The Yankees lost to the Detroit Tigers, in the series clinching game 5, 3-2, in a game that can be blamed on the offensive repeatedly failing to come through with runners in scoring position.
The Yankees offense left a total of 11 runners on base and they were 0-4 with the bases loaded. This is inexcusable for any game, especially this one, and to top it off, Alex Rodriguez struck out with the bases loaded in the seventh.
Some have criticized Joe Girardi for sending in six pitchers after Ivan Nova was removed because of a forearm strain, but that is unwarranted because those six pitchers only gave up one run. It makes all the sense in the world to manage a game 5 with a no holds barred attitude, but unfortunately the offense could not live up to their end of the bargain.
As mentioned above, batters came to the plate time and time again, with runners in scoring position, while not getting the job done and Girardi cannot really be blamed for that. It is not like nobody was getting on base.
This would be a different issue if the runners in scoring position failures happened in September causing the Yankees to miss the playoffs.
The start to the game by Ivan Nova could have been much better as he gave up home runs in the first inning to Delmon Young and Don Kelly. Everybody knew going into the game the Phil Hughes or CC Sabathia would be available to relieve him, but nobody thought his start would be so brief.
Mark Teixiera continued his resurgence from game four hitting a ground rule double for the Yankees’ first hit of the game in the second.
Nova had a short leash coming in, but he left the game earlier than advertised as a result of forearm strain. He came out of the game after the second inning to give way to Phil Hughes, who was put into the bullpen for the playoffs. Hughes pitched the third inning only allowing one hit while continuing the solid pitching he displayed in Detroit.
Boone Logan came in to start the fourth inning as Girardi continued to manage the game with a no holds barred attitude.
Russell Marin came to the plate in the fourth inning with the bases loaded, after Jorge Posada hit a single to center, but Martin would hit a weak fly ball to first. Brett Gardner left the bases loaded as he popped up to third to end the disappointing inning. Not scoring a run with the bases loaded and one out is unacceptable.
CC Sebathia came into the game in the fifth, for his first bullpen appearance in his career, to try and prevent the Tigers from scoring any more runs.
In the fifth inning the Yankees finally got on the board as Robinson Cano smashed a home run to the second deck. It was his eight career playoff homer and he is now hitting .300 for the series.
Scherzer has allowed 14 homers with runners on base, but he got Russell Martin out to end the fifth inning with men on first and second. Girardi wasted another opportunity to make another substitution as Montero should have been hitting for Martin.
Derek Jeter was able to get to first on an infield single after hustling like normal. He would be Max Scherzer’s last batter as his hit needs to be the start of a rally. After Cano got a lucky single passed Benoit, Alex Rodriguez came up with the bases loaded and the biggest at bat in the series for the Yankees.
After all of Benoit’s theatrics after repeatedly failing to throw a pitch, Benoit threw a changeup to get Rodriguez out swinging. The Yankees got lucky with their second run as Benoit walked Mark Teixiera on a 3-1 count. The reason this was lucky was because Teixiera had only been hitting .167 in the series, before this game.
Nick Swisher came up with the bases loaded, and the chance to put the team in the drivers seat, but he predictably struck out as the team has been horrible with runners on base.
Unfortunately, nothing of significance happened in the last two innings as Gardner was the only batter to get on base for the Yankees. The Yankees held the Tigers hitless in the eighth and ninth, but that didn’t really matter after their failures with runners on base earlier in the contest.
Various broadcasters at ESPN have brought up the question – “Praise the Tigers or blame the Yankees.” You obviously have to praise the Tigers a little because they won the series but 75 percent of the blame has to go against the Yankees because of their offensive ineptitude. This would not have happened in the glory years from 1996-2000, or if Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon were still on the team.
In order the Yankees to advance further next season Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixiera and Nick Swisher, if he is still on the team, will have to be better postseason performers.