(Courtesy of the AP)
The odds were already stacked way against the Yankees going into yesterday's Game 4. The likelihood of them winning the ALCS was incredibly low, and the reality of the situation was that even with CC Sabathia on the mound for them in Game 4 the chances of them getting a win to keep the series alive were incredibly low given the way they were playing. This was a team on its last legs, a team that had nothing left, and yesterday they played like it. They continued to not hit, setting the stage for all kinds of offseason talk around bringing in new players and re-evaluating their formula for building a lineup, and also added bad fielding and bad pitching to the mix to really make sure there would be no Game 5.
I hate to ever bring up effort in a discussion about a professional sporting event; I always assume that these guys are out there giving it everything they have. But that Yankee team on the field last night didn't look like a group of guys who even wanted to be there. The Yankees laid down and died in Game 4, and they probably would have been better off not even showing up.
** Pregame Notes that were written before Wednesday night's game was cancelled below **
- Not that I'm rooting for them to lose, but if the Yankees DO lose tonight, at least we can take comfort knowing we won't have to hear "This Train" every 20 seconds on TBS. I respect The Boss, but that song officially sucks a bag of dicks.
- I really don't know what to make of the A-Rod/Marlins rumors, but I don't put a whole lot of weight into it. What I'm more concerned about is how all of these shenanigans in the last week will affect A-Rod's standing heading into next year. Shit's going to get awkward for the guy.
- Major props to whoever at Comerica had TRUSTcompany blaring on the stadium PA during A-Rod's media interview. That song is good stuff.
- In a postseason that's already had a few rain delays, it was only appropriate that the Yankees got stuck having the first non-rain delay.
- At least TBS had the sense to play a Yankee-centric episode of "Seinfeld" to kill the time. BIG STEIN WANTS AN EGGPLANT CALZONE!!!!
** End of Wednesday pregame notes **
- Great first at-bat by Ichiro against Max Scherzer; he saw a lot of pitches, fouled off a lot of fastballs. Once again, though, it was no results. An infield popout makes a good at-bat worthless when you're hitting as poorly as the Yankees are.
- 3 batters, 3 first-pitch swings for Ichiro, Swish, and Cano in the 1st. Guess we knew what the Yankees' approach was going to be.
- 20 pitches in the 1st for Scherzer, which could have helped the Yankees in the middle innings if Detroit was really planning on keeping Scherzer to a 100-pitch limit.
- The play by Eric Chavez in the bottom of the 1st was about as bad a non-error play as you'll see. He didn't read the ball right, didn't charge, didn't transfer quickly, and threw a lollipop to first base that Omar Infante beat out. That had to make A-Rod feel good.
- And it ended up biting CC in his big fat ass after he gave up a couple bloop singles with 2 outs. Prince Fielder and Delmon Young were looking to attack early fastballs, and Carsten obliged with 2 that caught too much of the plate.
- Smart play by Teix to let Avisail Garcia's bunt attempt drop in the bottom of the 2nd so he could get the lead runner. It almost turned into a bunt double play. That's why they call him "The Godfather."
- 2 tough innings for CC in terms of workload. His fastball command was a little iffy and he wasn't getting swings and misses from the Tiger batters. They were either fouling off pitches to drive up his pitch count or putting the ball in play.
- Another solid AB from Ichiro to draw a 2-out walk and put 2 runners on in the top of the 3rd. He's been the hands down best Yankee hitter in this series.
- Not so solid by Swish, who let 2 borderline pitches go for strikes 2 and 3. I said this on The AB4AR Facebook Page last night, but you can't go down with the bat on your shoulder in a must-win playoff game.
- Teix, like Chavez, tried to stay back on Fielder's grounder in the bottom of the 3rd and couldn't snag it. Don't see a play like that from him very often.
- And then he did it AGAIN on the Andy Dirks ball a couple runners later. Between the guys not charging balls on the infield and guys looking bad at the plate a turn through, it was pretty obvious that the Yankees were playing tight.
- And even though his defense wasn't helping him, CC did not look good through 3 innings. His stuff just wasn't there, his command wasn't good around the corners, and the Tigers were on him.
- And it helped that every bounce and bloop and call was going their way. Detroit had its mojo working through 3 innings, and Justin Verlander and the TBS guys were only too pleased to be joking about it like old friends on the air.
- You want to talk pathetic? Let's talk Raul Ibanez pretending to break a bat so he could stall for time to give CC more rest before the 3-4-5 hitters sent him right back out to the mound after going down 1-2-3 in the 4th inning.
