Results tagged ‘ Andy Pettitte ’
Luck: a force that brings good fortune or adversity. Yankee legend Lou Gehrig once claimed to be the luckiest man on the face of the earth. Yesterday afternoon, I felt I was the luckiest man on the face of the earth.
I was fortunate enough to spend the day with my friends and family at Yankee Stadium for the Bronx Bombers’ home opener against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Not only was it their home opener, it was their ring ceremony, held to commemorate their 2009 World Series Championship.
After a beautiful ceremony, the Yankees beat the Angels, 7-5.
But the day wasn’t just about RBIs, base hits, and runs scored. It wasn’t just about the Yankees receiving their championship rings. It went far beyond anything that anyone can really understand. Overall, it was a wonderful experience; one I will never forget.
A Meaningful Day
My cousin Thomas, who invited me and my other cousin Krystina to the game, could not have been more excited for Opening Day. He got the tickets and graciously invited us to this historic game. His father (my Uncle John) recently passed away. I know that Thomas would have loved nothing more than to share the day with his dad.
Since his dad could not be there, I find it so honorable that he wanted me there to share the day with him. I could not have felt better. The fact that he asked me to go with him nearly drove me to tears.
And it didn’t get any easier when we reached the ballpark.
Getting off the train, we noticed the old Yankee Stadium. The building is nearly torn down completely. It was an unbelievable sight to behold. I can remember so many great and meaningful memories for me in that Stadium, and my only thought was, “is it really right for them to just gut it and rip it down?”
I guess they had to do it, but it didn’t make me feel very good. I could tell Thomas was taken back by the whole thing; he was as overwhelmed as I was. The same building where Babe Ruth, Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and countless other Yankee legends made history is now in shambles; it’s merely a skeleton of what used to be a beautiful ballpark.
Heartbreaking, to say the least.
When we got inside the new Stadium, it was madness. Everywhere you looked the words, “2009 World Series Champions” were visible. The Great Hall was buzzing with Yankee fans, all ready to watch the team accept their 27th World Title.
Thomas, Krystina, and I went down to the field level. There we met up with Thomas’s sister (another one of my cousins) Ashley, who went to the game with her friend Matthew. We took a picture together–in my mind, the best picture I took all day. I took a ridiculous amount of photos of the players, the ceremony, and the game.
But I would say the group shot we took together was the best. I would not be anywhere without my family and they mean so much to me. I was honored that they invited me to the game, and for that I cannot thank them enough.
Ashley and Matt went to their seats while Thomas, Krystina, and I stayed on the field level to watch the Angels take batting practice, as the Yanks took BP before the gates opened to the public. We were literally pressed directly up against the wall in right field. We had a perfect view of everything!
Thomas kept yelling for a ball. He wanted one more than anything. Former Yankee Bobby Abreu was practically right in front of us. He lobbed a couple loose baseballs into the stands, but not any that came near us. Two security guards however were standing near us and Thomas chatted with them, trying to coerce them into getting him a ball.
Whoever was in the Angels’ batting cage smoked one down the right field line. The ball ricocheted off the side of the wall and onto the grass.
“Can you get that for me?” Thomas politely asked.
“We are not allowed to go on the grass,” one of the security guards answered.
Not long after that, another ball was ripped down the right field line in foul territory, landing safely on the dirt. It was right in front of the guards.
“Please!” Thomas persisted. “Please get that for me!”
The guard smiled, bent over, picked up the ball, and placed it softly in Thomas’s glove.
I have never in my life seen a child happier. Thomas, with a grin as wide as the Grand Canyon, had gotten a foul ball in batting practice, a feat I never accomplished at a Major League game. He was ecstatic and I was overjoyed that he was able to get it.
I’m sure it will be something he’ll remember forever.
What I thought was significant about the day was the team the Yankees were playing. They played the Angels. And I have no doubt in my mind that Thomas’s dad, my Uncle John, was one of the Angels at the Stadium yesterday–but he was an Angel for the Yankees. It truly felt as though he was right there with us.
After batting practice wrapped, the ring ceremony festivities were set to begin. I watched from behind centerfield and everything looked wonderful. Michael Kay and John Sterling emceed the ceremony and the World Series trophy was even on display.
First the team paid homage to owner George Steinbrenner, who was in attendance for the days’ events. I have never heard a louder ovation for a non-player in my life. The crowd roared for him and rightfully so. Without Mr. Steinbrenner, there would be no Yankee team.
Then Whitey Ford and Yogi Berra came out to help hand out the rings. Manager Joe Girardi also helped distribute the rings and he congratulated each player as they accepted their prize. One by one, every Yankee from last year’s team was called out to get their ring.
Really the only players who were missing were Johnny Damon and Melky Cabrera. Jerry Hairston, Jr. (although no longer with the team) was in the ballpark to get his ring. As was Hideki Matsui, the MVP of the ’09 World Series who is now a member of the Angels.
They saved Matsui’s introduction for last, and he received a humungous, deafening ovation. I think every Yankee fan recognized Matsui’s hard work and dedication over the seven years he played in the Bronx. I know he will always be a Yankee in my heart.
When the ceremony was ready to conclude, the whole team ran in and showed Matsui a lot of love; the team got together one last time and embraced for a group hug. The hug almost brought a tear to my eye, because I know how close the 2009 team was.
I didn’t realize until I got home how they had tricked Matsui. Girardi handed him a bootleg ring and later during the Opening Day ceremony ran the real ring over to him. Matsui laughed and I could see his Angel teammates also teasing him for it.
A little playful humor now and then is relished by the best teams, I guess.
And speaking about the Opening Day ceremony: once again, overwhelming. They called the Angels out of their dugout and they all lined up along the third baseline. The Yankees lined up on the first baseline, and cadets from West Point stood in center field to unfurl the American flag. Not long after the anthem ended, two enormous jets flew over Yankee Stadium.
Those fighter jets were LOUD! When I tell you they were loud, they were LOUD! The ground literally shook as they flew over the new house. And once again, it was quite a sight to behold. My only word for it: “Amazing.”
After the anthem and beautiful aerial presentation, Bernie Williams, the great former center fielder, tossed out the honorable first pitch. Talk about an ovation! Williams received a rousing hand from us Yankee faithful, but it somewhat shocked us how he bounced the pitch. Being a former All-Star center fielder, you would think Williams would hit home plate! He missed, much to the surprise of the crowd. The gentleman standing next to me yelled, “Oh, come on Bernie! You gotta hit the glove!”
It’s Ok, Bernie. I still love you.
After the Yankees were finished warming up and all pre-game ceremonies were over, it was time to, as they say, play ball! Yankees vs. Angels.
The Yankees struck first in the bottom of the first. Designated hitter Nick Johnson blasted a solo home run to right field, a shot that (as I understand) landed right next to Bald Vinny–the legendary Bleacher Creature who starts the famous Yankee “roll call” at the beginning of each home game.
Unfortunately I was on line for food when this happened, but I heard the crowd roar and got into a spot just in time to see Johnson cross home plate. In any event it was the first of many home runs the Yankees will hit in their house in 2010.
As Andy Pettitte worked brilliantly through the first three innings, the Yankees held a 1-0 lead until the bottom of the frame. The Yankee captain, Derek Jeter, stepped up to the plate and crushed a solo home to right field, his first of the year.
It really is amazing how many games I have been to that have featured a home run by Jeter. It seems every game I get out to, he hits a home run. I can think of at least five games off the top of my head in which Jeter has homered. Maybe I bring some kind of luck to him, who knows.
In any event, 2-0 Yankees at the end of three innings of play.
One of the more special moments during the day was Matsui’s first at-bat. The former beloved Yankee received yet another rousing ovation from the fans while he stepped into the batter’s box. Pettitte respectfully tipped his cap and stepped off the mound and allowed his former teammate to soak up the moment.
Matsui removed his helmet and acknowledged the fans who once called him a hero. Unfortunately for the 2009 World Series MVP, the Yankees were not very kind to him in terms of his day at the plate. He was 0-for-5 on the day with a strikeout.
