Yankees' Loss Inspires Frantic Search For New Small-Sample-Size ScapegoatS

The Yankees lost 7-6 yesterday, and if it wasn't Girardi's fault, it was Burnett's fault or Hughes' fault or Swisher's fault, three men demonstrating an unmanly lack of clutch, unlike the New York media's new darling of clutch, Alex Rodriguez.

Have you heard? Alex Rodriguez is the new Mr. October because he's all about baseball now. He's not about Madonna or money or Scott Boras or steroids or any of those other things he was supposedly all about before he was all about baseball. Joe Buck says so. Joe Buck can read body language, and right now Alex Rodriguez's lower lumbar is telling Joe Buck, "Alex Rodriguez is all about baseball."

Which is more than we can say for any of these others guys, especially Nick Swisher. Right, Steve Politi of the Newark Star-Ledger?

The number was illuminated for everyone to see in bright Hollywood lights.

There it was, dead center on the scoreboard, and Nick Swisher had to stare at it as he stepped to the plate. .107. His postseason batting average.

He had not just been a little bit bad in the postseason. He had been epically bad, dumpster-out-in-the-hot-sun-smelling bad, and the way his teammates were hitting, he was adding a lousy lounge singer to this rock-star of a lineup.

[...]

How many more at-bats can manager Joe Girardi possibly give this guy to turn it around?

Girardi has shown faith in his right fielder, rewarding his 29-home run, 82-RBI regular season. He has been a popular figure in the loosey-goosey clubhouse, one of the reasons the Yankees went from button-down to pie-in-the-face during this 103-win season.

"Guys are going to struggle during the course of the season and you just don't give up on a guy if he is struggling because the flip side of that is they are due to get hot," Girardi said before Game 5. "We feel good about Swish."

But everything has his limits, and now the manager should play somebody else - anybody else - to try a different look. Put in Brett Gardner. He might not be an upgrade, but could he possibly be worse?

(Yes.)

Nick Swisher is hitting .103 in the postseason in 29 at-bats. Maybe, like his famous teammate, he'll be all about baseball over the next couple of games and go 3-for-5 in each. His batting average would then jump 130 points, and he'd be, in Politi's terms, no worse than an average-smelling dumpster in a cool sun.

Or I suppose Girardi could heed Politi's advice and, on the basis of 29 at-bats, bench a guy who hit 29 home runs and walked 97 times in 498 regular-season at-bats. Sometimes you just have to make a move, small sample be damned. This is the big time, the limelight, the show of shows, and as we all know, some guys just don't have what it takes.

Politi: NY Yankees can't afford to give struggling Nick Swisher another at-bat [Star-Ledger, via Rob Neyer]
Hughes blows it again [New York Post]
Girardi moves let Angels rally back into ALCS [New York Post]
Instead of finishing off Los Angeles Angels, A.J. Burnett fails New York Yankees [New York Daily News]