• October 31st @ The Phillies

    Posted by on November 1st, 2009 · Comments (5)

    Jo-Mar-Hu-Mo to close? Yup, apparently so…

    As much as I hate to get Sterling-ish here, baseball really is a funny game. Through the first few innings of this game, it looked like Andy Pettitte was going to struggle and Cole Hamels was going to cruise. And, then, boom, the tables were turned – and Pettitte had the better night.

    And, it was “night” – as the first pitch of this game was at 9:17 pm ET, the first pitch of the 3rd inning was 10:13 pm ET, the first pitch of the 6th inning was 11:18 pm ET and the last pitch of the game was at 12:42 am ET. Doubtful many of the kiddies got to see this one…

    But, for those who were viewing, nice to see A-Rod and Swishalicious have some big bits. But, the hits by Pettitte, Posada and Matsui to drive in runs, in this one, were just as sweet.

    This win sincerely helps the Yankees out in this series…in a big way. Now, they only need to win 2 of their next 4 games – whereas Philly needs to now take 3 out of 4 from New York. And, this win by New York turns Game Four into a “must win” game for the Phillies – with Joe Blanton starting for them against CC Sabathia. If the Phillies now also lose Game Four, then they’ll be looking at a situation where one more loss means the series is over for them…and they would have to then win three in a row to get a ring.

    Now, for some miscellaneous observations…

    Have to say, based on what we’ve seen so far in this series, the crowd at Citizens Bank Park is much louder than that at the new Yankees Stadium.

    Good job by the umpires in this one – using the replay to get the call correct on A-Rod’s homer.

    Speaking of A-Rod, he’s not been all that great in the field this World Series, has he? In Game Two, Matt Stairs got a “hit” on a ball that A-Rod should have caught. In this game, Jimmy Rollins led off the contest with a “hit” that A-Rod should have caught. And, later in this game, in the bottom of the 4th inning, A-Rod made a bad throw that did go as an error.

    Phil Hughes this World Series, to date: 4 batters faced and three runs allowed. And, I believe that his ERA is 81.00. Yup, no typo there…eighty-one point oh-oh.

    And, for the record, you bet, I was sweating bullets watching Joba, Marte, and Hughes pitch in this game – although Chamberlain and Marte did pretty good, to say the least.

    October 29th Vs. The Phillies

    Posted by on October 30th, 2009 · Comments (36)

    In a must win situation, the Yankees got the win that they needed.

    And, the Yankees can thank two parties for this victory: A.J. Burnett and Charlie Manuel.

    Burnett was super for New York in this game. He was a master at getting strike one and starting ahead in the count. And, he would have pitched a shutout over seven innings if not for the A-Rod’s error…errrr…I mean Matt Stairs RBI “single” in the 2nd inning.

    And, Charlie Manuel made a stupid, stupid, move in the 7th inning – one that probably cost his team a win in this one.

    Pedro Martinez had thrown 99 pitches over the first 6 innings of this contest – allowing just 2 runs and getting 8 K’s in the process. Now, even when he was a superstar, everyone knows little Petey was not the same pitcher after 100 pitches. And, today, Martinez is clearly in what Dan Duquette would call the “twilight of his career.” Or, as FOX pre-game analyst Ozzie Guillen would say: “Pedro’s not the san juan as he used to be…”

    So, why, would you allow Pedro Martinez to come out and start the 7th inning in this game – when he was at 99 pitches? Holy Grady Little Batman! Manuel did the Yankees a favor and that extra run (charged to Pedro) was huge. If the Yankees don’t score there, then it’s a 2-1 game and that changes the whole scene in the top of the 8th inning when Philly had two on, etc. For sure, then, they play for one-run, probably get the job done, and then it’s a tie-game heading into the bottom of the 8th inning.

    But, that’s all just “What if?” stuff. And, while it’s not up there with “What if Jane Foster had found the hammer of Thor?” it’s just “What if?” nonetheless…

    Back to Pedro Martinez…I don’t like the clown, but, you have to give him his due for this one. So many in Yankeeland looked at Martinez season this year and went into some babble about “Brad Penny, John Smoltz, National League, blah, blah, blah…he would get killed in the American League…” Well, in this game, Pedro faced the best offensive team in the American League, in a hitter’s park, on the big stage, and was near stellar for six innings. So, he’s got nothing to feel bad about there.

    Back to the Yankees…again, a huge win here. Now it’s “Best 3 of 5″ (albeit with the Phillies having the home field advantage). Even if the Yankees now win just one game in Philly, they get to bring the series back to New York. Hey, things could be worse.