The Yankees tacked on three more runs before the end of the sixth inning. Jeter was at it again in the fourth, reaching on an infield single that scored Curtis Granderson. In the sixth, Alex Rodriguez reached on yet another infield single, which brought home Johnson and Nick Swisher.
5-0, all Yankees at the end of six innings. It was looking good for us.
That is, until Kendry Morales stepped up in the top of the eighth. The Angels’ first baseman smashed a long, solo home run into the second deck in right field, putting the Angels on the board, 5-1.
The Yankees got two runs back in the bottom of the eighth, both of them proving to be the difference in the game. Jorge Posada doubled to score Johnson and Granderson singled to score Robinson Cano, giving the Yankees a 7-1 edge.
Posada’s double put him ahead of Mantle on the all-time Yankee doubles list.
You would think with a 7-1 lead heading into the ninth inning everything would be safe and secure. Well, think again. Feeling that the game was practically over, my cousins and I watched the end of the game from the concourse on the first base side.
And we received a pleasant surprise followed by a not-so-pleasant surprise, followed by a happy ending.
Right before the ninth inning began, two gentleman sitting in the field box seats decided to leave. One of them tapped me on the shoulder and handed me his tickets.
“Here you go,” he said. “You guys can watch the end from the field level seats.”
“WOW!” I exclaimed. “Thank you very much!”
“Don’t mention it,” he replied.
How awesome is that?! You never really see that type of chivalry anymore. A man, not knowing who I was, just gave up his seats to me, a stranger. Granted, the game was almost over, it was still a very noble gesture and overall a kind act.
Who says New Yorkers are mean-spirited?
In any event my cousins and I, now sitting in comfortable, padded box seats, watched David Robertson surrender hit after walk after hit, eventually loading the bases. I still thought the Yankees were in great shape, even if they only gave up a run or two.
To our dismay, former Yankee Abreu stepped up and slaughtered a grand slam home run to left field, something he specialized in when he played for the Yankees. I will always like Abreu; in my mind he was the best Yankee right fielder since Paul O’Neill. But yesterday…I did not like him. He burned us pretty bad.
I mean, Abreu’s home run was a real shot. I’m talking way back into the left field seats.
Now with the score at 7-5 and a save situation in place, Girardi was prompted to bring in Mariano Rivera. The great Rivera struck Torii Hunter out swinging and then got his former teammate Matsui to pop out to end the game.
Ballgame over. Yankees win. THEEEEE Yankees win!
We stayed and watched the Yankees take congratulations and improve their record to 5-2.
We exited the ballpark and once again looked at the demolished old stadium. Thomas looked at it once more, and looking at it again, I could not help but think of all the games his father took us to. I think a part of us went down with that stadium.
But then we glanced back at the new stadium and thought about the days’ events. The Yankees had just won and we had just witnessed history; the first ring ceremony in the new Stadium, a batting practice foul ball, a great game, a seat upgrade from a gracious fan and a Yankee win.
And not only that, a day spent with my friends and family.
I could not have asked for anything better. It was just a day where nothing went wrong. I can truly say that I felt like the luckiest man on the face of the earth yesterday.
And Uncle John: I know you were there with us. We miss you.
Keep smiling down on us and the Yankees.
The Sunday night heartbreaker seems like a lifetime ago. The New York Yankees got their first loss of the 2010 season out of the way Sunday night but bounced back and picked up their first win Tuesday night over the Boston Red Sox by a score of 6-4.
It feels great knowing the Bombers won’t be 0-8 vs. Boston this year.
There were so many things going on tonight, so I will just dive right into the analysis.
· A.J. Burnett
It wasn’t clear which version of A.J. Burnett showed up tonight. In the first inning, the lanky righty gave up a run which wasn’t really his fault. Jacoby Ellsbury reached base on a sloppy defensive play in the outfield and eventually scored.
Really the only hitter who feasted off Burnett tonight was Victor Martinez. The Boston catcher was 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBIs against the Yankee starter.
The final line for Burnett: five innings, four runs (only three earned) on seven hits, one walk, and five Ks. If you ask me, his line was mediocre. Not good, but could have been much worse. For his first start he didn’t pitch poorly.
The best pitch he threw all night had to be a disgusting breaking ball he got Kevin Youkilis looking on. Burnett introduced the Boston first baseman to his uncle Charlie!
Also, he and Jorge Posada looked to be on the same page. We need that!
His next start will most likely come Sunday in Tampa against the Rays.
· The Bullpen
What a difference two days make! The Yankee relievers came ready to play tonight. Alfredo Aceves, David Robertson, Damaso Marte, Joba Chamberlain, and Mariano Rivera: four innings, two hits, no runs, no walks, three strikeouts.
A huge, HUGE improvement over Sunday night!
Aceves looked unbelievably good. He can just come into a game and shut the hitters down. He tossed two scoreless innings and for his efforts he picked up the win.
And how about Chamberlain? He turned back the clock! His outing was 2007-esque.
The big reliever entered the game in the eighth inning with one out and sat down Adrian Beltre and J.D. Drew on strikes. But the real story was his velocity. He was lighting up the speed gun at 96-98 mph.
First Pumps for everybody!
And in the ninth–who else but Rivera. He slammed the door for the first time this year and the 527th time in his career. I think he will get a ton of saves this year.
· Nick Johnson and Robinson Cano
Both of these guys had pretty big nights.
Nick Johnson was 0-for-2 but walked with the bases loaded in the eighth to give the Yankees a 5-4 lead. He also took one for the team and was hit by a pitch. He is a patient hitter and has shown that he can reach base, but I tend to worry about his health. Hopefully he doesn’t get plunked anymore this year.
And then there’s Robinson Cano.
The young second baseman was 2-for-3 with a homer, two runs scored, and two RBIs. He put on a hitting show tonight and he’s just going to keep getting better. If he continues to play this way for the rest of the year, he may hit 30 home runs and drive in 120 runs.
I have so much faith in Cano. Every time I watch him, it’s like he gets better and better. His solo home run in the ninth gave the Yanks a 6-4 cushion to put Boston away.
- Other Notes
–Alex Rodriguez drove in a run with an RBI double and Mark Teixeira grounded into a force out which scored Curtis Granderson.
–Nick Swisher knocked in the Yanks’ first run with an RBI double in the top of the second. Nick at Nite!
–I didn’t really get great vibes from Marcus Thames tonight. In the first inning, he missed a ball in left field which could have been easily caught by Brett Gardner…or Johnny Damon…
Thames only started because he supposedly “wears out” left-handed pitching and Jon Lester (a lefty) was on the mound for the Red Sox. Well, Thames only had 0 hits tonight. Way to wear ‘em out.
–Derek Jeter made two awesome plays on defense tonight. I’d like to know who the moron was who said his range has gone down. He is ageless.
–The Yankees committed three errors tonight. Boston committed one, but it was a big one–it kept the eighth inning alive for Johnson to draw the bases-loaded walk.
–Hideki Okajima was the Boston pitcher who walked in Johnson with the bases chucked. They call him “Okey Dok” in Boston. Okey Dok, thank you for your lack of control.
–Tomorrow night the rubber game against Boston will be played. Andy Pettitte will make the start against John Lackey.
–The Yankees are off Thursday then open up a three-day weekend series in Tampa Bay.
On Thursday Oct. 29 of last year, the Yankees were in an unfamiliar spot. The night before, they had lost the first game of the World Series in convincing fashion, dropping a 6-1 decision in Game One. For Yankee fans everywhere, it was frightening to be down 0-1 to a team like the Philadelphia Phillies.
Even more frightening was the fact that the Yanks were sending the enigmatic A.J. Burnett to the mound, a mostly inconsistent number two starter with a 13-9 regular season record. For most of the second half of the 2009 season, the Yankees were unsure of which version of Burnett would show up to pitch: the good or the bad.
