peralta.

This series will be remembered for the inept offense and the lineup decisions Girardi felt he was forced to make. Yankee batters struck out 36 times in the ALCS. The Bombers hit .157 for the series. In the end it seemed that no matter what move he made with the offense it didn’t work. Of the starters who played all four games only Ichiro Suzuki hit over .300 (.353).

The offseason will have plenty of storylines some of which began while the ALCS was in progress. Typically after a season ends the team will look at its coaching staff first. If there is a coach who should be concerned about his job security it would be hitting coach Kevin Long. I’m not sure they fire him, but he could be on a short leash next season if they start out slowly. In my estimation Girardi and pitching coach Larry Rothschild are very safe as is bench coach Tony Pena, though he will make the rounds to interview for managerial positions (he already interviewed with Boston).

As for the players, Alex Rodriguez will be the main focal point for the media. Will he indeed be moved by the Yankees in the winter? If he isn’t traded, what will his role be and how is his relationship with Girardi going to play out?

Will the Yankees simply exercise the option on Robinson Cano ($15 million) and deal with an extension after the 2013 season? Or will they try to use his awful postseason as leverage against him and his super-agent Scott Boras and get a deal done now? Despite his horrendous 3-for-40 showing in the postseason, Cano is the Yankees best player.

I can’t imagine that Curtis Granderson will play in pinstripes beyond his 2013 option year in which he would make $13 million should the Yankees pick it up. He’s become an all or nothing hitter, who doesn’t run much anymore and plays poorly in the field. Some team will be willing to give him serious money in 2014 and the Yankees would be foolish in my opinion to keep Granderson around beyond 2013. I wouldn’t be opposed to them letting him walk now as I’m not convinced he is worth $13 million.

There are plenty of other question marks surrounding the Yankees. Will Rafael Soriano who has an opt-out clause enforce it if he feels he can parlay his 43 saves into a multi-year deal now? Will Mariano Rivera indeed make a comeback? Will Andy Pettitte return? Do the Yankees sign Ichiro to a deal? What about Hiroki Kuroda and Russell Martin? Can Derek Jeter return 100% healthy after having ankle surgery?

There is a question to be asked at every turn when looking through the Yankees roster and the organization’s brass will work tirelessly over the offseason in the hopes of building a team that can bring a 28th World Championship to the Bronx.

Next Yankees Game View full schedule »
Thursday, Aug 2828 Aug1:08at Detroit TigersBuy Tickets

Tags: New York Yankees

  • Chris Hannum

    I don’t get all this stuff over A-Rod. He’s not worth anything close to what he’s paid – but he is still an above average third baseman who would need to be replaced. What’s the point in getting rid of him if it doesn’t even free up any salary? You guys are definitely going to have a lot to keep Yanks Go Yard busy over the next few months.

    • Chris_Carelli

      Thanks for the comments Chris. Yes, he is still an above average third baseman, but you’d have to admit that the relationship will be tenuous at best if he stays. I’m pretty sure that if he is not on the 40-man roster whatever they are paying him to play elsewhere does not count toward their luxury tax threshold which is important. Not a reason to dump him but it is something to consider in so far as having more money to spend on others while staying under 2014′s magic $189 million goal.

      And yes, there is no doubt that the offseason is going to be very interesting and extremely busy.

  • Pingback: XUSIE » The Paper Tigers Fall – Wall Street Journal

  • Michael Dittelman

    It’s a good time to start planning for the future: Consider how older vets (Jeter, Andy, Mo, etc) may not be able to perform at the same levels, and leverage the few assets in-hand to ensure the team can compete, and make the playoffs again. Should Jeter move from SS? Or, does an OF of Brett, Jeter and Ichiro make sense? Maybe Jeter should play 3B or 1B (and DH), the way Molitor did at the end of his career. At the very least, moving Jeter from SS will prolong his career, and potentially help the Yanks improve in a multitude of ways.

    With regard to A-Rod, the playoffs showed us that he can struggle. The regular season (and last year’s regular season) showed us that he’s NOT the same player. While a competent 3B defensively, what’s his WAR (meaning, how does he compare to others)? Could a platoon of Nix and Chavez at 3B — or, as mentioned earlier, having Jeter at 3B — produce better results? … A-Rod missed a a “chunk” of games this year and last with injuries. But the playoffs showed that with runners on base, he can’t be trusted to come through…

    Ichiro: The guy can still play. He showed that in the regular season with the Yanks, and in the playoffs. So while the team may be “in flux” in certain positions, it may be wise to keep Ichiro, thereby solidifying a corner OF spot. … And if Brett G can stay healthy, that’s a speedy OF, with guys who can get on base, cause havoc for pitchers and play smart.

    Tex: Aside from his strong fielding — as every Yankees fan can agree, Tex is a very strong fielding 1B — Tex is no different from Giambi at the plate: Feast or famine: Look at his declining AVG, his declining on base percentage, his declining reliability with runners on base, but his strong power numbers (HR’s). Hello, Giambi?

    Pitching: It’ll be interesting to see if Nova can rebound. If Pineida can come back healthy and strong, and CC can remain reliable, that’s an interesting group. With Hughes and Phelps, there are serviceable arms at-hand for the Yanks to trust. Of course, the big question is always health. So having a dearth of reliable starting pitching is never a bad thing. … (See Freddy Garcia as case in point)

    Overall, this team came to rely on the Earl Weaver style of baseball: Leading the league in the regular season in HR’s — while “sexy and flashy” and sells tickets — proves to be dangerous in both 1-run games and the postseason, when runs come at a premium. … Note, the Yanks record when LOSING after 8 innings during the regular season this year? Not very good.

    • Chris_Carelli

      Hi Michael,

      Thanks for the comments. I can’t discount the fact that moving Jeter makes sense, but he seems to think he can still play short (we’ll see with the ankle injury now) and it will be on him to decide when he shifts to the OF.
      I’m not sure A-Rod was ever completely healthy upon his return. I wouldn’t be shocked to hear that in the upcoming weeks. He was slaying the ball before he got hurt. If they get rid of A-Rod, they need to make a push for Chase Headley. I wouldn’t be too thrilled with a platoon at a premium position.
      Tex is another one who I think really lost something with all the time off. He’s also paid too much for what he provides now, but there is nothing that can be done about that now.
      I would love to see Pineda come back strong. I believe getting young on the mound is essential. Pineda and David Phelps provide that avenue. I’m not a fan of Nova’s. I think he was a product of excellent run support and good luck in 2011 and it all ran out in 2012. This is not a prospect pitcher we are talking about.
      Yes, the style of play is not built for the postseason and maybe they do something about it, but I listened to Cashman on the radio and he doesn’t sound like a guy ready to reinvent the team hitting concept.

      • Matt Hunter

        Do we knew that this style of play isn’t built for the playoffs? Just because it didn’t work this year doesn’t mean it’s a bad strategy all-together. I’d be very interested to see a study on that.

  • Pingback: Yankees Hot Stove: Sign Soriano pronto