    Now, for some miscellaneous observations…

    Hey, is it just me, or, has Alex Rodriguez struck out in 6 of his first 8 career World Series At Bats. Whither that Kate Hudson magic?

    Derek Jeter bunts with two strikes in the 7th inning with runners on first and second, no outs, and the Yankees leading by two runs? Ladies and Germs, if that ain’t a “WTF?” moment there ain’t a “WTF?” moment in the world.

    Speaking of the bottom of the 7th inning today, the umps blew that call, obviously, on the Damon “DP” liner. But, how simple was it to realize that Howard knew he trapped Damon’s hit – since he threw to second instead of stepping on first? No way he throws to second if he knows he caught it on a line. Man, the umpires are falling apart this off-season.

    Lastly, Mo Rivera made that 8th inning sort of interesting, huh? All these two-inning saves for Mariano is a sure sign that the “Bridge to Mo” does not exist in the Yankees pen. Hughes, Chamberlain and Bruney cannot be trusted. Ditto Robertson and Aceves in a tight spot. That leaves Coke and Marte. And, that’s not happening. So much for the Yankees bullpen being so good. And, that might come back to haunt them in this series. Given the Yankees bats are so weak, most times, this post-season, these games are going to be close. Further, all these two inning saves, even with off-days, are going to drain Rivera. Just wait and see…

    October 28th Vs. The Phillies

    Posted by on October 28th, 2009 · Comments (12)

    Well, at least the Yankees avoided being shutout in Game One of a World Series for the first time in their history (covering 40 World Series).

    Funny, for some reason, this didn’t feel like a World Series game. Maybe it was the damp conditions with all the mist and the lack of crispness in the air? Then again, I didn’t sense a lot of enthusiasm resonating from the Yankees starting line-up as they were being announced during the pre-game either.

    Sure, you had Yogi and the big flag before the game, etc. But, it felt more like “just another game” watching this one – more so than feeling the electricity of “The Fall Classic.”

    Heck, even during the 1976 World Series, where the Yankees got waxed by the Reds, at least it felt like the World Series during those games. Here? Well, not so much…at least to me.

    Speaking of lack of emotion, that Cliff Lee is one cool cucumber…more so than I ever knew. Talk about not being rattled! And, those plays he made…the “ho-hum” grab on the Johnny Damon pop-up in the 6th inning and the Robinson Cano come-backer in the 8th inning that he caught behind his back…they were right out of the family “for-fun” backyard whiffle ball game. You just don’t see guys being that “chill” during a World Series game that often, do you?

    Will the Yankees bats wake up tomorrow? They better snap out of it…and, if they don’t, this just might end up being more like the 1976 World Series…in terms of the end result.

    CC Sabathia was not clicking early in the game. Yet, despite throwing 58 pitches over the first three innings, he went seven inning and kept the game close. Two fat pitches to Chase Utley were the only thing to hurt him. And, on the whole, I think most would be happy with seven innings and two runs from Sabathia – every time. It’s really a sin for the Yankees to lose a game when they get this kind of result from Big CC.

    Without question, the Yankees cannot afford to lose a well pitched game from Sabathia and not have it hurt their chances in this World Series. And, for sure, it now puts a ton of pressure on A.J. Burnett in Game Two. And, he has to do better than he did in Game Five of the ALCS.

    Moving on…is it now safe to say that the bloom is off Phil Hughes as a relief pitcher? At the least, it’s probably safe to say it when it comes to this post-season. (Shame on Hughes, too, for barking at the umpire after being removed from the game. That’s not taking ownership of his own lack of good performance.) And, Brian Bruney? Hey, I told you so!

    Now, for some miscellaneous observations…

    So much talk about the “Spike Curve” in this game. Really, guys, is it any different from the “Knuckle Curve”? Let’s not go crazy over something that’s been around for a while now…

    Thank goodness the umpires, after huddling up, got the call correct on that Cano liner-DP to Jimmy Rollins in the 5th inning. Imagine the fallout from that had the men in blue screwed up another call this post-season?

    FOX mentioned that it’s 108 miles from Yankeeland to Phillie-town. Pretty cool – considering there are 108 stitches on a baseball as well.

    Also cool: Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia pitched in the first regular season game ever at the new Yankee Stadium and they faced each other in the first World Series game at the new Stadium – both happening in the same year. What are the odds on that?

    Lots of empty blue seats to be seen on the monarchy-side of the moat from the seventh inning on in this one. Guess the bandwagoners had seen enough?

