Much of the post-ALCS buzz has centered around Joe Girardi. He is taking criticism from all corners about his managing during the ALCS, as many have placed a large portion of the blame for the 6 game loss to the Rangers on his shoulders. While much of the complaining is driven by hindsight, some of the criticism is certainly deserved. In particular, his inability to keep his starting pitchers on the sort of short leash required when every game is incredibly vital hurt the team in Games 4 and 6. However, it seems obvious from the way the team played that no matter what Joe had done, the Yankees were unlikely to win the ALCS.
The Yankees hit .201/.300/.370 in the series (stats from Yankeeist’s excellent wrap-up), while the Rangers put up an amazing .304/.378/.512. To put that in perspective, The Yankees hit about as well as Kurt Suzuki or Melky Cabrera did this year, while the Rangers lineup may as well have had 9 Ryan Zimmermans or Aubrey Huffs.
On the pitching side, the team had an ERA of 6.58 and a WHIP of 1.67. CC Sabathia had the second best ERA among the starters at 6.30. Conversely, the Texas pitchers put up an ERA of 3.06 to go with a WHIP of 1.19. To play our little comparison game again, the Yankees pitched like…well…there are no qualified pitchers who pitched THAT poorly. You need to look at people like Ryan Rowland-Smith to find performance that bad over a full season. Meanwhile, the Rangers as a team pitched like Cole Hamels or Jonathan Sanchez.
Yes, Girardi made a number of poor decisions in the ALCS that were fairly important in the context of the individual games. But this ship was likely going down no matter what Joe did. A team of Melkys and Rowland-Smiths is not going to beat the Zimmerman/Hamels tandem very often. The Yankees simply played too poorly to win, and it was a team-wide failure that makes it difficult to blame one man. Even if Joe had made vastly different decisions, it likely would have been about as effective as rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic: to no avail.
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