• October 10th @ The Angels

    Posted by on October 10th, 2005 · Comments (30)

    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.

    October 9th vs. The Angels

    Posted by on October 9th, 2005 · Comments (10)

    I think that I actually got an ulcer during a Yankees win. Yeah, tonight. Wow.

    That shot of Brian Cashman in the 9th, when Vlad was batting, pretty much sums up the way I felt during much of this game.

    This is not going to be the prettiest game entry ever. There’s so much to say – so, I’m going to let it just fly and flow.

    I too was thinking that Shawn Chacón tonight was pulling an El Duque from the 1998 ALCS – which, by the way, was seven years ago tomorrow. But, I wanted to kill Torre when he said that as well on FOX during the game. Why whammy the guy? And, sure enough, then the Angels score some runs.

    Actually, if Giambi catches that SAC bunt from Finley on the fly, it’s a DP and perhaps the Angels score none in that inning – and Chacón’s wonderful night looks even better.

    Side thought: Does Chone Figgins look a little like Seth Green? Also, now that Giambi’s hair is getting a little longer, around the 4th inning of a game, when the sweat is really coming, is Jason starting to look a little like Richard Lewis?

    Second side thought: Just what happened to second “T” in “Scot” Shields? (Yes, I know that his full name is Robert Scot Shields. Still, it’s strange.) And, if the Halo’s bullpen is so great, just how the heck did Sheilds lose 11 games this season?

    By the way, the last two WasWatching.com entries have now mentioned Shields and Yarnall. Is my mind trying to tell me to shut up?

    I wanted to kill Torre when he lifted Chacón in the 7th, with one out and a slooooooow runner on 1st (Molina) to bring in Leiter to face Erstad. I think that Joe got lucky there.

    I also wanted to kill Torre when he had Bernie come out to play CF after Womack pinch ran for Sierra who pinch hit for Crosby. (Yeah, not a lot of love for Joe’s moves tonight.) At this stage of the thing, with a one-run game, I’d rather have Womack’s speed in CF than Bernie. I think Joe got lucky there too.

    Some funky slide there by Posada in the 7th. That’s two for him now. In Game 5 of the 2000 World Series, he was the one sliding into home (and Piazza) when the ball hit him and allowed the runners to advance. Magic things for Jorgie when he’s heading home. Or, maybe he’s just lucky?

    Speaking of luck, I thought for sure that after the Yankees left the bases loaded in the 7th – with the Giambi whiff and Sheffield pop – that would come back to haunt them, with the score remaining 3-2. But, they got lucky.

    Almost forgot – pretty big pinch-hit there for Big Rube. Lucky? Hey, I’d rather be lucky than good.

    Face it – really, face it. If I posted a picture here of the performance of the Yankees “big hitters” (Jeter, A-Rod, Giambi, Sheffield, etc.) during this game, and the ALDS as a whole, it would be so flat that you’d never be able to see it. The fact that this series is 2-2 is pretty lucky – for New York.

    These guys are going to have to hit in Game 5 to allow Mussina, Wang, and whoever, to do their thing and have a chance to win this series. Basically, it’s simple – Strike early, strike big, take the crowd out, and then tack on. Do not allow K-Rod to pitch in this game with a lead.

    The first pitch is in about 20 hours from now. It’s going to seem like 200 hours.

    October 7th vs. The Angels

    Posted by on October 8th, 2005 · Comments (3)

    It was the night of the big game.
    From the skies fell much rain.
    Pitching for L.A. a guy, who, could be Frazier Crane.
    For the Yankees, the Unit, was busted and lame.
    By the top of the 4th, it was time to lay blame.
    Was this insane?
    No, I was in pain!
    Then, suddenly, after four, it was again a game.
    However, in the 6th, my temper began to flame.
    And, in the 7th and 8th, it was more of the same.
    In the end, this mess was too much for my brain.

    What was up with Randy Johnson? Just the LDS blues, or, was the mini-corset sighting a clue to be followed? Oh, well, maybe, if there’s a Game 5, he can help out there?

    Gordon. Why am I not surprised?

    Gotta say, it was risky of Torre to have Posada come in the game in the 4th. If something happened to him, ladies and gentlemen, now catching for the Yankees, number 26, Mark Bellhorn, number 26. Whew.

