The New York Yankees were fortunate to escape the divisional round of the American League playoffs, but they’ve imploded since the start of the ALCS. First it was Alex Rodriguez’s poor hitting–bad enough that the team has been forced to bench a player making eight figures a year. That was compounded by a season ending injury to Derek Jeter and now–following another dominant performance by Justin Verlander–the ‘Bronx Bombers’ are on the verge of elimination.
New York manager Joe Girardi is now essentially grasping at straws. He benched A-Rod and Nick Swisher on Tuesday night in favor of Eric Chavez and Brett Gardner. The two ‘replacements’ went 0 for 7 and Chavez was responsible for the game winning run due to an error. He’ll give the ball to lefthander C.C. Sabathia in Game 4 in hopes he can reprise his impressive performance of Game 5 of the Divisional Series. The Tigers don’t hit lefthanders particularly well, so the matchup gives the Yankees at least a glimmer of hope.
The Yankees were fortunate to even be in the game at the end with the way they’ve been hitting and the excellence of Verlander. He shut the Yankees out for eight innings before Eduardo Nunez got New York on the board with a ninth inning home run. Phil Coke came on to finish off the game but the Yankees got two men on base before Raul Ibanez struck out to end the game.
New York managed only three hits against Verlander and have now scored only 21 runs in eight playoff games after leading the Major Leagues in scoring during the regular season. Yankees’ Mark Teixeira doesn’t have an answer for his team’s offensive slump:
“Very surprised. Every now and then you expect to have a little rut, but this is too long for us.”
Even though the Yankees still have a glimmer of hope, there is a feeling of finality surrounding the team. Girardi even had to field questions about Alex Rodriguez’s future–he still has five years left on his lucrative deal:
“Of course that’s something that you have to worry about. But I don’t think you can worry about it today. Relationships go through their ups and downs, no matter who they are, and you have a chance to rebuild them.”
Other than Sabathia as the starting pitcher Girardi said that the Game 4 lineup is still up in the air.