    Speaking of the Stadium crowd, it was funny to hear the field mikes, during the 7th inning stretch, pick up fans yelling “Hats off!” Some things never change at the Stadium…no matter which one it is.

    Lastly, I saw where the Phillies are hanging Harry Kalas’ sports jacket in the dugout. Made me wonder…when the time comes…will the Yankees players hang Big Stein’s blue blazer and turtle-neck in the Yankees dugout? Somehow, I don’t think that’s happening…unless Randy Levine and Lonn Trost can figure out a way to place some advertising on it.

    October 25th Vs. The Angels

    Posted by on October 26th, 2009 · Comments (13)

    Many times this season I acknowledged that this current Yankees squad, in some ways, had cast a huge shadow (over the rest of their league). But, I also questioned their ability to stand up to the light…wondering if this unit was great enough to survive the difficult gauntlet that a team must traverse to be called a champion.

    The time has come to rest those doubts. The 2009 New York Yankees are the champions of the American League.

    Additional commentary on this game will follow once I’ve had a chance to enjoy the coverage of the post-game celebration going down in the Bronx right now. In the interim, please feel free to leave your thoughts, etc., on this one and the Yankees victory in the comments section.

    Update, 10/26/09, 12:55 am ET: As promised, my thoughts on this one…

    In the end, this game boils down to four half-innings: The bottom of the 4th inning, the top of the 6th inning, and both halves of the 8th inning. Johnny Damon’s single in the 4th, Andy Pettitte retiring Kendry Morales in the 6th, Robbie Cano’s play on Torii Hunter’s batted ball in the 8th, and those errors by Howie Kendrick and Scott Kazmir in the 8th were all huge plays in this game.

    On the whole, you cannot say enough about the job from Andy Pettitte in this one – as well as the defensive play from Robinson Cano. In fact, in terms of collective play and the impact on the game, this might have been Cano’s greatest defensive game ever. Back to Pettitte, it was awesome to see the hand he got from the Yankee Stadium crowd when he left the game.

    Now, for some miscellaneous observations…

    General Joe has the guts of a burglar bringing in Joba Chamberlain when he did…considering the score, etc. For sure, I thought Joba was going to allow the Angels to make some noise there. Glad I was wrong.

    Chamberlain in the 7th inning – and Mo Rivera for the six out save. Hmmmm, has Phil Hughes fallen out of favor?

    All things said, the Angels helped the Yankees out in this game. As Mike Scioscia said after the game, the Yankees out-played the Angels, but, L.A. shot themselves in the foot in two of these games. There was only one game in this ALCS where the Yankees pounded the ball. And, in the post-season, overall, in 6 out of 9 games, the Yankees have not scored like they did during the regular season. We’re going to want to see more offense from New York in the World Series.

    On the positive side, as Joe Buck said in the post-game, the Yankees have now faced the Twins and Angels in this post-season, two teams known for being fundamentally sound, and the Yankees didn’t make any mistakes and took advantage of the opponent’s mistakes – and often. Credit Joe Girardi and his staff for that. I noticed Tony Pena, in the clubhouse celebration, getting a good soaking from the players. Perhaps the men on the field really appreciate the job from the coaching staff this year? Well, they should…

    Bring on the Phillies! It’s wonderful that CC Sabathia gets to start the first game – and maybe throw three times in the series. With that in place, you have to like the Yankees chances in this one.

    This will be the first season where the Yankees have reached the World Series since Drew Henson played for New York. How about that?

    October 22nd @ The Angels

    Posted by on October 22nd, 2009 · Comments (18)

    But there is no joy in Yankeeland — mighty Swishalicious has popped up.

    Two days ago, I mentioned that Game Four of this ALCS “feels like Game Three of the 2004 ALCS all over again.” Well, for sure, this game, Game Five of the 2009 ALCS, sure feels like Game Four of the 2004 ALCS all over again.

    Wow. In the end, it was Joe Girardi who had a Grady Little moment in this game – leaving his starting pitcher in too long. Perhaps Girardi just saw the mistake that Mike Scioscia made in this game, taking his starting pitcher out too soon and that was the seed planted in his head which led to this call? Then again, maybe, just maybe, Phil Hughes could have pitched more like “regular season Phil Hughes” and less like “post-season Joba Chamberlain” and helped out, a tad, and taken General Joe somewhat off the hook with that call on A.J. Burnett?

    So, what do we have here? Looks like the Angels have made Mike Scioscia into an honest man – and there will be a Game Six of this ACLS to be played in New York.

