Ranking the blame for the Yankees’ loss

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Here’s a fun fact: the only one of the Yankees’ five highest-paid players to actually have a successful ALDS against the Tigers was A.J. Burnett.

But who is the most to blame for the series loss?  Let’s go in reverse order.

5. Joe Girardi – I don’t think he’s the main culprit here, though he could have employed a quicker hook with a struggling CC Sabathia in Game 3. One can also argue that he should have been more aggressive in using his best relievers — Mariano Rivera and David Robertson combined to pitch 3 1/3 innings in five games — but as well as the other relievers did, it probably wouldn’t have mattered much. Pinch-hitting Eric Chavez for Brett Gardner in Game 2 was his one bizarre move, and that one definitely didn’t work.

4. Derek Jeter – The Captain hit .250 with just one extra-base hit and an 8/1 K/BB ratio in the series. In the seventh inning or later, he was 2-for-9 with no RBI and five strikeouts. He also made an error that helped lead to two runs in the 5-3 loss in Game 2.

3. Alex Rodriguez – A-Rod managed just two singles in 18 at-bats in the series, though he did drive in three runs and walk four times. Thursday’s performance was his worst: he fanned in three of his five plate appearances, including in the game-ending at-bat against Jose Valverde.

2. Mark Teixeira – Girardi should have moved A-Rod out of the cleanup spot earlier in the series, but the likely replacement, Teixeira, may not have been any better. Teixeira finished the series 3-for-18. He did double and drive in a run with a bases-loaded walk tonight, but he failed to collect an RBI in the first four games.

1. CC Sabathia – Six runs in 8 2/3 innings for the Yankees’ ace. Things may turned out a whole lot differently if not for the Game 1 suspension (he came back on two days’ rest to start Monday and then two days’ rest in his Game 5 relief appearance), but Sabathia’s struggles are the biggest reason the Yankees didn’t advance. If he could have allowed two or three runs over six innings Monday, the Bombers probably would have won that game (the Tigers prevailed 5-4), and making the first relief appearance of his career, he gave up one run in 1 1/3 innings in the 3-2 loss tonight.

Bruce Bochy announces he’s going to retire at the end of the season

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Bruce Bochy just told reporters at spring training in Scottsdale that he plans to retire following the 2019 season.

Bochy’s Giants are certainly in a transitional period right now. They aren’t calling it a rebuild in San Francisco, but it’s hard to see how what they’ve done this offseason and what sort of talent they have in house right now amounts to a contender. If there will be a more thorough restructuring or reshuffling or — gasp! — even a rebuilding, it’ll likely be a lengthy one. Bochy will turn 65 during the 2020 season and, after 25 years on the bench, he may simply not have the desire to put in the kind of time such a rebuild will take.

But what a 25 years it’s been.  He managed the Padres from 1995 through 2006 and took the Giants over in 2007. He led San Diego t the 1998 NL Pennant and has, obviously, led the Giants to three World Series titles, in 2010, 2012 and 2014. For his career he has a record of 1926-1944.

Given those three rings, however, he will likely be inducted into the Hall of Fame at his first opportunity.