The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

Postgame notes: “These guys dominated us”10.23.10

ALCS Yankees Rangers Baseball

It doesn’t make the loss any easier to swallow, but the Yankees don’t have to look too deeply for the reason they lost this series. It wasn’t one play, or one decision or one player who cost them the American League pennant.

“They overall played better,” Derek Jeter said. “They pitched better. They hit better. They overall just out-played us. That’s just the bottom line. They were a lot better than us these six games.”

Look back at the games the Yankees won.

Game 1 was decided by a single inning. The Rangers bullpen flinched and the Yankees took advantage with a rally that seemed to be a good indication of things to come. It was instead, a blip on the radar.

Game 5 was a win to hold off elimination, but even in that game, the Rangers had 13 hits and the Yankees were 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

In the four losses, the Yankees scored a total of six runs. All told, the Yankees had two regulars — Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano — who hit better than .270. The Rangers had six regulars who hit better than .300.

“They deserve it,” Lance Berkman said. “They beat us. I don’t feel like we gave it to them. We didn’t kick the ball around. We didn’t play sloppy baseball. They just beat us.”

That’s the reality of this series. The Rangers might not have a better team, but they certainly had a better series. One team in the American League Championship Series played like it belonged in the World Series, and that’s the team that’s going to be playing in the World Series.

“These guys dominated us,” Brian Cashman said.

ALCS Yankees Rangers Baseball• As you might expect, Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Joe Girardi all said they have not thought about — much less decided — what’s going to happen next season. “We’ll see,” Rivera said. “That, I will tell you guys later on when it happens.”

• Series MVP was obviously Josh Hamilton who hit .350 with four home runs and seven RBI. He was intentionally walked five times, which set an ALCS record.

• The final pitching line is awful, and he took his second loss of the series, but Phil Hughes was actually one pitch away from a pretty good start. Two on and two outs, a 1-0 count to Vladimir Guerrero, Hughes tried to throw a curveball down and away. It wound up in the middle where Guerrero hit a two-run double that broke a 1-run tie. “I tried to make as good of a pitch as I could in that situation,” Hughes said.

• Upset about the decision to intentionally walk Josh Hamilton to bring up Guerrero? “That’s the smart play,” Hughes said. “That’s arguably the MVP of this league. You can’t let a player like that beat you.”

• CC Sabathia was never used. Instead it was Dave Robertson who allowed the back-breaking two-run home run by Nelson Cruz. “I went to a right-handed reliever,” Girardi said. “We were facing right-handers and that’s where I decided to go. I went to David Robertson. You have to remember, CC was coming off a 112-pitch (game). If there was a situation where we would use him against a left-hander, we were going to try to use him in a situation against the left-handers in the bottom of the order if that came up.”

ALCS Yankees Rangers Baseball• The one offensive bright spot for the Yankees this series was Robinson Cano: .348 with four home runs and a team-high five RBI.

• Girardi said he was hoping to go to Kerry Wood for the sixth and seven and Mariano Rivera for the eighth and ninth. If that didn’t work out, he still had Sabathia if he needed him.

• Sticking with Hughes to face Guerrero? “Hughesy has had success off Vlad Guerrero and got him out twice (tonight),” Girardi said. “That’s why he stayed there.”

• Every hitter I talked to in the Yankees clubhouse said Colby Lewis did nothing different tonight, he just did everything well. The Yankees were hoping to adjust after seeing him in Game 2. “His adjustments were better,” Jeter said.

• Everyone was ready to give Lewis credit, but at the same time: “We have to be accountable,” Alex Rodriguez said. “We feel like there’s no way that we go and score one run tonight. That’s on us.”

• The last out belonged to Rodriguez. “I had no doubt I was going to get on base,” Rodriguez said. “Then he throws me that dragon of a curveball. I think both me and Lance Berkman, who was behind me, we both flinched.”

• In this stadium, where Rodriguez is booed with so much venom, of course it came down to him. “I was actually pretty excited about that at-bat,” he said. “It’s unbelievable how things come around, and of all people I’m the last guy up there. I’m sure it made it a little bit sweeter for them.”

• It’s easy to forget that a lot of these guys know one another and like one another. “I am happy for guys like Michael Young and Colby Lewis who I played with when they were just kids,” Rodriguez said. Of course, that happiness doesn’t take away the sting. “This is going to hurt for a while,” Rodriguez said. “And it should.”

• Statement from Hal Steinbrenner: “On behalf of the New York Yankees I want to congratulate the Texas Rangers, Chuck Greenberg, Nolan Ryan and their entire ownership, staff and organization on winning their first American League Pennant. They played liked champions and we wish them the best of luck representing the American League in the World Series.”

