While a dominating start from Cliff Lee has at this point become a fait accompli, the team that led all of MLB in wOBA has to perform better than it has thus far. After watching these past three games they almost look historically, legendarily bad at the plate. Shades of the 2001 World Series, in which they "hit" a pathetic .183/.240/.288 over seven games, are beginning to creep over the proceedings.
Here are the team's numbers for the ALCS through three games:
You can make the argument all day that the Yankees have faced great pitchers thus far in the ALCS, and while that's true, that line of reasoning rings a bit hollow. While I wouldn't expect the team to go out and necessarily thrash the likes of C.J. Wilson and Colby Lewis, the Rangers managed to figure CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes out pretty easily, and it's not as if the Yankees have been sending Scott Kamieniecki and Eric Plunk to the mound.
As it stands, the Yankees are lucky to only be down 2-1 in this ALCS and not 3-0, and they know it. They've been completely outplayed and pretty much outright dominated through these first three games. The Yankees are trailing in an ALCS for the first time since 1998. They're also down in a playoff series for only the second time under Joe Girardi -- the only other time of course also coming at the hands of Cliff Lee after Game 1 of the 2009 World Series. For the second year in a row, the Yankees look to A.J. Burnett to get the team back on track, pick up a big win and even a series up after a loss to Lee.
What we've seen from the Yankees is not the team we know they are. They are not a .194/.288/.296 team that gives up 6.7 runs per game. They are way, way better than that. The bats will wake up tonight -- they can't possibly hit any worse -- and the Yankees need to hang a crooked number on this Texas team and show they're still very much in this. Scoring first in a playoff game for only the second time this postseason would go a long way in building some of that confidence back up.