Many even compared Burnett to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Burnett answered everyone by going out to the mound in Game Two dealing like he was playing blackjack in Vegas. He was able to adjust to the home plate umpire’s strike zone and eventually racked up nine strikeouts over seven innings of work. Not to mention the first 11 Phillies Burnett faced saw first-pitch strikes, indicating he was on top of everyone that night. The Yankees beat the Phillies 3-1 in Game Two behind Burnett’s stunning performance.
In Game Two of the World Series, it’s safe to say we saw “Dr. Jekyll-Burnett.”
However in Game Five of the fall classic, Burnett was forced to pitch on three days rest, with manager Joe Girardi “sticking with his horses in the World Series.” In other words, the Yankee skipper only used CC Sabathia, Burnett, and Andy Pettitte to start each game.
And in Game Five, we saw “Mr. Hyde-Burnett.”
The lanky right-hander only pitched two innings and gave up six earned runs on just four hits. He walked four batters and only struck out two. Burnett hit Shane Victorino in the first inning with a pitch that got away, which led to his downfall. Not long after the hit-by-pitch, Chase Utley came up and hammered a long home run to right field, putting the Phils up 3-1 after the first frame.
In the 2009 World Series, both versions of Burnett showed up. Now with the 2010 season right around the corner, which version of Burnett will we see?
If we were to go by his spring Training numbers to this point, we would have to say “Mr. Hyde-Burnett.” So far this spring, the Yanks’ number two man is 0-1 with an ERA of 9.00. He has given up eight earned runs on 14 hits in eight innings of spring training work. Burnett has also walked eight batters in those eight innings while only striking out six.
His spring training numbers are worse than Joe Biden’s mouth.
Yet looking at each game individually, it seems as though Burnett is not necessarily having a bad spring, just simply pitching as inconsistently as last year. On March 16 against Houston, he tossed only 2 1/3 innings and gave up one earned run on just two hits. The walks were a problem for him, as he issued four free passes, but he answered with two strikeouts.
It was not a terrible outing for a spring tune-up. It could have been much worse.
Then the next time out on Monday March 22, Burnett was mauled by the same team that crushed him in Game Five of the World Series. The Phillies touched him up for five earned runs on seven hits over just four innings. Burnett struck out four, but again showing that control is a problem he is facing, he walked three.
Some might be making an issue out of the fact that Jorge Posada will most likely be catching him this year, since his regular catcher last year, Jose Molina, is now a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. The battery claims to have no problems despite what everyone makes of the pair.
“I love to catch A.J.,” Posada told the New York Post in February. “We have never had any issues or problems. It happens in baseball, you do not pitch great all the time.”
Burnett stood on the same side as Posada, stating that “He never questioned Jorge and he never will.” He added that he only questions himself.
When the Yankees and Atlanta Braves were rained out in their exhibition on March 11, Burnett and Posada stayed late at George M. Steinbrenner Field and worked out under the stands in the batting cages. Burnett threw 51 pitches, five of which were curveballs. After the session, Burnett said,
“The fact that Jorge stayed with me meant a lot and we worked like it was an actual game. We made it as game-like as we could and we got a lot out of it, so it was a good workout.”
How the two respond in the regular season as constant battery mates remains to be seen, however.
Historically, Burnett has been a “first-half pitcher,” and proved that last season. In his first two starts last April, Burnett quickly picked up two wins and even took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays on April 14. Although Burnett has that kind history in the past of coming out strong, he also proved last season that he can be dominant and shaky throughout.
In July of 2009, Burnett went 4-0 and the Yankees did not lose a game he started. Yet when August came, he quickly became a different pitcher. On Aug. 7, he went head-to-head with Josh Beckett in a classic pitcher’s duel. After that, he did not win a game in almost a month.
When Burnett is on, he can come up big. But when he is off his game, he has a tendency to come down hard. With the way his first year in pinstripes went and with how his second Spring Training as a Yankee is going, it begs the question:
Which Burnett will show up in April?
A Mets fan dies, goes to Heaven, and is promised a palace to live in. The palace is said to be completely and totally decked out in Mets gear; pennants, posters, and pinups all bearing the orange and blue.
When the man arrived to Heaven, he noticed a castle all decked out in Yankee gear. He walks up to God and asks him about it.
“What is the deal? I thought you promised me a Mets house!”
God replies, “Oh the Yankee palace? That’s my house!”
My Uncle John Lakis told me this joke the day of my eighth grade graduation party.
Sadly, my uncle passed away yesterday afternoon. He was one of the greatest Yankee fans I knew and more importantly one of the nicest people I knew. He had a kind heart, loved his family with all his heart, and had such a wonderful and infectious personality.
I had the pleasure of working for him over the summer of 2005. We shared many conversations about the Bronx Bombers, politics, and my future goals. He always seemed interested in what I had to say and I always enjoyed and cherished his company.
My Uncle John once told me a story about how he would (occasionally) go to school for half a day and leave in the afternoons to go to Yankee Stadium. He and his friends would get to the ballpark and buy cheap bleacher seats. Then they would spend the rest of the afternoon watching the Yanks win from the grand stands.
It’s funny that he told me that story. Just recently, my journalism mentor has been telling me to enjoy myself and not always be so cautious and tense. In his own words he told me, “get in trouble once in awhile.”
It’s good to know that my uncle had the mentality of having fun. I think he was trying to teach me that by sharing that story with me. Ditching school for a Yankee game is something I have done in the past year, so in a way I think he would be proud of me.
I guess you have to break the rules sometimes.
His son, my cousin Thomas (who is also a HUGE Yankee fan), won tickets to a Yankees vs. Braves game back in 2006. June 27 was the day of the game. Tommy had won excellent seats; in fact they were in a luxury box in the loge tier. I had never sat in a luxury box at a Yankee game (or any sporting event, for that matter) and I haven’t since.
I remember talking to my Uncle John about how strange it felt to be sitting there. He remarked by saying that “it just didn’t feel like a real game,” since there were HD televisions in the suite. I’ll admit, the TVs made it feel strange, but so did the atmosphere. There were other people in the box–business men–who spoke about their business trips and work lives.
One of them even made a comment, mentioning how when he had gone to Chicago a few weeks prior, he saw Andy Pettitte pitch. I can only assume the White Sox were hosting the Astros in a 2005 World Series rematch.
As for the Yankees, it was not their night. The Braves handed them a 5-2 loss. Really the only notable highlight of the game was a home run in the ninth inning from Melky Cabrera. It’s kind of ironic when I think about it, now that he plays for the Braves.
But we had a much better day the very next month.
On July 15, 2006, my other cousin Krystina gave me tickets to a game vs. the White Sox. These were excellent seats; right on the third baseline, practically right behind the White Sox’ dugout. I invited my Uncle John, Tommy, and my cousin Gordon. We all had a “boys day” and traveled down to the Bronx for the game.
And it was a GREAT day to be a Yankee fan!
Mike Mussina made the start against the soon-to-be-perfect Mark Buehrle. He may have tossed a no-no the next year in 2007 and a perfecto in ’09, but the Yankees tore Buehrle apart the day we saw him pitch. They hit him very hard, chasing him from the game after just three innings of work.
Mussina on the other hand was brilliant tossing a quality start and later registering the win. Moose gave up just three runs on eight hits, issuing one walk and fanning five along the way. Let’s just say Mussina was Mussina that day.
(Of all Yankees) Bubba Crosby and Andy Phillips smacked home runs that day–if you even remember who they are. The youngsters may have gone deep, but Derek Jeter, my Uncle John’s favorite player, went 2-for-4 with three RBIs and a run scored.
The Yankees won in a squadoosh, 14-3. My Uncle John was very happy.
What I also loved about the game we all attended vs. the White Sox was the giveaway. The U.S. Postal Service issued collectible stamps of old-time baseball players. We received four stamps. The first bore the image of Mickey Mantle, the second was Mel Ott, the third Roy Campanella, and finally Hank Greenberg.