• Just a quick note: I just booked a flight that leaves in six hours, so I need to hurry back to the hotel. I have quite a bit of audio that I’ll get on the blog tomorrow. Thanks for sticking around, everyone. I really do appreciate it. I’ll have more follow-up on the blog tomorrow and in the coming weeks and months.

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Noteswith 120 Comments →

ALCS Game 6: Yankees at Rangers10.22.10

Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Lance Berkman 1B
Nick Swisher RF
Jorge Posada C
Marcus Thames DH
Brett Gardner LF

RHP Phil Hughes (1-1, 5.73)
Hughes vs. Rangers

Elvis Andrus SS
Michael Young 3B
Josh Hamilton CF
Vladimir Guerrero DH
Nelson Cruz RF
Ian Kinsler 2B
David Murphy LF
Bengie Molina C
Mitch Moreland 1B

RHP Colby Lewis (1-0, 1.69)
Lewis vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 8:07 p.m. ET / TBS

UMPIRES: HP Brian Gorman, 1B Gerry Davis, 2B Tony Randazzo, 3B Jim Reynolds, LF Angel Hernandez, RF Fieldin Culbreth

WEATHER: Still a few clouds in the sky, but so far only light off-and-on rain here at the stadium. Temperatures in the low 80s. According to The Weather Channel, the chance of rain jumps to 50 percent at around 9 ET, and gets closer to 100 percent around 10 ET.

BEEN HERE BEFORE: The Yankees won Game 6 six of the past seven times they trailed 3-2 in a best-of-seven series. They won the series in only two of those (1952 and 1958 World Series). That’s according to the Yankees game notes.

CANO CAN GO: Robinson Cano is the fifth Yankee to hit at least four home runs in a single playoff series. The others: Reggie Jackson (5 in the 1977 WS), Hank Bauer (4 in the 1958 WS), Lou Gehrig (4 in the 1928 WS) and Babe Ruth (4 in the 1926 WS)… The only second baseman to hit more home runs in a single series is Chase Utley, who hit five in last year’s World Series.

GOLDEN IN THE FIELD: The Yankees have one error in 288 chances this postseason. The other three LCS teams have a combined 18 errors in the playoffs.

BEHIND THE PLATE: Bengie Molina and Matt Treanor have each homered this series, marking the eighth time in Major League history that two catchers from the same team have gone deep in a single series. The Yankees did it once, when Jim Leyritz and Mike Stanley hit home runs in the 1995 ALDS.

BIRTHDAY BOY: Robinson Cano turns 28 today.

photoUPDATE, 7:57 p.m.: Now it’s pouring. The rain started falling heavily during the Anthem, leading to what Sam just called the most awkward thing he’s ever seen: The Anthem was going, the color guard was standing in the middle of the infield, and the grounds crew actually tried to get a group of soldiers to move while they were holding the flag during the Anthem! Unreal.

UPDATE, 8:05 p.m.: The tarp was one the field for about 60 seconds. Now it’s being removed. Here’s a picture from Sam’s cell phone of the craziness that happened during the National Anthem. As you might assume, the soldiers had no plans of moving, and the did not sprint off the field to help get a tarp over the infield. They marched off and were nearly run over by the tarp crew. One of the strangest things I’ve ever seen at a sporting event.

UPDATE, 8:19 p.m.: Granderson looked safe to me, and he seemed to feel the same way.

UPDATE, 8:33 p.m.: Quick 1-0 lead for the Rangers after a couple of hits and a run-scoring grounder.

UPDATE, 9:04 p.m.: Wild pitch on a pitch out. Robertson getting loose in the bullpen.

UPDATE, 9:34 p.m.: The Yankees are not going to be no-hit by Colby Lewis. That must be a relief.

UPDATE, 9:37 p.m.: Remember what Derek Jeter said after his phantom hit by pitch in Tampa: There have been plenty of times when’s been hit by a pitch and it wasn’t called. Just happened to Nick Swisher, and the Yankees got a run out of it.

UPDATE, 9:55 p.m.: Guerrero was 0-for-5 against Hughes in this ALCS, and had just one hit in five career regular-season at-bats. Hughes seemed a better option than anyone available in the Yankees bullpen — and walking Hamilton was the obvious call — but Guerrero came through with the huge two-out, two-run double. It’s 3-1 Rangers in the fifth.

