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Pinstripe palace turns into house of horrors for Yanks

by | CBSSports.com National Columnist
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NEW YORK -- The boos cascaded across Yankee Stadium loud and stinging. Then there was great silence. The stadium emptied quickly. Thousands of seats stared back. Nolan Ryan, the Texas Rangers great and current team executive, smiled and chuckled.

Guffawed might actually be the word. A 10-3 Texas beatdown of New York will do that.

Rangers manager Ron Washington has been to the old and new Yankee Stadium, the former numerous times. Has he ever seen either empty so rapidly?

"No," he said, "I haven't."

Rats ... ship ... leaping, etc., etc.

Calamity has hit the Yankees. The Rangers have snatched the Yankees' innards and are eating them like Halloween candy.

They are in rarified air. It's the first time in franchise history the Yankees have trailed an ALCS, 3-1. The team has only trailed a best-of-7 postseason series 3-1 twice: in 1942 and 1958. So the last time the Yankees were in this situation Sputnik was a 1-year-old.

This was as humiliating a loss for the Yankees as this proud organization has seen in some time. A strange one, too. An obnoxious Yankees fan almost cost his team a home run by grabbing the glove of a Texas outfielder. Another obnoxious Yankee fan nearly pulled a Steve Bartman when he stuck his grimy hands out to snag a foul ball Brett Gardner could've caught. Luckily for the fan, the Yankees escaped the inning mostly unscathed or he might have needed witness protection.

A Gardner broken bat cracked the lens of a TBS camera. It was one of the few times a Yankee bat made solid contact all game. (Normally, only Craig Sager's suits can shatter glass.)

Things for New York eventually turned from strange to bad for Burnett. A Yankees homer was correctly reversed after a replay review. Mark Teixeira pulled his hamstring so badly he is likely out for Wednesday and might be done for the postseason ... what's left of it. A.J. Burnett was, as predicted, absolutely dreadful.

As a result of the weirdness, strangeness, and depravity, the Yankees are all but dead. They're zombified. To say they're on the brink would be unfair to the brink.

They trail 3-1, and in reality the Yankees should've been swept by the Rangers. It took a historic comeback to keep the Rangers out of the World Series before mid-week. It will take a gutsy run by the Yankees to save their pride by the end of it.

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No one should be surprised at the Game 4 outcome or, in fact, the inevitable series conclusion. It'd be easy to put all of the blame on Girardi -- and he deserves a healthy share of it -- but blaming the manager is cliché. Besides, the Rangers have thoroughly outplayed the Yankees in every conceivable way. They've pitched better, hit better, coached better. The Yankees' Venezuela-sized payroll has done nothing to ease the Texas-sized beating they're enduring.

So far in this series Teixeira is 0-14 (his hamstring is 0-1), Alex Rodriguez is 2-15 and Nick Swisher is 1-15. If you exclude that bizarre New York five-run eighth inning in the series opener, the Yankees have been outscored, 30-6.

It's the first time ever New York has allowed eight-plus runs in back-to-back home games in the same postseason series.

"As I said I believe in this team," Girardi said. "We have bounced back many times this year. It's a very resilient, professional group in there and they will be ready to play."

Girardi can believe. That's his job. Nonetheless, the Yankees don't deserve to win the ALCS. At least not so far.

Girardi will catch tremendous heat for this loss and he should. He stubbornly stuck with Burnett (in the rotation and during the game) and paid dearly for it. That decision will likely cost the Yankees the series.

"A.J. was throwing the ball [well]," said Girardi.

No, not really.

Then Girardi got greedy and kept Burnett in the game too long.

Girardi was faulty but this was still a collective horror show.

The only person who can save New York from embarrassment is CC Sabathia when he pitches on Wednesday in New York. A Sabathia victory would only postpone the inevitable, but it would at least give New York a chance.

In a way it might also help the Rangers.

They could celebrate the series win in Texas before their fans.

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