10/18/12 10:32 PM ET
Yankees' lack of offense of historic proportions
By Greg Johns / MLB.com
General manager Brian Cashman called it "massively disappointing," and he certainly wasn't alone after the Yankees finished a futile ALCS with an 8-1 loss to the Tigers, managing just two hits and striking out 12 times on a day dominated by Detroit in all facets.
The Tigers not only swept the series, but they left Yankees hitters shaking their heads after manager Joe Girardi tried -- and failed -- to shake up the lineup by benching stars Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson after he'd already lost Derek Jeter to a broken left ankle.
That's a whole lot of firepower missing from the normal Yankees attack, one that set a franchise record for home runs (245) in the regular season and finished a close second to Texas for the most runs scored in the Majors.
The Yankees hit just .157 in the four-game ALCS and .188 in their nine-game postseason run. The ALCS average was the second lowest among the 172 teams that have competed in the series since 1969, with only the '69 Twins posting a worse number at .155.
Only one Yankees team has finished an entire postseason with a lower overall batting average than this year's .188, with the 1963 club hitting .171 when getting swept by the Dodgers in the World Series.
There will be no World Series for this year's Yankees, who never once held a lead in any of the four ALCS games against the Tigers and scored only six runs in four games. Remarkably, a team that averaged 4.96 runs a game in the regular season scored in just three of the 39 innings in the entire ALCS.
"The offense just didn't show up, unfortunately," said first baseman Mark Teixeira, one of the few Yankees with a respectable .281 playoff average. "We just got cold for the worst four games to get cold in."
Girardi tried pushing buttons -- and benched struggling starters -- but found no answers. Eric Chavez got time in place of A-Rod, but went 0-for-16 with eight strikeouts in the postseason.
Rodriguez pinch-hit for Raul Ibanez in the sixth inning Thursday after the Tigers brought in lefty reliever Drew Smyly, but he flied out to center and wound up 0-for-2, finishing the postseason hitting .120 (3-for-25).
"This was a terrible way for the season to end," said Rodriguez. "Obviously, we're all very disappointed."
But while A-Rod drew much of the attention, he was far from the only struggling Yankees hitter.
Robinson Cano hit .075 (3-for-40), a shadow of the player who hit .313 with 33 home runs and 94 RBIs in the regular season. Like all the Yankees, he had no ready answers.
"I don't know, otherwise I would have fixed it right away," Cano said. "I didn't do my job."
Granderson finished at .100 (3-for-30) in the postseason after striking out as a pinch-hitter in the seventh in the finale. Russell Martin hit .161 (5-for-31), and Swisher batted .167 (5-for-30).
These were guys the Yankees counted on all season long.
"We didn't swing the bats," Girardi said. "It wasn't one guy, it wasn't two guys, it was a bunch of guys. And it's hard when you don't score runs."
Granderson whiffed 16 times in nine playoff games, becoming the only Yankees player with more than 15 strikeouts in a single postseason in fewer than 10 games. Every other Yankees player who struck out more than 15 times played at least 15 games and had at least 55 at-bats.
"It's just baseball," Granderson said. "You can go out there one day and it's the exact same conditions and you just don't do as good. It's just always been that way. I've always made the comparison to a guy in basketball who one day is making every shot and the next day he can't hit a thing. It's just a feel thing. Some days you've got it, sometimes you don't."
The fact nearly all the Yankees lost it at the same time at the most critical juncture of the season? That's the part that will leave a lot of people wondering and waiting to see what comes next.
"We didn't shine here at the most important part of the season," Cashman said. "We were one of the most potent offenses in the game and big threats, but at this particular time and this last week or 10 days, we weren't able to demonstrate what got us here, and that's obviously disappointing."
Girardi said Cano's struggles in particular were the most "baffling" to him. But neither he nor Cashman nor Cano had any answers there either.
"It's hard to say," said Cashman. "He's healthy. A lot of guys in our lineup got cold at the wrong time of year. Robby certainly was one of them, amongst others. I know Alex gets a lot of publicity, but there are a lot of other people. This gets spread around. You lose as a team and not one guy put us in the position where we are today, which is going home."