It turns out that the Yankees did have to worry about a pitcher with the initials C.L.
Only not THAT C.L.
Yes, Cliff Lee was waiting had the series gone to a seventh game, but Colby Lewis made sure it did not go there.
For the second time in the series, Lewis beat Phil Hughes, and with the 6-1 win, Texas advances to the World Series for the first time in franchise history.
Some may criticize Hughes for losing two ALCS games, but even had he pitched a gem last night, it would most likely would have gone for naught. Lewis pitched eight innings and gave up just 1 run on 3 hits. Feliz finished up with a 1-2-3 9th.
1 run. 3 hits. Lee couldn’t have done much better himself. The question will be who Lee goes to next year, but even if he does go to the Yanks, the bigger question for the Yankees in 2011 is more advanced age.
What are they to do with Posada, who turns 40 next August in the last year of his deal? What kind of deals do you now give Jeter (37 next summer), Rivera (41 in a little over a month) and Girardi? What about Pettitte (39 next summer) or A-Rod (36 next summer). Age is becoming a big factor with key players.
As for Hughes, he went four decent innings before it all fell apart in the fifth. Hughes gave up a run in the first on a leadoff double by Andrus, who later scored on a Bad Vlad groundout.
The Yankees tied it in the fifth when A-Rod doubled, went to third on a flyball and scored on a wild pitch. Actually, it looked like the WP hit Swisher. Such was the Yanks’ night. They got what appeared to be a gift and still nothing. Posada did double after Swisher grounded out (it wouldn’t have scored Alex), but Thames struck out. That was the only Yankee rally of the game.
Given the tie, Hughes gave it back, and with two out. After a leadoff single to Moreland, Hughes got the next two batters out. No problem, right?
Um, wrong. In Game 4, the Yanks intentionally walked Murphy and Molina, the next hitter, hit a 3-run HR that basically decided the game. Here, the Yanks intentionally walked Hamilton (who was named the ALCS MVP). Vlad Guerrero then lived up to his “Bad Vlad” nickname with a two-run double that proved to be the game-winning hit.
Hughes, one batter from going 5 innings and giving up one run, was taken out. Whereupon David Robertson immediately gave up a two-run HR to Nelson Cruz. 5-1 and all hope basically gone.
Hughes went 4 2/3, 4 R, 4 H, 4 walks and 3 K. 0-2, 11.42 for the ALCS. Like I wrote above, some will blame him for the ALCS loss, but it was a team effort. No hitting. Just three hits in Game 6. Only two in Game 3. Whoever scouts for the Rangers did an excellent job and the Rangers executed that plan perfectly.
Hughes is just 24, and hopefully this is a learning experience for him. Without him, the Yanks don’t make the playoffs. He was expected to be the fifth starter. He wound up with 18 wins, second on the team. The disappointments were Burnett and Vazquez. Burnett went 10-15, 5.26 and didn’t pitch in the ALDS. Then he lost his ALCS start. As for Vazquez, 10-10, 5.32 and he wasn’t even on the postseason roster.
After Robertson got out of the fifth (1/3 IP, 1 R, 2 H, ALCS ERA 20.25), Wood went two innings and gave up the final run of the game in the seventh on a sac fly. 2 IP for Wood, 1 R, 1 H, 2 walks and 0 K. Rivera finished up, a token of respect more than anything else. The great Rivera continued his postseason mastery with a 1-2-3 inning, meaningless as it was. Still, it lowered his postseason ERA from 0.714 to 0.709 (either way, it still rounds off to 0.71).
There weren’t many good numbers for the Yanks in the ALCS. They were two-hit in one game, three-hit in another. Cano wound up 8 for 23, .348, with 4 HR and 5 RBI.
Gardner was 3 for 17, .176, 1 RBI. Jeter 6 for 26, .231, 1 RBI, 7 K. A-Rod 4 for 21, .190, 2 RBI. He was caught looking to end the Yankees season. Teixeira was 0 for 14 before he got hurt. Swisher was 2 for 22 in the ALCS. For the year, including the ALCS, Swisher was 5 for 51 vs. Texas, Teixeira 4 for 38. That’s .098 for Swisher for the year vs. the Rangers, and .105 for Teixeira. Thames was 2 for 16 in the ALCS, 7 strikeouts. The team BA? .201.
Hughes was 0-2, 11.42. Burnett 0-1, 7.50. Logan 27.00. Robertson 20.25. Mitre 10.13. Heck, even CC was 1-0, 6.30.
Andy was 0-1, 2.57. Was his gutty game 3 loss to Lee his last game?
Joba 2.70. Moseley 1-0, 0.00 (and you may ask why, after a good Game 1 performance, wasn’t he used again?). Mo of course had a 0.00, but only one save. Wood a 1.50. Team ERA 6.58.
6.58 ERA. BA .201. That sums it up.
Tonight, SF tries to eliminate the Phils. SF is up 3 games to 2.
Mo’s contract is up. You don’t know if Andy will be back, and you assume Mo is returning, but Mo does turn 41 in five weeks. What if he decides that this is it?
I admit, I wasn’t thinking of that when he pitched the 8th last night. That I may be seeing him for the last time.
Perish the thought.