I'm appalled at the lack of leadership on behalf of the Bx Bombers. I realize that they are a much older club now, but it is very disheartening to watch these guys flail at pitches out of the strike zone. Jeter and Rivera are down with season ending injuries, and Alex Rodriguez seems to have lost his confidence. In a season, where they have had to battle for every inch of success just to keep the upstart Baltimore Orioles from stealing AL East Division, I am baffled at their play against Detroit.
I am not taking anything away from the Tigers pitching rotation, but how can you explain the anemic batting averages of Rodriguez, Cano, and Teixeira? Who is going to stand up and be accountable for this effort? Benching A-Rod has done nothing for his confidence, but it was certainly warranted. However, his replacement at 3rd base has not fared well at all. Chavez 0-12 with six strikeouts in the ALCS. At this point, I would tell Joe Girardi to simply challenge A-Rod and Cano. You cannot allow either of them to hide. If A-Rod is to fail, so be it. His Yankee legacy will be written as appropriate, he will be judged well before he is eligible for Cooperstown. In a weird way, I think Girardi has been protecting A-Rod from embarrassment during his most recent slump by pinch hitting for him in tight spots.
Alex Rodriguez (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Ibanez has been a true professional and really has made the Yankee postseason enjoyable to watch. However, this will never be Ibanez's ballclub to lead. That job is for Cano or Rodriguez (now that Jeter is gone for the rest of the postseason) should they choose to embrace it. To date neither one of them has shown any signs of willingness to step up their game and punch someone in the fscking mouth. Their approach has been lethargic and devoid of any emotion. In Game 1 of the ALCS, the Bombers stranded approximately 16 men on base through 12 innings of baseball. This is an astounding number and you simply cannot be victorious under any circumstances with that sort of poor offensive numbers.
Swisher and Granderson have also been missing in action. In fact, I believe the Yanks will allow Swisher to walk in the off-season. He simply has not been very reliable defensively or offensively this postseason. His offensive numbers were also putrid during the 2011 MLB post season too. Granderson seems to have regressed from his very disciplined 2011 campaign, he can't seem to hit lefties at all anymore.
Let's talk about the starting rotation. Pettitte, Kuroda, and now Hughes have been forced to become nearly perfect. Obviously this is due to the anemic offense (of course with the exception of Ibanez). What has been working is their pitching. I have been very impressed with their starters thus far. How long can their starters pitch shutout ball deep into the late innings? Tuesday Phil Hughes will take the mound, and faceoff against Verlander. A tall order, but the Yankees have roughed up and chased Verlander during the regular season (June 3, 2012 Hughes defeated Verlander). Perhaps they will remember this fact when the series shifts to Detroit on Tuesday evening.
If the Yankees can pull out a victory, they will have their ace Sabathia take the mound on Wednesday with an opportunity to tie the series at 2-2. No the ALCS is far from over, if the Bombers can collectively decided to hit to all fields and force Detroit to throw strikes, they can actually become competitive again. As stated earlier, Cano and Rodriguez will need to take center stage and the others will follow this leadership. In the absence of their captain Derek Jeter, someone else must decide to let their play speak rather loudly. What better time than the present?