In fact, each player was represented at a ceremony behind home plate before first pitch. I can’t remember who represented who, but I do know that Mantle’s sons were there, which was pretty special. Now whenever I look at my stamps, I will always think of my uncle.
This past Christmas was the last time I saw my uncle. He pulled me aside and talked to me about possibly going to Florida this spring to see the Yankees work out in Tampa. I am about to graduate college and everyone’s schedules have been too messy, so we obviously were not able to go. He wanted to take me and his boys.
It was something he had wanted to do for awhile, but we never got to do it.
I am going to miss him very much. He was a great boss, a great teacher, an avid and intelligent Yankee fan, and overall a wonderful person. I will not forget him for everything he did for me and I will always remember the great times I had with him.
Uncle John, I wish you peace. We all love you and we will not forget you.
And I’d like to add that Heaven just received a great Yankee fan and a great man.
“I am the resurrection and the life, says the
Lord. Whoever believes in me, even though they
die, shall live. And whoever lives and believes
in me will never die.”–John 11:25-26
We did it…I…I really don’t even know what to say. I am truly speechless.
The Yankees defeated the Phillies 7-3 in Game Six of the World Series to capture their 27th World Championship. A wonderful, strong, winning season capped off with a World Title in the first year in our new ballpark.
What a wonderful, wonderful feeling. A feeling we all haven’t had since 2000.
I had been saying from the beginning of the fall classic that the Yankees were probably going to win in six games. Now, I don’t usually like to make predictions, as I have said before, but that was my best guess: Yankees in six.
But let me tell you all a true, almost scary story before Game Six.
I am a senior in College at this point in my life, obviously studying journalism. I attended my sports reporting class last night, mostly discussing the World Series with my fellow students and my professor. Well, after an interesting discussion, class ended.
I got in my car and made my way home to watch the World Series. As I’m driving on the highway, I notice a school bus in front of me. As most of you may or may not remember, all school buses are numbered, all numbers on the back of the bus.
Of all the numbers that there could’ve been, what number was the bus? 27. I am not lying and I am dead serious. 27, right in front of me for quite a few miles up the Taconic State Parkway in New York.
Coincidence? I didn’t think so. This eerie feeling came over me as I was driving; chills went up and down my spine. One thought popped into my mind: “The Yankees are going to do it. I know it. There’s a reason that bus was in front of me.”
When I got home, I just smiled and laughed. The game hadn’t even started yet, but I knew what was going to happen; maybe not the score, maybe not every specific detail, but I swear to God I KNEW the Yankees were NOT losing this game!!!
So eventually the game began and…well…I guess the only way to describe it was the “Hideki Matsui Hitting Show.”
Godzilla knocked in six RBIs in game six, two of which came on a two-run homer in the bottom of the second off the Yankees’ favorite son Pedro Martinez. It was Matsui’s third home run in the World Series and second that came off Martinez.
But Matsui was just getting warmed up.
In the next inning, Godzilla singled to knock in Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon and in the fifth he doubled to score Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira. No one could get Matsui out, it seemed.
And for his efforts in this entire World Series, Matsui was named Most Valuable Player. He deserved it. Three Homers, a .747 batting average, and six RBIs in the clinching game. Yes, I’d say that’s MVP worthy. Domo Arigato, Mr. Matsui!
Congrats Godzilla! (Remember, he also won another prestigious award–the Yankee Yapping Comeback Player of the Year Award!)
Teixeira was responsible for the only other RBI not registered by Matsui, as he singled in the fifth to score Jeter.
And who else was on the mound to close it out but Andy Pettitte, the winningest pitcher in postseason history. Everyone was concerned because Pettitte was pitching on three days rest for this first time since 2006, but those concerns were not well-founded. To be honest, I couldn’t even tell the difference.
The veteran lefty pitched 5 2/3 innings and gave up three earned runs on four hits. He walked five and struck out three. His line may not have indicated an overly impressive start, but I think he did great and gave the Bronx Bombers a good chance to win.
And they did, like they usually always do when he pitches. I mean, Pettitte was the winning pitcher when they’ve clinched the ALDS and ALCS this year…what’s one more?
The Phillies scored two of their three runs on an opposite-field homer run by Ryan Howard in the top of the sixth, his first home run in the World Series.
Sorry to say, but too little, too late, Howard.
Jimmy Rollins, who erroneously predicted the Phillies to win the fall classic in five games (and is probably eating his words right now) knocked in the Phillies’ first run with a sacrifice fly in the top of the third.
Well, thanks to some solid bullpen help from Joba Chamberlain and Damaso Marte, the Yankees bridged the gap to Mariano Rivera, who came in to get five outs.
Did he get all five of them? Of course he did! And the Yankees are Champs again!!!
The team dog pile on the infield, a victory lap around the field proudly waving the 2009 Championship flag, and hoisting the Championship Trophy. Doesn’t get any better than that, does it?
I laughed. I cried. I jumped up and down. My heart overjoyed, my fists pumping in the air. I got that feeling; the feeling that comes over a man when he gets exactly what he desires. My phone was blowing up; calls, texts, people clicking the like button on my Facebook status, which read:
A.J. Martelli is in tears of joy :’) THE YANKEES ARE KINGS OF BASEBALL!!!! 27!!!!! “WEEEEEE AREE THE CHAMPIONS, MY FRIEND! WE’LL KEEP ON FIGHTIN’ TILL THE END! NO TIME FOR LOSERS, ‘CAUSE WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS…OF THE WORLD!!!” 2009 was the Year of the Pinstripes. In a perfect world we’d ALL be Yankees! I am so proud of my team. SO proud. It was destiNYY.
Stephen, an old friend of mine from grade school, posted as his status:
“Time for every person in New York to jump on the Yankee bandwagon and say ‘my boys did it.’ I think the only person who has any right to say anything about it is A.J. Martelli. He posts about every game because he lives in blue and white. I hope he gets to see this.”
Oh, I did see it. And it made me feel great, because it is true. Then I turned to my 26 Time World Series jacket, which is now obselete. “Guess I’ll need a new one,” I said with a laugh.
What a way to end this year!
Another thing I’d like to point out was the date. It was on Nov. 4, 2001 that the Yankees’ World Series magic vanished in the Arizona desert. The last night of the Yankee Dynasty of the late ’90s. Since that night, the Yanks had not won a World Title.
That is of course until Nov. 4, 2009. Perhaps the first night of the new Yankee Dynasty.
There was something strange about this night. Seeing that bus with 27 on it, watching Matsui practically single-handedly crush the Phillies’ dreams of repeating as Champions, and winning the title back on the same exact date we lost it nine years ago.
And even the fact that 2009 was the new Yankee Stadium’s first year, and when the original Stadium opened back in 1923, the Yankees won the World Series for the first time.
Not to mention, I checked the Yankee Yapping Facebook fan page to update the status…and at the time the Yankees won the Championship, there were precisely 400…and 27 fans.
Forces were at work, I believe that. This night happened for a reason. There ARE baseball gods and they were working tonight.
It has been a remarkable year; the year of the Yankees. 103 wins during the regular season, 114 overall…this was the only way to end it.
I would like to thank everyone who read my blog, there will be plenty more entries over the off-season, I promise you that. For right now, I would like everyone to ENJOY this!!! A World Series victory was the goal and our team reached it.
I’d also like to thank the 2009 Yankees for the season of a lifetime. I’m sure there will be many people (myself included) who will write about the ’09 Yankees. They are certainly a group of special players, and at one time (in June) I even described them as a “group of warriors that never quit.”
They are warriors and they never did quit. They took it all the way.
It’s been one hell of a ride, my friends. Thanks to all!
GO YANKEES!!! We made it to 27 and victory is ours!!!
That was almost awesome. Almost.
Showing signs of life and fighting back in the ninth inning, the Yankees lost 8-6 in what came to be a close game five of the World Series.
You would think when the Yankees jumped out to a quick, 1-0 lead in the top of the first that would give A.J. Burnett some courage and motivation to pitch well.
