McAdam at the ALCS: Winter comes early for eliminated Yanks

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McAdam at the ALCS: Winter comes early for eliminated Yanks

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Brian Cashman stood in the hallway, just off the main visitor's clubhouse, and twice, maybe three times, uttered words he wasn't supposed to utter.

"The winter is upon us,'' said the New York Yankees general manager.

Winter is not supposed to happen to the Yankees on Oct. 22. When they reach the postseason, as they almost always do, winter is supposed to be forestalled, put on hold until the champagne flows and the parade route is planned.

Anything less and they've come up short.

"This is tough, really,'' said Jorge Posada, head bowed after the Texas Rangers had bludgeoned the Yankees 6-1 to take the American League pennant away from the defending champs. "You get this far, you advance to this point . . . ''

The Yankees went down without much of a fight under the Friday Night Lights in Texas. The final out came with the bat sitting on Alex Rodriguez's shoulder, which was particularly sweet for fans of the Texas Rangers.

Too many of the big bats, Rodriguez included, were quieted by the Texas pitching staff. Were it not for the heroics of Josh Hamilton (four homers in the series and three intentional walks from Joe Girardi in Game Six), the relatively anonymous Colby Lewis would have been the logical choice for the ALCS MVP.

But it wasn't just the bats which failed the defending world champions.

"They beat us,'' said Joe Girardi. "They outhit us, outpitched us, outplayed us and they beat us.''

Indeed, this was no accident, no mirage. The Rangers outscored the Yankees by a margin of exactly 2-1 (3819). They hit .301 while the Yankees hit a mere .201. And where it counted most, the Rangers compiled a collective ERA of 3.06, while the Yankees were rocked for a staff 6.58 ERA over the six games.

A year ago, Girardi cut some corners and managed to win a World Series title with three starting pitchers. Whenever possible, he went to CC Sabathia on short rest. But that wasn't an option this October. Sabathia couldn't get through the fifth inning in Game One and was hardly dominant in scattering 11 hits through six innings and 112 pitches Wednesday in Game Five.

Other than the terrific outing by Andy Pettitte in Game Three -- in a losing cause, ultimately -- the Yankees didn't get much from their rotation this series. Or, for that matter, the bullpen. After the New York relievers held the Rangers in place when Sabathia stumbled in Game One, the bullpen kept allowing Texas to tack on runs late in the game.

Someone was cataloging the Yankees' problems at the plate, noting that Rodriguez had two extra-base hits in the series, that the Yankees had managed just three hits in their elimination game, but Posada cut the questioner off.

"It's about pitching,'' said Posada. "It's about pitching here. Let's not talk about how we didn't hit. I can tell you that you win series with pitching and we didn't do it.''

Not by a longshot. Phil Hughes was rocked in both of his outings, and when the Yankees finally got around to giving A.J. Burnett the ball, having put it off for as long as they could, they got exactly what they feared.

It figures to be an intriguing offseason for the Yankees. Three of the so-called Core Four are eligible for free agency: Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte. Even Girardi is without a contract.

Pettitte sounded very much like a man leaning toward retirement. Cashman vowed that Rivera and Jeter, Yankee legacies, would be re-signed, and Girardi, too.

But the rotation is thin and the consequences of the club's inability to cement a deal for Cliff Lee back in July seem to grow larger by the day. Lee is now four wins away from a championship, and the feeling around the Rangers is, the more success he experiences, the tougher it will be to walk away. It doesn't hurt that the Rangers are about to reap the benefits of a 3 billion TV deal which might allow them a chance to beat the Yankees again next month, this time at the bargaining table.

Lance Berkman and Kerry Wood, two deadline rentals, are likely moving on, their stays short and, in the end, unsatisfying. There will be new imports, some obtained by trade, some via free agency, where the Yankees exercise their muscle.

But those are issues for the future. For now, there was just the bitter sting of defeat and the realization that, on a warm night in north Texas, winter was upon the Yankees much sooner than they anticipated.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Former Red Sox prospect Andy Marte killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

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Former Red Sox prospect Andy Marte killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

Former major leaguer Andy Marte, a one-time top prospect in the Red Sox organization, was killed in a car crash in the Dominican Republic on Sunday. He was 33.

Marte was killed the same day that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a separate car crash in the Dominican. Ventura was 25. Coincidentally, Ventura was the Royals starting pitcher in Marte's final major league game, for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 6, 2014.

Marte, drafted by the Braves in 2000, was ranked the No. 9 prospect in baseball in 2005 when the third baseman was traded to the Red Sox as part of the deal that sent shortstop Edgar Renteria to Atlanta and Marte became the top-ranked prospect in the Red Sox organization.  

Marte was traded by the Red Sox to the Indians in 2006 in the deal that sent Coco Crisp to Boston and spent five seasons with Cleveland. His best season was 2009 (.232, six home runs, 25 RBI in 47 games). After a six-game stint with Arizona in 2014, he played in South Korea the past two years.  

Metropolitan traffic authorities in the Dominican told the Associated Press that Marte died when a car he was driving his a house along the highway between San Francisco de Macoris and Pimentel, about 95 miles (150 kilometers) north of the capital.
 

Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

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Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was killed in a car crash in in the Dominican Republic on Sunday morning, according to multiple reports. Ventura was 25 years old.

Highway patrol spokesman Jacobo Mateo told the Associated Press that Ventura died on a highway leading to the town of Juan Adrian, about 40 miles (70 kilometers) northwest of Santo Domingo. He says it's not clear if Ventura was driving.

Ventura was killed the same day former major leaguer Andy Marte died in a separate car crash in the Dominican. Coincidentally, Ventura was the starting pitcher in Marte's final MLB game, for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 6, 2014. 

Ventura was 13-8 with a 4.08 ERA for the Royals' 2015 World Series champions and 11-12 with a 4.45 ERA in 32 starts in 2016. The right-hander made his major league debut in 2013 and in 2014 went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA for Kansas City's A.L. pennant winners. 

Ironically, Ventura paid tribute to his good friend and fellow Dominican, Oscar Tavares, who was also killed in a car crash in the D.R. in October 2014, by wearing Tavares' initials and R.I.P. on his cap before Ventura's start in Game 6 of the World Series in 2014. 

Ventura is the second current major league player to die in the past five months. Former Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident in Miami on Sept. 25.