A full recap is coming later today, but first a rundown of the media reaction to last night's series clincher:
Wedge never wavers, wins. Terry Pluto, PD.
Eric Wedge's managerial philosophy of stability (also known as complacency depending on the outcome) made the decision to pitch Paul Byrd in Game 4 a relatively easy one:
In baseball, the unknown is something to be explored only in dire circumstances. The Indians had a 2-1 advantage, and while there was no guarantee that a fully-rested CC Sabathia pitches the Indians to victory in Game 5, a fully-rested Paul Byrd gave the Indians the best chance to win Game 4. Sabathia might have matched Byrd's 5+ innings on short rest, but the history of pitchers on short rest isn't pretty:
Indians reach ALCS with Game 4 victory over New York. Paul Hoynes, PD.
And what of Paul Byrd? How did he feel about the starter controversy?
"No. 1, they asked me if C.C. Sabathia should start Game 4 instead of me," Byrd said. "No. 2, they asked me if C.C. did start instead of me, how would I feel. That was it. I walked out of there feeling like a loser. I think I'm a pretty heavy underdog."
Perhaps the media controversy was motivation for Byrd, who was aggresive against a lineup that hammered him the last time he faced them. Or maybe it was the chants from the New York faithful while warming up:
"I told them all to calm down," the right-hander said. "What an amazing place to play."
Season Over: Yankees Out, and Torre... Tyler Kepner, New York Times.
The major story over the last two games of the series was George Steinbrenner's ultimatum to Torre: either beat the Indians, or you're out. While George has always been one to change his mind, Joe Torre was certainly taking the threat seriously:
"This ball club, they have a great future," Torre said, adding later: "This has been a great 12 years. Whatever the hell happens from here on out, I'll look back on these 12 years with great, great pleasure."
Even with Torre's success with the Yankees, I couldn't imagine a more difficult managerial job. In most other organizations, Torre's job would be as safe as the gold in Fort Knox. If George follows through with his threat, and Torre wants to keep managing, there will be a job for him.
It's not just Torre that might not be back with Yankees. Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera are both free agents, and Alex Rodriguez can opt out of his contract. Given the support that Torre has from his players, a new manager might make it easier to leave the Big Apple:
Of his contract status, Rivera said: "They had an opportunity and they did nothing with me, so we'll see what happens. This is a business, and I'm going to treat it like a business."
Derek's Flat Fall. Mike Puma, New York Post.
In an amusing twist, the Yankee captain was the one being called out in wake of the Yankees' defeat:
The Yankees captain had two singles in last night's 6-4 loss to the Indians in Game 4 of the ALDS, but finished the series 3-for-17 (.176) with no homers and one RBI.
Jeter grounded into three double plays in the series, including a key twin killing in the sixth inning.