Monday, October 26, 2009

Game 6 Thoughts and Afterthoughts

* FOX tipped their hand early about whose corner they were in with the focus solely on the Angels during the lead up to the first pitch. I'll give them a little bit of leniency for playing up the Game 7 aspect because the rest of the playoff series have been so one-sided this far. But it still wouldn't have killed them to mention once in their opening that the Yankees were looking to clinch.

* Am the only one who thinks Artie Moreno looks like Jerry Stiller? I have expected him to stand up and adjust his mansierre when they had him on camera in the 2nd inning.

* Absolutely horrible play by Vlad running the bases in the 2nd inning? After a second or two he should have realized Swish was going to catch the ball and got back to first, instead he stood in the baseline like someone mesmerized by a UFO and got himself picked off.

* When the hell did Jeff Mathis become Pudge Rodriguez in his prime? Thank God the Yankees don't have to deal with him anymore because he was almost a guaranteed double every time he stepped up to the plate.

* The top of the 3rd was another example of what makes the Angels go as Abreu got a big two-out hit with RISP. At the same time, it showed why the Angels lost as their 2 table setters did next to nothing in the series.

* Fuck Balloon Boy!! The most surprising thing I saw in the last week was Bobby Abreu hitting a wall on a catch in the bottom of the 3rd. Bobby, I'm glad to see you've overcome your fear of padded, immobile walls but I think I speak for lots of Yankee fans when I say "FUCK YOU!!"

* Jeter's at-bat in the bottom of the 4th was classic Jeter. He worked the count, giving Damon a look at all of Saunders' pitches in the process, and ended up loading the bases and sealing Saunders' fate. Just the best in the business continuing to be the best.

* What was up with Kate Hudson sitting down during A-Rod's at-bat in the 4th inning? That's your boy toy up there with the bases loaded, honey, stand the hell up!!!

* No matter how much Buck and McCarver tried to convince you early that Joe Saunders was on his game, the numbers don't lie; he flat out sucked. In 3 1/3 innings he put 12 guys on base with just 83 pitches before getting the hook. His sinker was terrible and his fastball command was hit-or-miss. Most telling was that Saunders had no strikeouts and got just 1 swing-and-miss strike all night. To quote Chris Russo, "That's a bad job in a big spot there by Saunders."

* Andy was the exact opposite of Saunders, showing great command of all his pitches and pounding the strike zone (as gay as that sounds) all night. He looked good in the 5th after sitting on the bench for an extended period of time through the bottom of the 4th inning and got a big out that he needed with 2 on and 2 out in the bottom of the 6th. Another masterful performance by Pettitte.

* How badly was FOX rooting for the Angels last night? Let me count the ways...

1) Buck and McCarver gushing about how calm and relaxed Saunders looked after only facing 4 batters. As previously mentioned, Saunders didn't make it out of the 4th inning.

2) Joe Buck screaming "HERE COME THE ANGELS!!" after a leadoff single in the top of the 5th inning that led to absolutely nothing for Anaheim. Buck sounded like he was watching a public execution when Damon singled in 2 to give the Yanks the lead in the previous half-inning.

3) Buck and McCarver openly discussing how big a play the Posada double play would be if the Angels come back to win in the bottom of the 5th.

4) Darren Oliver getting talked about as if he were the reincarnation of Satchel Paige after his 2+ innings of relief. Umm guys, you're forgetting that he was called into the game in the 4th inning because the Angels' starter was so pathetically ineffective and his team is still losing. Put your pants back on and talk about Andy a little bit.

5) Buck taking a minute or two to talk about what a "great ALCS" Vlad Guerrero had in the bottom of the 8th as the Yankees were tacking on insurance runs. Joe, you do realize you're talking about the guy who ran his team out of a potential run-scoring inning in the 2nd with his bonehead baserunning play, right? Bite the bullet and talk about how good the Yankees are for a change.

* Can somebody please remind Joe that he has Dave Robertson and Phil Coke in the bullpen? There was no reason Damaso Marte should have even been thinking about warming up yesterday and yet there he was in the bottom of the 7th, throwing pitches in case Joba got in trouble.

* It gets overshadowed because they won, but Jorge was downright putrid at the plate last night. His 2 GIDPs killed rallies and the Yankees' opportunities to seal the deal. But hey, at least he remembered how many outs there were in all the innings.

* Jeter's bobble of a sure double play ball in the 7th was terrible, but Cano's play was equally good. I would have expected Cano to be staring off into center field, blowing bubbles, but instead he was right where he should have been and saved Jeter's ass.

*On the other side of the "bad fielding" card was Howie Kendrick and Scott Kazmir. It's hard to decide which play was worse, Kendrick's drop or Kazmir's airmailing of the throw to first on Melky's bunt in the 8th. Even Eli Manning was laughing at that duck. Just the story of the series: the Yankees' mistakes did not kill them; the Angels' mistakes raped, killed, dismembered, and buried them.

* I can't say I blame Mike Scioscia, but when you're bringing in Scott Kazmir to try to hold a team down with your season on the line instead of your closer, that shows you have absolutely no faith in your bullpen. Jepsen, Bulger, and Fuentes didn’t even sniff the mound last night as Scioscia elected to roll out the back end of his rotation instead. In retrospect, probably not the best move.

* Can we ban people hitting the padding down the baselines during big moments? It's doesn’t create any more noise than yelling or clapping and it makes you look like you have Tourette's. Let's hose those things down and electrify them for the World Series to try and discourage this stupid activity.

* I was checking to see if I had pubes in the top of the 8th when Mo came out because I thought it was 1999 all over again. A great call by Girardi and a great performance by Mo, 8th inning run aside. The Angels were Scatman Crothers wandering through the Overlook Hotel and Mo was Jack Torrance swinging the axe into their chest, killing their season. Simply beautiful.

* A quick look at how my 5 keys to the game played out:

1) Andy's ability to throw strike 1.
-Got strike 1 across to 20 of the 25 batters he faced on his way to 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball and 6Ks. Check.

2) Getting to Saunders and the pen early.
-Saunders out after 3 1/3 innings, 7 hits, and 5 walks. Insurance runs off of Kazmir in the 8th. Check.

3) Hitting with RISP.
-Only went 2-8, but the big one was Damon's 2-run single in the 4th and A-Rod tacked one on with his bases loaded walk. Half-check.

4) Running the bases.
-No steals by either team, but Vlad gets doubled off in the 2nd and the Yankees ran clean all night. Check.

5) Managerial decisions.
-Girardi let Andy go as long as he could, then redeemed his questionable Joba decision by going for the kill with Mo for 6 outs. Scioscia thought more of the shaky Scott Kazmir than his usual bullpen guys and it cost him 2 runs in the 8th. Check.

So there you have it. Once again I was right on point with what I called and the Yankees won almost all of those important facets in winning the game. If only Baseball Tonight could provide this level of meaningful insight? When the hell can I start getting paid for this shit??

Cue the awkward man love!...

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