McAdam at the ALCS: Staying alive


McAdam at the ALCS: Staying alive

By Sean McAdam

NEW YORK -- So this is how it's going to be for the Yankees: uphill, short-handed, and a little humbled.

Last year they rolled over virtually everything in their wake, an unstoppable baseball machine. They were best team that money could -- and, in fact, did -- buy.

CC Sabathia was 3-1 with a 1.98 ERA in five postseason starts, most on short rest, pitching as if he was worth every cent of the garganuan contract the Yanks had given him the previous winter.

Even Alex Rodriguez got into the act, shedding his reputation for postseason ineptitude and appearing, for the first time, comfortable in his own October skin.

The Yankees weren't challenged much last postseason, at least not until they ran square into Cliff Lee in Game One of the World Series. They swept Minnesota, took a 2-0 lead against Los Angeles of Anaheim, and fairly coasted into the Series.

The whole thing seemed to be inevitable. They had spent 243 million to get the three best free agents on the market and, properly reloaded, they weren't going to be denied.

But not this time. After the requisite pummeling of the Twins again in the ALDS, the Yankees found themselves in trouble just innings into the ALCS, trailing early and needing an eighth-inning rally to avoid a Game One loss. Next came three straight losses, putting the Yankees in the unfamiliar position of having to fight. And not just fight -- fight from behind.

Certainly, Wednesday's 7-2 victory was far from artistic. Not one of Sabathia's six innings was routine innings, as he gave up 11 hits. The double from Rodriguez in the fifth was his first extra-base hit since the end of the regular season. And they still aren't getting any production from Nick Swisher, Marcus Thames or Lance Berkman.

But they got a trip to Texas out of it, which beats the alternative. And afterward, they took some pride in fighting to keep their season going.

"There was a determination," said manager Joe Girardi, summing up his team's pregame mindset. "We have not played extremely well in this series. There was determination that we were going to go out and play our game today."

You could almost see Sabathia huffing and puffing. It seemed he was constantly, perpetually in trouble. And yet, every time he walked off the mound at the close of an inning, he left Rangers baserunners behind, stranded, the offense's hopes dashed again. The Rangers left at least one in every one of his six innings, several in scoring position.

"Scared" would be too strong a word to describe how they played Wednesday. But "resolute" seems about right.

"I think when it's win or go home," said Curtis Granderson, "you know, you've got as much energy as you need."

Whatever they do from here -- and remember, a win Friday only gaurantees them another date with Lee for Game Seven Saturday -- they will do without Mark Teixeira, sidelined for rest of the postseason by a popped hamstring. Teixeira had been hitless before he went down Tuesday night, but at the very least he gave them typically flawless defense. And if you think that aspect of the game is overrated, then you weren't watching his replacement, Berkman, pull a pratfall in foul territory, or Swisher's imitation of a falling redwood tree in the late innings of Game Four.

No one will feel sorry for them, of course, because, ahem, other teams were hit much harder by injuries. And also because they're the Yankees, for whom October sometime seems like a birthright, an entitlement deeded to them down through the years.

And the Yankees are not complaining. In fact, you get the sense that they enjoy scrapping, enjoy getting up after being knocked down, if for no other reason than they like showing people it's not as easy as it sometimes looks for them.

"Obviously, it's not a walk in the park," said Swisher. "We've got our work cut out for us. But to be in the battle we're in right now, man, it's fun. We've got to embrace that chaos and just enjoy the moment. And to be able to enjoy it as a team, it's a lot of fun.

"Fighting is what we do best. We really, really enjoy it."

Which is just as well. Without any margin for error and Lee waiting on the horizon, they're going to get plenty more chances.

Sean McAdam can be reached at Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Dombrowski, Red Sox making adjustments in wake of recent departures


Dombrowski, Red Sox making adjustments in wake of recent departures

In recent days and weeks, the Red Sox have lost their general manager, their vice president of amateur and international scouting, an assistant director of amateur scouting, a member of their analytics department and their mental skills coach.

But Dave Dombrowski, the team's president of baseball operations, insists that the team is not in danger of "brain drain.''

"No, not at all,'' said president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski in a conference call with reporters. "We've lost some good people, but it's also a situation where we have a lot of good people and I think when you have a good organization, if you're winning and you expose people to situations, (a certain amount of exodus) happens. I think the other part of it is that we're more than capable of filling some of those roles from an internal perspective. We've got some quality people and I think the thing that's great about it is, it allows people to grow.''

Dombrowski announced that, in the wake of the departure of Amiel Sawdaye, the former VP of amateur and international scouting who left Monday to become assistant GM of the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Sox were promoting Eddie Romero, formerly the vice president of international scouting, to the position of senior vice president/ assistant GM.

Romero, the son of former Red Sox utility infielder Eddie Romero Sr. will help Dombrowski in personnel matters and player development, while Brian O'Halloran, who has the same title as Romero, will continue to handle administrative matters including salary arbitration and contactual negotiations.

After the departure of Mike Hazen, who left to become GM of the Diamondbacks last week, Dombrowski interviewed Sawdaye and Romero as Hazen's potential replacements before determining that neither had the necessary experience yet to become a major league GM.

Dombrowski said there would be additional internal promotions and adjustments to announce in the coming weeks. He added that senior advisors Frank Wren and Allard Baird, each former general managers, would see their responsibilities increase when it comes to conducting trade talks with other organizations.

Sawdaye's departure is one of several this off-season for the front office. Earlier this month, Steve Sanders, who had been the team's assistant director of amateur scouting, left to become director of amateur scouting for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Also, Tom Tippett, a longtime member of the team's statistical analysis staff, will leave soon too pursue other opportunities. The team recently informed mental skills coach Bob Tewksbury that his contact would not be renewed, according to the Boston Globe.

Dombrowski indicated that Laz Gutierrez would be promoted to take the place of Tewksbury.

In other news, Dombrowski revealed that the entire coaching staff -- hitting coach Chili Davis; assistant hitting coach Victor Rodriguez; first base coach Ruben Amaro Jr.; third base coach Brian Butterfield; bullpen coach Dana LeVangie; pitching coach Carl Willis; and bench coach Torey Lovullo -- had all agreed to return for 2017.

That, of course, is subject to change since Lovullo is believed to be a target of Hazen for Arizona's managerial vacancy.

Dombrowski said the Diamondbacks had yet to request permission to speak with Lovullo, though that may happen soon now that Hazen has hired Sawdaye to fill out his front office.

When Hazen was hired by the Diamondbacks, he was limited to hiring just one member of the Red Sox' Baseball Operations staff. But, Dombrowski added, that limit didn't apply to uniformed staff members such as Lovullo, who would be leaving for a promotion.


Red Sox promote Eddie Romero assistant general manager, won't hire GM to replace Hazen


Red Sox promote Eddie Romero assistant general manager, won't hire GM to replace Hazen

The Red Sox on Tuesday named Eddie Romero senior vice president and assistant general manager. In a press release announcing the move, the team stated it will not fill the position of general manager for the time being. 

Romero’s promotion comes following the departure of general manager Mike Hazen, who left this month to become Arizona’ GM. Hazel brought Amiel Sawdaye, who had served as Boston’s vice president of international and amateur scouting, with him to the Diamondbacks, with Sawdaye serving as an assistant GM for Arizona. 

The 37-year-old Romero is the son of former Red Sox infielder Ed Romero Rr. Romero served last season as Boston’s vice president of international scouting, overseeing amateur scouting in Latin America, the Pacific Rim and Europe. 

Romero is in his 11th season with the Red Sox, having previously worked in international and professional scouting for the team and becoming Boston’s director of international scouting in 2012.