If I was to give 'Kudos & Wet Willies' based simply on Friday night's season-ending 6-1 defeat I could probably sum it up by handing out one large team-wide 'Wet Willie' and being done with it. Instead, let's give 'Kudos & Wet Willies' based on the entire series.
Predictably, the 'Kudos' will be short, but the 'Willies' are going to take a while.
Kudos to ...
- Robinson Cano: Finished the best season of his career with the best ALCS of any Yankee. He hit .348 with four home runs and five RBI. At times, in fact too many times, it felt like Cano was the only dangerous hitter in the whole lineup.
- Curtis Granderson: A disappointing regular season, but finished strong in the playoffs. He hit .294 in the ALCS and had an on-base percentage of .520. Hopefully, the player we saw in the playoffs is the one the Yankees get next season. I don't really want the sub-.250 hitting version. He isn't much help.
- Andy Pettitte: The best performance of any Yankee starter, going seven innings and giving up just two runs while losing to Cliff Lee. That could well be the last time we see Pettitte, who seems likely to finally retire. He didn't want, but he did give us a typically solid, gutty performance.
- Kerry Wood: Four games, six innings, one earned run, a 0.83 WHIP. Wood did everything he could, and I would be shocked if the Yankees don't bring him back next season to help anchor the late-inning bullpen.
Wet Willies to ...
- Joe Girardi: The manager did not lose this series for the Yankees, the Rangers were clearly better this time around. Girardi, though, did not help the cause. Questionable handling of A.J. Burnett is Game 4. What seemed like a surrender in that same game when he inserted Sergio Mitre. Odd use of his bullpen Friday night, bringing in the recently ineffective David Robertson with his season on the line. Increasingly, the criticism of Girardi is that he relies on his charts and graphs to dictate his decisions, rather than a real feel for what is going on. As good a manager as he is, that criticism really does have some merit.
- Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Nick Swisher, Brett Gardner: I lumped all of them in together because it woul take forever to do it separately. At a team the Yankees hit just .201 in the series to Texas's .303, and these four are a big part of the reason. Jeter (.231), Rodriguez (.190), Swisher (.091) an Gardner (.176) were all virtually non-existent most of the series. Thus, so was the Yankee offense.
- Starting pitching (with the exception of Pettitte): Phil Hughes pitches to an abominable 11.42 ERA in two ALCS starts, A.J. Burnett could not get the Yankees a win, CC Sabathia had an ERA of 6.30 in two starts. As a whole, this group was awful. You can't win in the postseason with pitching like that.
- David Robertson: Not his fault Girardi kept stubbornly putting him in games. His 20.25 ERA in four appearances, though, was his fault. He was terrible, and while Joba Chamberlain was not exactly unhittable I don't understand Girardi's insistence on continuing to use a guy who was not throwing the ball well. For me, the use of Robertson was an example of Girardi having a pre-conceived notion and not really a feel for the right move to make.
- Boone Logan: The guy had one job in the series -- get out Josh Hamilton. He could not do that, so Friday Girardi was ordering intentional walks every time he possibly could when Hamilton strode to the plate. An ERA of 27.00 in his three games.
- Marcus Thames: Two measly hits in 16 at-bats for a .125 average. The Yankees needed him when Mark Teixeira went down, and he could not produce.