    Between the mess that could come with the weather forecast for that day and the fact that Andy Pettitte, who will be starting for the Yankees in Game Six, has an ERA of 4.59 at the new Yankee Stadium this season – compared to an ERA of 3.71 on the road – this could be a very dangerous situation for the Bronx Bombers.

    Should New York lose Game Six, it leads up to a winner-take-all Game Seven. Now, granted…sure…if it comes down to a Game Seven the Yankees will have their ace, CC Sabathia, on the mound in that contest. But, this would be the third time that Sabathia has faced the Angels over the course of seven games. And, you would have to think that’s somewhat helpful to Los Angeles in terms of figuring out a plan of attack that may be more successful than the two previous times they squared off against CC…

    Plus, hey, in a Game Seven situation, anything can happen. If the Halos don’t need Jered Weaver in Game Six, then maybe he stars for them in Game Seven against Sabathia?

    Man, again, this one really stings. It’s not as bad as Game Five of the 1995 ALDS or Game Seven of the 2001 World Series. It’s more like Game Four of the 1997 ALDS…or…like Game Four of the 2004 ALCS…but…wait…I already said that, right?

    I’m going to need some serious soporifics now – thanks a lot Yanks.

    October 20th @ The Angels

    Posted by on October 21st, 2009 · Comments (18)

    Wow, feels like Game 3 of the 2004 ALCS all over again! Hey, just kidding – kinda/sorta.

    You know, Melky, A-Rod and Damon all had their bats going in this game…but, obviously, the story of this one, in Yankeeland, was CC Sabathia.

    To be honest, I thought, while watching the game, that Sabathia had some hard hit balls go for outs in the first two innings. And, then, in the 5th inning, the Angels really made him work. But, after that double-play grounder in the bottom of the 6th inning – which was key moment of this game, in my mind – CC was rolling. All told, it was an amazing effort from the big lefty on 3-days rest. And, with all due respect to A-Rod, Sabathia has been the Yankees MVP in this ALCS – to date.

    Three wins down, one to go – and three chances to get it. It’s looking real good for New York, no?

    Now, for some miscellaneous observations…

    I should have mentioned this many moons ago, picking any time the Yankees played the Angels in SoCal lately…in any event…man, it’s soooo annoying to watch the center field camera shot in these games and see Scott Boras’ head, dead-center, in the picture, every time. Sit down Scott, huh?

    Before anyone wants to fry Tim McClelland for calling Nick Swisher out, for leaving the third base too soon, in the top of the 4th inning, on Johnny Damon’s fly out, remember that Swisher was out on the pick-off play at second base, earlier in the inning, and Dale Scott blew the call. So, basically, McClelland was cleaning up Scott’s mistake when he called Swisher out. But, then McClelland screwed the pooch, as far as I can tell, on that play in the top of the 5th inning involving Posada and Cano at third base. In fact, overall, this may have been the worst umpired game in recent baseball post-season history. (By the way, if I recall correctly, Swisher, during the regular season, had that “leave too early” call tagged on him, incorrectly, as well. Must be something funky he’s doing to make the umps call that all the time…when it’s the wrong call.)

    Speaking of Jorge Posada…he only gets to third on Cano’s double in the fifth, then he’s involved in that base-running situation with McClelland, and, later, in the bottom of the 6th inning he forgets how many outs there are and leaves home plate unprotected. Com’on Jorgie, get your head in the game, huh?

    Anyone else notice Derek Jeter coughing up a lung during this whole game? The FOX guys never referred to it…

    Lastly, does Fergie really want to meet me half-way right at the borderline or is she just being a tease?

    October 19th @ The Angels

    Posted by on October 19th, 2009 · Comments (36)

    I had the triathlon view of this game – tracking the first 3 1/2 innings via Gameday, watching the last 5 1/2 innings on FOX, and listening to the 2 innings in between those stops on the radio, during my commute home this evening. I wonder how many other Yankees fans were plugged into this one the same way?

    I know that many in Yankeeland want to stick pins in their General Joe Voodoo dolls after this game – for lifting David Robertson and inserting Alfredo Aceves. But, I’m guessing that the Yankees had some reports that suggested Howie Kendrick did poorly against some pitch that Aceves throws and Robertson does not…

    Funny, had this game ended differently, the goat would have been Bobby Abreu for his monster base-running mistake in the 8th inning…leading to that crazy 8-6-2 putout. Maybe Abreu should send Girardi some flowers and chocolates for this one?

