Big stars, a big payroll and lots of bigcomebacks. It all makes for one big disappointment that the NewYork Yankees won't be repeating as World Series champions.
The Yankees' reign ended Friday night at the hands of the TexasRangers. Phil Hughes got into trouble in the fifth inning and asupposedly powerful lineup went down meekly against Colby Lewis,sending Texas to a 6-1 victory and putting the franchise in theWorld Series for the first time.
"We didn't accomplish what we set out to," manager Joe Girardisaid. "And as I told my guys, this hurts. I've been through it asa player. I've been through it as a coach and now I've been throughit as a manager. It's not a lot of fun watching other teamscelebrate."
The Bronx Bombers came into the AL championship series expectingto clobber the upstart Rangers, just like they had in their threeprevious postseason series back in the late 1990s. With theirpostseason pedigree, more wins this season and a first-round sweep,the Yankees were heavily favored to claim their 41st AL pennant.
But they really only outplayed Texas in one inning of Game 1 andall of Game 5.
"They outhit us, they outpitched us, outplayed us and they beatus," Girardi said. "You take away one inning and one game, and itwas very one-sided. We just didn't get it done."
Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson were the only reliablehitters. Mark Teixeira was hitless in 14 at-bats this series beforebeing lost to an injury. Cleanup hitter Alex Rodriguez had justfour hits and leadoff man Derek Jeter scored only two runs.
"It doesn't matter what kind of lineup you have on paper, youstill have to play the games," Jeter said. "They pitched betterthan our offense. We couldn't get a lot going. They're moving on.They're the better team. They beat us. ... We thought we had a teamthat could win it. But they did too. Obviously they were betterthan we were. It's never a given to be in this position, anyyear."
Mariano Rivera was outstanding as usual, but Girardi was onlyable to use him in a single save situation - Game 1. The startingpitching let the club down, from Hughes failing to finish the fifthinning in either of his starts and A.J. Burnett getting intotrouble in Game 4. Even ace CC Sabathia was bad in the opener,which New York won 6-5 with a five-inning rally in the eighth.
"Sometimes you run into a buzzsaw," outfielder Nick Swishersaid. "It's been an uphill battle the entire series. But sometimesyou've got to pull off some tough wins. We couldn't get that done.That nasty feeling we have in our stomachs right now, that'sdefinitely going to help us this offseason."
On deck, a possibly wild winter.
Jeter's contract is up, as are the deals for Girardi, Rivera andAndy Pettitte, who would've started Game 7.
General manager Brian Cashman wore a hat with " springtraining" written on it, sending the message he's already planningfor 2011. Asked about re-signing Girardi, Cashman said, "I wouldthink that it would be the first order of business."
A close second might be pursuing Cliff Lee.
Lee is the new ace of the Rangers, but the way he's dominatedthe Yankees the last two seasons makes them want him even more.They almost got him in a midseason trade, but lost out. Texas mayhave given up better prospects to get him from Seattle, but if thisnegotiation comes down to money, well, there's no equal to NewYork's willingness to spend.
Jeter wasn't ready to talk about his free agency or anythingelse offseason-related.
"I haven't even thought about it," he said. "It's 15 minutesafter we lost. I'm not thinking about what we need next year. Wejust lost. I can't comment on that."
Pettitte said he wishes he knew what's next for him.
"I'll talk to my wife and see what she's thinking, and then seehow I'm feeling about it, whether I want to do it again," he said.
Winning title No. 28 this season would've been extra special tothe Yankees because of the special people commemorated on jerseypatches: owner George Steinbrenner and longtime public-addressannouncer Bob Sheppard. They died within days of each other thissummer.
Hal Steinbrenner, the club's managing general partner, issuedthis statement: "On behalf of the New York Yankees I want tocongratulate the Texas Rangers, Chuck Greenberg, Nolan Ryan andtheir entire ownership, staff and organization on winning theirfirst American League pennant. They played like champions and wewish them the best of luck representing the American League in theWorld Series."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun