Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Yanks Desecrate Angels

It's tempting to say that CC Sabathia and Alex Rodriguez won last night's game on their own. Sure there were many guys who made contributions to the win, but A-Rod drove in more runs than CC allowed in 8 innings and although the game was much closer than the final score indicates, the Angels never led in this game and were never particularly close. The ALCS MVP award race is certainly heating up.

Sabathia had an absolutely beastly pitching performance. He was efficient, needing only 101 pitches to plow through 8 innings and only one of them - a homer to Kendry Morales - would he have wanted back. The big man pitched to weak contact all night, striking out 5 Angels and the Morales home run was the only hit for extra bases. He did it all three days rest in a game that Yankees didn't want to lean to heavily on their bullpen - a huge and timely contribution.

A-Rod smacked a single and stole a base in the 4th inning, scoring from third on a close, hard collision at the plate after an infield bouncer by Robinson Cano. Mike Napoli's foot knocked him pretty squarely in the chest but he slid in under the tag and popped right up, scoring the Yankees first run. Alex then cranked a two run homer in his next at bat in the 5th, putting the Yanks up 5-0. Adding on to an already massive night, he doubled in the 9th inning, tagged up and took off for third, putting the pressure on Bobby Abreu. The throw was close to being there on time, but it bounced away from Chone Figgins into the stands, allowing A-Rod to score. For those scoring at home, A-Rod either drove in or scored 4 of the Yankees' runs and played a big role in the ones he scored. He forced the action all night and took over the game offensively, as much as you could expect one player in a 9 man line up to.

Both were one-man wrecking crews who, along with Melky Cabrera in particular, combined to smash the Angels apart in a 10-1 victory. Melky broke out of a postseason slide with a move out of Derek Jeter's playbook, a well-placed push bunt single towards first base. It worked like a charm, busting the slump with a real hit his next time up. He came to the plate with the bases loaded in the 4th inning and knocked in two big runs with a broken bat single. Melky later drew a walk against Ervin Santana before being driven home on a Johnny Damon homer and knocked in two more runs with a double in the 9th inning.

Melky silenced his doubters, namely the one moron who said he should never put on a Yankee uniform again and the other one who told him to go to hell, in a big way last night just like CC and A-Rod continued to do.

There's a sort of beautiful symmetry that the two guys on the Yankees who were perceived as the biggest choke artists coming into this postseason have not only made people think twice about their individual mettle but also the concept of clutch in general. Hey, maybe it's not indicative of a flaw in someone's mental make up if they have some bad postseason performances, you know? Guys can play well or not during October for extended stretches and it's not an indication of some asset or defect in their make up.

Aside from A-Rod and CC, people are sure to talk about the curious calls that once again plagued this game. Third base umpire Tim McClelland was the one at the center of the controversy this time. (Conspicuously) soon after Nick Swisher should have been picked off second base, McClelland said that he left third too early on a sacrifice fly by Johnny Damon. When the Angels checked, Swish was out, completing an inning-ending double play. The replay showed that Swish didn't leave early, but it was of the split screen variety so it was at the whim of whoever put it together to line the two clips up perfectly.

More egregiously, McClelland missed a double play that the Angels should have had in the fifth inning. Jorge Posada was caught in a run down between third and home while Cano was advancing from second. Both were off the bag when Mike Napoli tagged them, but only Posada was called out. If Cano was being forced to the base (which he wasn't) it would have been the right call. If Cano had put his foot on the bag, it would have been the right call.

Alas, it was not, and McClelland as the crew cheif addressed the media after the game to explain his mistakes. He admitted he was wrong on the Posada-Cano call but understandably didn't trust the replay on Swisher's tag-up. Neither of the errors led to any Yankee runs.

Predictably, the grounded rationalists over at Halos Heaven are taking this well. Just kidding, they've uncovered a vast conspiracy between FOX, the MLB and the umpires to get the Yankees into the World Series because they draw bigger ratings.

Speaking of the MLB and FOX being in cahoots, we've got a non-travel off day to sit through because the league has to milk the TV ratings for as much as they are worth and can't have too many weekday games starting at 4:00. As such, we'll have to wait until Thursday to find out when the next game at Yankee Stadium will be played.


  1. There is no possible way, if I had picked my most optimistic scenario, that I would have thought ARod would play nearly this well in the post season. It's freaky how good he is when he's confident, we've just never seen it until this year.

    It was a bit of a brain-fart game for Jorge, but hopefully he's gotten it out of his system.

    I can't reasonably ask for more out of the team as a whole right now but, being unreasonable, I have to ask: what would everyone think about giving Gardner Swisher's start on Thursday?

    Oh, and Fox has been playing Panic [or Jerry Joseph, as it were] as bumper music for a couple years now: Climb To Safety and one or two others off Till The Medicine Takes. I like it, too. At the very least it's music from the last 15 years.

  2. Jay
    thanks for the link to Halo's blog. I'm really enjoying the comedy there.

  3. Grib - I was pretty sure A-Rod was going to bust out but you'd be foolish to predict anyone having this good of a run during the postseason.

    Wendy - Glad you are enjoy it. Just glad we crossed paths with those dummies when we did.

  4. Swisher needs to STOP f%@#%@#g LEANING before tagging!! It also happened in the regular season versus Boston. Stand as perpendicular as possible even if it makes the sprint a little tougher and verbally yell "BOOM, I'm going!" to the ump

  5. or, have him rest his shoe sole on the side of the bag, as parallel as possible. i imagine it'd be a bit sideways strange, but how much sprinting difference would it make? not much i bet!

  6. I don't think we can blame McClelland's probable bad call on Swisher's technique. Swish did what every base runner does when tagging: he got himself in position to push off the bag in a quasi sprinters stance and get the best jump possible. If he left early, he left early, but those fractions of a second count.

    Swish is definitely prone to making bone headed decisions from time to time, but I don't think this was one of them.

  7. well the fact that it happened twice this year means something. i still say he should yell boom or something. he likes to be verbal anyway - perfect for him

  8. also, to Cano: When you're a baserunner and your foot's on a base, that's a good thing. check that. a GREAT thing.

  9. every time the umps blew a call, I blacked out and woke up 20 minutes later with my hands around the neck of a lifeless drifter.