Commentary

Yankees really need to stop whining

Complaining about an umpire's blown call when you don't score any runs is weak

Updated: October 15, 2012, 1:38 AM ET
By Jim Caple | ESPN.com

NEW YORK -- So, Joe Girardi wants instant replay? Fine. I totally agree. The postseason is too important to hinge on an umpire's mistake.

[+] EnlargeOmar Infante
Brad Penner/USA TODAY SportsOmar Infante was ruled safe on this play in the eighth inning of Game 2, but replay revealed he should've been called out.

But if we're going to have more replay, I don't just want it instant. I want it retroactive, too. Specifically, retroactive to the 1996 American League Championship Series when umpire Richie Garcia gave the Yankees the Jeffrey Maier home run. And the 1998 World Series when Garcia should have called strike three on Tino Martinez just before he hit a grand slam off Mark Langston. And the 1999 ALCS when Tim Tschida called out Jose Offerman on Chuck Knoblauch's phantom tag. And the 2009 Division Series when Phil Cuzzi ruled Joe Mauer's double down the line was foul.

After all those bad calls went their way, the Yankees are now going to whine about the umpires doing them wrong? Please. Go tell your sad, $200 million tale to the Orioles, Padres, Twins and everyone else who has seen the breaks always go the Yankees' way, October after October. Because they won't want to hear it any more than did second-base umpire Jeff Nelson, who ejected Girardi for complaining about the call during a pitching change.

"In this day and age when we have instant replay available to us, it's got to change," Girardi told reporters, still complaining after Game 2. "These guys are under tremendous amounts of pressure. … It takes more time to argue and get upset than to get the call right. Too much is at stake. We play 235 days to get to this point and two calls go against us."

Yes, Nelson blew the call on Sunday when he ruled that Omar Infante slid back to second base safely under Robinson Cano's tag in the eighth inning. Replays showed he was definitely out. Yes, the correct call would have ended the inning before the Tigers scored two more runs to extend their lead to 3-0. Yes, Detroit reliever Phil Coke would have had to pitch under more pressure with a one-run lead. And yes, in this day and age, we should have more replay available in the postseason.

But c'mon. It's not like the Yankees were going to score enough runs to win anyway. New York's offense is so silent you could hear a bases-loaded infield fly drop. Rather than demand replay for the Cano tag on Infante, the video the Yankees should be reviewing is of their feeble at-bats.

"We know what they are doing to us," Girardi said. "You have to make adjustments. They are not going to put it on a tee for us. We know that. We are more than capable of scoring runs and we have done it a number of times this year. We have to make adjustments."

The Yankees are batting .205 this postseason. Alex Rodriguez, Cano, Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher are a combined 13-for-107 with 38 strikeouts in the playoffs. After a strong finish to the regular season, Cano is hitless in his past 26 at-bats, the longest drought in Yankees postseason history. It's to the point the New York fans stood and gave A-Rod a sarcastic standing ovation for a meaningless two-out single in the ninth inning.

"We haven't scored a run in a long time," Rodriguez said of the fans' response to his single. "I'm right there with them. You can't blame them. We have to go out there and score runs. We have a lineup that is capable of scoring a lot of runs and we got shut down."

"Anytime you're not scoring or are making outs, everything is going to get magnified," Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long said. "We have to regroup, we need to get moving in the right direction and we need to get things going our way. We need to turn this around and it doesn't get any easier. Justin Verlander is sitting there waiting for us."

That's right. The Yankees didn't score a run against either Game 1 starter Doug Fister or Game 2 starter Anibal Sanchez, so what are they going to do against Verlander in Game 3 in Detroit? C'mon. They've played only two games, but this series is over. It's time to start figuring out who the Yankees will sign this postseason to replace their rapidly aging lineup.

[+] EnlargeJoe Girardi
Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY SportsA heated exchange after the disputed call led umpire Jeff Nelson to eject Yankees manager Joe Girardi.

I mean, Raul Ibanez can only do so much.

The Yankees might also want to work on their fielding. After all, the Tigers scored their first run when Cano bobbled the ball on what could have been an inning-ending double play in the seventh.

In New York's defense, however, I will say that Nelson should not have ejected Girardi. When you clearly miss a call that leads to a couple of runs in a playoff game, you should just stand there, let the manager vent and take it like a man.

Just like a team with the game's largest payroll and 27 championships should not blame a 3-0 loss on an umpire's call when it was already trailing in the game.

Jim Caple | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com