With the New York Yankees on the brink of elimination after a 10-3 Game-4 loss to the Texas Rangers, fans are searching for answers. I’d like to say I can provide some but I’ve been wrong for four-straight games. However, I do know there are a lot of talking heads out there that think they can.
Here are some answers to two critical Game-4 questions.
Question No. 1: Did Giardi go too far with A.J. Burnett?
Former Yankees third-base coach Larry Bowa on The Dan Patrick Show:
“I think Giardi might have gone a little too far with Burnett. He got the most out of him for a guy who hadn’t pitched in awhile. I thought he was throwing the ball decent. You could see him (Giardi) talking over there when (Bengie) Molina got up, and I don’t know what they were talking about obviously, but I would think (Giardi) was saying what do you think? Does he have anything left? And bam, first pitch, center-in fastball and he hits it out.”
Former Blue Jays General Manager and ESPN baseball analyst J.P. Ricciardi on ESPN’s The Herd:
“I think they tried to get as much out of (Burnett) as they could before going to that bullpen,” said Ricciardi to host Colin Cowherd. “You know, it’s always a tough call for a manager, ‘when do I take that guy out or when do I leave him in?’ A.J. wasn’t pitching great and he wasn’t pitching bad and he was just trying to get him through another few outs and try to shorten the game the best he could. But I thought Joe was in a tough spot and I thought he handled it the best he could.”
“Yankees relievers have allowed 11 runs in 14 innings in the series. Whom can Girardi trust other than closer Mariano Rivera, who has been rendered irrelevant by the Rangers outscoring the Yankees 25-5 over the past three games?”
National baseball writer for Newsday, Ken Davidoff:
“It still wouldn’t shock me if the Yankees won three straight to advance to the World Series. But they’re in this position party because of Girardi’s questionable decision-making.”
“Should the Yankees have pitched to Murphy? Lefty specialist Boone Logan had allowed three hits to Murphy in four at-bats. A small sample size. At the least, if Girardi felt compelled to walk Murphy, he should’ve brought in a fresh arm – Joba Chamberlain was warming up – for Molina, who slammed Burnett’s first pitch inside the leftfield foul pole.”
Sports Illustrated baseball columnist Joe Posnanski on his blog breaks down the intentional walk to David Murphy (his opinion is too complex to sum it up in two paragraphs. Just take a read, it's great stuff).
Question No. 2: Are the Yankees finished?
Sports Illustrated writer Jon Heyman on The Dan Patrick Show:
“I think so. They have looked terrible,” was Heyman’s reply to Tony Bruno, who is filling in for Dan Patrick on Wednesday. “I say if they lost some close games they can come back. Anything is possible. They have a lot of talent on this team but (Mark) Teixeira is now hurt. Some of their guys are looking rather old and they’re all in a slump. They need to face (Cliff) Lee again. It doesn’t look good. Nobody has pitched well. (Phil) Hughes did not pitch well. C.C (Sabathia) did not pitch well. I think C.C. will come through with a good game today but I would say more than likely they are done.”
MLB.com tries to give reasons why the Yankees will win Game 5
“The Yankees led the Major Leagues with 48 comeback wins this season. Their manager, Joe Girardi, was the catcher on the 1996 New York team that lost the first two games of the World Series at home against Atlanta and then won the next four to take the crown.”
“There’s no such thing as panic in the Bronx right now, and that comes from the experience of being a champion.”
ESPN.com writer Jerry Crasnick:
“For what it’s worth, Texas is 1-3 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington during the postseason. But history doesn’t count for much when a young team is bonding and on the verge of tapping its destiny.”
“… Even though they won 95 games during the regular season and blitzed Minnesota in the first round of the playoffs, this just may not be their year.”
“The history of this event does not smile upon the Yankees at this juncture. In the best-of-seven LCS era, the team that has gone up, 3-1 has won the series 42 of 48 times. The six teams that successfully came back from a 3-1 deficit were the 2007 (Boston) Red Sox, the 2004 Red Sox, the 2003 (Florida) Marlins, the 1996 (Atlanta) Braves, the 1986 Red Sox and the 1985 (Kansas City) Royals.”
ESPN Page 2 writer and “The Devil Wears Pinstripes” author Jim Caple:
“The Rangers have a Hall of Fame-caliber DH from the Dominican Republic named Vladimir (who is still seeking his first World Series), a shortstop from Venezuela named Elvis (who made a superb and crucial diving stop Tuesday) and a catcher from Puerto Rico named Bengie (who hit a stadium-silencing three-run homer). And of course, they have an owner from Texas named Nolan, who opened this series by firing the ceremonial first pitch with such a smoke that co-owner Chuck Greenber said ‘I wonder whether he’s available for duty later in the series.’”
“Win one for The Boss or win one for Nolan?”