I lived in Texas for over a decade, and I have friends and family who are Rangers fans. Like my nephew, Zachary. We went to the Yankees-Rangers ALDS elimination game in 1998 together, along with my father and my brother, and Zack was very sad afterwards to see his beloved Rangers lose. Now he, and all the other long-suffering Rangers fans, finally have something to cheer about.
I talked to my nephew after the game to congratulate him, and I told him that whether the Rangers face the Phillies or the Giants in the World Series, I will root for the Rangers and the American League. Besides, the Yankees won just last year, so at least there's that. They can't win every year, as much as we'd like them to!
With all those niceties out of the way, I have to admit I'm very angry at the way the Yankees played in this series. Not just with the hitting, and the pitching, but with the way Joe Girardi managed. And I really think the Yanks ought to consider a new manager next year. I was about as pro-Girardi as they come, but I completely lost faith in him over the past month, as have many other fans. Yes, the Yankees bats fell asleep, but whose ultimate fault was that? The manager.
Things started going sour in September, when Girardi played not to lose, instead of playing to win. Then he made a bunch of crucial errors in this series. I'm not going to second-guess him on switching out Phil Hughes and Andy Pettitte, as I didn't originally criticize him for originally doing that. But I think he was awfully complacent in this series. It took Joe Torre eight years before he started snoozing in the dugout. It's taken Girardi three.
The biggest issue I had with Girardi was bullpen management. He should have gone to Mariano Rivera in Game 3; a two-run lead with Cliff Lee at a season high in pitches would not have been insurmountable. Instead, he went to Boone Logan, and then David Robertson. To add insult to injury, he left Robertson in to get pummeled for five hits and five runs, causing potential damage to his psyche.
Then Girardi had faith in A.J. Burnett for too long on Tuesday, costing the Yanks the game on a homer to Bengie Molina. Finally, Joe left Phil Hughes in too long tonight, then brought in Robertson, of all people, who blew the game wide open. When he finally went to Kerry Wood and Mariano Rivera, the Yanks were already way behind. Not smart. And so much for the plan to use CC Sabathia for an inning or two.
I don't understand Girardi's whole bullpen management, and kind of wish he had channeled Billy Martin, who once brought Sparky Lyle in during the fourth inning (!) of a playoff game, as opposed to him being as passive as Joe Torre at his worst. If there is a goat to this series besides the Yankee lineup, I think it's Girardi, something I would never have guessed I would have said just three months ago. At the risk of sounding like a greedy Yankee fan, I think Girardi's mistakes helped cost the team the series. The Yankees didn't just get outplayed; they got outmanaged.
My YES Network broadcast went out after the game, so I didn't get to see it, but I heard Brian Cashman say Girardi would be back. Bummer.
A few other things I wanted to rant about:
* So much for Mike Bloomberg and his planning the World Series victory parade talk, eh?
* And how about Michael Kay's proclamation that the ALCS was over after Game 1?
* Or Daily News columnist Filip Bondy's ridiculous trash talk that "The Yanks should win this series just by throwing their pinstriped uniforms onto the field and reading from a few pages of The Baseball Encyclopedia.
Granted, my own predictions (that the Yankees would win in seven, and that they could win tonight) weren't exactly on the mark. But at least I hope I showed respect for the Rangers, something the folks I'm complaining about didn't!
What do you think? Tell us about it!