NY Marathon – November 1st or October 17th?…

Wow, what an exciting game!…

 

 

NYC Marathon.JPG

 

 

The Yankees took a 2-game lead in the American League Championship Series with a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night.  It was a marathon 5-hour affair that extended into the early hours of the morning (thanks to the 7:57 pm Eastern starting time). 

 

 

It's another windy night in the Bronx. Game time temperature is a blustery 47 degrees.

Theodorakis/NY Daily News

 

 

It was the fifth longest game in LCS history.  The only surprise is that it didn’t involve the Boston Red Sox, who have played three of those long running games.  Hey Julia, it couldn’t have involved the Red Sox “with the Red Sox season over”! 

 

 

 

 

Sorry my friend!  Okay, maybe not…  ;)

 

It was definitely a long day for me.  I started my morning in San Jose, and I drove to San Francisco to catch a flight to New York.  Arriving at JFK Airport around 6 pm Eastern, I got a rental car and drove down to my former home city of Wilmington, DE.  I listened to the Yankees game on WCBS (John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman) until I was out of range and had to switch over to ESPN Radio (Jon Miller and Joe Morgan).  I was surprised that the rain didn’t appear at Yankee Stadium until the late innings, because I drove through rain throughout my drive down the New Jersey Turnpike, and it continued to rain as I made my way through Pennsylvania to Delaware.  I stopped at a sports bar to watch game, but I finally decided to check into the hotel in the 10th inning.  So, I finished watching the game in the cozy confines of my hotel room.  In all my life, I don’t think I’ve ever watched/listened to a single baseball game through so many different sources!  Oh well, as the saying goes, all’s well that ends well!

 

Hairston cheers after scoring the winning run as a dejected Angels catcher walks off the field.

Simmons/NY Daily News

 

 

I thought that A.J. Burnett pitched a great game.  I was disappointed that a potential victory was aborted by his wild pitch in the 5th inning that allowed the Angels to tie the score.  Had they not scored, it’s possible that the Yankees could have won, 2-1, in regulation with the way their bullpen performed.  Nevertheless, baseball is a game of ‘ifs and buts’ so it didn’t happen so this one was earmarked for extra innings. 

 

 

Elise Amendola/AP

 

 

 

Before I proceed to the latter innings, I do want to congratulate Joba Chamberlain for the job he did in the 7th inning.  He inherited two runners when he relieved Phil Coke.  After allowing an infield single to Torii Hunter to load the bases, he struck out Vladimir Guerrero to end the inning.  That was a huge moment in the game.  Clearly, had they scored any runs, they most likely would have won the game. 

 

 

Julie Jacobson/AP

 

 

Mariano Rivera also did a tremendous job for 2 1/3 innings.  Anything beyond an inning was almost unheard of during the Joe Torre days as they sought to protect Mo.  I understand that, but these are the days of ‘no tomorrow’.  Every game is critical.  I know that it has been difficult for closers to get into the Hall of Fame, but I think that both Rivera and Trevor Hoffman deserve first ballot consideration when their playing days are over.

 

 

Mariano Rivera comes out in the eighth and does a good job at keeping the Angels quiet on the offensive front for 25 pitches.

Antonelli/NY Daily News

 

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the stellar defensive play of first baseman Mark Teixeira.  He continues to save runs game in and game out.  I am always amazed at how far he can reach to save errant throws, and there is no doubt that the Yankees stayed in last night’s game because of Tex.  There is no way that Jason Giambi could have gotten to many of these throws (sorry G!).

 

 

And he does it again! It's close, but Teix gets Torii Hunter out in the fourth in the same Stretch Armstrong style as before.

Antonelli/NY Daily News

 

I was bit frustrated in the 11th inning when Alfredo Aceves opened the inning by walking Gary Matthews, Jr.  He scored on a single by the previously ice-cold Chone Figgins after a sacrifice had moved him to second.  Nevertheless, I really didn’t feel like the Yankees would lose the game at that point, despite the Angels’ 3-2 lead. 

 

 

The dry spell is over for Figgins in the 11th inning after his RBI single gives Angels the lead, 3-2, for the first time in this series.

Antonelli/NY Daily News

 

My faith was vindicated in the bottom of the 11th when Alex Rodriguez hit a game-tying home run just out of the reach of a leaping Bobby Abreu.  The ball bounced back onto the field, so for a moment, there was a thought about whether or not was a home run.  Even A-Rod had to slow around second to look at the umpire for the home run signal.  But replays clearly showed the ball hit the stands and ricochet back onto the playing field.  A-Rod, finally, is playing to expectations in the post-season and it has been great.  If the Yanks win it all, the MVP, at this moment, has to be A-Rod.

 

 

Bobby Abreu jumps, but the ball sails into the stands, hitting an unfortunate fan before popping back onto the field.

Antonelli/NY Daily News

 

 

I understand why the Yankees placed Freddy Guzman on the play-off roster (at the expense of Eric Hinske), however, it was frustrating to see Guzman (who had earlier pinch run for DH Hideki Matsui) bat following A-Rod’s homer.  You could almost feel the air deflate out of the Yanks’ momentum when Guzman struck out.  The Angels retired the next two batters to get out of the inning.  Guzman is here because of his Brett Gardner-like speed.  However, I would have felt so much better with Eric Hinske coming off the bench to bat in that situation. 

