• 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.

    Comments on October 16th Vs. The Angels

    1. g1ph7
      October 17th, 2009 | 12:11 am

      Luck plays a role in most runs to championships. Good game by CC, glad he did it against the Halos…..

    2. Evan3457
      October 17th, 2009 | 1:05 am

      The Master of the Blog wrote:

      Next, the lucky Yankees offense. New York won this game, 4-1. And, three of those four runs were gifts.

      Like most athletic events, baseball is yin and yang. The Yanks offense was lucky is the yin. The Yang is that the Angels played about as bad as they can play.

      The Yanks’ offense was lucky? Yes, I suppose it was.

      It didn’t deserve to score 4 runs? Too damn bad. Tell the Angels not to screw up in the field so much. (And they almost certainly won’t. They’re too good a team to show up with 2 games this shoddy in one series.)

      How many post-season games in the last several years did the Yanks’ poor defense help cost them? Were the Angels lucky in 2005 when Sheffield and Crosby collided? You bet they were. But the AL didn’t say: well, Angels, you were just lucky; you didn’t deserve to win, so we’re sending the Yanks to the ALCS to face the White Sox instead of you.

      The Yanks were lucky that Damon’s bloop fell in, and that Rivera made a bad throw. A-Rod was good enough to get a sac fly against a pitcher he has all sorts of trouble with.

      The Yanks were lucky that Aybar and Figgins played Alfonse/Gaston? Too bad; if the Angels can’t communicate better than that, they deserve to have the run scored on them.

      Matsui was good enough to get a clutch hit. Jeter was good enough to take advantage of the Yanks’ luck on Lackey’s botched pickoff throw.

      And CC and Mo were good enough to make it stand up.

      The days off? Not a factor.
      The weather? Not a factor.
      The Angels running game? Not a factor. (As if, for the last 100+ years, the way to stop a running team in the post-season hasn’t been the old adage: “You can’t steal 1st base.”)
      Girardi’s bullpen abuse? Not a factor. Indeed, Girardi was conservative with his pen tonight, as you’d expect when the ace is pitching light’s-out, and there is no day off the next day. There’s a reason Girardi has an engineering degree from Northwestern.

      Does this mean these thing won’t be a factor in the days ahead? Nope.

      But the Yanks have a 1-0 lead, and they won 4-1, and they didn’t even hit a home run, and for the 4th straight game, the Yankee starting pitcher went 6+ innings and allowed only 1 earned run.

      Lucky? Maybe.

      So what? They were damn good tonight. Great pitching, good defense, good baserunnning. And just enough timely hitting to make it all stand up.
      And two more things, pet peeves of mine. The purist, especially the sportswriter, glorifies pitching, defense, smallball, running the bases, all of these things far beyond their actual worth in the game, relative to hitting. It’s a faint historical echo of the Dead Ball days of baseball, where slugging was looked down on, and small ball, pitching and defense was the “thinking man’s” game.

      It is said that speed never takes a day off. Yes it does. When hitting doesn’t hit, speed can’t get off the bench.

      It is said that defense never takes a day off. Yes it does; fielders are human beings; they have off days and slumps just like any other aspect of the game.

      It’s only 1 game, but it still counts for 1. Yanks 1, Angels 0. Three more tough games to go.

    3. October 17th, 2009 | 1:26 am

      Eh, if Damon had been loafing instead of motoring towards third when the Angels missed the popup, he wouldn’t have scored. It’s like when Castillo dropped the popup against the Yankees – they won the game because Teixeira was running around the bases. What’s the old quote, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”? That’s what happened tonight.

    4. OldYanksFan
      October 17th, 2009 | 8:22 am

      All true Steve, but we did outhit them 10 to 4 in one less AB and played solid D. So it’s not like we were outplayed but got lucky. We played a much better game and luck sealed the deal.

      ARod running thru the stop sign was not a horrible play… the Angels defense came up big, but he should have stayed on third. That may have cost us a run or 2. So the Angels got a break there.

    5. Scout
      October 17th, 2009 | 8:51 am

      I recall an old expression: “It’s better to be lucky than good…luck is more consistent.”

    6. 77yankees
      October 17th, 2009 | 9:07 am

      I thought the Yanks were playing the Angels – not the Mets.

      Boston must be thinking….”We got swept by these @#$%?”

