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PHOENIX -- The lasting impressions of this classic World Series will be the mound magnificence of Arizona's Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson, not to mention elite Yankees closer Mariano Rivera blowing a game when it counted most.
|Jeter hit just hit .148 in the World Series.
But perhaps the biggest reason the Yankees failed to win their fourth consecutive world championship was a far more underplayed subplot. The Yankees didn't hit enough to win this World Series. Not nearly enough.
In fact, it's somewhat amazing they made it to Game 7 with such a tepid display with the bats.
The Yankees finished the seven-game epic with a putrid .183 batting average. They scored a total of 14 runs.
When Rivera took a 2-1 lead into the ninth, it seemed as if those 14 runs were actually going to stand up.
The last team to score 14 runs or fewer in a World Series and win it all? The 1966 Baltimore Orioles, who swept the Dodgers with a total of 13 runs.
In other words, the Yankees didn't hit their World Series weight against the Diamondbacks. Ultimately, they paid in the finale by not giving Roger Clemens and Rivera any kind of cushion.
Take away the five runs they scored off Diamondbacks reliever Byung-Hyun Kim and the Yankees bats were almost silent the entire series.
Whether it was Schilling, Johnson, Miguel Batista or Brian Anderson, Yankees hitters were driven positively batty. The Diamondbacks' ERA of 1.94 was the lowest in a World Series since the Reds' four-game sweep of Oakland in 1990.
You can't find a Yankees scapegoat. Just about all of them struggled.
Star shortstop Derek Jeter contributed a walkoff homer in Game 4, but little else. He hit .148 (4-for-27). Two veterans of World Series play -- David Justice and Chuck Knoblauch -- started Game 7 on the bench because their slumps had given manager Joe Torre no choice. They were a combined 3-for-30.
Center fielder Bernie Williams has never been a good World Series hitter. Unfortunately for the Yankees, it was a trend that continued. The powerful switch-hitter was 5-for-24 (.208) with only one RBI.
Catcher Jorge Posada went 4-for-23, and was irrelevant offensively aside from a solo homer in Game 3. Tino Martinez and Scott Brosius -- two free agents who might be finished as Yankees -- provided the memorable two-run, two-out ninth inning blows against Kim. But the Yankees corner infielders both hit below .200 for the series.
The retiring Paul O'Neill was 5-for-15 in the series, but didn't drive in any runs. Then again, that's hard when nobody is getting on base.
Not one Yankee had a sustained series of offensive excellence.
And this is why they couldn't prolong their string of championships.
Who Sizzled: Roger Clemens. Though the Rocket Man couldn't deliver the Yankees a victory in Game 7, he pitched well enough to do so. He struck out 10 in 6 1/3 innings while allow just one run. In the series, he recorded 19 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings and allowed just two earned runs.
Who Fizzled: What Yankees hitter didn't? From top to bottom, the Yankees offense was anemic.
Fearless Prediction: The Yankees' shortage of offense in this series is going to haunt Boss George Steinbrenner until he acquires a big bat via free agency or trade. With Tino Martinez's contract expiring, don't be surprised to see the Boss give Jason Giambi an offer he can't refuse. The A's colorful first baseman is also a free agent and has openly professed his love for New York.
Ian Browne is a columnist for MLB.com