    In any event, given that this was a one-run loss…and, if I saw the graphic on FOX correctly, the first ALCS game, ever, now, that the Yankees have lost where they once held a lead of 3+ runs…I can’t help but to lament these three plays:

    1. Top of the 2nd inning, Yanks have runners on first and second with no outs, and then runners on first and third with one out, and they do not score. Bad jobs there by Cano, Swisher and, to an extent, Cabrera.

    2. Top of the 4th inning, Yanks have runners on first and second with no outs, and then runners on first and third with one out, and they do not score. Bad jobs there again by Cano, Swisher and, to an extent, Cabrera.

    3. Top of the 8th inning, Matsui walks with no outs and Gardner is inserted to pinch run. Two pitches later, Gardner is nailed, attempting to steal, on a pitch-out. Two pitches after that Posada hits a huge, clutch, homerun to tie the game. But, losing Gardner as a baserunner in that spot was a big mistake.

    If the Yankees score just one run in any one of these three situations, they either win this game or it’s still just tied when Aceves gives up that double to Jeff Mathis in the 11th inning.

    On the plus-side today, besides Posada’s great homer, Johnny Damon deserves a big gold star for saving the game in the 10th inning backing up third base and stopping Rivera’s wild throw.

    So, here’s the deal. The Yankees used seven relief pitchers in this game. And, they used seven relief pitchers in the game on Saturday. Now, in their next game, CC Sabathia is pitching for them on three-days rest. If the big lefty can only go five innings tomorrow, this could be a tied-series before you know it…

    Now, for some miscellaneous observations…

    By my unofficial count, Joba Chamberlain has faced 12 batters this post-season and has allowed 5 hits.

    Is it just me, or, does anyone else think that Erick Aybar, Clint Howard and Cha-ka from the Land of the Lost all go to the same dentist?

    Lastly, is there any chance that maybe Johnny Damon catches that drive off Mathis’ bat in the 11th inning for the third out of the inning?

    October 17th Vs. The Angels

    Posted by on October 18th, 2009 · Comments (14)

    Has one player ever hit three homeruns over a span of four consecutive post-season games as clutch as the three opposite field homeruns that Alex Rodriguez has hit between Game 2 of the 2009 ALDS and Game 2 of the 2009 ALCS? Three hits? Maybe. But, three homers? I doubt it…

    It’s A-Rod’s World this October and the rest of Yankeeland should just be happy living in it…so far…including this Yankees fan.

    It would have been a disaster to lose this game. You don’t want to be in a spot where it’s 1-1 in the series and now it’s a best three out of five with the Angels having home-field advantage. Plus, it’s just a heart-breaker for the team that loses this game.

    Maicer Izturis…welcome to the club.

    Now, for some miscellaneous observations…

    I have to wonder, if Chone Figgins picks up that ball in the 13th inning, if Jerry Hairston Jr. is able to score?

    You know George Steinbrenner is MIA when Joba Chamberlain shows up to pitch in a post-season game sporting a soul patch.

    Upset about that “DP” which Derek Jeter hit into during the 5th inning that really wasn’t a “DP”? Well, that custom-breaking albeit technically-correct call by second base umpire Jerry Layne in the 10th inning on the DP attempt off Jorge Posada’s grounder sort of offsets that blown call on Jeter, no?

    Think Frankie Cervelli and Chad Gaudin are going to catch any flack on the plane ride to Cali about being the only two Yankees left behind in this game?

    A. J. Burnett did a good job in this one – sans the 5th inning where he lost it. But, Joe Saunders pitched a better game. Something to consider if these two meet-up again later in this series.

    I really thought the combo of David Robertson and Jorge Posada, pitching to Vladimir Guerrero in the 13th inning with runners on second and third with two out, had “wild pitch, run scores” written all over it…as it was playing out. Glad that feeling was proven to be nothing in the end…

    Just like in Game One of this series, the Yankees win this one with help from Angels mistakes. But, I’m not going to make the mistake of telling Yankees fans that their team got lucky in the post-season twice, two days in a row…

    So, I’ll just close with: Two wins down, two to go.

    October 16th Vs. The Angels

    Posted by on October 17th, 2009 · Comments (16)

    This was a game of two extremes – the extreme brillance of CC Sabathia and the extreme luck experienced by the Yankees offense.

    First, there’s Sabathia. What more can you ask from your starting pitcher in a post-season game? Each October, on average, there’s maybe four games (give or take) where a starting pitcher does what CC did for New York in this contest – and that’s four times out of all the post-season games played in a year. You just don’t see results like this from your starting pitcher all the time in a post-season game. Today, Sabathia was “the man” – and then some. (Sweet play, by the way, made by CC, on that Torii Hunter bunt attempt in the 6th inning too.)