    7. butchie22
      October 17th, 2009 | 9:39 am

      Luck was involved in this game. I don’t think that the Angels will have another defensive game like this again. That was an anolamy to say the least. Vlad’s home run that was a double? Them’s the breaks, Steve, the new ballpark doth giveth and take it away methinks, so Vladdy was unlucky. The Yanks were given gift runs BUT I don’t see that as a trend in this series. One can make an excuse about the weather BUT that is a variable that favors the hopmetown, so if the Angles are confused/suffering because of it too bad.

      What was not luck was Charlie Cheeseburger! Funny how he has become such a dominant peacock during this playoff run. Nice job by him last night. That wasn’t luck or gopod fortune that graced CC last night but rather skill, execution and determination . Yeah, Mother Nature on high helped him a tiny bit BUT he pitched very well under the circumstances.

      It’s funny to note that the Angels were suffering from a bout of Metness last night BUT I wouldn’t count on it continuing. They are not the low payroll Twins either( a poor man’s version of the Angels).

      Steve, the counterpoint to the way Cano was dressed would have been Lackey. He dressed like it was just another day in SoCal! He’s pitching in the belly of the beast and he’s literally chillin’ so to speak.

    8. Raf
      October 17th, 2009 | 10:33 am

      Luck or no, I’ll take it 🙂

      Looks like the Yanks are starting to benefit from some calls again.

    9. Evan3457
      October 17th, 2009 | 10:59 am

      Raf wrote:

      Luck or no, I’ll take it

      Looks like the Yanks are starting to benefit from some calls again.

      They may have gotten a break on the Tex stretch at first base play, but replays also indicate that while A-Rod blundered through Thompson’s stop sign on the collision at home play, he also might have been safe, as Mathis may not have tagged him as he was run over.

    10. butchie22
      October 17th, 2009 | 11:03 am

      Teix got a break on that call BUT the Arod at home was still too close to call. Give him credit though, he was aggressive and that’s what I want to see from him. Nice job from him so far……..

    11. Evan3457
      October 17th, 2009 | 11:37 am

      butchie22 wrote:

      Teix got a break on that call BUT the Arod at home was still too close to call. Give him credit though, he was aggressive and that’s what I want to see from him. Nice job from him so far……..

      Actually, there is definitive photo proof that Tex was on the bag when he caught the ball. The blog River Avenue Blues has the evidence, and you find it here:


      Scroll down below the main story and you’ll find a photo that shows the ball IS in Tex’s mitt AND his toe IS still on first. I wouldv’e mentioned this in my above post, but I hadn’t seen it at the time.

    12. YankCrank
      October 17th, 2009 | 11:51 am

      butchie22 wrote:

      Funny how he has become such a dominant peacock during this playoff run. Nice job by him last night.

      Can we take a lesson from this and realize it’s wrong to get all over CC and A-Rod for being supposed “postseason failures?” It’s all an extremely small sample size, which you can not make a reasonable conclusion with…sometimes you’re good and sometimes you’re bad.

      Right now, Alex and CC are amazing and it’s no wonder we’re in the ALCS, up 1-0.

    13. butchie22
      October 17th, 2009 | 12:49 pm

      @ Evan I’d like to see a Aapruder like recreation of that moment in a filmic sense. Nice snapshot though.

      @ Crank Agoat and Charlie Cheeseburger have done pretty well up until this point, they deserve a lot of credit thus far. BUT it ain’t over until it’s over. Remember how great Arod was until Game 4 of the ALCS in the dreaded collapes of 2004? and what happened to CC during the 2007 ALCS? It’s not wrong based upon prior performance, based upon their sample set prior to this year. In my opinion regarding this year, CC was rested and Arod well….I dunno about alex. Is it Hawn’s Spawn that is doing the job on him , the fact he doesn’t care and feels relaxed…it doesn’t really matter because he’s getting the job done.

      That being said, both players are doing a bang up job until this point. I’m not bearish on them during the playoffs by any means, so I hope this keeps up.

    14. butchie22
      October 17th, 2009 | 12:49 pm

      @ Evan I meant Zapruder like……..

    15. Evan3457
      October 17th, 2009 | 2:11 pm

      butchie22 wrote:

      @ Evan I meant Zapruder like……..

      Got it, Butchie.

    16. October 18th, 2009 | 1:43 am

      […] Just like in Game One of this series, the Yankees win 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… […]

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