The Yankees planned on hosting Game 2 of the ALCS against the Rangers last night. Then, they had a flight ready for their departure with an ideal scenario having them two wins away from the World Series.
Instead, they’re packing up the clubhouse and going home.
There are multiple reasons why, but the most stark was their lack of clutch hitting in a five-game ALDS loss to the Tigers. The Yankees batted .260 in the series, which is their highest batting average in a postseason series they lost since batting .282 in the seven-game 2004 ALCS to the Red Sox.
Like that number, this year’s figure is somewhat deceiving. The Yankees won two games by scoring 19 runs and hitting .324 (24-for-74) while in the three losses they scored nine times and hit .212 (21-for-99).
The poor showing was reflected in the four-five-six hitters in the lineup. Alex Rodriguez (.111), Mark Teixeira (.167) and Nick Swisher (.211) were a combined 9-for-55 and with runners in scoring position the trio went a combined 1-for-13.
“[Rodriguez] gave the best effort he could,” general manager Brian Cashman said. “The guy’s a hard worker. He cares. He wants to be successful, and more times than not, he is. He’s hurting like the rest of us are here now. He’ll come back next year in great shape.
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“Our offense, despite [Game 5], is an area of strength. Offensively we should be OK.”
Only Swisher’s return can be considered slightly questionable since he has an option that the Yankees can decline. They would have to gauge whether they could find a new right fielder that can produce about a .275 to .280 average, 25 home runs and 85 runs batted in during the regular season.
“The feeling I have right now definitely makes those offseason workouts a lot easier,” said Swisher, who is 16-for-100 in the postseason as a Yankee. “This is a feeling I don't ever want to have again.”
Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher for news during the Yankee offseason.