New York Yankees' Nick Swisher strikes out with the bases loaded in the seventh inning of play against the Detroit Tigers in Game 5 of their MLB American League Division Series baseball playoffs at Yankee Stadium in New York

Yankees missed many scoring opportunities in Game 5 loss

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The fine folks at STATS Inc. shared this nugget of information shortly after Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher chased an outside pitch with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning of Thursday’s 3-2 Game 5 loss to the Tigers:

Swisher is 1 for 31 with 10 Ks with runners in scoring position over 38 career postseason games.

“Clutch” is a myth, but that’s a startling stat.

Swisher finished 1-for-4 in the Game 5 defeat and went just 4-for-19 (.211) in the series. But he’s not the only Bronx Bomber that missed major chances in the first-round departure. There’s plenty of blame to go around.

Alex Rodriguez went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in Thursday night’s loss, leaving three runners on base. He fanned at a pitch down the heart of the plate to end it and wound up 2-for-18 (.111) for the series.

Derek Jeter missed a go-ahead home run by about three feet in the bottom of the eighth. He went 1-for-5.

Russell Martin was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and left four runners on base. He batted .176 in the series.

The Yankees had a number of promising scoring opportunities Thursday and a lineup paid to convert those chances into runs, but — for whatever reason — they came up short. A-Rod is sure to get most of the blame because of his hefty contract and past failures, but those seeking a scapegoat will find a range of options.

Edwin Encarnacion: “I think [the Blue Jays] got too hasty in making their decision.”

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 19:  Edwin Encarnacion #10 of the Toronto Blue Jays reacts in the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians during game five of the American League Championship Series at Rogers Centre on October 19, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion signed a three-year, $60 million contract with the Indians early last month. The 34-year-old had spent the last seven and a half seasons with the Blue Jays, but his future elsewhere appeared to be written on the wall when the Jays signed Kendrys Morales in November to essentially occupy Encarnacion’s role.

Encarnacion spoke about testing free agency for the first time in his career and the situation that led to him leaving Toronto for Cleveland. Via Jorge L. Ortiz of USA TODAY:

“Toronto was always my first option, but I had never been a free agent, and anybody who gets to free agency wants to find out what’s out there,’’ he said. “I think they got too hasty in making their decision, but now I’m with Cleveland and I’m happy to be here.’’

Encarnacion last season hit .263/.357/.529 with 42 home runs and an AL-best 127 RBI. He’s now on the team that defeated his Blue Jays in the ALCS to advance to the World Series. Encarnacion effectively replaces Mike Napoli, who returned to the Rangers.

Sammy Sosa compares himself to Jesus Christ

Sammy Sosa
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I’m on record saying that Sammy Sosa has been rather hosed by baseball history.

The guy did amazing things. Unheard-of things. He was truly astounding at this peak and was incredibly important to both his franchise and Major League Baseball as a whole. His repayment: he’s a pariah. His club won’t claim him and his greatness, by any measure, has not just been overlooked but denied by most who even bother to consider him.

Yes, he had PED associations, but they were extraordinarily vague ones. He’s in the same boat as David Ortiz as far as documented PED evidence against him, but Ortiz will be a first ballot Hall of Famer while Sosa barely clings to the ballot. He hit homers at the same cartoonish rate as Mark McGwire, but while Big Mac has been embraced by baseball and has coached for years, Sosa can’t get into Wrigley Field unless he buys a ticket and even then the Cubs might try to hustle him out of sight. The man has been treated poorly by any measure.

Yet, it’s still possible to overstate the case. Like Sosa did in this interview with Chuck Wasserstrom:

It’s like Jesus Christ when he came to Jerusalem,” Sosa told chuckbloggerstrom.com. “Everybody thought Jesus Christ was a witch (laughing) — and he was our savior. So if they talk (bleep) about Jesus Christ, what about me? Are you kidding me?”

At least he was basically joking about it. Still, it’s a totally unfair and almost offensive comparison.

I mean, anyone who watched Sosa’s career knows that he had trouble laying off breaking stuff low and away. In contrast . . .