(CBS News) After winning more games than any American league team, the New York Yankees are on the verge of being swept out of the playoffs.
The team with the $200 million payroll is fighting a team-wide batting slump, including their high-profile, high-priced slugger, Alex Rodriguez, as the Yanks and Tigers battle for the American League crown.
Yankee fans have watched their powerful team come back all year and most thought that they would almost certainly turn things around. But what turned instead was captain Derek Jeter's ankle - and with their team leader gone - a second loss to Detroit felt especially ominous.
Sports radio personality Mike Francesa, of New York CBS station WFAN, said, "Yes, Jeter went down. But the Yankees can still win. They just can't win if Cano and A-Rod keep playing like this."
Alex Rodriquez, baseball's highest paid player and a frequent lightning rod for unhappy fans, was stuck in such a horrible batting slump - that the $29 million man was benched. And sports talk shows turned up the heat.
Francesa said, "A-Rod's legacy here now is right there in front of us. You know that if he sits on the bench for the rest of this series, he might as well never come back to this town again."
To make matters much worse, the New York Post caught Rodriquez allegedly flirting with supermodels in the stands -- while his teammates flirted with disaster on the field.
"I've never addressed anything from Page Six," Rodriguez said, referring to the Post's gossip section. "I've never addressed anything from blogs or gossip columns. We're here to cover baseball, and I do think some of the criticism out there is very fair -- I can live with it -- but some of the other stuff is not fair."
It's not clear whether Rodriquez plays or sits for Thursday's game, but one thing is certain -- one more loss, and it will be a very long winter for these boys of summer.
In Wednesday's New York Times, sports columnist Lynn Zinser wrote that the Yankees were "fast-forwarding right to panic."
Zinser said on "CBS This Morning," the problem is the Yankees "got old." She said, "Not that that was really a momentary thing, but it's sort of like how are you hair gets too long in one day. It really takes a long time for it happen, but you only notice it at once. It was that moment when Derek Jeter went down with an ankle injury, once the captain was gone, it just seemed to show everybody what had been going on with this team over time. They had invested in some high-priced free agents. And really kind of put all of their eggs in these big baskets, and when they all came up empty at once, it just kind of showed the progression of this team and where they are at."
Zinser said the bottom line is the team needs to rebuild. "The good thing for them is rebuilding these days is possible. People have shone a light way back to 1964 when this sort of same situation happened, they had an old dynasty team and it took them 11 years to get back in the playoffs. Well, it's not going to take them 11 years to get back to the playoffs if they rebuild those free agents. They obviously got more money than God to throw around at anybody they want to. But clearly they are going to have to think about rebuilding and how to do it.
For more with Zinser, including what she said about Rodriguez allegedly flirting with supermodels in the stands, watch the video in the player above.