    Next, the lucky Yankees offense. New York won this game, 4-1. And, three of those four runs were gifts. In the 1st inning, Johnny Damon had an opposite field, broken bat, hit that was barely fair – and that was followed by a bad throw from Juan Rivera and the pop-up botched by Erick Aybar and Chone Figgins. That sequence resulted in two gift runs. And, in the 6th inning, Melky Cabrera was advanced to second on an errant pick-off attempt and then came around to score when Torii Hunter over-ran the ball on the single by Derek Jeter. That was another gift run. And, those three gift runs was the difference in this contest. On the whole, the Yankees were terrible, offensively, with runners on base in this game. And, New York will have to do better than that from here out in this series.

    Now, for some miscellaneous observations…

    When A-Rod pulled a rock and ran through the stop sign in the 5th inning, and he had the collision with Angels catcher Jeff Mathis at the plate, my first thought was “Please, don’t let this turn into a 2004 Jason Varitek thing now where it lights a fire under the Angels…” (And, I’m glad that was not the eventual result.)

    Every time I look at Mike Scioscia, I see John-McGraw…he looks like him and runs a ballgame like him. But, I doubt that Scioscia would ever invest in a pool hall with Arnold Rothstein.

    If this game was played in April, May or June, without question, that ball that Vladimir Guerrero hit in the 4th (for a double) and the drive by Robinson Cano in the 6th (for an out to right) would have been homeruns. They can thank the weather tonight for impacting those drives.

    Speaking of Cano, it was funny to see him play this game dressed like he was a Yemeni woman whereas Melky Cabrera played wearing three-quarter sleeves. Talk about two extreme reactions…to the cold.

    Lastly, if the Yankees go all the way and win a ring this year, MLB has to get that 9th inning exchange between Joe Girardi and home plate umpire Tim McClelland, where Tim asked Joe who he was bringing in to pitch and Girardi said “some new guy” and McClelland added “from Triple-A?,” on to the official World Series DVD. That was just too funny to be forgotten.

    One win down, three to go.

    October 11th @ The Twins

    Posted by on October 11th, 2009 · Comments (12)

    Hey, you gotta give Carl Pavano some credit – as much as it hurts to do it. For the first six innings of this game, he was awesome. And, on the whole, he pitched a very nice ballgame. That all said, it doesn’t take anything away from his time in New York. He was, flat out, a bust.

    Alex Rodriguez was the Yankees MVP this ALDS. Then again, Derek Jeter batted .400 in the series and made some nice plays. That throw to Posada, which went back to A-Rod, in the 8th inning of this game, will be replayed forever now…along with “The Flip” and “The Dive” highlights from Jeter’s collection. And, Mark Teixeira, while not getting many hits, had some big ones in the second game of this series…that really enabled Rodriguez’ hits in that one to be worth remembering. Lastly, of course, CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte were excellent in these games – each going at least six innings in their starts and none of them allowing more than one earned run. Heck, maybe CC, A.J., and Andy should be the co-MVPs of this ALDS?

    Or, maybe Joe Girardi should be the MVP of this series – managing each game like it was do-or-die with the pen, going with quick hook after quick hook? And, yeah, Mo was Mo…so Mariano deserves some MVP consideration…

    Nah, this series was A-Rod’s day in the sun. He batted .455 and all his hits came in huge spots. Plus, he did this all coming into the series with a huge monkey on his back. So, he gets extra points for coming through with all that baggage to carry as well. Alex Rodriguez was the Yankees most valuable player in the 2009 ALDS.

    On the flip-side, Nick Swisher and Johnny Damon looked terrible at the plate in these three games. They need to do better in the next round – a lot better. And, Phil Hughes allowed 6 base runners in 2 innings worth of work. That’s a tad troublesome.

    Speaking of troublesome, it is a bit concerning – at least to me – that the Yankees didn’t exactly beat the stuffing out of the Twins in this series. Yes, New York swept Minnesota. But, they did it by smacking around a rookie in Game One (Brian Duensing) and by getting key breaks in Games Two and Three when the Twins made some terrible mistakes on the bases in critical spots – Carlos Gomez on Friday and Nick Punto today. Plus, Joe Nathan did squat for the Twins when he pitched.

    I think many would be willing to admit that these last two games were, actually, pretty close and could have gone either way.