No such luck, whatsoever.
Burnett lasted only two-plus innings and was charged with six earned runs on four hits. He walked four and struck out two.
It is amazing how hot/cold Burnett can be; in game two he went out and absolutely puzzled the Phillies, giving up only one run on four hits over seven outstanding innings of work. In game five he got absolutely shellacked.
Well, maybe he can regroup and come back a little stronger in 2010, because that will be the next time we see him pitch, unless he comes on in relief in gave six or (if necessary) game seven of the World Series. I don’t see that happening, however.
Chase Utley, the peskiest thorn in the Yankees’ side right now, took Burnett deep in the bottom of the first for a three-run homer, putting the Phils up 3-1 after the Yankees took a 1-0 lead on an RBI double by Alex Rodriguez in the top half of the inning.
Just like that our lead was gone. And it’s not like Utley was happy with one homer.
Later in the seventh, Utley went yard again, this time a solo shot off Phil Coke, pushing the Phillies even further ahead. It was Utley’s fifth home run of the World Series and he tied Reggie Jackson for most home runs in World Series play.
Raul Ibanez joined Utley with a solo shot of his own in the seventh, his first home run of the World Series. Those two solo homers in the inning proved to be the difference in the game, so I really wish Coke hadn’t served them up.
The Phillies scored three runs in the third inning, receiving RBIs from Jayson Werth, Ibanez, and Carlos Ruiz, who just plastered Burnett and the Yankee bullpen in the frame. The third inning was seemingly the nail in the Yankees’ coffin, but they did battle back.
With the tying run at the plate in the top of the ninth, Ryan Madson struck Mark Teixeira out swinging to end the game. A really, really tough loss because had the Yankees somehow rallied back and won the game (like they have done countless time in 2009) they’d be World Champs at this moment.
Down by six runs going into the top of the eighth, the Yankees scored three in the frame to make the game interesting. Rodriguez hit a two-run double and Robinson Cano knocked in a run on a sacrifice fly to make it 8-5, proving that even when they’re down a bunch, the Yankees can fight back and put pressure on the opposing team.
Think about it: the Yankees were down 6-2 at one point in this game. In the top of the fifth, Eric Hinske scored on a groundout by Johnny Damon and at this point, with the Yanks down by four and Cliff Lee still in the game, I thought we had no chance.
But they at least showed life and battled back instead of just giving up.
Jorge Posada scored in the ninth as Derek Jeter grounded into a double play that basically ended the Yankee rally and the game ended not long after that. How often does Jeter do that? Not often. So we can’t put a lot of blame on the captain for that.
We can however put a ton of blame on Burnett for this one. He gave the Yankees no chance to win with the way he pitched and even working with an early lead could not get the job done. He showed a lot of inconsistency, there’s no question.
There are excuses he could make up, like pitching on three days rest threw him off, but he didn’t make those types excuses after the game. And even if he did, no one would believe him. I have to say, Burnett was an enigma this year; almost like the 2007 version of Mike Mussina–you never knew if you were getting a good or bad start from him.
It’s too bad that Burnett’s last start had to be so horrible. Not the best way to end his season, that’s for sure. If I had to give Burnett an overall grade for this year, it would be a C+. He struggled early on, but then hit a hot streak, then a cold streak, then a lukewarm streak.
Two of his five playoff starts were acceptable, one was mediocre, one was pure genius, and I think he wishes his final start last night never even happened. Hot and cold, just like I said.
When a pitcher goes out and tosses a quality start (which is defined as pitching at least six innings and giving up three runs or less) I generally tend not to put a lot of blame on the pitcher. A quality start means that the pitcher gave the team a chance to win the game, and even if the team loses, the pitcher still gave the team an opportunity to win and demonstrated good stuff.
For the most part, Burnett has given the Yankees quality this year, even though he did not win a lot of games, or at least as many games as CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte. There were a few games Burnett could’ve won, but his offense did not give him run support or the bullpen did not hold it for him to register the win.
As far as last night goes, I think it was the second biggest start of Burnett’s career. The biggest had to be game two, because it was a must-win and the Yankees needed that game; if they had not won game two of the World Series and Burnett had not been as good as he was, they would have been in grave danger of losing it.
Going into Philly down 0-2…not a pretty picture.
The reason last night was the second biggest start of Burnett’s career…well, it’s obvious: the Yankees would be World Champs right now if he had executed the right way and pitched a good game. He didn’t and they lost, that’s the bottom line.
But for all the fans today who are saying things like, “Burnett is horrible,” or “he has no business on this team,” you all need to get a grip on reality. It is better that he had his bad start in game five rather than game two when they needed to win.
You have to look at the big picture and what Burnett did to help the team win all year; were his critics saying he stunk when he stood toe-to-toe with Josh Beckett and one-hit the Red Sox on Aug. 7? (The game the Yankees won in the 15th inning on a walk-off homer by A-Rod)
Did they say Burnett had no business on the team when he embarrassed the Mets by one-hitting them on June 27? Or what about just this past Thursday when he won game two of the World Series? Did he suck then?
No, he was brilliant. It’s funny how all Burnett’s critics have nothing to say when he performs well and lambaste him when he doesn’t do well. I am saying he did not do well in game five of the World Series and gave the Yankees no chance of winning.
But that doesn’t make him a bad pitcher. Burnett is still capable of winning games and out-dueling some of the best pitchers out there. So we can all layoff A.J. until 2010.
Also, I’d like to add to my defense of Burnett to his critics…how much better would you do? You think you could go out and pitch in front of over 50,000 people and millions watching at home in the World Series? Let’s see how you do. I’m sure you could do so much better (boatloads of sarcasm in that statement)
Hopefully he comes back next year a little stronger, and he got his first year in New York out of the way, which is sometimes what newcomers to the Yankees need; I mean before Chien-Ming Wang won 19 games two seasons in a row, he went 8-5 in his first year. So we’ll see how Burnett responds. I still believe in him and I think he will be fine.
At any rate, we lost a game and we go back home to the Bronx to play game six tomorrow night, no biggie. Being up three games allows a little more margin for error. And I guess you can say when in doubt, turn to the winningest pitcher in postseason history, Andy Pettitte.
He will take the mound against the Yankees’ favorite son and game two loser, Pedro Martinez.
Pettitte was on the mound when the Yankees won the pennant on Oct. 25 and has been in this spot before. He has won more series-clinching games than any other pitcher in Yankees’ history, so this is perfect for him. It seems like just yesterday I remember him taking the hill in game four of the 1998 World Series, a game he and the Yankees won to capture the World Title.
The only concern I have is that he will be throwing on three days rest. Hopefully it won’t make much of a difference. I know Pettitte is old school and works best on regular rest, but I think he can go out in front of Yankee Universe and do it the right way at the new house.
Plus, I just think it would make so much sense winning the whole thing vs. Pedro….
I know it was a rough loss last night, but remember Yankees fans, we are up 3-2 and the Phillies are still facing elimination. It’s not the other way around. The pressure is still on them and thank goodness we are not in their ballpark anymore. Not playing at home was beginning to annoy me.
Well, tomorrow night could very well be it. I’ll be back after game six with more highlights and analysis.
Until then, Go Yankees!!!
The Yankees and Phillies turned game three of the World Series into the Home Run Derby, it seemed.
The World Series teams hit a combined six homers in the game, but it was the Yanks who out-slugged the Phils and won 8-5 in game three, taking a two-games-to-one lead in the fall classic.
Up 3-0 in the top of the fourth, Phillies starter Cole Hamels threw a pitch out over the plate to Alex Rodriguez, who crushed the ball to deep right field. Originally ruled a double, Rodriguez’s hit went under review by the umpires, who were forced to convene and use instant replay.
It turns out Rodriguez hit the camera behind the right field wall and had the camera not been in that exact spot, the ball would have undoubtedly left the yard. The ball was ruled a home run, it cut the lead to 3-2, and it got the Yankees back in the game.
