ALCS Game 3 Thoughts: ‘Why Not Us?’

What if I told you Robinson Cano would have three hits in eight postseason games and none of them are home runs? What if I told you Curtis Granderson would have 15 strikeouts in 29 at-bats in the postseason? What if I told you Brett Gardner would lead off Game 3 of the ALCS, Eduardo Nunez would play shortstop and Eric Chavez would start at third base? What if I told you that the Yankees would be held scoreless in 28 of the 30 innings of the first three games of the ALCS? What if I told you the Yankees would give up nine runs in the first three games of the ALCS and be down 3-0 in the series?

That’s how I envision the voiceover guy for ESPN previewing the “30 for 30” series remake of Four Days in October in a few years to document these next four games of the ALCS. Because for some wild reason I believe that this Yankees team can come back in the ALCS against the Tigers. (No, I’m not drunk as I write this.)

I thought about calling these thoughts about Game 3 “Hi, Mom” to honor Alex Rodriguez mouthing those words to the TBS camera before first pitch. A-Rod sitting on the bench once again for Eric Chavez is as much of a joke as his in-game antics, which are as much of a joke as how the Yankees have played the first three games of the series. A-Rod not being in the Game 3 lineup was the only problem I had with Joe Girardi’s Game 3 lineup.

Yes, A-Rod has been awful and unproductive and hard to watch and a complete waste of money in these playoffs, but he did hit two home runs off of Justin Verlander this season. And if you aren’t keeping track at home, Eric Chavez is still hitless this October. But Girardi did what he thinks he has to do every game now and benched A-Rod, which is the “cool” thing to do these days. (What, mom? Everyone’s doing it!) Maybe we will find out after the season ends that A-Rod is legitimately hurt and that is the cause for his slump and for Girardi putting him in the Eduardo Nunez Early-Season Doghouse.

Game 3 was about what Games 1 and 2 were about: the Yankees’ inability to score runs. Well, actually this game was about the Yankees’ inability to even put guys on base. Ichiro was once again the only Yankee who could do anything and Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson continued to do nothing related to power.

I’m not mad about Raul Ibanez and not A-Rod hitting against the left-handed Phil Coke in the ninth inning since the Tigers would have brought in the right-handed Joaquin Benoit to face A-Rod anyway. I’m mad that Ibanez swung at ball four against Coke, but let’s be honest, Nick Swisher wasn’t tying the game if got a chance to hit after Ibanez.

The Yankees are in the worst of spots. Five days after surviving one elimination game they will have to survive another. And if they want to make it out of the ALCS they will have to survive four of these games in the next five days. It’s improbable, but not impossible and even I (of all people) believe that this Yankees team can do it. (Again, I’m not drunk.)

I entered Phase 1 of the Yankees Elimination Process on Saturday night with the combination of losing a game in which there was an epic comeback turned and the loss of Derek Jeter. I’m not ready to enter Phase 2 yet and I don’t think CC Sabathia will let me get to Phase 2 yet. We’ll get to the different phases of the Yankees Elimination Process if there isn’t a Game 5 on Thursday, but I think there will be. I know there will be.

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Here are my thoughts from Game 3 of the ALCS.

– If anyone still thinks Robinson Cano is a Top 5 player in the league, I can give you my MLB TV account and password so you can go online and re-watch these postseason games.

– I have watched five of the eight postseason games on TV and in all five games I haven’t been able to know if the pitch is going to be a ball or a strike until the umpire signals for one or the other. That’s not good, is it? No, no it’s not. Justin Verlander is either the best pitcher on the planet or he’s the second-best pitcher on the planet (I’m taking Felix Hernandez first.) He doesn’t need any help from the umpire. But in Game 3, Verlander was getting blatant balls called strikes while Phil Hughes, who needs all the help he can get, was getting blatant strikes called balls. If you want to have a non-textbook strike zone or a moving strike zone, fine. Well, it’s not really fine, but if you want to have either one of those then at least be consistent for both pitchers.

– If you believe in TBS’ slogan of “Legends are born in October,” well, Ichiro’s birthday is Oct. 22. The only problem with that is Robinson Cano’s birthday is also Oct. 22.

– Was Eric Chavez hooking up with the two girls A-Rod landed at the Stadium in Game 2? Unless he got shot with a paintball gun on the off day on Monday, he definitely got a hickey from someone.

– Russell Martin has caught every inning of the playoffs for the Yankees, including two 12-inning games and a 13-inning game. There he was during Game 3 having his hand and wrist looked at it in the dugout in the middle of the game and there’s most likely something wrong with it, but he continued to play. I can’t help, but think that Mark Teixeira was probably advising him to not play if he’s even at 80-percent health.

– Is YES going to show Kevin Long in 2013 when Curtis Granderson hits a home run off a lefty or are we finally over that? Maybe Kevin Long is only responsible for when things are going right for the Yankees offense and they are crushing No. 4 and 5 starters in the regular season and September call-ups. If Kevin Long can survive the offseason after this postseason disaster then the Yankees might as well give him a lifetime contract because if he’s not going to be fired for this then he can’t possibly be fired for anything related to the team’s hitting ever.

– My brother texted me to say that John Sterling called Eduardo Nunez’s foul ball in the ninth inning fair. Never change, John Sterling. Never change.

– Phil Coke has reached the Josh Beckett Tier of Athletes I Hate to Look At. There aren’t many people in this club, but Coke has made it. Congratulations, I guess?

– Nick Swisher better not be in the lineup for Game 4. He shouldn’t be in the lineup again this series. And if he isn’t and he has played his last game as a Yankee, I can proudly say that I didn’t enjoy having the opportunity to watch him play baseball for four years.

– My fear of having “Land of Hope and Dreams” forever linked to postseason failure from the Yankees is coming true. It might be time for TBS to play “Lonesome Day” or “Better Days” on the Tri-state feed when they go to commercial. I’m all for them changing it to the song about Linda in The Wedding Singer if they have to. We’re at that point.

A wise man named Curt Schilling once asked, “Why not us?” So, I ask that question today with the Yankees facing a 3-0 deficit in the ALCS. Why not us?

This train carries CC Sabathia in Game 4. Don’t make it the last stop.

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