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2011 ALDS Game 3: It’s Over

Well, it’s over.

I’ve been sitting here in the Bronx trying to figure out what to say about tonight’s game, or the season, but part of me says “What is there to say?” We got beat. Now I get a few free weekends I didn’t think I’d have, and I get a big refund on my ALCS and World Series tickets, which means I can buy a new oven.

Okay, I thought of something to say. I’m reminded of the 1960 World Series, which pre-dates me, but I’ve read about it, y’know. In the series, the Pirates were outscored by the Yankees by a lot, yet still managed to win the series by winning the close games.

The Yankees bashed the Tigers’ brains in twice, but got beat by one run twice, and by two runs once. The difference, in other words, was either the pitching just had to be a LITTLE bit better or they had to have ONE big hit go their way which didn’t. If only CC had been just a little sharper, for example, they could have beat Verlander.

Or take tonight as an example. There were numerous times where just one hit–not even a home run, just a base hit–would have likely meant two runs. That’s the difference between them winning by one run and losing by one run. Teixeira had one deep drive that was caught at the wall. So did Jeter. If either of those balls goes out, they win the game.

Or if A-Rod had managed a hit in numerous examples. It’s clear he wasn’t fully healthy this October. He had too many setbacks with injuries and didn’t have his timing together by the time the postseason rolled around. If A-Rod has a postseason like he did in 2009, they might run the table. Or at least advance to the next round.

Or if Nova had not given up two meatballs in the first inning. Two consecutive pitches meant two runs and a deflated and nervous crowd. Girardi said in the postgame press conference that they knew something was wrong with Nova because in the first inning his fastball was cutting. His fastball doesn’t cut. It also doesn’t normally stay up like that. But the damage was done so quickly, and so decisively, it demoralized the crowd.

Twice tonight the Yankees had the bases loaded and were just waiting for a big hit. The Stadium was like a roman candle ready to shoot off if only someone would light the ignition. But the hit never came. The first run of the game was a solo home run by Robbie Cano; they only pitch to Cano when the bases are empty. The second one came on a bases loaded walk. We were on our feet for the entire inning both times, only to sit back down with little to show for it.

Yankees fans won’t soon forget how Jorge Posada hit in this series. .429 with a triple (!) and four walks, for a .600 OBP and 1.200 slugging percentage. And how about Brett Gardner? .412 with 4 RBIs. And Cano would have probably had more to show for it if after Game One they didn’t just decide to quit pitching to him entirely…

The Tigers beat us fair and square. Their pitching was just good enough. Their hitting was just good enough. And they were just lucky enough.

127 days until pitchers and catchers report.

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