Saturday, October 16, 2010

ALCS Game 2: It Ain't Over

On the YES Network Postgame Show last night, Michael Kay was not shy about his feelings in regards to the Yankees' chances going forward. Standing next to Ken Singleton on the field in Arlington as the Ballpark was dark and empty aside from a few maintenance men lingering in the background, Kay emphatically declared the series "over".

That is a pretty bold stance for a broadcaster to take on the air, especially one who was covering the team in 1997 when the Yankees fell into a 5-0 hole in the first inning of Game 1 of the ALDS against the Indians and clawed their way back to a 8-6 victory, only to lose the series in five games. Or in 2001, when the Yanks stole devastating back-to-back-extra-inning-walk-off victories in Games 4 & 5 of the World Series by way of Byung-Hyun Kim but ultimately fell just short of a fourth straight WS title against the Diamondbacks in Game 7 in Arizona.

To be sure, the Yanks' thrilling come-from-behind victory fueled by a string of seven straight batters reaching base safely in the eighth inning was the stuff of October lore, hearkening back to the late 90's dynasty years when the team felt nearly invincible and never out of a game or series. The Bombers trailed 3-0 before CC Sabathia even recorded an out and the deficit only widened before the top of the eighth rolled around and Brett Gardner stepped to the plate. His hustle play opened the floodgates and the five runs plated in that frame took them from four runs down to one ahead. From there Kerry Wood picked off Ian Kinsler to stifle a rally in the bottom half of the inning and Mariano Rivera worked around a leadoff single to Mitch Moreland to seal off the improbable victory.

But unfortunately for the 2010 Yankees, you can only win one game at a time.

To snatch victory from the jaws of defeat the way the Yanks did last night obscures the fact that anyone who had thought the Yankees were going to win this series likely assumed they would take Game 1 behind their ace, Sabathia. They may have done so in dramatic, soul-crushing fashion, but is that so much better than controlling the game from the outset? Would Michael Kay be so certain of a World Series berth for the Bombers if they had taken an early lead last night and went on to win?

Colby Lewis might not match up especially well with the Yankees, but if he and the Rangers can get though Phil Hughes and win tonight, the series will be all square with Cliff Lee looming large in Game 3 and the notoriously unreliable A.J. Burnett slated to take the ball for the Yanks in Game 4.

The Yanks have done what they can so far, but make no mistake, this series is far from over.

Hey now, hey now, don't dream it's over yet.
[Song notes: The sample quoted is from this song by Crowded House, which kind of sucks. But hey, it's appropriate!]


Yankees: Facing the right-handed Lewis, Curtis Granderson moves up to the two hole, while Nick Swisher is pushed back to sixth. Lance Berkman gets the start at DH and will be down in the eighth slot, where he managed his fair share of heroics in the Twins series.
Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Jorge Posada C
Lance Berkman DH
Brett Gardner LF
Phil Hughes RHP
Rangers: The bottom third of the Rangers' lineup gets turned over against the righty Hughes. Bengie Molina will catch instead of Matt Treanor, David Murphy gets the start in right over Jeff Francoeur and Mitch Moreland will man first base in lieu of Jorge Cantu.
Elvis Andrus, SS
Michael Young 3B
Josh Hamilton CF
Vladimir Guerrero DH
Nelson Cruz RF
Ian Kinsler 2B
David Murphy LF
Bengie Molina C
Mitch Moreland 1B

Colby Lewis RHP

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