CC Sabathia and A-Rod quieted a whole bunch of speculation about their ability to perform in October on Wednesday night. Last night, more queries were posed and more responses were offered:
Q: How would A.J. Burnett do in his first postseason start?
A: Awfully damn good. Six innings, one run, six strikeouts, three hits and - the only blemish on his line - 5 walks. Burnett gave up at least one baserunner in every inning he pitched, but did a good job of digging down when it was necessary and limiting the damage.
Q: Did Joe Girardi make the right decision in starting Jose Molina over Jorge Posada?
A: For this game, it would seem he did. Molina played pretty much flawless defense behind the plate and Burnett's stellar performance would seem to have validated that. Molina only got one at bat and Jorge picked up one hit in his three trips to the plate, giving the Yankees a semblance of the best of both worlds. Hopefully this doesn't bond the two at the hip for the rest of the postseason but it certainly worked out the first time around.
Q: Is Mariano Rivera superhuman?
A: No, he was merely good last night. He surrendered only his 4th hit with two outs and runners in scoring position in 51 postseason ABs in the 8th inning, allowing the Yanks to fall behind 3-1. But he wasn't the one who put those runners on (that was Phil Hughes) and he recovered to pitch a scoreless top of the 9th.
Q: Was A-Rod performance on Wednesday just an anomaly? Is he still a choke artist who got lucky in one game?
A: Not so much. He tied the game with a two out RBI single in the 6th and did it again, far more heroically, with a 2 run homer off Joe Nathan in the 9th inning. That's just about as clutch as it gets.
Q: Did C.B. Bucknor make the worst call of the postseason so far?
A: No, that distinction would belong to Phil Cuzzi, who called a ground rule double into the left field corner in the top of the 11th by Joe Mauer foul despite the fact that he was staring directly at it and it landed a foot inside of the foul line. Mauer reached base with a single anyway, but a lead off double changes the complexion of the game completely. Just like I said this morning, thank God there's no instant replay in baseball.
Q: Can David Robertson get it done under pressure?
A: D-Rob was largely relegated to low leverage situations last year and until late in this season but he stacked his strikeout totals so high that his performance became impossible to ignore. After Damaso Marte gave up singles to the two lefties he was called up to face in the top of the 11th, Robertson made his first career postseason appearance. He got off to an inauspicious start, giving up a single to the first batter he faced thereby loading the bases with no one out. It looked bleak for the Yanks, but amazingly, Robertson retired the next three batters and kept the score tied heading into the bottom of the 11th.
Q: Did the Yanks blow their best chance to win the game when they failed to get Brett Gardner in from third base with one out in the bottom of the tenth?
A: Apparently not.
Q: Is Mark Teixeira the new A-Rod?
A: Well, if the A-Rod we are talking about is the one who has gotten better as the pressure has built this postseason, then yes. Because if Teix looked lost at the plate in Game 1, he certainly didn't as Game 2 wore on. He got on base in front of A-Rod in the 9th then ended the game in the 11th with a laser that just cleared the wall next to the left field foul pole.
Q: Was that the fucking best game you've seen in a hell of a long time?
A: Given that any dramatic postseason win is better than any win in the regular season and the Yanks have only won 4 games in the last 4 postseasons... YES. We're gonna be talking about that one for a long while.