Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - No team needed an off day on Monday more
than the New York Yankees.
The Yankees' offensive woes from the ALDS have followed them into the ALCS and
after Sunday's 3-0 loss, they now find themselves down 0-2 in the series and
heading to Detroit, where on Tuesday will face perhaps the best pitcher in
baseball in 2011 MVP and Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander.
Oh, and they'll have to do it without Derek Jeter, too.
"It's definitely not an ideal situation," third baseman Alex Rodriguez said.
"We'd rather be up 2-0 and facing a Triple-A pitcher. That would be nice. But
we've done it all year. A lot of people counted us out. It seems like we
thrive on coming back."
Rodriguez has seemingly become the face of the Yankees' struggles, but he is
nowhere near alone in shouldering the blame for this mess. Sure, he's 0-for-17
with 12 strikeouts against righties this postseason, but Curtis Granderson is
hitting .115 with 14 strikeouts, Nick Swisher is batting .154 and Robinson
Cano has been so bad it's now reached historical proportions.
In all, the Yankees offense is hitting .202 and the lineup has mustered just
seven earned runs in 43 2/3 innings thrown by opposing starters. Also, the
fans' wrath is not limited to just A-Rod anymore, either, as everyone got their
share of boos on Sunday.
"That's the last thing I ever thought would be in this ballpark: that people
would get on you that bad," Swisher said. "Especially your home, man, where
your heart is, where you're battling and grinding all year long. It's just
frustrating, man. You never want to be in that spot. It's not like you're
trying to go out there and do bad on purpose.
After another 0-for-4 effort on Sunday, Cano is now the only player in major
league history to go hitless in 26 straight at-bats in a single postseason. He
is 2-for-32 this postseason with one run scored and four RBIs, all coming in
"It is odd," manager Joe Girardi said. "You know this is a really, really good
hitter that is struggling right now, and he's not getting a lot of pitches to
What makes Cano's slump even more puzzling is the fact that there wasn't a
hotter player entering the playoffs. Over his final nine games of the regular
season, Cano hit .615 with three home runs, 14 RBI and seven doubles, including
a 4-for-4, two-homer perhaps on the final day to help the Yankees secure the AL
"You just have to keep swinging," Cano said. "You keep playing the game, and
that's the only way you can turn it around."
Cano may be carrying his offensive problems into the field as well. The
usually sure-handed second baseman lost the grip on the ball when trying to
turn what would have been an inning-ending double play in the seventh inning of
Game 2. Instead, Detroit scored its first run of the game on the play.
"That's the same way I would always turn a double play," Cano said. "I didn't
get a grip on the ball."
Girardi was ejected after a play at second base in which it looked as if Cano
applied a tag to Omar Infante who was trying to get back to the bag after a
double. Replays showed that umpire Jeff Nelson got it wrong on a play that
would have ended the inning. The Tigers, though, tacked on two more runs after
"Yeah, it's frustrating," Girardi said. "I don't have a problem with Jeff's
effort, I don't, because he hustled to get to the play. But in this day and
age when we have instant replay available to us, it's got to change. These
guys are under tremendous amounts of pressure. It is a tough call for him
because the tag is underneath and it's hard for him to see. And it takes more
time to argue and get upset than you get the call right. Too much is at
The woeful offense ruined yet another terrific showing from a New York
starter, as Hiroki Kuroda carried a perfect game into the sixth and struck out
11, although he was charged with all three Tigers' runs.
"It's tough. You can't ask for any more from our starters," said Yankees
catcher Russell Martin. "They've been doing a great job. Offensively,
definitely, we have to pick up the slack and put some runs on the board to
take pressure off our pitching. It's not going to be an easy task coming up
It's hard to imagine the Yankees getting themselves right against Verlander,
who has won his last six starts and has posted a minuscule 0.64 ERA during the
span. But even without Verlander, the Tigers are sitting pretty, as 19 of the
previous 22 teams to take a 2-0 lead in the ALCS have advanced to the World
"We're not in a great position, definitely not," Yankees first baseman Mark
Teixeira said. "I don't think anyone is happy about what happened the last two
days, but we do have a day off (Monday) to kind of clear our heads, refocus on
the job that we have to do -- because if we don't get it done, the season's
going to be over."
The Sports Network