    This may sound crazy, but, after Bernie had the SF in the 5th to give the Yankees the lead, I would have taken him out for Crosby – to get the “D” in there with the slim lead. And, wouldn’t you know it, in the next inning Figgins hits a ball to CF to put the Angels in the driver’s seat for this game. And, it was a ball that Bernie could not reach and we’ll never know if Bubba Crosby would have made the play.

    As Jon Miller mentioned on ESPN’s coverage, this game was a lot like the one the Yankees played on September 27th. What happened the next night? Shawn Chacón came through with a good effort.

    I hope he can do it again in what is now later today. Look at the bright side, if he cannot, maybe there’s a commercial in it for the Yankees?

    Hey, we just lost the ALDS. But, there’s good news. We just saved a bunch of money on not having to pay for airfare and hotel for another day in L.A. Think A-Rod knows how to do the robot?

    October 5th @ The Angels

    Posted by on October 6th, 2005 · Comments (10)

    I was doing so good in terms of staying up to watch this game. And, just then, for a handful of minutes, I nodded off – and it just happened to be for the bottom of the 7th. I cannot describe the horror of waking up, realizing that I fell asleep, and seeing that the game was now in the top of the 8th, with Bernie batting, and the score was 4-2 Angels – when the last thing that I remembered was the game being tied, 2-2, in the top of the 7th.

    I didn’t miss much in terms of time, maybe just 15 minutes or so, but I sure missed a lot in terms of the breakdown for the Yankees.

    I actually started to get a bad feeling about this game before all this, and the Juan (Where’s that golf cart when you need it?) Rivera HR, and the costly A-Rod error in the 6th. It happened in the top of the 5th – when Jeter made like his idol Winnie and threw his bat into the stands.

    My first thought then was “Uh-oh. What’s Torre going to hold on to now for good luck when the team is on defense?” And, if I may say it now, look at the A-Rod and Wang errors that followed in the 6th and 7th. Hmmm.

    In any event, the Yankees are not going to win many games in this ALDS if they average 3.5 runs scored per game. They need to score 5-6 runs instead of 3-4 runs.

    And, to get that done going forward, I’m calling on Gary Sheffield to step up. The Angels have shown that they’re going to walk A-Rod as much as possible. Therefore, Sheff needs to make them pay for that – and, to date, that’s not happening.

    So, now, it’s a best two out of three series – with the Yankees having the home field. Still, I will offer this – the Yankees need to win on Friday to have a chance to take the series. They cannot get into the position where they need to win (to stay alive) on Saturday – and then have to fly all the way out west again to play a winner take all game.

    It’s a big spot for Randy Johnson. I saw the clip of Unit throwing today to get his work in. He was wearing a mini-corset. That’s disconcerting. What is also somewhat alarming is the weather forecast for Friday. It’s calling for PM showers at this moment. It would be terrible for the Yankees if Johnson threw three innings in Game 3 and then had to come out of the contest because of an hour rain delay.

    I hope Mystique and Aura remember to bring their umbrellas on Friday. And, that the Yankees remember to bring their bats and gloves too.

    October 4th @ The Angels

    Posted by on October 4th, 2005 · Comments (14)

    OK, I think I get it. Rivera must be dressing up as John Wetteland for Halloween this year and just felt like trying out the costume 4 weeks early, right? Whew.

    Speaking of “looks-like” – is it just me, or, does Bartolo Colon look like the love child from the union of David Wells and Pedro Martinez. No matter, you have to give credit to Colon for keeping his team in the game after a rough start. I saw a lot of late swings after the 2nd inning.

    Speaking of late, at 10:00 pm EST, Mussina threw the 1st pitch in the bottom of the 5th. Poor kids today, they have no chance of watching these games. (Never mind what’s going to happen tomorrow.)

    Not a bad night for Moose. I kept waiting for the meltdown – after all, many times this season he’s been good and then just hits the wall from nowhere. Good thing Joe pulled him when he did in the 6th.

    Speaking of the 6th, as much as I want to credit Cano’s clutch hit in the 1st as the key to the game, I think the true key to this win was Vlad taking off for 2nd with 2 outs and down by four (in that 6th inning). Thanks Vladie.

    Last week, I said that it was sad “watching Sturtze served up nightly these days – cooked ala’ Torre.” Now it’s beyond sad – it’s dangerous. Torre has to make Small Mr. Seventh Inning now.

    Tonight was a good win. But, 1995, 1997, 2001, and 2004 were not that long ago. This is no time for Yankees fans to start getting giddy. If New York can get 10 more wins this post-season, then it’s time to start feeling frisky.

