Big stars, a big payroll and lots of big comebacks. It all makes for one big disappointment that the New York Yankees won't be repeating as World Series champions.
The Yankees' reign ended Friday night at the hands of the Texas Rangers. Phil Hughes got into trouble in the fifth inning and a supposedly powerful lineup went down meekly against Colby Lewis, sending Texas to a 6-1 victory and putting the franchise in the World Series for the first time.
"We didn't accomplish what we set out to," manager Joe Girardi said. "And as I told my guys, this hurts. I've been through it as a player. I've been through it as a coach and now I've been through it as a manager. It's not a lot of fun watching other teams celebrate."
The Bronx Bombers came into the AL championship series expecting to clobber the upstart Rangers, just like they had in their three previous post-season series back in the late 1990s. With their post-season pedigree, more wins this season and a first-round sweep, the Yankees were heavily favoured to claim their 41st AL pennant.
But they really only outplayed Texas in one inning of Game 1 and all of Game 5.
"They outhit us, they outpitched us, outplayed us and they beat us," Girardi said. "You take away one inning and one game, and it was very one-sided. We just didn't get it done."
Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson were the only reliable hitters. Mark Teixeira was hitless in 14 at-bats this series before being lost to an injury. Alex Rodriguez had just four hits and Derek Jeter scored only two runs.
Mariano Rivera was outstanding as usual, but Girardi was only able to use him in a single save situation — Game 1. The starting pitching let the club down, from Hughes failing to finish the fifth inning in either of his starts and A.J. Burnett getting into trouble in Game 4. Even CC Sabathia was bad in the opener, which New York won 6-5 with a five-inning rally in the eighth.
What part of the club let them down the most?
"I don't know how you measure, quantitate any of it," Girardi said. "It all stinks. It's no fun to be in this situation. It's no fun to be sitting here after the loss. We take this extremely serious. It stinks."
On deck, a possibly wild off-season.
Jeter's contract is up, as are the deals for Girardi, Rivera and Andy Pettitte, who would've started Game 7.
Cliff Lee's contract is up, too.
Lee is the new ace of the Rangers, but the way he's dominated the Yankees the last two seasons makes them want him even more. They almost got him in a midseason trade, but lost out. Texas may have given up better prospects to get him from Seattle, but if this negotiation comes down to money, well, there's no equal to New York's willingness to spend.
As for his own pending negotiations, Girardi said, "That's not a concern of mine right now."
Winning title No. 28 this season would've been extra special to the Yankees because of the special people commemorated on jersey patches: owner George Steinbrenner and longtime public-address announcer Bob Sheppard. They died within days of each other this summer.