Baseball: Yankees' big-hitters swept away in disgrace

Record scoring turns to record flop and it is embarrassment all round in New York

It was the whimper heard around the baseball world. The New York Yankees, the big-hitting, swaggering Yankees, were clean-swept out of Detroit on Thursday night, bringing to a torrid end a season that had seen them hurry through autumn in a rash of home runs. How the mighty hitters have fallen.

The home fans revelled in it; everyone outside New York revels in the fall of the Yankees. Chants of "sweep, sweep" swept around Comerica Park as the Tigers won 8-1 and made it four straight wins to settle the American League Championship Series. For the Tigers it means a first World Series in six years; for the Yankees it's a first post-season sweep for 32 years as their much vaunted line-up imploded to a degree rarely seen even in the extremes that have become common to New York's finest.

"Embarrassing," was how pitcher CC Sabathia put it. "Crushed," was Alex Rodriguez's take. "It's hard to stomach how we played here and at the most important time of the year," said Brian Cashman, the general manager. "We feel we let the fans down in New York, and each other at the same time."

The plan for the season was simple: it was the long-ball game. Out came what Joe Girardi, the Yankees' manager, termed "the big, hairy monsters" and away went the ball. Again and again and again. The Yankees hit 245 home runs during the regular season, a record return. Those hits, heaved by the likes of Rodriguez, Robinson Cano, Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson, won 95 matches, the most in the American League.

But there was no Plan B. It was hit or bust and the Tigers bust them. The downturn was dramatic. Cano's 0 for 29 earned another Major League record, the worst recorded post-season return. It gave him an average of .056 – anything beneath .240 is considered poor. Granderson was .100, Swisher, labelled the "choke-meister general" by a fuming New York Post, .167. "We didn't swing the bats," suggested Girardi. "It wasn't one guy. It was a bunch of guys. It's hard to win when you don't score runs."

Girardi has borne the brunt of much of the criticism. None of his decisions came off post-season and hopes of running a new broom over an ageing line-up are limited by the number of players on long-term lucrative deals.

Rodriguez was paid $29m for a season that ended with a negligible contribution from the man who is halfway through the most lucrative contract in the history of the game. The next five years of Rodriguez will cost the Yankees $114m, this for a man who managed a single hit against Detroit. So poor was his form that Girardi benched him for three games – from where he did little to endear himself to Yankee fans by appearing to flirt with a bikini model during game one in New York.

Girardi insisted it was not all about Rodriguez. The man himself, though, did at least acknowledge his failings. "I've got to look in the mirror," he said. There have been broadening suggestions he may be traded to Miami Marlins, but he insists he is going nowhere – like his team, some might say.

"I love New York City and everything about being a Yankee," said Rodriguez. "The highs are very high and the lows are very low."

Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Diana from the Great British Bake Off 2014
tvProducers confirm contestant left because of illness
News
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie reportedly married in secret on Saturday
peopleSpokesperson for couple confirms they tied the knot on Saturday after almost a decade together
Sport
footballLive: Latest news from Champions League draw
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Scrum Master (Agile, Java, team recruitment)

£45000 - £60000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Scrum M...

Junior Asset Manager

£25000 - £35000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Junior As...

Investment Analyst

£33000 - £40000 Per Annum Discretionary profit share: The Green Recruitment Co...

Supply teachers required in Cambridge

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Supply teachers requi...

Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?