I cannot help but wonder if things might have been different if the Yankees had the home field in this ALDS. And, I wonder if Joe and Stein are wondering that now too?
5-3. Soooooooo close. Worse than close considering that the Yankees had so many chances in this game. Hey, at least they went down fighting (even the Big Unit) – with the possible exception of A-Rod.
Hey, it’s Game 5 of a best-of-five, the 9th inning, and you bring the tying run to the plate with no outs – that’s being in it, to me. Of course, then that potential tying run hits into a DP and kills the chance for a comeback – that was clearly possible, as the singles by the next two batters showed. (Was there any doubt that A-Rod would K, or worse, in that 9th inning – based on his ALDS performance this year, to date?)
Again, man, just two lousy runs short. What a tough loss. Basically, the loss tonight was because:
1. After the Yankees catch a break with the Angels Ace, Colon, pulling a David Wells of 2003, they do next to nothing against a 22-year-old rookie with an ERA of 4.65. They allowed this kid to bend but not break for the span of the 2nd inning through the 6th inning. In fact, the Yankees, if they were to win this game (and the series) should have pounded this kid out of the game by the 4th inning – at the worst. This is unacceptable.
2. So much for the Mussina plan. Maybe he should have stayed with the team this week? Actually, the 3rd inning mess didn’t bother me that much – the Angels were Wee Willie Keelering Moose to death that inning. What can you do? But, the 2nd inning – that was vintage Princess and the Pea Mussina. He sat for a long time in the top of the 2nd. And, I’m sure he allowed that to throw him off for the bottom of the 2nd. Again, for a game like this, allowing your guard to drop after a long half-inning is unacceptable.
3. The Yankees bats lost this game in the 5th and 7th innings. In the 5th, New York had runners on 1st and 2nd, with no outs and their 4-5-6 hitters coming up! What happened? No runs. Unacceptable – yet again. Further, in the 7th, New York had a runner on 2nd with one out and their clean-up hitter (Sheffield) and 5th batter (Matsui) due up. What happened? Two straight pop-ups and the end of the inning.
4. Defense. Like just about every game this series, the Angels turn hits into outs while the Yankees turn outs into base runners. That Crosby-Sheffield crash reminded me of Blair-Reggie collision back on May 12,1978 (when A.O. went inside the park). Sad part is, even without the crash, I don’t think Sheffield makes the grab there.
I noticed something tonight. Anytime that a ball his hit to Giambi, and he has to throw it, I scream out “Oh, no!” as an unconscious reflex (because I know what is going to happen). And, anytime a ball is hit to Erstad on the Angels, I scream “Oh, no!” because he’s making a play to get an out. That’s the difference in these teams. (And, is it just me, or, does Erstad remind you of Trot Nixon enough to make you want to hate him?)
Anyway, instead of spending Tuesday AM thinking about the match-up of the Yankees with the White Sox, now, I’ll spend a portion of the day thinking about why this Yankees team needs to be broken up and rebuilt – because it is obvious that this Yankees team, circa 2002-2005, is not built to win in the post-season.
And, maybe a clue to what the problem is can be found when we’re watching El Duque, Pettitte, Contreras and Clemens battle in the World Series?
Then again, maybe the Angels will win it all? I picked them to win last year and was shocked when Boston knocked them out. And, every team, since 2001, who has beaten the Yankees in the post-season has gone on to take the ring.
Actually, the Angels are going to be around for a while. They have at least 20 hotshot prospects in the minors – really, that many. The Yankees better start thinking up ways to beat them, if they want to get back into the World Series.
OK, in the end, think of it this way – it’s not a tsunami, hurricane, or earthquake. There are people in the world now dealing with that stuff. How can anyone allow a baseball team to get them down for too long when there are other things out there that could happen – and that are potential life-and-death matters?
This is just a fun pastime. Hang in there. Soon enough, there will more Yankees events to get our minds off the ALDS of 2005 and allow it to become a fun pastime again.