That home run was Rodriguez’s first career World Series hit and it was his sixth homer this postseason. With that he tied Bernie Williams for most home runs in a single postseason. A-Rod certainly has the chance to set a new record, and he will if he leaves the yard one more time.
To be honest, I think it was the right call. That camera should not have been there; if it wasn’t there the ball was going out anyway, so…finally, a good call from the umps.
Nick Swisher also put on a display of power, hitting a double and a solo homer on the night. Swisher had been struggling greatly in the series, going 0-for-3 in game one and even being benched in game two.
Swisher broke out of it tonight and hats off to him. I expect him to carry over his good hitting from tonight throughout the rest of the series. He seems a lot looser than he was previously, so I think Swisher will be fine. Nice hitting!
Hideki Matsui also went yard in game three, blasting a pinch-hit, solo home run in the top of the eighth inning. That was Matsui’s second homer in as many games and his third career World Series home run.
Andy Pettitte made the start for the Yankees tonight and did a lot more than just pitch. The veteran lefty tossed six innings and gave up four earned runs on five hits. He walked three and struck out seven.
Pettitte may have tossed a pretty solid game (albeit not a quality start) but he helped his own cause in the top of the fifth. After Rodriguez made it 3-2 in the fourth, Pettitte came up with an RBI single off Hamels to tie the game at three.
With his RBI, Pettitte became the first Yankee pitcher since Jim Bouton in 1964 to record an RBI in the World Series. However, Pettitte (I guess) is one to gloat after he gets a hit. According to Derek Jeter, Pettitte has bragged about some of his past fall classic hits, including a base knock off Kevin Brown in 1998 and one against Randy Johnson in 2001.
With his hit last night, Pettitte can add Hamels to that list of pitchers he has hit off in the World Series.
The Yankees scored twice more in the fifth with a two-run double off the bat of Johnny Damon, giving them a lead they would not give back. Jorge Posada also added a run with an RBI single in the seventh, capping the Yankee offense.
Despite Pettitte’s decent outing, he did allow two solo home runs to Jayson Werth. The first bomb of Werth’s came in the second inning and he took Pettitte deep for the second time in the sixth.
Pettitte also allowed a bases-loaded walk to Jimmy Rollins and an RBI to Shane Victorino in the third, which put the Yankees in the hole.
Carlos Ruiz had the last home run in the game and the third homer for the Phillies, taking Phil Hughes deep in the ninth inning to finish the scoring on the night.
The Yankees were able to come from behind (again) and win. I guess this shouldn’t surprise me; they’ve been doing this all year. I was (of course) annoyed when the Phillies took the early lead, but I shouldn’t get annoyed.
The Yankees have it in them; that fighting spirit and never-say-die attitude that gives them the strength to come back in games like this. They are never out of any game, that’s all there is to it.
Tonight, CC Sabathia will take the mound on three days rest in game four against Joe Blanton. Sabathia is 3-1 this postseason with a 2.11 ERA and has struck out 36 batters.
Blanton on the other hand has not had much lifetime success against the Yankees, posting a career record of 0-3 with an 8.18 ERA in 22 innings pitched vs. the Bombers.
Cliff Lee, who dominated the Yankees in game one, was considered by Phillies’ manager Charlie Manuel to pitch game four on short rest. Lee however has never pitched on three days rest in his career. I guess Manuel didn’t want to push him, which is understandable.
Looks like the odds are once again in favor of the Yankees. With the way Sabathia pitched on three days rest in game four of the ALCS vs. the Angels (eight innings, one run, five hits, two walks, five strikeouts) and the career numbers Blanton has against the Yankees…well, the numbers don’t lie.
Sabathia pitched great in that game on short rest and Blanton has struggled against the Yankees, so things are looking bright in Yankee Universe. When the numbers are in their favor, I generally tend not worry.
Plus, I think CC stands for “Confidence! Confidence!” Whenever he takes the hill, the team just knows they have a chance to win. Tomorrow we’ll see what the workhorse/Yankee ace can do; I expect nothing but the best.
It’s safe to say that if the Yankees take game four from the Phillies tonight, they’ll have a stranglehold on the World Series and things will be looking even better than they are now for them.
Well, game three was scary at first (I guess that’s to be expected…I mean, it was Halloween!) but our Yanks came through, like they’ve been doing all year.
See you after game four with more highlights and analysis. Until then…
Two more wins, guys…TWO more!
Well, I first want to say I didn’t get the chance to blog about Game 1 (circumstances were not allowing me to–science tests stink!)
I guess it wasn’t worth blogging about anyway because it was not an overly exciting game; it was just Cliff Lee mowing down the Bronx Bombers in a 6-1 Yankee loss.
But Game 2 was a different story.
On Thursday night, the Yankees sort of broke out a little bit and topped the Phillies 3-1 in the second game of the World Series, evening the Fall Classic up at one game apiece.
Coming into this game I had heard so much trash talk about A.J. Burnett. Some people were even going as far as saying, “Hey, I wonder what Mike Mussina is doing tonight,” implying that Burnett was going to have a poor outing.
Well, he certainly shut every one of his naysayers up.
The lanky right-hander went seven strong innings, giving up only one earned run on just four hits. Burnett walked two batters, one of which was intentional, and struck out nine Phillies.
The only run Burnett surrendered was an RBI single off the bat of Matt Stairs in the top of the second. After that it was basically the “A.J. Burnett Show,” because he really gave the fans quite a pitching performance.
The turning point (I would say) was in the top of the fourth inning when Jayson Werth was picked off on a snap throw by catcher Jose Molina. Burnett’s numbers after the pickoff were somewhat better than what he was putting up before it.
I also have to give Burnett a lot of credit for getting ahead of the hitters. 22 of the 26 batters he faced saw first-pitch strikes. It’s obvious when Burnett gets ahead of the hitters early in the count, he has a lot more confidence in his pitches and he is able to command and locate a lot better.
Many folks were quick to write Burnett off in Game 2, some even saying he would not pitch well before the game began. But he came out dealing like he was playing blackjack in Vegas.
And after the game Burnett said it was the most fun he had ever had on a baseball diamond. Well, I guess when you pick up your first career postseason win and it comes in the World Series at Yankee Stadium…what could be more fun than that?
Keep in mind the Yankees did not buy Burnett to be good. For the amount of money they spent on him, they bought him to be really good. And that’s exactly what he was last night.
Burnett was opposed by “The Yankees’ son,” Pedro Martinez. The hated opposing hurler received boisterous chants of “Who’s your daddy” during warm-ups, long before he even toed the rubber.
But it’s not like Martinez was terrible. In fact, he was dealing, too.
The former three-time Cy Young Award winner pitched six innings and gave up three runs on six hits. He walked two and struck out eight.
Martinez really only made two mistakes, a pitch he left down for Mark Teixeira to crush for a solo homer in the bottom of the fourth and a curve ball down and in that Hideki Matsui was able to get a hold of and hook for another solo homer in the bottom of the sixth.
The Yankees were able to scratch one more run against Martinez on an RBI single from Jorge Posada in the seventh, but looking at the big picture, Martinez did give the Phils a quality start, going at least six innings and allowing three runs or less.
Martinez gave his team a chance to win and that’s the truth. He pitched very well.
Both game two starters were just on last night and that was evidenced in what the cleanup hitters on both sides did. Both Burnett and Martinez were able to baffle the number four hitter in the lineup all night long.
Alex Rodriguez, who came into this series swinging a bat so hot it was probably on fire, was put away on strikes three times in game two. Martinez buckled his knees with probably the nastiest breaking ball he threw all night, striking A-Rod out looking in the bottom of the second.
And then there was Ryan Howard, who completed the “golden sombrero” with four strikeouts last night. Burnett was able to figure out Howard, who smacked 45 homers in the 2009 regular season.
Rodriguez is now 0-for-8 in the World Series while Howard is just 2-for-9. Both teams have (so far) done a masterful job of containing the cleanup hitters.