UPDATE, 10:01 p.m.: Cruz positively smoked that ball. That’s a two-run homer for a 5-1 Rangers lead, still in the fifth.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Gameday Threadwith 1,365 Comments →

ALCS Game 2: Yankees at Rangers10.16.10

Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Jorge Posada C
Lance Berkman DH
Brett Gardner LF

RHP Phil Hughes (1-0, 0.00)
Hughes vs. Rangers

Elvis Andrus SS
Michael Young 3B
Josh Hamilton CF
Vladimir Guerrero DH
Nelson Cruz RF
Ian Kinsler 2B
David Murphy LF
Bengie Molina C
Mitch Moreland 1B

RHP Colby Lewis (0-0, 0.00)
Lewis vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 4:07 p.m. ET / TBS

UMPIRES: HP Tony Randazzo, 1B Jim Reynolds, 2B Angel Hernandez, 3B Fieldin Culbreth, LF Brian Gorman, RF Gerry Davis

WEATHER: Sunny sky. Temperatures in the 80s. Little bit of breeze blowing in from right field.

A LOT TO LIKE: It’s not a huge sample size — 38 at-bats spread across four seasons — but there’s a lot for the Yankees to like about Phil Hughes’ career numbers against the Rangers. Not a single current Texas player has more than one hit against him, and as a group they’re 3-for-38 with eight strikeouts and two walks.

NEW EXPERIENCE: Lance Berkman is the only Yankee with an at-bat against Colby Lewis in the past seven years. Berkman is 0-for-7 with four strikeouts in his career against Lewis, including 0-for-6 with three strikeouts this year.

YOUNG GUN: At 24 years and 114 days, Hughes is the youngest pitcher to start Game 1 or Game 2 of a playoff series since Andy Pettitte started Game 2 of the 2006 ALDS at 24 years and 109 days old.

ALL THAT’S LEFT: Last night the Yankees won their third straight playoff game that was started by a left-handed opposing starter. Those three wins came after the Yankees lost their last nine regular-season games against left-handed starters.

UPDATE, 4:27 p.m.: Even with Hamilton stopping to get in a rundown, the Yankees had a much better chance to get the out at second than at home. It’s a 1-0 Rangers lead on double steal. Meanwhile, Hughes looks pretty sharp with his fastball. He got Guerrero on 95 mph four-seamer and got Cruz on 94.

UPDATE, 4:42 p.m.: The Yankees hit the ball on the screws three times in the second inning. Robinson Cano deep to right, Nick Swisher for a double and Lance Berkman on a line drive that Nelson Cruz caught for the final out.

ALCS Yankees Rangers BaseballUPDATE, 4:46 p.m.: For so many reasons, this AP picture could only have been taken in this ballpark. I assume the hand at the top is a reference to The Claw that the Rangers do. If it’s anything else, I don’t want to know about it.

UPDATE, 4:48 p.m.: Home run by Murphy. It’s 2-0 Rangers in the second.

UPDATE, 4:57 p.m.: Hughes is at 55 pitches after two innings. That might be a significant problem considering the Yankees only true long man, Dustin Moseley, pitched two innings last night. Sergio Mitre is probably only good for two innings, maybe three. A day off tomorrow helps.

UPDATE, 5:20 p.m.: Three doubles in the third inning and it’s a 5-0 Rangers lead, still with just one out. Hughes is at 65 pitches and he’s getting knocked around.

UPDATE, 5:34 p.m.: The Yankees are on the board, but a baserunning mistake kept the inning from continuing. Its’ 5-1 in the bottom of the fourth.

UPDATE, 5:38 p.m.: Joba Chamberlain getting loose. Just like last night, he’s getting ready in case the Yankees need someone in the middle of the inning.

UPDATE, 5:40 p.m.: The Rangers base running actually cost them there. Hamilton broke for second on the pitch and was doubled off first on the fly ball to right. Hughes is through four innings, down 5-1, having thrown 81 pitches.

UPDATE, 6:00 p.m.: The Yankees are going to need another big rally, and the bullpen is once again going to have to make up for a starting pitcher who could’nt get more than 12 outs. It’s 6-1 in the ffith and Chamberlain is in for Hughes.

UPDATE, 6:16 p.m.: Yowza. Cano just went way deep for a solo home run. It’s hard not to be reminded of how last night’s rally started. Yankees are down 7-2.

UPDATE, 6:25 p.m.: With Clay Rapada coming in to pitch — and with two runners on base — the Yankees are going to let Marcus Thames pinch hit for Brett Gardner. One big swing here could make a huge difference, and Girardi’s trying to find that one big swing.

UPDATE, 6:32 p.m.: Good at-bat, but Thames struck out swinging and now he’s heading to left field. Robertson in to pitch.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Gameday Threadwith 1,644 Comments →

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