Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Game 8 Recap

1. The Angels struck first in this one, stringing together three straight hits to start the third inning. First, Brandon Wood pulled one through the left side of the infield and then stole second. Eric Aybar followed with a base hit to center, bringing up Bobby Abreu. El Como Dulce only has a .358 OBP against Javier Vazquez, but 15 of the 20 hits he's collected against him have gone for extra bases, 9 of those home runs. That trend continued as Abreu pulled a double to the gap in right center putting the Angels ahead 2-0.

2. It took the Yankees until the 5th inning to get on the board against Joel Pineiro. Robinson Cano led off the inning with a single, advanced to second on a dribbler by Jorge Posada and ended up at third after another ground ball off the bat of Curtis Granderson. With two outs and Cano 90 feet away, Nick Swisher mashed a triple that rolled all the way to the wall in left center to make it Angels 2 - Yankees 1.

3. The sixth inning would be the end for Javy Vazquez and it began with a leadoff double to Torii Hunter. Vazquez initially had Hunter 0-2 but let the count slide to 3-2 before giving up the line drive to center. Kendry Morales added a two bagger of his own on Javy's 100th pitch, predictably summoning a chorus of boos and bringing Joe Girardi out of the dugout. Joe G. called on Alfredo Aceves. Alf allowed the inherited runner to score and and gave up a run of his own in the 7th on an RBI single by Hunter, putting the Angels ahead 5-1.

4. After Joba Chamberlain pitched a scoreless frame in the top of the 8th, the Yanks mounted a rally in the bottom half of the inning. Scott Shields relieved Pineiro and promptly walked Brett Gardner. Derek Jeter and Nick Johnson then added back to back singles, narrowing the gap to 3 runs with men on the corners and no one out. The Yanks WPA was at 25% when hard-throwing right hander Kevin Jepsen was summoned from the bullpen to face Mark Teixeira.

5. Teix came to the plate hitlesss in the game and left it that way, but did drive in a run with a ground out to third. A-Rod worked a one out walk, bringing up Robinson Cano. Robby smoked a ball directly at Brandon Wood. The Angels tried to get two and the throw appeared to beat Robinson Cano to first base but he was ruled safe. Jorge Posada then struck out swinging to ending the threat. The Yanks were trailing 5-3 after the inning, and that would prove to be the final score.

IFs, ANDs & BUTs
  • Vazquez got off to a shaky start, getting a mound visit from Dave Eiland after allowing a single to Abreu and a walk to Hunter in the first inning. It appeared that Eiland saw something mechanical (his shoulder flying open, perhaps) and the visit was effective, as Javy retired the next two batters to close out the frame.

  • Eiland made another mound visit in the third inning, but that one clearly didn't work out as well.

  • Joel Pineiro was nothing short of impressive today. He pitched 7 innings, allowed five hits, one run and struck out 7 while walking none. He induced twice as many grounders as fly balls and allowed just one line drive - a single to left by Jorge Posada. His sinker had significant movement and he threw just under 2/3 of his pitches for strikes.

  • Brandon Wood displayed considerable range at third base, making two nice plays on high popups against the tarp in foul territory.

  • Hideki Matsui had a rough day at the plate, going 0-4 with 3 Ks and amassing the lowest WPA on the Angels outside of Scott Sheilds.

  • The only Yankees to get on base more than once were Cano and Jeter - each with two hits.

  • Nick Johnson's single in the 8th was the result of a 9 pitch at bat, and came after 5 straight foul balls. Johnson also advanced to second on a wild pitch by Jensen, putting both runners in scoring position for Teix, but didn't manage to make it home.

  • Mark Teixeira's slow start rolls on. He is now 3 for 38 with 7 walks.

  • Michael Kay called Fernando Rodney "automatic" before he came in to pitch the 9th inning, which I found rather amusing, but Rodney needed just 9 pitches to sit the Yanks down.
The series finale is tomorrow night at 7:05.

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