Martinez had a lot of fun with the press conference after the game, stating that if he played for the Yankees, he would probably “be a king over here.”
A king? Well, I don’t know about that, Pedro. Yes, if he had started his career with the Yankees, of course history would be a lot different. He would probably be looked at as a hero and a special player (like he is in Boston).
But it would also be different if Babe Ruth began his career on the Yankees and went to the Red Sox and won all the Championships for them instead of the Yanks. What’s your point, Pedro?
At any rate, I am glad my initials are A.J. right now; I’m very proud of Burnett, he represented our initials extremely well with his Game 2 dominance. (Even though he is Allen James and I am Anthony Joseph…well, we both use our initials, anyway!)
Game 3 will be played Saturday night in Philadelphia. Andy Pettitte will make the start for the Yankees against Cole Hamels.
Pettitte, the winningest pitcher in postseason history and the winner in game six of the ALCS for the Yankees, will look to put the Yankees ahead in the Fall Classic. The veteran lefty has given the Yankees quality in each of his three postseason starts and owns a record of 2-0 this October.
Hamels on the other hand has been struggling greatly, posting an ERA of 6.75 this postseason. He has surrendered five homers in the ’09 playoffs and opponents are batting .328 against the southpaw. Hamels has not even pitched past the fifth inning in any of his starts this postseason.
Looks like the odds are favoring the Yankees in Game 3, but I would not count Philly out. Game 3 could be the best game we have seen yet and I can only hope the Yankees pull through.
The Yankees could make it a very Happy Halloween for the fans on Saturday night, if they come away with a Game 3 win in Philly.
Before I wrap things up, I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ performance of “Empire State of Mind” before game two last night. They both did great, but…where was Alicia Keys’s Yankee apparel? Jay-Z, all his background singers and his band had Yankee gear on. What gives, Alicia?
Not that she didn’t look very pretty (in fact beautiful) in that purple outfit, but come on! Show some pride in the Yankees!!! At least put on a Derek Jeter jersey…I mean…all the girls love Jeter!
Well say your prayers, Yankee fans. We’ll need them for the rest of this series. Three more wins until we reach “Baseball Heaven.”
“Our Father, who art in the Bronx, baseball be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, World Series won, as the Yankees did in ’77. May God be with the Yankees. Amen.”
“If I can make it there, I’ll make it….anywhere.”
Well, it may not have been as dramatic as 2003, when Aaron Boone slaughtered the game-winning home run in the bottom of the 11th inning of Game Seven of the American League Championship Series to beat the Red Sox, but I’ll take it.
Last night, the New York Yankees clinched the American League pennant by defeating the Los Angeles Angels 5-2 in Game Six of the ALCS and will now make their 40th World Series appearance.
For the first time in six years, we Yankee fans know what it’s like to be going to the fall classic. And it feels WONDERFUL!
As for ALCS Game Six…
Well, Yanks’ starter Andy Pettitte looked awesome in the first two innings, but ran into some trouble in the top of the third. Ex-Yankee Bobby Abreu knocked in the Angels’ first run in the frame with an RBI single to give the Halos a quick, 1-0 lead.
I loved Abreu when he was a Yankee (and I still love him) for that reason; in a key situation when the team needed a run, he could always deliver. And that hasn’t changed. Abreu is still one of the best timely hitters in the league and he showed it in the third inning of Game Six.
He could never play the wall very well, but I still think Abreu was probably the best right fielder the Yankees had since Paul O’Neill. I still love you, Bobby.
The Angels’ 1-0 lead didn’t last very long as the Yankees came storming back in the bottom of the fourth. (Now to be honest, I didn’t think the game was moving along nicely and up until the fourth really was not a good game. I actually turned the Giants/Cardinals game on for a little while (which didn’t end well) but eventually made my way back to the Yankees)
The Yankees had been leaving runners on base through the first three innings, but finally stopped it and broke through. With the bases loaded, Johnny Damon pounded out a two-run single to put the Yanks’ ahead.
Later in the frame, Alex Rodriguez drew a bases-loaded walk to score Derek Jeter, giving the Yankees a 3-1 cushion.
Pettitte cruised throughout the rest of the game, finishing the night with a quality start: 6 1/3 innings, one earned run on seven hits, a walk, and six strikeouts. Typical for Pettitte, who is probably the Yankees’ best big-game pitcher. He has given the Yankees length and quality in each of his three postseason starts.
Joba Chamberlain also lent a hand, tossing 2/3 of an inning after Pettitte departed without allowing a run. I have to say, Chamberlain has not been bad this postseason, save for Game Three when he gave up the go-ahead run, but other than that, he has been solid.
Joe Girardi was not messing around, however; in the eighth inning, he called on Mariano Rivera to get a six out save. In my opinion, it was probably the best thing to do. There might be some fans that disagree, but a two-run lead against the Angels in an elimination game…he had to go to Mo.
Girardi had taken so much heat for the pitching decisions he made in games three and five (three when he took David Robertson out for Alfredo Aceves; five when he left A.J. Burnett in after a leadoff single in the seventh inning with a two-run lead) so really he had to do it.
The Sandman actually scuffled a little bit in the eighth, much to my surprise. Rivera gave up a run on an RBI by Vladimir Guerrero, making it 3-2 in the middle of the eighth.
But some costly errors by the Angels (Howie Kendrick dropped a ball on a bunt by Nick Swisher and Scott Kazmir lobbed the ball over the head of Kendrick on yet another bunt by Melky Cabrera) allowed the Yanks to plate three more runs, holding a 5-2 lead over the Angels going into the top of the ninth.
Down by three runs, top of the ninth, facing Rivera…you pretty much do not stand a chance. See you next year, Angels.
Rivera mowed down the Halos in the ninth and the Yankees celebrated their 40th pennant. The happiest feeling a team and their fans can have, other than winning the World Series.
Champagne spraying, glee on the faces of the Yankees, happiness, and a pennant. A great way to end the ALCS.
The ALCS at a Glance
The Yankees’ 2009 ALCS win marks the 40th time they have won the pennant. The Yankees have made it to the World Series more than any other team in baseball. The Dodgers have the second-most World Series appearances, reaching the fall classic 21 times.
With their ALCS win, the Yankees have finally gotten past the Angels, who had beaten and eliminated them in the playoffs twice before (2002 and 2005–both of those were in the ALDS, however)
Andy Pettitte captured his 16th playoff victory in Game Six. He is now the all-time postseason wins leader, breaking the tie of 15 with John Smoltz.
Pettitte also has the most playoff innings pitched, tossing a mind-boggling 237 1/3 innings. Smoltz is also second to Pettitte on that list with 209 innings pitched.
With the Game Six win, Pettitte has now pitched in five games which have given the Yankees a postseason series victory. That sets a new record and he is of course in first place in postseason wins (16) starts (38) and innings (237 1/3)
CC Sabathia won the ALCS Most Valuable Player Award for his record of 2-0, ERA of 1.13 and his 12 strikeouts in the 16 innings he pitched in the final round before the World Series.
The Yankee ace only allowed nine hits over those 16 innings pitched and just three walks. The Bronx Bombers have won all three of Sabathia’s playoff starts.
Sabathia is the first MVP of the ALCS since Mariano Rivera, who earned the honor in 2003. Game Six winning pitcher (Pettitte) won the award in 2001.
The last time the Yankees won a Game Six of a championship series was in 2000 when they defeated the Seattle Mariners in Game Six of the ALCS.
The Angels committed nine errors in the ALCS. The Yankees committed three.
The Yankees outscored the Angels 33-19 in the championship round.
Alex Rodriguez had nine hits in the ALCS, including three home runs. Overall this postseason, he has 14 hits, five homers, and 12 RBIs.
This will be Rodriguez’s first career World Series appearance.
Rivera now has 37 career postseason saves, which is of course the most by any closer all-time. (I think it’s safe to say Mo has put the record so far out of reach no one is going to be able to look up at it, let alone break it!)