 

The Angels had their chances.  With two outs in the top of the 12th, the Angels defensive catcher Jeff Mathis (not known for his bat) ripped a double off David Robertson who had just entered the game.  After the next batter was intentionally walked, Robertson struck out Matthews to end the inning. 

 

In the bottom of the 12th, I thought the Yankees missed a golden opportunity when A-Rod flied out to end the inning with the bases loaded.  At that point, I started to turn a bit pessimistic.  David Robertson was still on the mound and Chad Gaudin was the last man standing in the bullpen so I knew time was running out. 

 

 

Last Man Standing.JPG

themovied.org

 

 

 

The Angels got the 13th inning going when an error by Robinson Cano allowed Erick Aybar to safely reach base.  He advanced to second on a sacrifice.  After Bobby Abreu was intentionally walked, an infield groundout by Torii Hunter moved the runners to second and third.  That brought Vlad the Great to the plate.  Of course, memories of his game winning hit in Boston swirled in my head.  But, in keeping in sync with the Angels penchant for leaving men on base…at least in this game, Vlad hit into a groundout to end the inning. 

 

To the bottom of the 13th it was!  Instead of allowing Freddy Guzman to hit, manager Joe Girardi brought Jerry Hairston, Jr. off the bench to bat in the DH slot.  Hard to believe that it was the first play-off appearance for Hairston, but he didn’t disappoint as he reached base on a single to center.  After Brett Gardner sacrificed Hairston to second, Robinson Cano was intentionally walked.  That brought Melky Cabrera to the plate.  In a play that made absolutely no sense to me, Angels second baseman Macer Izturis fielded a ball hit by Cabrera and threw wildly to second base rather than going for the sure out at first. 

 

Erick Aybar, Robinson Cano

Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger

 

 

At this point in the game, the only runner that mattered was the lead runner (Hairston).  He was already advancing to third, so Cano was an irrelevant runner.  The ball sailed past Angels shortstop Erick Aybar and it allowed Hairston to race home with the winning run. 

 

 

Jerry Hairston Jr. Yankees ALCS

John Munson/The Star Ledger

 

 

The first two games of the ALCS have been very un-Angel like, given the multiple errors and men left on base.  I suspect that we’ll see a very different Angels squad at Angels Stadium as the series shifts to Anaheim for three games.  This makes me glad that the Yankees will be taking a 2-0 series lead to the West Coast rather than heading out West tied.  I still fully expect this series to go seven games as it is far from over.  However, I am hopeful for a few more endings like this…

 

 

Yanks take Game 2, 4-3, in a grueling five hours and 10 minutes. 

The Bombers now lead the ALCS, 2-0, and play the Halos in Game 3 in Anaheim on Monday.

Antonelli/NY Daily News

 

 

On a final note, it was great to see Tino Martinez throw out the first pitch, but he definitely looked better hitting game-winning home runs at the old stadium!  

 

 

Former Yanks first baseman Tino Martinez throws out the ceremonial first pitch to Jorge Posada.  

Antonelli/NY Daily News

 

 

I am planning to watch tonight’s game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Los Angeles Dodgers in a Philly sports bar.  I guess I’ll just remain a closet supporter of the Dodgers and smile whenever the Phillies do something good even though inside I will be cheering wildly for Joe Torre, Don Mattingly and company.  Hey, I need to survive the night so that I can head back to New York on Monday morning!  :)

 

 

 

 

One (more) final note…good luck to Dodgers Assistant GM Kim Ng.  She interviewed for the GM job with the San Diego Padres.  It’s strange to think that Kevin Towers will no longer be there, but Kim deserves the opportunity to be the first woman GM in major league history.  She did a great job with the Yankees, and for the past 8 years, she’s been magnificent as Ned Colletti’s top adviser.  I hated to see her leave New York, but I knew that there were bigger and better things in her future.  Kim Ng, General Manager of the San Diego Padres.  It has a great ring to it.  Good luck, Kim! 

 

 

3 Comments

Sorry? I don’t think so my friend! ;-) The Angels have definitely NOT played their best baseball. It will be interesting to see how they play at home.

And the Dodgers – Phillies game tonight – ugh – what is wrong with the Dodgers? Hope you made it out of the bar alive and I hope you remembered to bring your “red hankie” home with you! lol!

Safe driving to Manhattan in the morning. Just think – the Yankees will be nice and warm and you won’t be! So what’s the temperature in San Jose right about now? And just thing – you could have had snow like I did today!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com

You certainly did listen to/watch that game in more places than most people, Scott. I’m glad you ended up in your hotel room for the finale. Did you scream when Hairston came home with the winning run? And did the hotel security people come to check on “the disturbance?” It was a great win, despite the miscues, and I’ll be cheering our boys on at Angel Stadium on Tuesday. I guess I’ll be seeing CC on short rest. Gulp!

- http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

Hey Scott – the rankings are out and from the first weekend of the regular season to the end of the regular season you are ranked #18! Congrats my friend – it is well deserved!!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com

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