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Your! Call: What is to blame for the Yankees' early exit?

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Shane McNeil, TSN.ca
10/19/2012 1:57:56 PM
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The Detroit Tigers booked their ticket to the World Series Thursday with a convincing 8-1 victory, completing a sweep of the New York Yankees.

For the Tigers, it marked the team's first trip to the Fall Classic in six years as they look to end a 28-year title drought.

For the Yankees, however, it marked the third straight postseason without so much as a pennant to show for it.

For most Major League Baseball franchises, a run of 17 post-season appearances in 18 years would be an achievement to brag about.

However, for a franchise with 27 World Series banners – more than double the next-highest franchise total – showing up is just a small consolation prize.

So, what's to blame for the Yankees early exit this time around?

Robinson Cano strung together his third consecutive All-Star season with the Yanks in 2012 and finished the regular season by hitting an ungodly .615 over his final nine games. Then the American League Division Series started and Cano lost the plot, hitting a pitiful .075 for the Yankees' nine-game playoff run, including a disastrous 0-for-29 stretch.

Cano, however, can at least claim that he was an everyday player for the Yankees in the 2012 post-season.

Alex Rodriguez started the playoffs slow and found himself finishing the post-season as a $29 million bench bat.

With the Game 3 of the ALDS in the balance, the Yankees pinch-hit for A-Rod, opting for 40-year-old Raul Ibanez instead. He would reward them with a game-tying homer in the bottom of the ninth and then a walk-off bomb in the 12th.

Rodriguez would play only one complete game for the rest of the playoffs, being regularly pinch-hit for in late innings, getting benched entirely for a pair of crucial games. Rodriguez hit .111 over the 2012 playoffs.

Curtis Granderson finished second in the AL in home runs with 43, one behind league-leader Miguel Cabrera. Granderson would hit just one post-season homer and go 0-for-11 in the ALCS, starting the decisive Game 4 on the bench.

Nick Swisher had an admirable season of his own, clubbing 24 home runs and driving in 93 runs from the heart of the Yankees order. He, too, would get benched for Game 3 of the ALCS, finishing the post-season with a .167 average. A pending free-agent, speculation has already begun that Swisher may have played his last game for the Bronx Bombers.

Or maybe it wasn't what the Yankees had, but rather what they didn't that was the problem.

The team's undisputed leader – captain Derek Jeter – went down to an ankle injury late in Game 1 against the Tigers. A torrid ALDS saw him hit .364 after an AL-best 216-hit output from the regular season.

However, when he went down the leadership void was never taken up by his fellow pinstripers.

What do you think?

What exactly went wrong with the Yankees this October, and is there any way to fix it before another year goes by without a World Series banner?

As always, It's Your! Call.

Yankees bench (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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