Sunday, November 1, 2009

3-Run 9th Inning Puts Yankees 1 Win Away From 27th Title

The ending of tonight's Yankees/Phillies World Series game was one for the ages. It's amazing the range of emotions one goes through while watching a baseball game and how quickly they change. Joba blows a 1-run lead with 2 outs in the 8th and the mood sours. Brad Lidge retires the 1st 2 in the 9th and has 2 strikes to Johnny Damon. At that moment I was having visions in my head of watching the Phillies celebrate a walkoff series-tying victory. Johnny Damon had a great at bat and singles to left and my mood improves a little. Damon steals 2nd and then bounces up and heads for 3rd and I'm ready to throw the remote because I think Johnny thought the ball skipped into center. Feliz chases Johnny as if it's a run down and he slows up?? What? No one was at third. Now I'm on the edge of my seat hoping Teixeira can come through. HBP. Oh boy. A-Rod v. Lidge. Here's your chance Alex. Double to left!! Johnny scores! To quote Phil Rizzuto, "Holy cow!" Jorge follows it up with a 2-run single. Mo closes it out. Ball game over. Yankees win. Thuhhhhh Yankees win! Talk about a roller coaster ride. I love October, or should I say November, baseball. Nothing beats it. Nothing even comes close.

Joh-nny Dam-on. Clap clap clap clap clap. Joh-nny Dam-on. Clap clap clap clap clap. Johnny had an epic 9th inning. His AB against Brad Lidge was epic. His "double-steal" was epic. Johnny is without a doubt the hero of the game. His single and double steal set everything up. Lidge's best pitch is a slider. It's often a pitch he throws in the dirt. It's not a pitch he's likely to throw with a runner on 3rd. Damon getting to 3rd set up the rest of the inning and Lidge's eventual downfall. I suppose I should thank the Phillies' defense for over-shifting on Teixeira as it took the 3B out of the picture. Johnny often gets knocked for being not so smart. That swipe of 3rd was one of the smartest plays I've ever seen. You the man Johnny.

My buddy Scott started calling Alex Rodriguez "Choke-Rod" after his 1st 2 games. I'm sure he wasn't alone in his feelings towards Alex and I'm sure "Choke-Rod" wasn't the worst thing people were calling him. Alex may not be hitting for a high average this series but nobody should say he's choking. His tie-breaking double in the 9th pretty much erases any thoughts of Alex choking. He's had 2 huge hits in the last 2 games. If you're still on his back, get off it.

Question: Who better than Derek Jeter? Answer: nobody. The Captain remains locked and loaded. He picked up 2 more hits tonight and is now hitting .412 in the World Series. Jeter is having a monster postseason. He's now hitting .333 and has hit safely in 12 of the 13 playoff games and he walked 3 times in the game he went hitless. He's just the man. I don't know how anyone can call him overrated.

CC didn't look like the CC we all know and love but he still pitched a really good game. He gave up 3 runs in 6.2 and to be honest, one of those runs was all on Posada (not getting a throw off on Howard's steal and not catching and holding onto the ball when Howard "scored"). It wasn't his sharpest outing of the year but it was still pretty good. It was very similar to his game 1 start. I'll take a start like tonight from him any day of the week. He just needs to find a way to get Chase Utley out. This series would be over right now if not for Utley's ABs against CC. If the series goes 7, I hope CC figures out how to shut him down.

Joba was looking incredibly awesome until he gave up that game-tying HR. He was pumping out some serious heat and was 1 strike away from whiffing the side and then the wheels fell off. My heart sank as soon as the ball left Feliz's bat. I don't know what's up with the bullpen but it's becoming extremely hard for them to get the ball to Mo with a lead. I'm nervous when anyone not named Mariano comes in to pitch. One of the Yankees' greatest strengths coming into the postseason was their bullpen. Right now it's arguably their biggest weakness. What's the most difficult thing to believe is that outside of Mariano Rivera, Damaso Marte is their most consistent performer. You know something is wrong when that's the case. Joba is extremely lucky that the team bailed him out. I hate seeing him pick up the win. It's definitely not deserved.

How awesome is Mariano Rivera? He picked up yet another save, getting 3 outs on 8 pitches. In the last 2 games, he's gotten 5 outs on just 13 pitches. In a word, dominant. I love how stupid Mo is making Jimmy Rollins look. After game 1, Rollins was asked a question about facing Mo. His response was, "I think we saw some things." Oh yeah Jimmy? What did you see? I know I what I see and that's Mo breaking your bat and getting you to pop out weakly in the infield. Sounds like you didn't see much of anything. J-Roll isn't having the best postseason. First, he predicts that the Phillies will win in 5. Then he comments about Mo and pops out twice against him. J-Roll is looking foolish. I love it.

The win tonight puts the Yankees 1 win away from their 27th world title. 1 win. 27 outs. They could be 27 outs away from winning it all. I have tickets to game 7 and I'd be more than happy not to have to go. As it stands right now I'm either going to game 7 of the World Series or I'm watching the Yankees win it all sometime between Monday and Wednesday. Again, I'd be more than happy if it doesn't go 7. It's going to be tough to win game 5 against Cliff Lee. Lee dominated the Yanks in game 1. He's the Phil's ace and he's been absolutely lights out all postseason. It won't be easy. A.J. Burnett is getting the ball for the Yanks and he'll be making the start on short rest. I'm conflicted about having A.J. start. I was all for it at the onset of the series but now that the Yanks are up 3-1 I'm starting to think Chad Gaudin should go in game 5 and A.J. should go in game 6. A.J. for some reason has pitched better at home so there's that benefit. The Yankees have also made Jose Molina A.J.'s personal catcher for the playoffs. Since the game is in Philly, A.J. will have to hit and having Molina and A.J. at the bottom or the order is not ideal. The Phils definitely have the advantage going into game 5. But like John Sterling likes to say, "You just can't predict baseball." Anything can happen.

As exciting as it is to be 1 win away from winning it all, nobody should get ahead of themselves. The team has been here before and failed to bring it home. If the great Yankee collapse of 2004 happened once it can happen again. Like Yogi Berra said, "It ain't over 'til it's over." Wow, I'm quoting everybody today, aren't I.

10 down, 1 to go.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,



Jason from The Heartland said...

Last night was one of my all-time favorite Yankees' victories, J-Boogie. It was tense and loaded with drama. JD's at-bat and stolen bases were brilliant, something I will always remember. One more win. One more.