    Lastly, I have to wonder, what time will the Yankees land back in New York on Thursday? If the game tomorrow is starting in Cali at 7:20 pm PT, what’s the earliest that they’ll get on a plane back to the East Coast, 12:30 am PT on Thursday? So, would that have them landing in NYC around 9:00 am ET on Thursday, thereabouts. And, from there, they probably get home to their own beds around lunch-time on Thursday.

    I hope they all stay in on Thursday night to get ready for the game on Friday. And, if I’m Torre, I’m sending the Big Unit home on a plane first thing Wednesday morning.

    October 2nd @ The Red Sox

    Posted by on October 2nd, 2005 · Comments (7)

    Truth be told, to this Yankees fan, regardless of the standings and date, there’s nothing worse than a Yankees loss, unless:

    – it’s a game where they lose ugly, then, it’s only worse if
    – it’s an ugly loss to the Boston Red Sox, then, it’s only worse if
    – it’s an ugly loss to the Red Sox at Fenway Park, then, it’s only worse if
    – it’s an ugly loss to the Red Sox at Fenway Park when Curt Schilling pitches well, then, it’s only worse if
    – it’s an ugly loss to the Red Sox at Fenway Park when Curt Schilling pitches well and then the Sox and their fans get to celebrate on the field like they just won the pennant.

    What is it with Schilling and the Yankees this year? The White Sox beat up Schilling. The Royals beat up Schilling. The Devil Rays beat up Schilling. And, the Blue Jays beat up Schilling. Even the A’s hit Schilling well this year. Yet, against New York, he’s still got that Cy Young form. Go figure.

    Anyway, I guess the important thing today is that no one on the Yankees broke a leg or something – though Jeter decided to try and scare some folks with that ugly slide into second. Uh, thanks Derek.

    After the game today, all I can think about – other than how disgusting the Yankees pitched today – was about the Indians. Man, if I knew they were going to fold in the last three games, I might have wished for a Yankees loss on Saturday – and let the Yankees take the wildcard, instead of Boston.

    I think I’d rather play the White Sox in a short series where their starting pitching depth doesn’t help them that much, and have the shorter travel, than have to fly to the West Coast and play the Angels in a short series (where their strong bullpen doesn’t have to pitch in a lot of games). It’s worse if the Yankees have to go five – because then you have to go all the way west, again.

    Oh, well, maybe this can be a payback thing for 2002? Or, maybe it will be a repeat of the 2002 nightmare? The former would be great and the latter would be like a poop scented lollipop. A really stinky sucker.

    October 1st @ The Red Sox

    Posted by on October 1st, 2005 · Comments (8)

    I’ve never seen “We Were Soldiers” – but, now, I think I have to watch it.

    Thank you Chicago White Sox – and thank you the rain of September 26th. For the 8th year in a row, the Boston Red Sox have now finished 2nd in the A.L. East, behind the New York Yankees.

    I feel so smart today. On September 14th, I wrote:

    I think this season is going to fall in between the 92 and 96. To make a prediction, I’m going with 95 – that’s how many wins it will take to win the A.L. East this season.

    And, that’s what it took: 95 wins.

    Here’s the stat for today: The only time that the Yankees had a lead with four games to go and failed to win was 1904 – and, then, they actually were the “Highlanders” and not the Yankees. And, thanks to today, that will not change for at least another year.

    I thought that the Big Unit was as advertised today. Through two innings, he threw 51 pitches and I thought “He’s never going to last today.” But, he made it into the 8th inning (pitching on a day that Barnabas Collins would have loved) – only allowing 3 base runners after the second (with one of those being a fly ball by Ortiz that Williams “Bernied” into a double). And, this all after a start in the game where Johnson must have looked like Pam Anderson in the first two frames – considering how often the home plate ump squeezed him.

    At the end of the day, it was a great game for the Yankees – lots of heroes to choose from – and it means they get to go to the dance through the front door.

    If it were me, I’d start Mussina tomorrow anyway – and use Wright in relief – with the hope to force the Red Sox to have to play a wildcard play-in game on Monday. But, no matter how the Yankees handle that call – it really doesn’t matter. Today is a day for partying – and not thinking.

    Lastly, shame on FOX with their “FOX Watch” in the bottom of the 4th today – causing Yankees and Red Sox fans to squint to watch the whole half-inning (including Sheffield’s great catch).

    Go have fun tonight Yankees fans. It’s a stress-free zone for the next two days. Take advantage of it.