10/21/2004 1:46 AM ET
Yankees short hops
Numbers don't add up to AL pennant
By Spencer Fordin / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- No hay mañana. There is no tomorrow.
No matter how many languages you say it in, the message remains the same. The Yankees won't be going to the World Series, or any other series for that matter. Their season is over, ended by the Red Sox in the postseason for the first time in franchise history.
And it's not just an organizational first -- it's one for the sport as well. No team in baseball history had ever taken a 3-0 lead in a seven-game series before ultimately going on to lose. There were extra-inning losses, blowouts and a loss in a well-pitched game. In short, the Yankees stepped in all the bad luck they've avoided over their charmed run toward several titles.
The last loss was the worst, a rout from the first inning on. The Sox scored two runs in the first and extended the lead to 6-0 in the second. By the fourth, it was 8-1 and curtains. The Yankees came back to make things semi-interesting, but it wasn't enough in the end. And so, New York will hear a familiar refrain for most other cities: There's always next year.
Stats all, folks
A look at the key statistics from the ALCS.
Who was hot?
||too little, none late
||not a factor
Who was not?
||.306, 2 HR, 9 RBI
||as clutch as ever
Behind the numbers
||0-1, 21.60 ERA
||battered and beaten
The old saw says that you're only as good as your next pitcher, particularly in the playoffs. In this case, the Yankees weren't very good at all. New York's starting pitchers put up a 5.40 ERA during this series, and the number is only that good because of stellar outings by Mike Mussina and Jon Lieber. Kevin Brown got hit hard and knocked out early twice, putting a lot of strain on New York's bullpen.
Second inning, one out, three men on base. The Yankees trail by two runs and Johnny Damon's at the plate, trying to add to his team's lead. Damon had been one of the coldest hitters in the series, but he erased that history with a grand slam over the right-field fence. He came back later with a two-run shot, putting the game out of reach and the series on ice.
Both Brown and Javier Vazquez were working on short rest, complicating Joe Torre's game-day decision on his starting pitcher. Brown had gotten rocked in his last start, though, and Vazquez had picked him up with some effective relief. On this night, it didn't matter: Neither Brown nor Vazquez pitched well, sinking the Yankees into desperate straits. Still, given that he's younger and healthier, Vazquez would've made more sense on the starting rubber.
Two stats stand out, and the fans have heard them enough to know them by heart. The Red Sox became the first team in baseball history to win a seven-game series after falling behind by three games, succeeding where 25 teams before them had failed. And Joe Torre lost for the first time in ALCS play, dropping his record in World Series qualifiers to 6-1. The Yankees are now four years removed from their last World Series ring, but they've qualified for the playoffs in 10 straight seasons.
"We had a couple of games, if you go back in the series, where we had situations the way we wanted it -- leads late in the game -- and we just couldn't close the deal. We certainly never took them for granted, even up 3-0, because we know how explosive they can be."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.