It’s too early (by a few hours, at least) to call this a T3 — a total team tank. After all, C.C. Sabathia could win this afternoon, and if the Texas Rangers can win three straight, so can the Yankees.
But if Yankee fans need anything more to be depressed about, consider that Sabathia, who is usually dynamite late in the season, has been just another pitcher since September, with only two effective starts in his last seven and an ERA of 4.8.
Whatever happens this afternoon, there’s a creepy sameness in the Yankees playoff performance which doesn’t bode well for Joe Girardi’s future.
Let’s not forget that the main reason Joe Torre isn’t still managing the Yankees is his dismal string of postseason appearances from 2002 through 2007. Allowing Torre at least one noble defeat in the 2001 World Series against the Diamondbacks, he managed the Yankees through nine postseason series in which the Yankees lost 25 of 45 games. Worse than that was the way they lost them. From 2002 through 2006 they lost five postseason series. They were 8-1 in the first nine games of those series and then, after they had had the lead, a mind-boggling 1-16. (In 2007 they made it easier on their fans by simply losing the first two games of the playoffs against the Indians before losing the series n four.)
Exactly what happened to Torre’s teams after they got ahead — overconfidence, failure of concentration, looking ahead to postseason endorsements — no one will ever know. What’s undeniable is that there was a pattern. And the same pattern emerged this season: after crushing the Twins three games to zero, the Yankees won the first game against the Rangers and now, in one of the worst flameouts in team history, have been outscored 5-25, two of them at Yankee Stadium.
Well, if Texas can win three straight, so can the Yankees. Let’s keep repeating that until we believe it …