Wednesday, October 20, 2010
And That HappenedPosted by Craig Calcaterra
On an objective level there have been worse losses in recent Yankees history. They've been blown out. They've lost big games. Bad things have occurred to even this most historically blessed team. But I can't recall an uglier night, all around, than what we witnessed tonight. Among the lowlights:
- Tommy Hunter was quite hittable, but the Yankees didn't take full advantage of his vulnerabilities, missing multiple scoring opportunities;
- Mark Teixeira injured his hamstring and may very well be done for the year, no matter how far the Yankees advance;
- Joe Girardi was gifted with what had been a more than serviceable A.J. Burnett start, went to the well with him once too often and ended up paying for it with a Bengie Molina three-run homer;
- In the bottom of the eighth Girardi allowed Lance Berkman to bat right handed with the bases loaded. It was the Yankees' last, best chance of the game and maybe the season, and Berkman hits, like, -.397 right handed. He grounded out to third to end the threat; and finally
- Yankees fans were simply pathetic, first pulling a Jeffrey Maier -- and acting like total morons afterward -- then pulling a Steve Bartman on a foul ball that, while it ended up not mattering, didn't distinguish the fan base. Oh, and then that fan base left the place in droves beginning in the seventh inning, despite the fact that it was still only a four run game. Yankees fans are the best around, I've heard. Well, I guess I'll have to take their word for it.
Like I said, just ugly stuff. And now maybe it's over.
No, not technically over, because the Rangers need four wins, not three. But do the Yankees have a chance? Sure, anything is possible, and if the old saw about momentum being the next day's starting pitcher means anything, that's good news for CC Sabathia and the Yankees.
But the fact is that they're not hitting a lick, not even on a night when the Rangers ran out their worst starter and a Game 1-style bullpen brigade. They've lost Teixeira who, while he hadn't been hitting, could certainly be expected to hit eventually and can still certainly pick it at first. If they're going to run the table -- which they must -- they must do it against C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis and Cliff Lee, three pitchers who gave the Yankees fits the first time through.
You can't predict baseball, because baseball is inherently unpredictable. But you can make some educated guesses. And my guess is that the Yankees suffered a terminal blow these last two nights. Even if they linger on for another day, the end is near. They're not going to pull this out.
Craig writes the HardballTalk blog for NBC Sports.com