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Matt Smith is the editor and lead writer at BaseballGB. An Oakland A's fan, Matt has been obsessed with baseball since 1998 and started writing about the sport in 2006.

A 3-0 hole

For once this season, expecting the unexpected didn’t quite work out.

On paper, the New York Yankees’ struggling offence didn’t stand a chance against Justin Verlander in Game Three of the ALCS. The Tigers were a certainty to win, you could bet your house on it.

This, of course, meant that the Tigers winning was exactly what was not going to happen. Logic flew out of the window a long time ago this MLB season and that should have given the Yankees hope that the odds would be made a mockery of once more.

It would have also made Tigers fans nervous when Phil Coke relieved Verlander during the bottom of the ninth inning and subsequently allowed two baserunners with Detroit holding a slender 2-1 lead. The next chapter in this crazy season was about to be written: the Yankees were going to get back into the series by winning a game that Justin Verlander had started.

But then, all of a sudden, logic returned with a vengeance.

New York had their chance in Game One when they rallied for four runs off Jose Valverde in the bottom of the ninth to take that game into extra innings. They had dealt their opponent a devastating blow but were not able to land the knockout shot and the Tigers recovered to win the game 6-4. Joe Girardi’s team deserve credit for the fight back; however they let a great chance slip by once they had done all the hard work and they may not get another.

Girardi tried to kickstart his offence in Game Three by drafting in Brett Gardener, who has been out injured for the vast majority of the season, and leaving both Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher on the bench. It didn’t work and now they find themselves in a deep hole.

CC Sabathia will take the mound for the Yankees in Game Four (a 2 a.m. start on Thursday morning U.K. time) and a combination of their ace lefty and personal pride gives them a good chance of avoiding the 4-0 series sweep. Recovering all the way from an 0-3 deficit, with an offence in turmoil, seems beyond them.

Could the Yankees suddenly find some form out of nowhere and reel off four straight wins, the final one coming against Verlander in a Game Seven? Probably not, although maybe the rule of expecting the unexpected might come back into play at least one more time this season.

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3 Responses to “A 3-0 hole”

  1. Joseph Cooter #

    To be honest, I never expected the Yankees to lose to Justin Verlander last night. I really didn’t think that they would because they have a good track record against him; not losing to him in over two years before this past August. TO be honest, I never figured that Yanks would be trailing three to nothing, but to be honest I’ve seen this story before and it appears as if, people are finally figuring out that the Reason that the Yankees keep flaming out in the post season is NOT THEIR PITCHING but thier HITTING, which has been an all or nothing approach for the better part of a decade.

    This is not a series the Yankees should have lost. The Tigers have good, but not great pitching and their bullpen is a disaster. This was a series teh Yankees should be winning but it appears that they won’t. The only good thing that will come out of this is that heads will roll and players, who shouldn’t be on this team, will be gone. Coaches will be fired, especially Kevin Long who has made the Yankee offense super reliant on homeruns and failed to improve their situation hitting.Players Like Curitis Granderson, who strikes out far to much, and Nick Swisher, who can’t get it done in the post season, won’t be hear next year. Maybe Arod will be gone as well.

    The out come of this series may convince the BRass that rebuilding is in order and to behonest, I think that it is time the club rebuilt itself. I think its time they went to a Youth movement and hired shrewed talent evaluators who are capable of putting together a solid team. Right now, I am not impressed with the Yankees Scouting or thier abillity to develop Young talent. How good can they be if they Keep insisting that Brett Gardner is a good defensive outfielder?

    The thing is, Rebuilding may mean a couple of down years, but thats ok because I don’t think the Yankees will bbe a total reclaimation project. I think that they can do a pretty good job, if they let the right people run the business.

    October 18, 2012 at 2:43 am Reply
  2. Matt Smith #

    Hi Joe

    Thanks for all your thoughts. I think you’re right that the Yankees could be entering a bit of a transition, but as you note that doesn’t mean several years of sub-.500 baseball for the Yankees. They can still be a decent team while taking a year or two to regroup.

    Cheers
    Matt

    October 18, 2012 at 7:29 pm Reply

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