    And, let’s face it – the Los Angeles Angels are not the Minnesota Twins, especially in the context of how those two teams play against the New York Yankees. But, there will be plenty of time over the next 100 hours or so for analysis on the ALCS before that series starts. For now, it’s all about this game, and this series, and the fact that the New York Yankees have advanced past the ALDS for the first time in five years. That’s pretty big, and great, news in Yankeeland. Enjoy it. It’s all good – and should be that way at least for the next four days plus a few hours, give or take.

    October 9th Vs. The Twins

    Posted by on October 9th, 2009 · Comments (25)

    A.J. Burnett and Nick Blackburn, with a little help from some friends, pretty much made the first seven innings of this game moot. Yup, indeed, the story of this game centers around the 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th innings. Check this out:

    Top of the 8th inning: Phil Hughes, who has been so wonderful for the Yankees out of the pen this season, gets a quick two outs. But, he then allows a two-out walk to no-stick, hack-happy, Carlos Gomez – and before you know it, New York is losing 3-1 (and they’re six outs away from a loss).

    Bottom of the 9th inning: Easily, hands-down, the single greatest moment for Alex Rodrguez in his six year career with the Yankees. Actually, after Teixeira singled and Joe Nathan fell behind Rodriguez, 2-0, I had a feeling it was coming. And, three pitches later, there it went. You know, Nathan is a really nice guy. But, against the Yankees, he pitches like he’s Armando Benitez throwing in an important game. See this game. And, this one. And, this one. And, this one. And, now, of course, we have the contest from this evening too. Anyone else seeing a pattern?

    Top of the 10th inning: Alfredo Aceves tries to copy Phil Hughes and allows a 2-out walk that leads into a first-and-third situation with the score tied. But, he works out of it, getting the pesky Orlando Cabrera to fly out.

    Bottom of the 10th inning: Brett Gardner has a “Dave Roberts” moment in the making and then gets doubled off third in an inning ending line-out-dee-pee. Game remains tied at three.

    Top of the 11th inning: Joe Mauer, leading off, gets robbed of a double by a terribly blown call by the left field line umpire. But, the Twins manage to load the bases with no outs – and they don’t score! Yanks get lucky here when Delmon Young launches a liner right at Teixeira for the first out of the inning and then Carlos Gomez takes a weak swing at the first pitch for a force-out at the plate.

    Bottom of the 11th inning: Teixeira gets his first walk-off pie of the season after he hits a laser for a 319 foot homer to win the game.

    Now, the Twins season sits, somewhat, in the hands of Carl Pavano. Boy, I wish they were playing tomorrow – instead of having to wait until Sunday for that one.

    Even if Minnesota manages to beat the Yankees and Andy Pettitte on Sunday, the Yankees will have CC Sabathia on the hill next Monday. And, you really have to like the Yankees chance to win that game – even if the Twins are throwing Scott Baker.

    I have tickets for Game 5 of this ALDS. At this point, they’re going to make some fancy book marks – because this ALDS is going to be over before that game. Give the Twins credit…they kept taking punches in this one and hanging in – but, they did not get the job done with runners on base. This was only the third time in big league history that a team had 21+ runners reach base in a game and they scored 3 runs or less. Ouch.

    October 7th Vs. The Twins

    Posted by on October 7th, 2009 · Comments (25)

    I’m not sure why I feel this way…but…I think Kate Hudson was at this game.

    Really, TBS, did you have to show her that many times? The George “Big Head” Lopez promos…sure…that…I understand. But, unless Kate Hudson has a new show coming up on their network, there was really no need to show her that many times, was there? (She’s still “Kate Hudson,” right? Or, do we have to start calling her “Aaaa…Bee-Star…for Aaaa-Rod!” yet?)

    Moving on to the game…hey…it all went according to script, huh? The Yankees best starting pitcher faced the Twins most inexperienced starting pitcher and New York beat Minny, 7-2.

    Sure, you may want to say that the Twins were exhausted, playing that crazy game on Tuesday, and getting into New York after 3 AM on game day. And, sure, you may want to say that, in reality, with just a couple of key hits here and there – not many, just a couple – and a few less at’em liners by Twins batters, then this contest is a lot closer than the five-run win for the Yanks.

    But, the heck with that, right? CC Sabathia, despite throwing what seemed like too many pitches, got the job done – and his numbers would have looked even better if Jorge Posada didn’t have a nightmare evening behind the plate. Phil Hughes got a big out in the seventh. Everybody drafted by the Yankees since 2002 except for Ian Kennedy got to pitch in the eighth inning. And, even Alex Rodriguez had a couple of RBI singles! How ’bout that! And, of course, there was the Godzilla homer. Hideki Matsui is truly beloved by his teammates. Man, is he going to be missed. (Speaking of missed, between Sabathia in this game and Cliff Lee in the Phillies game…yikes…it must hurt to be a Tribe fan today.) Outside of the aforementioned Posada and Mo Rivera throwing too many pitches in a non-save situation, all was great in Yankeeland today.

