Monday, October 26, 2009

A Fine Fall Day

("Not going to school on Wednesday, going to the World Series")

Good morning, Fackers. It's a fine one to be a supporter of the New York Baseballing Yankees, wouldn't you say? According to the folks over a LoHud, the Yanks didn't hold much back last night. It's alright, they've got almost three full days to shake it off.

Fittingly, a sloppily contested game replete with dubious managerial moves topped off a series that might be remembered for both of those things. The only thing missing was an egregiously wrong call by an umpire. The "fundamentally sound" Angels had Vlad Guerrero picked off of first base on what should have been a routine play in the 3rd and made two errors on plays when the Yankees were handing them outs in the 8th inning.

As for the managing, the questionable decision making began in the 4th inning. Following singles by Nick Swisher and Robinson Cano, the Yanks asked Melky Cabrera to sacrifice them over to second and third. I know what Girardi was thinking. Pass the baton to Jeter and hope he singles home a few runs. But Saunders was on the ropes and looked nothing short of terrible. Timely hitting was the only thing between the Yankees and a sizable lead at that point. I can see that move in the later innings or against a dominant pitcher, maybe, but to do it in the 4th inning against a guy in Saunders who had been pitching terribly to that point doesn't make sense.

If you look at this run expectancy matrix, you'll see that a successful bunt in this spot would have even decreased the Yankees chances to score exactly one run, increased their odds of plating two or three but decreased their odds of having a bigger inning. The way Saunders was pitching, I wouldn't discount the possibility of the latter.

So despite Girardi's best efforts to avoid delivering the knockout blow, the Yankees still loaded the bases for Johnny Damon who drove two home, and re-loaded them via a single from Teixeira for A-Rod. Mike Sciosica left (southpaw) Joe Saunders in to face A-Rod with the bases loaded in the 4th inning. At the time, Saunders had faced 21 batters and allowed 11 to reach base (with one of the 10 retired coming on a sac bunt). That's who you want facing the other team's best hitter with the bases loaded in an elimination game? Saunders of course walked A-Rod on an incredibly close pitch, forcing in a run.

I disagreed with the way Joe Girardi's chose to pull his starter as well. After getting Howie Kendrick to line out, Pettitte gave up a single to Juan Rivera on a pitch that was high but over the middle of the plate. At that point, Pettitte had thrown only 99 pitches and induced 9 ground balls. He was one pitch away from getting out of the inning but Girardi went to his bullpen for David Robertson. Oh wait, no he didn't. Phil Hughes. Err, no. He went to Joba Chamberlain for some reason known only to him. Ostensibly because he believes that it's still 2007.

Girardi had apparently already made up his mind that he was going to use Mariano Rivera for 6 outs, so why did he pick Joba over Hughes? Or Robertson? We were told this week that there was nothing wrong with Hughes and that it was a simple mechanical issue. Robertson was solid during the regular season and perfect in the postseason. Joba has been neither of those things. He's given up 5 hits in 2 2/3 postseason IP and was not effective when last seen as a starter. What makes Girardi think that he's the guy you want in when the game is on the line?

Of course, Girardi also tried desperately to give away outs in the 9th inning when the Yankees were leading by 1, not once but twice, however the Angels simply wouldn't let him.

But hey, all's well that ends well, right?

I personally had a pretty sweet day as well. I played in a golf tourament at a Donald Ross track called The Sagamore in Lake George, my team won by 4 shots, I took home longest drive and won the 50/50 raffle (and didn't donate it, sorry Bolton Booster Club!). I got home a little bit after first pitch and Big Willie Style had taken the liberty of setting his TV up on a table beneath the 46" so we could watch the Yankees and Giants at the same time. It came at the expense of the internet and therefore active Twittering, but it was a necessary trade off.

Only the top TV had the audio on, so we flipped to the Giants game on when there was action and the Yankees were at commercial (Black taco! Apparently blue corn tortillas are black now. Who knew?). At one point, within about 20 seconds of each other, Hakeem Nicks lucked into a touchdown catch on a crazy deflection for the Giants and Johnny Damon rapped an 2 RBI single for the Yanks. It was worth the trouble just for that.

The Giants were mounting a possible game-tying drive that got derailed when Ahmad Bradshaw fumbled struggling for some extra yards. You can't win 'em all, and that was pretty much the only loss I took yesterday.


  1. Great course up there in Bolton Landing, NY. Great views this time of year. I live about an hour south of there. Golf at the Sagamore and the Yankees winning the ALCS is a great day indeed.

  2. Upstate - I actually live in Albany now, from Clifton Park originally. The Sagamore is a pretty fantastic track. I've played a good amount of Donald Ross courses and would put that right alongside Charles River and Brae Burn near Boston but not Oak Hill or the one out in Nantucket. Don't know that I would pay full price to play it (which I think is about $125 to $150 at peak) but it was a lot of fun to get out there for free yesterday.

    Also, always enjoy your comedic stylings over at Deadspin. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Rhode Island Country Club is the only other Ross course I've played. Btw, I grew up in Niskayuna and now live in Rotterdam. I usually play over at Schenectady Muni. Good course for the price.

    Thanks for the kind words about my comments over at Deadspin, keep up the good work over here. Go Yankees.

  4. Oh man, I'm from right over the bridge in Rexford, grew up playing Edison. I take lessons from Brian Damon over at Muni sometimes and he used to be an assistant at Edison. Great dude, really good teacher. Muni is definitely gives a good bang for your buck.

  5. Jay,

    Arriving late for the game you missed the pre-game predictions of the Fox crew in the LA studios. They overwhelmingly agreed amongst themselves that...
    - Girardi was foolish for starting Pettitte over CC
    - Swisher should be benched
    - The Angels would force a Game 7.

    So much for punditry.

  6. Anon - Wow. The first one is especially egregious. Yeah, let's start Sabathia so we can't use him in Game 1 of the World Series no matter what happens!

    I was watching the Sports Reporters yesterday morning and realized that having to fill air time leads people to say some really stupid unsubstantiated shit. The good thing about writing is that you have time to check and see if there is anything behind your assertions instead of just spitting them out and forgetting you even said them.

  7. pundits shmundits LMAO

  8. there's something to be said for the mental component of the game. perhaps asking Melky to bunt was part of that? (like forcing the opponent to stay on their toes) - anaheim does it to everyone else and they oughta know they don't have a patent on it.