So, as we have seen there were some questionable decisions made by Aaron Boone, the Yankees’ manager, with regard to the batting line-up and substitutions. We, therefore, shouldn’t be surprised that those strange moments weren’t confined to the batting and the defence but affected the pitching too. Can anybody spell Austin Romine?
The Yankees’ time in the playoffs was short and sometimes not so sweet. They beat the Oakland Athletics in the one-game wildcard game but then were out of their depth in the 5 games series for the American League Division Series (ALDS) losing 3-1 to the Boston Red Sox who would eventually go on to take the World Series.
The performances of the batting line up were not far from how the players had performed in the regular season. Let’s take a look:
The Yankees last three games of the regular season saw their pitchers deliver a combined ERA of nearly 5. Time would show that in the ALDS most of the big bats would fall silently. In short, they needed their pitchers to wake up and quickly.
|New York Yankees – Pitching – Month – October (Regular season)|
New York Yankees – Pitching – Month – October(American League Division Series)
Joba Chamberlain. Chamberlain is a conundrum. Chamberlain is an enigma, a riddle. Just a week earlier I’d sat in my seat at Yankee Stadium and wondered f this guy could throw a strike. In his last game of the regular season, he let no-one get on base. In 3 appearances in the 3 games of the ALDS, he wasn’t quite as dominating but no-one reached home. This is Chamberlain back in the bullpen where, of course, the Yankees brass will not leave him.
Mariano Rivera. He also played in one of the last games of the regular season and all three of the ALDS games. He also gave up no runs and let few get on base. The difference is that no-one, least of all this writer, was surprised.
Phil Coke. Coke has had a mixed second season in the pinstripes but there was nothing mixed about these performances. He played two of the last three games of the regular season. He gave up one hit and nobody scored. In the ALDS, the only difference was that in his two appearances he didn’t allow a hit.
Alfredo Aceves. Aceves achieved a lot of wins during the regular season (I can’t remember anybody who achieved nearly as many from a season spent mainly in relief since the days of Lee Guetterman – and that seems almost a lifetime ago in all kinds of ways). No wins during these two snapshots but two appearances, three and a third innings, four strikeouts, one walk, one hit, no runs. If he isn’t the long reliever in 2010, we are going to have to find someone truly special to stand in his stead.
AJ Burnett. Burnett only produced 11 innings across his last league appearance and his first post-season appearance but he did almost everything else right.
Phil Hughes. You have to look pretty hard to find disappointing pitching for the Yankees during the ALDS but there is one obvious candidate. Hughes spent the post-season struggling and he looked just as bad during the last few days of the regular season. For most of the season he looked like he had finally found a role he could be consistent in at the Major League level (not that the Yankees were going to leave him there!) but at the last fences he fell apart completely. In less than 3 innings across 5 games, he allowed 9 men to get on base and he was depending on others to make sure only three of them scored.
Jonathan Albaladejo. Too often during the last two seasons, Albaladejo has lost his place on the Major League roster when everyone was available without doing anything wrong. If he had any chance of making the Division Series roster then he blew it completely with his last appearance, allowing 4 men to get on base (2 scoring) across 1.1 innings.
Brian Bruney. Bruney was another who didn’t make the roster for the Division Series but in his case the decision followed one of his best appearances of the season. He had a very patchy year and it was his own fault that his name wasn’t already pencilled in but he must have sensed at this point that he was unlikely to return to the Bronx in 2010.
CC Sabathia. There hasn’t been much that is negative to say about CC’s first season as a Yankee but his final regular season appearance was horrible. Those of us who could count had already calculated that the Yankees didn’t want any situations in the playoffs where they would need to call on more than 3 of their rotation. The thought that their no. 1 guy was going to fall apart at the last moment was too much to bear. Thankfully, Sabathia was "business as usual" by the time the first playoff series began.
David Robertson. Given the periods during the season when Robertson was out of the reckoning, there were those who were surprised to see him facing the Twins at all. That his first ever post-season appearance saw him come into the game with the scores tied and that (despite one wobble) he closed the game out with the win suggests that this guy has what it takes to be a fixture in the Yankees bullpen.
Andy Pettitte. Pettitte was another to step up to the mark and deliver the goods in the ALDS despite a poor performance in the last week of the season. Don’t know why I think this is surprising, he’s been doing it for years!!
The Yankees last few games of the regular season were ones to be got through and hope for a minimum of injuries. The Division Series is tricky simply because being only five games long, it can be argued that the team who have had to play right down to the wire to qualify quite often go into game 1 with the highest level of momentum. However, this year despite the Yankees bats falling quiet , there were to be no upsets and the Twins were seen off in three games.
|New York Yankees – Batting – Month – October (Regular Season)|
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New York Yankees – Batting – Month – October (American League Division Series)
Alex Rodriguez. Rodriguez has hardly had the easiest season although much of the damage has been self-inflicted in one way or another. It also needs to be noted that of all the Yankees’ big names, he is the one who has most often fallen flat when it comes to these big occasions. How delightful then to see him hitting for average in games 160, 161 and 162 when the outcome didn’t matter and adding some much needed power when the ALDS came along.
Derek Jeter. Jeter, on the other hand, has been just what the sport needed all season. A great sportsman who produces consistently and is concerned about character and appearance. 2 doubles, 1 home run, 3 walks. As the Yankees had to scratch out runs Jeter was just the guy to help them achieve that goal.
Jorge Posada. Posada was quiet in the latter days of the season but he did what needed to be done in the post-season albeit by sparking a little controversy along the way.
Juan Miranda. Miranda was never going to be on the post-season roster but he used the opportunities that he got at the end of the regular season to further his ambition of being part of that squad in 2010. Just as he did at the close of 2008, he was able to bring both hitting-for-average and power to some rather lacklustre team performances.
Nick Swisher. Swisher is obviously a good clubhouse presence but he is also just about the streakiest player in the major leagues at this time and late October saw his bat fall very quiet once again.
Mark Teixeira. Teixeira has had a great season with the bat and defensively but in late October he went back to the form that he had shown in April.
Robinson Cano. Cano was one more who began to slumber as the season drew to a close and couldn’t be woken by the crowds of the ALDS.
Shelley Duncan. Another who was never going to play a part in the post-season but who had once last stab to make it as a Yankee after a good season at AAA. Expect his two at-bats against Tampa to be his last as a Yankee.
Ramiro Pena. Pena’s reward for the two hits in his last four at-bats of the season was to be left off the post-season roster just as his continually impressive play in the regular season so him demoted to AAA. Go figure……
Eric Hinske. Hinske on the other hand who looked over-matched most of the season would be included in the roster to face the Twins but never got off the bench. Useful selection.
Francisco Cervelli. And whilst I’m moaning at the Yankees failure to give opportunities to youth, let’s not forget Cervelli who has a future with the Yankees and …….
Jose Molina. ……..who does not. Cashman and Girardi went with Molina. No disrespect to Jose who has done a very good job backing up Posada during his time with the Yankees but that time is over and Cervelli needs to be tested in the big situation.