- Comments about CC being said, he really didn't give up much hard contact. A couple of lucky bloops and some shitty corner defense is what really did all the damage.
- And then he went and threw a fastball right down the pipe to Miguel Cabrera for a no-doubt 2-run homer to make it 4-0. Balls.
- When looking back on this game, the turning point wasn't the long, difficult bottom of the 3rd for CC, it was the short top of the 4th when Ibanez had to try to stall. CC really wasn't rested, he didn't get enough time because of the quick outs by Cano and Teix, and he ended up gassing out in the 4th. It started to become apparent after the Cabrera homer, and it was a scientific fact after the Peralta 2-run shot and Dirks double. The shitty offense really did do this team in.
- CC was already in enough trouble by not having command of his fastball or any sharpness to his slider. He was pretty much screwed after he had to work hard every inning with little to no time to rest.
- Early in the game, John Smoltz described Scherzer's slider as "not that good." Well, John, he sure coulda fooled me with it. Scherzer was throwing it on both corners, and down and in to lefties for strikes. That's hard to do for somebody who doesn't have a good slider.
- Scherzer also had a no-hitter going through 5. He had faced 16 batters, walked 1, and struck out 9. The buzzards were circling...
- And then naturally Scherzer hung the next slider he threw for a first-pitch triple by Eduardo Nunez to lead off the 6th. Probably just did it on purpose because he felt bad.
- And what's this? An RBI double by Nick Swisher with a RISP?? Who heard of such things???
- I couldn't help but think that the Tigers didn more harm than good sending the pitching coach out to talk to Scherzer in the 6th after the catcher just had. Threw off his routine and concentration. Hey, it was good for the Yanks so I'm not complaining.
- Smart play by Joe going to A-Rod after Jim Leyland went with Drew Smyly, but just another sobering example of what Alex has been reduced to as a player.
- And coming in cold he could only manage a soft flyout to center on a 1-2 pitch.
- Joba managed to get through a sloppy bottom of the 6th without allowing a run. Whatever.
- Joe going to Curtis Granderson for Russell Martin with a runner on in the top of the 7th was Desperation Move 101, and it was probably the right move. Curtis struck out, to make him 0-11 with 7 K for the series, but I'm still going to tell myself it was the right move.
- Nix led off with single, then stood at first base like a jackass all inning while the Yankees went K, K, flyout to center. Unreal. And the Yankees were out of bench players.
- And just to rub a little salt in the wound, Austin Jackson stepped up and cranked a solo HR to make it 7-1 Detroit. He couldn't have sonned the Yankees worse if he took his dick out and pissed in Chris Stewart's face as he crossed home plate.
- Wait! There's not enough salt in there! Let Phil Coke come out and throw another 1-2-3 inning against some of the best hitters in your lineup. Why the fuck not?!
- I can't believe I left work early for this shit.
- I know he can't do it, because he's a professional and not an overgrown child like me, but if I was D-Rob and Joe told me to get up for the 8th inning of this game, I would have told him to shove it up his ass.
- Hey, Leyland. I see you with your hoodie strings untied. Don't think I didn't notice that and don't think I'm taking credit. But what's with the sunglasses at 7:30PM? Take those things off, dude.
- Only appropriate that they went down quietly and in order in the 9th. That was the biggest theme of their whole postseason run.
- Nobody: There wasn't one player who played a good game last night.
- Sabathia: 3.2 IP, 11 H, 6 R (5 ER), 2 BB, 3 K. His offense made it much more difficult for him, but CC was not good at all yesterday. Some of the BABIP luck the Tigers had was created by CC's inability to put guys away with 2 strikes. His poor command caused all his problems, and the fact that he couldn't physically make it through 4 tough innings is going to start talks about him needing to shed some weight again. And with his mileage and 2 DL trips this season, that talk won't be for nothing.
- Robinson Cano: 0-4, 1 K, 1 LOB. 3-40 w/ 6 strikeouts in the postseason.
- Chavez: 0-2, 2 K. 0-16 w/ 8 strikeouts in the postseason. Add in his horrible play at third base and this wasn't the way Chavez planned on ending his Yankee career.
- C-Grand: 0-1, 1 K, 1 LOB. 3-30 w/ 16 strikeouts in the postseason. What a piece of crap.
Golf, rest, time with the family, rehab from injuries, offseason workouts, whatever. There won't be another game that matters until April 1, 2013.