    Oh, that’s right, Derek Jeter had a big game today too. How silly of me to forget…for a moment.

    O.K., now, here’s the deal. The Yankees win this one, Game One, by a score of seven to two. And, that’s enough to make the rest of your Wednesday a happy time – and carry over some into Thursday as well. But, let us not forget…

    In 2005, the Yankees won Game One of the ALDS by a score of four to two. And, in 2006, the Yankees won Game One of the ALDS by a score of of eight to four. And, we know how those two ALDS ended, don’t we?

    So, here’s what the Yankees now need to do: DO NOT ALLOW THE TWINS TO WIN A GAME IN THIS ALDS – NOT ONE.

    Remember Game Two of the 2005 ALDS? How about Game Two of the 2006 ALDS? Shoot, what about Game Two of the 2002 ALDS? Or, Game Four of the 2003 World Series? Heck, while we’re at it, what about Game Six of the 2001 World Series and Game Four of the 2004 ALCS?

    When you have a team down on the ground and your foot is clamped down on their throat, you better finish them off…because, sometimes, if you let them win one game…just one win…that little bit of daylight becomes just what they need to recharge and spring back at you.

    No pressure, A.J., really, no pressure…but, whatever you do, don’t allow the Twins to get back off the mat in Game Two, please…pretty, pretty, please. O.K.?

    October 4th @ The Rays

    Posted by on October 4th, 2009 · Comments (33)

    Missed this one. Too nice not to be outside enjoying a Sunday on a day like today. Took the family for a nice lunch and then some browsing. So, everything I know about this one comes from after-the-fact reports.

    First, from what I can tell, that IBB to Mark Teixeira in the sixth inning was bush league. And, those on the Rays who made that call should now come down with a pox, if there’s such a thing as baseball karma…

    And, yes, A-Rod made them pay…and good for him…well, sorta/kinda.

    Leave it to Alex Rodriguez to hit two homeruns and drive in seven in one inning – setting a new A.L. record for most RBI in an inning – in an absolute “garbage time” situation…meaning game #162 and facing a rookie, Wade Davis, and a guy who can’t get anyone out this year, Andy Sonnanstine. Truly…seriously…the only guys who have been worse than Sonnanstine, this year in the A.L., are Jason Berken and Fausto Carmona. (Well, maybe you can throw Luke Hochevar and Derek Holland in there too?)

    Now, on to the most important news of the day: The news about the race for the A.L. Central.

    Could the ALDS be set up any better, now, for the Yankees? First, they get to face the weakest seed in the A.L. post-season – and don’t have to worry about the Red Sox or Angels until the ALCS. And, whichever team they face, albeit the Tigers or Twins, their opponent will be running on fumes.

    Oh, my stars and garters, if the Yankees somehow manage to now screw up the ALDS…well, it will be very ugly, for sure.

    October 3rd @ The Rays

    Posted by on October 3rd, 2009 · Comments (1)

    Including this loss, since September 11th, the Yankees are painting an interesting picture:

    • From September 11th through September 20th, New York went 4-5 playing mostly against the O’s, Jays and M’s.
    • Then, from September 21st through September 27th, New York went 5-1 against the Angels and Red Sox.
    • And, since September 28th, now, the Yankees are 2-3 while facing the Royals and Rays.

    Now, granted, going into September 11th, the Yankees had a 9 game lead in the A.L. East. So, maybe, they decided to autocruise it back at that time – sans the games against L.A. and Boston, just to prove a point – and they’re going to kick it into high-gear again when the post-season starts? I dunno…for sure.

    But, I hope that’s the case…and we’ll find out soon enough, won’t we?

    October 2nd @ The Rays

    Posted by on October 2nd, 2009 · Comments (7)

    Well, September is now behind us and I see that CC Sabathia has already rounded into October form

    And, if not for the magic of Juan Miranda’s lumber, this one would be another recent poor offensive showing by the Yankees bats

    Yeah, of course, it could have been worse…at least it appears that Mark Teixeira’s going to survive the payback HBP in the first inning…considering where that pitch was, and that it ended up hitting his hand, it could have been very ugly…as you don’t want to lose Tex now, of course.

    By the way, just for the fun of it, these are the other games where Jose Molina has appeared as a D.H. (besides this one):

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