Results tagged ‘ Vladimir Guerrero ’
Good pitching beats good hitting…
So goes the old adage, but clearly, the Yankees are headed for the World Series because of their pitching. Carsten Charles Sabathia is probably the one who is most responsible, although Mark Teixeira’s defense is not too far behind.
The Yankees eliminated the Los Angeles Angels 5-2 on Sunday night to win Game 6 and capture the American League Championship.
It was vintage Andy Pettitte, and he showed why he’ll be fondly remembered as one of the great lefty pitchers in Yankee history. He’ll be making his 8th World Series appearance (7th as a Yankee).
There were a few in-game decisions by manager Joe Girardi that did surprise me…
I didn’t expect to see Andy Pettitte come back out to pitch the 7th inning. He retired the first hitter, Howie Kendrick, on a line out, but departed after the next batter, Juan Rivera, singled. Joba Chamberlain finished the inning unscathed.
I was also surprised when Girardi went with Mariano Rivera in the 8th rather than Phil Hughes. I realize that Hughes was partly responsible for the Angels’ comeback in Game 5, but I still think that was because of the momentum given to them by the previous pitcher in that game, Damaso Marte. My only concern was the availability of Rivera to pitch in a possible Game 7. Nevertheless, Mo showed why he’ll be a first ballot Hall of Famer at the end of the day. The punch out of Gary Matthews, Jr. to propel the Yankees to the World Series was classic.
Finally, I thought playing Nick Swisher was risky. Swish has been ice cold, and I was ready to see if an outfield of Johnny Damon, Brett Gardner and Melky Cabrera was more productive…or Jerry Hairston, Jr. in right at the very least.
For all of the moves, Girardi made the right call. Andy deserved the opportunity to leave the field with a tip of the cap to the crowd. Mo clearly had the right stuff, and Girardi was obviously playing to win. But I thought that Swisher’s throw to first to double off Vladimir Guerrero at first base following a fly out by Kendry Morales in the second inning was huge. As Swish caught the fly ball, he immediately fired the ball to Teixeira, who stepped on the bag as he was falling back, just ahead of the sliding Guerrero. In my opinion, that was one of the keys to the game. A great play.
So, Girardi was right and I was wrong. I am okay with it, because the Yankees will soon be playing for their 27th World Championship! After several years trying to escape Joe Torre’s shadow, Girardi has emerged as the true leader of the Yankees. Best of luck to the Yankees as they open the World Series on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium against the defending champion Philadelphia Phillies.
A couple of other side notes unrelated to the Yankees. I am glad that ESPN fired Steve Phillips for the alleged sex scandal, and if true, congratulations to Tony LaRussa for bringing Mark McGwire back into baseball as hitting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals. Say what you will about McGwire, but I do think he deserves an opportunity to redeem himself for the fans.
P.S. Was it just me or did it look strange seeing Hal Steinbrenner in the locker room celebration instead of his dad? I know that it’s now Hal’s team, but there is still some sadness that George Steinbrenner is no longer able to be at the forefront of Yankee success.
Wow, what an exciting game!…
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).
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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!
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!