Alex Rodriguez is one of several New York players who will have to break out… (Matt Slocum / Associated…)
Writers from around the Tribune Co. will discuss the New York Yankees, who trail the Detroit Tigers, two games to one, in the best-of-seven American League Championship Series. You can join the discussion by voting in the poll and leaving a comment of your own.
Mike DiGiovanna, Los Angeles Times
Can the Yankees recover from a 0-2 hole? Yes. A team with their firepower can get hot and win four of five games. Will they? No. Though it should be a relief to escape a toxic Yankee Stadium environment, where there were far more boos for the home team than the visitors, the Yankees are going into the teeth of the Tigers rotation -- Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer -- for Games 3 and 4.
Too many of New York’s key hitters are in deep funks -- Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson are a combined 8 for 81 in the post-season -- and Verlander and Scherzer aren’t comfortable at-bats for hot hitters, let alone those who are struggling.
Plus, it will be too difficult for the Yankees to overcome the loss of Derek Jeter, not only because of his veteran presence at shortstop and the top of the order but because of his clutch play and production—Jeter had nine playoff hits before suffering an ankle injury in Game 1.
Ron Fritz, Baltimore Sun
The Yankees don’t have a prayer of recovering from the 0-2 hole they are in after losing the first two games at home in the ALCS. The Yankees couldn’t hit against the Orioles in the ALDS and they clearly can’t hit against the Tigers. Throw in the absence of Derek Jeter, who, besides Raul Ibanez, was the only Yankee to have a pulse against the Orioles, and you can stick a fork in them. Isn’t it great?
Fans in Baltimore are lamenting the fact that the Orioles lost to the Yankees in five games, but I’m not sure they could have done anything with the Tigers, either. About the only thing the Yankees can hope for is that this is quick and easy. Then the front office can figure out how to deconstruct the overrated and overpaid team it is stuck with thanks to the Steinbrenner sons. Good luck with that.
The Yankees might take one game from the Tigers, but not enough to get the series back to New York.
Phil Rogers, Chicago Tribune
“They’re old. They’re tired. They’re yesterday’s news.’’ That was the lead on a column I was working on late in Game 2 of the 2000 ALCS, against Seattle. Led by the young Alex Rodriguez, the M’s had won Game 1 and were ahead 1-0 through seven innings of Game 2. And that’s when the Yankees scored seven runs in the eighth, turning around the series en route to another World Series title.
You write off the Yankees at your own risk, and I’m not doing it here. The Yankees are in a huge hole and they miss Derek Jeter, no question about either of those things. But if they beat Justin Verlander in Game 3, they’re right back in the series, with CC Sabathia positioned to even it in Game 4. The Yankees were the best team in the AL in the regular season, and they’re one big inning away from a recovery.
Dom Amore, Hartford Courant
It's always dangerous to count the Yankees out ... except right now. They're one blow from being out cold, and Justin Verlander is winding up for a haymaker.
In the past, Yankees fans never really believed a series was over until the final out. Those were the Yankees of Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and Bernie Williams. Only Pettitte is present from that group in this ALCS, and as we've seen from his two solid pitching performances that went for naught, he can't do it alone this October.
Couple of things here. These Yankees are old, and one dimensional. There's no such thing as hitting too many home runs, but there is such a thing as being too reliant on home runs, and walks. Did you see Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera stroke outside pitches to right for singles with runners in scoring position in Game 2? The only Yankee hitter who did that consistently was Jeter, and he is now on crutches. An offense is only as good as its ability to generate a run when it needs one, and the Yankees, despite the occasional dramatic homer from Raul Ibanez, have not been able to do that, because they generally can score only one way. Wait for a mistake, and playoff pitching staffs don't make many.
So despite their payroll and star power, the Yankees just are not as good as advertised and, let's be honest, it's a mini-miracle they've made it this far. Fans in New York, spoiled by years of winning and demanding after shelling out so much to get into Yankee Stadium, have turned ornery and perhaps turned home field advantage into a negative.
It all adds up to a decidedly "done" look, and now they're staring at Justin Verlander like a helpless deer into the headlights.