Rivera did give up a run in the eighth inning of Game Six–that marked the first time he has given up a postseason run at home since the 2000 World Series.
Well, Yankee fans. It has been an incredible season. From steroid scandals and spring training to the 22-4 loss to the Cleveland Indians in April; from walk-off wins, winning streaks, and pies in the face all the way through the glorious, victorious summer months.
The Yankees turned the dog days into days where the beat other teams like dogs.
From winning the AL East in front of the Red Sox at home to winning the AL Pennant in front the Angels at home. It has been a wild ride.
And it’s not over yet!
The Phillies present a huge challenge to the Yankees in the World Series. They are the best-of-the-best in the National League and they certainly aren’t a pushover. They have a potent lineup, with players like Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Jayson Werth.
It’s not going to be easy, but hopefully it will be fun.
The Yankees did play the Phillies during inter-league play this year, losing two out of three to their World Series opponents May 22-24.
The Phils beat the Yanks 7-3 in the first game, but the Yankees edged them in game two with a dramatic comeback and a 5-4 walk-off win. Game three belonged to the Phillies, as they won 4-3, but the Yanks put up a good fight in that game; they tied the score when it looked like they had no chance.
The last time the Yankees and Phillies met in the World Series, the year was 1950. The outcome? The Yankees swept the Phillies in four games.
While I don’t think it will be a clean sweep in 2009, I have a good feeling the Yankees will win. I could picture the Yankees accomplishing something similar to what they did in the ALCS; possibly winning it all in six games.
The Yankees have a totally different team this year than they did the last time they reached the World Series in 2003. In fact, most of the players from the ’03 squad are gone and some are even retired!
The 2003 ALCS was our World Series that year. I really think the Yankees were so exhausted from those marathon games (and maybe the physicality and fight) with Boston and having the ALCS go to seven games that they didn’t stand a chance in World Series vs. the Florida Marlins.
The pitchers were worn out, the hitters were flat–2003 was not our year. But 2009…well, it could very well be our year, no questions asked.
Whatever the case, things are looking up on this day and it is a beautiful day to be a Yankee fan. I am so proud and my heart is overjoyed that my team has reached the World Series and we may very well be the last team standing…
I will be back after Game One of the World Series with some thoughts, highlights and analysis.
Until then, Go Yankees!!!
By the way: Let’s do some real damage…! (No Phanatics were hurt in the making of this blog)
Why oh why? That was all I could say after today’s game.
In another nail-biting ALCS game, the Angels beat the Yankees 5-4 in 11 innings. Not such a great day to be a Yankee fan, or me in general.
I’ll start with one of the most horrible decisions Joe Girardi has ever made. David Robertson was pitching FINE! WHY would he pull him for Alfredo Aceves??!!
Robertson made two quick outs in the frame, knocking Juan Rivera and Kendry Morales down first. Then, for no apparent reason, Girardi came out and pulled Robertson for Alfredo Aceves, the same pitcher who blew the lead in the 11th inning of game two.
What was he thinking?
Aceves gave up a single to Howie Kendrick and then the eventual game-winner to Jeff Mathis, who ripped a double to end the game.
Talk about a punch in the gut.
I know for me personally, this game hurt. I had a horrible day today and I wanted the Yankees to pick me up with a win. This morning I had seen an ex-girlfriend of mine (which didn’t make me happy) and later on during my ride home, another car almost hit me on the highway.
So for me, it was one of those “F.M.L. days.”
As for the good that came out of the day/game, I was pleased with a number of things the Yankees were able to do. First off, Derek Jeter. The Captain took Jered Weaver deep for a leadoff homer in the first inning, getting the Yankees off on the right foot.
It was Jeter’s 20th career postseason home run and he is now two behind Bernie Williams on the all-time postseason home runs list. The Captain is just doing his thing, that’s basically it. He knows how to perform when it matters and his leadoff homer was just another example of that.
And then there was Alex Rodriguez, who continued his assault on October with another home run in the top of the fourth. It was his fifth career home run off Weaver and his second homer in the ALCS.
A-Rod has been awesome; a clutch hitter and a player who is helping to carry the team.
Johnny Damon finally broke through with a postseason homer, crushing his first ’09 playoff home run in the fifth, again off Weaver. The homer gave the Yankees a 3-0 cushion.
Weaver was pulled after five innings because the Yankees hit him so hard; I had actually said, “The Yankees turned the dream Weaver into a nightmare.”
It made sense; they really gave him a hard time.
I was also happy with Andy Pettitte, who tossed a quality start for the second straight game. The lefty went 6 1/3 innings and gave up three runs on seven hits. He walked one and struck out two.
Really he only made two mistakes, one to Kendrick and one to Vladimir Guerrero. Kendrick took Pettitte deep in the fifth while Vladdy touched him up in the sixth. Other than that, I was happy with his performance.
I also have to hand it to Mariano Rivera, who was like Houdini being able to escape a huge jam in the 10th inning. The Angels had the bases loaded and one out, but with some help from Mark Teixeira was able to get out of it unscathed.
Now…back to the bad.
As I noted before, Girardi’s decision just did not make any sense whatsoever. Robertson’s numbers against Kendrick were barely anything (1-for-2 lifetime with one strikeout) so why in the love of God would you pull him? Especially since Robertson made two quick outs.
It made no sense. What was he thinking? John Flaherty of the YES Network said “Girardi has some explaining to do.” He has got that right.
Another unfortunate occurrence for the Yankees was their caught stealing in the eighth. Brett Gardner came in to pinch-run for Hideki Matsui, but was thrown out by 11th inning’s hero Mathis. I have to hand it to the Angels–they had Gardner scouted and they executed a good play. It was just bad for us.
Jorge Posada came up next and smashed a solo home run. The Yankees could have had two runs on the round-tripper, but great job by Posada tying the game. It was a big time home run in a key situation and it kept the Yanks in the game.
Plus, that homer was Posada’s 11th career postseason long ball.
A lot of folks will probably be quick to destroy Joba Chamberlain, as he gave up the go-ahead run in the seventh. But in all fairness, Chamberlain had been very good in game two and in the ALDS, so I am not quick to jump on his back.
Phil Hughes gave up some runs in game two of the ALDS vs. the Twins and I don’t remember anyone jumping on him. So I will not blame Chamberlain for his hiccup. He gave up a run, it happens. Just hope it doesn’t happen much more.
I also have to point out Nick Swisher and Melky Cabrera. Is it just me, or are these two really not doing much of anything?
In today’s game, Swisher left five men on base while Cabrera stranded seven. That’s not very productive if you ask me; both of their bats are just asleep and they need to wake up if the Yankees plan on winning.
Teixeira hasn’t been hitting either, he needs to break out of his slump (he was 0-for-3 today with two strikeouts) but at least he made up for it a little bit with his defense. Like I said, he helped Rivera of that precarious situation in the 10th with his D, but like Swisher and Cabrera, his bat needs to come alive.
Not to make it seem like I am bashing Swish, Melky and Tex; all three have done wondrous things this season to make the Yankee offense click. But when they aren’t clicking, the Yankees do not win.
There’s only so much Jeter and A-Rod can do.
Well, it’s difficult to win extra inning games on the road, and just as the Angels were victimized by it in game two, the Yankees were today. But that doesn’t mean the series is over for the Bronx Bombers.
Tomorrow night, the Yankees will send CC Sabathia to the mound to pitch against Scott Kazmir. The Yankees’ ace will be starting on three days rest and it will be the first time he is taking the mound on three days rest this year.
I don’t think it will affect him; Sabathia has been so dominant all year, what’s another day of rest? I have a feeling he’ll go out and do as he’s been doing all year.
Well, it was a tough loss, but keep your heads up, Yankee fans. The series is not over. The way I see it, it’s only just begun. And the Yankees will still be playing with a lot of confidence tomorrow, especially with Sabathia on the hill.
I’ll be back after Game Four with more highlights and analysis.
Until then, Go Yankees!!!