Wednesday, October 20, 2010

CC Wins, Or See You Next Year

So it comes down to this. The Yankees are one game away from being eliminated in the American League Championship Series.

By the Texas Rangers. The Dallas/Arlington Rangers. The George W. "I'm not the dumbest President ever, I just play him on TV" Bush Rangers. The 95 Degrees In the Shade Rangers. The team that turned Billy Martin from a paranoid alcoholic into a paranoid alcoholic who thought he was a cowboy.

Joe Girardi made all the right moves last year. The Yankee bats, especially Alex Rodriguez, came through in the postseason last year. This year is not last year. The bats, except for Robinson Cano's 3 homers (the only homers the Yanks have hit in this series), have been sotto voce. And Girardi has fubared the pitching situation. (FUBAR: Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition.)

He has forgotten 2 of baseball's unwritten rules:

1. If a guy is pitching well, you leave him in. To hell with lefty vs. lefty or righty vs. righty: Leave him in. Go with the hot hand.

2. If a guy is killing you with his bat, don't bring in a pitcher just to face him. Keep the guy who's pitching well in there. Josh Hamilton has been doing his best David Ortiz impression (with steroids?), and in both Game 3 and Game 4, Girardi brought in young lefty Boone Logan to face him, with disastrous results.

Now, I'm not saying that, if this series stays on its current course and the Yankees lose, Girardi should be fired as manager. I am saying that, if the George Steinbrenner we all once knew were still in charge, Girardi might be fired.

True, he can't control how well the Yankee bats hit the Ranger pitchers, or how well the Ranger pitchers pitch. But he can control who goes out to pitch for the Yankees. And while he almost got away with starting the strugg-a-ling A.J. Burnett last night (not to mention he almost got away with letting Francisco Cervelli catch him, especially since Jorge Posada hasn't been hitting much better), he left A.J. in too long.

Girardi has been managing the Yankees in the postseason no better than Jerry Manuel managed the Mets in the regular season. Which, ask any Mets fan tell you, felt a bit irregular. And the Mets, 2 years too late, finally used milk of magnesia and got rid of the Manuel/Omar Minaya irregularity.

CC Sabathia starts Game 5 this afternoon. I have a feeling he'll come through, so that the Rangers won't clinch at Yankee Stadium.

But it will most likely be a small reprieve. After all, the Rangers have 3 chances to win 1. And, as Mike Francesa said on WFAN this afternoon, they can pretty much clown their way through Games 5 and 6, and rely on Cliff Lee in Game 7.

Thus would it seem that the Yankees have no chance.

We've heard that before. Nevertheless, as they say in medical dramas, "I gotta be honest with you, it doesn't look good."  By the time you next hear from me, the Yankees could be eliminated.

If so, I have no problem with cheering on either the Philadelphia Phillies or the San Francisco Giants in the World Series. The Phillies, due to proximity, how good they were in my formative years as a baseball fan (1976 to 1983), how great their new ballpark is, and how much they get Met fans steamed, are an easy team to root for. And, for all their history, they still have only the 2 titles. I have no problem with them winning a 3rd, as long as they don't have to beat the Yankees to do so.

The Giants, currently leading the NLCS 2 games to 1, haven't won a World Series since they moved to San Francisco in 1958 (the last was in New York in 1954), and have become one of those star-crossed franchises. And only 3 Pennants in all that time. With some close calls, including a few moments of what could be called "curse material." There are a number of explanations for why they might be cursed.

So either of them would be a deserving World Champion.

Not the team of George W. Bush. To hell with the fact that he long ago sold them: I'll forgive them when he admits he stole the election.

Besides, Dallas Sucks. Or, as we say in another sport, Rangers Suck.

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