My uncle had tickets to Friday's ALDS Game 2, and my brother and I were fortunate enough to get the invite to join him and my cousin at the game. I'd never been to a post-season game before, and if I go to a hundred more, it'll be tough to match the excitement of Friday's game.
I'm a little late to the party on this one, so I don't want to recreate the game recap or echo Ben Kabak's sentiments about being there Friday night. But beyond my gratitude for being able to be there (and not having to suffer through Chip Caray in the process), there are a few thoughts I'd like to share on the game:
- I've been very critical of many Joe Girardi decisions over the course of this season. As I mentioned briefly last week, I wasn't completely sold on starting Jose Molina in Game 2, but beyond that, I agreed with every move Girardi made over the course of the game. For once, I thought the match ups he played with the bullpen were the right ones, even if not everyone executed properly (Marte). I still fear that Girardi's love for little ball will cost the Yankees a game at some point, but I'll give credit where it's due right now. I think he managed a great game Friday night.
- Last week I also questioned the need for three catchers on the ALDS roster. I still don't think it's the wisest use of a roster spot, but in light of the decision to start Molina, it allowed Girardi not only to pinch hit with Posada, but also to pinch run for Posada with Brett Gardner later on. It nearly worked to perfection in the eleventh inning.
- Like nearly everyone else, I thought the Yanks were screwed in the eleventh with the bases loaded and no one out. Yet, because of his league leading K-rate, David Robertson was exactly the pitcher I wanted on the mound at that point - and why I thought it was a smart move for Girardi to go to Aceves rather than the twice warmed D-Rob to start the tenth - better to save Robertson for a runners on jam like the one Marte pitched into. That Robertson was able to pitch out of that jam is remarkable. That he was able to do it without a strikeout or a doubleplay is amazing. Mark Teixeira will be remembered for his walk-off HR in this game, but he made two huge defensive plays to get the Yanks out of the jam in the top half of the final inning.
- Another play that will get lost in the noise of the dramatic home runs and furor over the blown foul ball call was a head's up defensive play from Nick Swisher and Derek Jeter in the fourth inning. As Carlos Gomez stumbled and fell rounding second base, Jeter wisely signaled for the ball and Swisher got it there in time to catch Gomez before Delmon Young could score. Not only did the Yankees catch a big break in Gomez falling, but the caught an even bigger one when Gomez instinctively scrambled back to the bag. Had he allowed himself to get caught in a rundown instead it would have been enough to prolong the play long enough for Young to cross the plate.
Lastly, thanks to all the matching up, Chad Gaudin was lone remaining active player out the bullpen when Teix ended the game. So while everyone else was partying at the plate, I caught this extremely amateurish shot of Gaudin (in the jacket) trotting in from the pen, past the ball boy, to join the party.
Back with more in a bit...