ALCS Game 4
After Monday’s ugly loss, the Yankees bounced back very nicely.
In a one-sided squadoosh, the Bronx Bombers crushed the Los Angeles Angels 10-1 on Tuesday night. Another wild and crazy game, to say the least but the Bombers got the better of it.
The biggest story from this game: we all found out CC Sabathia used to have an imaginary friend named Danny growing up…just kidding. FOX did a lousy job with that one.
But in all seriousness, Sabathia was an absolute monster, throwing extraordinarily well on just three days rest. It was the first time this year he took the mound on short rest, but I expected nothing less from him. It was a sheer display of power pitching from the Yankee ace.
The reason I expected Sabathia to do well was because the day before, Yankees’ pitching coach Dave Eiland had him throw in the bullpen. In his session, Sabathia’s fastball was topping off at 96 mph, they say. The big man even went as far as saying he could pitch yesterday!!!
That would be just crazy, pitching on two days rest. But who knows, it may have worked!
In any event, Sabathia went another strong eight innings, and gave up just one run on five hits. He walked two and struck out five. He nearly made an exact copy his performance from Game One on Friday night. The big lefty certainly contained the Angels.
The Yankee ace was also extremely economical, tossing only 101 pitches on the night.
“I didn’t feel any different at all, I felt good,” Sabathia told the media after the game.
“We still got a little ways to go and I never had any doubts about me being able to perform on this stage but I feel great and hopefully I can keep it going.”
Sabathia made one mistake, a pitch that Kendry Morales was able to turn on and take out for a home run in the bottom of the fifth. Although he was a force for the Halos, hitting 34 homers during the regular season, it was only Morales’s first postseason homer.
Backing Sabathia was Alex Rodriguez, who is just on an absolute tear this postseason.
A-Rod is having a renaissance of sorts and is doing unbelievable, mind-numbing things this month. His assault on the month of October continued in Game Four, as he went 3-for-4 with another home run and two RBIs. He also drew a walk and scored three runs.
A-Rod is now batting .407 in the postseason with five homers and 11 RBIs. Remember when he was “Mr. April” in 2007, hitting 14 homers that month? Well, he is acting the same way in October 2009.
“I think for me it’s just being comfortable all year,” Rodriguez said. “That final game of the regular season when I homered twice was huge in terms of momentum.”
Bernie Williams hit six homers in the 1996 playoffs, the most ever by a Yankee in a single postseason. Rodriguez is right behind him and could easily overthrow Williams for that record.
Also leaving the yard today was Johnny Damon, who hit his second home run in as many games. His bat came alive today, which is a good thing for the Yankees.
What also struck me as odd about his home run was the history. It was five years ago this very night that Damon smacked a grand slam home run and a two-run homer in the same game at the old Yankee Stadium in Game Seven of the 2004 ALCS.
The Red Sox came back from a 3-0 deficit and beat the Yankees in the ’04 ALCS (as most of you painfully remember) but they won Game Seven in large part due to Damon’s homers in that game. It was just strange that he hit another home run on the same night five years later.
Who says there are no baseball gods…?
Melky Cabrera stepped out of his slump, going 3-for-4 with four RBIs, a walk, and a run scored. I had mentioned yesterday that he was killing us, but he snapped out of his little funk tonight.
Mark Teixeira had a hit tonight, albeit it was only one in five at-bats tonight. But he continued to play his stellar defense and he did hit the ball very hard. So I am not worried about Teixeira down the stretch here.
Nick Swisher did not have a hit tonight, but at least he did something productive drawing a walk and getting hit by a pitch. He would have scored a run if he was not called out on yet another horrible call from the umpire.
Tim McClelland, tonight’s third base ump, said Swisher left too early on what would have been a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning. OK, first off, the replay clearly showed that he left the base after the ball was caught by Torii Hunter. Next, McClelland was not even looking at Swisher…how would he know if Swisher left too early??!!
Well, the Yankees were given two other calls in the game.
Swisher was picked off at second base in the same inning but called safe; another botched call from the umpires. Then later, the Angels had a double play at third base, but somehow Robinson Cano was safe when he was tagged off the base and Jorge Posada was only ruled out.
It was a crazy play coupled with few absolutely horrible calls. I have to say, the umpiring in this series has been horrendous.
“In my heart I thought Swisher left too soon and I thought Cano was on the base. The replay showed that Cano was out and I knew Posada was out. I got it wrong,” McClelland said to the press after the game.
Well in all fairness to the Angels, it wasn’t fair to the Angels. In the postseason, the umpiring should not be this bad! Some people are even saying this is the worst umpiring they have ever seen. It certainly has been sketchy, that’s for sure.
Well, tonight was a whirlwind. It’s good to be up 3-1, but I think everyone has to keep in mind that the series is not done. 2004 (I know for me) is not far from my memory; I will not be content until the last out of the next game the Yankees are leading. The Angels are certainly capable of winning ballgames, so until we win the next game, I am not at ease.
A.J. Burnett will take the hill in Game Five on Thursday night and face Angels’ Game One starter John Lackey. If the Yankees win, they have a one-way ticket to the World Series.
If they don’t win it Thursday, Andy Pettitte will take the mound Saturday night, probably against Angels’ Game Two starter Joe Saunders.
However, there is an enormous amount of pressure on the Halos; they are now facing elimination for the first time this postseason and the Yankee bullpen is rested. Sabathia made it so that the tired Yankee ‘pen got a day of rest and with the off day tomorrow will be all-systems-go Thursday.
The Yanks’ big guns (Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, Mariano Rivera) will all be well-rested before Game Five. So looking at it from the outside, even if Burnett only goes a serviceable five innings, they have the stuff to get through the rest of the game.
Before I leave, I’d like to give a shout-out to Bob Sheppard, the Yankees’ longtime Stadium announcer. It was Sheppard’s 99th birthday today, God bless him! He has not been working at Yankee Stadium this season, due to a hip injury and he has also suffered from laryngitis.
Sheppard is known as the “Voice of God” at Yankee Stadium and he is a very special member of the Yankee family. We love you, Bob! If we make the World Series, it will not be the same without you!
Well, good night for us Yankee fans. Hopefully we follow with a win on Thursday. And if we do…hang onto the roof, because we’ll be heading to the fall classic!
See you after Game Five.
Until then, Go Yankees!!!