The Yankees took a tough loss at the hands of the Angels yesterday afternoon after they forced extra innings on a Jorge Posada homer. The Yankees were unable to hold the Angels scoreless and on a bomb to left field, Jeff Mathis walked off with the double. The Angels avoided a sweep which would’ve kept the Yankees undefeated in the playoffs. It also would have avoided extreme embarrasement on their part to have been swept. This win will be a boost for the Angels who will play again today against a CC Sabathia who was about as dominant as there is when he pitched in the opener of the ALCS. His opponent on the mound for the Angels will be Scott Kazmir, another tough competitor and a worthy opponent.
The Yankees hit four homers yesterday accounting for all of their runs, but the lack of runs in extras cost them. Jeter, A-Rod, Posada and Johnny Damon all went deep but other than that, the offense was pretty quiet. The offense will need to wake up today to help Sabathia through a tough start on three days rest.
The decision by Joe Girardi yesterday to put in Alfredo Aceves can be supported by the fact that he is a right handed pitcher and the batter he came in to face, Jeff Mathis, was also a righty. It was a tough break and Girardi is getting a lot of negative comments from everywhere. Hopefully it won’t affect the game plan for today.
If the Yankees can win today, they will be in very good position to win the series in the next game at Yankee Stadium. If they don’t, they still have the home field advantage to use in order to win this series. It is unlikely the Angels will be able to pull off a win in New York so it is most likely that the Yankees will at the least, need to use the home field advantage to good use. They should be able to close it out wherever they are. They are such a solid team that as long as they don’t make any errors, mentally and on the field, they should beat the Angels and move on to the World Series in pursuit of their 27th world championship.
One last thing: how about that throw from Melky Cabrera on the walk off hit by Mathis? He was at the foot of the wall and he bombed a pretty accurate throw to just the right of home plate. Did I mention it was pretty much right on target. It was a crazy good throw. I knew he had a great arm, but he just launched it from the wall and it came closer than I though it would be to getting Howie Kendrick out at home. Wow.
Hey, would you look at that… the Yankees and Red Sox are tied for first at the top of the AL East. It was as simple as that. The Yankees sweep the Tigers and continue to play well against the Orioles. At the same time, the Red Sox are slumping and all of a sudden the Yankees are right back at the top of the East. All we need is one more win and another Red Sox loss and we’ll be the sole leader of the division. It’s great. Well, last night’s victory is much thanks to Hideki Matsui (aka “Godzilla”).
Matsui stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the ninth with the game tied at one. Jim Johnson on the mound, was looking to put the game into extras. But I think Matsui had different ideas. Early in the at bat, Matsui breaks his bat, leaving a small section from the bottom of the bat in Matsui’s right hand. It was a strange looking swing too, I might add. But he got a new bat and stepped back up to the plate. With his new bat, Matsui swung at a fastball middle in and demolished it to the right center bleachers. Right off the bat the crowd at Yankee Stadium erupted as they knew that “Godzilla” had returned. Matsui was regarded as “Godzilla” while in Japan as he hit many long home runs with a ton of power. The only thing about his nickname when he came to the Yankees is that the home run power wasn’t as dominant as it was in Japan. The name “Godzilla” wasn’t used very often but in times like this when he hits a walk off or even just a bomb here and there, “Godzilla” is the name of choice for Yankee fans.
Other than Matsui’s late game jack, defense played a huge part in this game. Mark Teixeira grounded a ball off the bat of Nick Markakis and fielded it a little bit awkwardly. He threw a sort of off balanced throw to Jose Molina at home and Molina, who had the wrong foot blocking home plate, swung his glove around in time to tag out the speedy Maicer Izturis. (Izturiz, who was on first when a hit and run was put on, ran with the pitch and slid into second, not knowing Brian Roberts had hit the ball. He then got up and started a slow walk back to first thinking the ball may be caught. When it wasn’t, he ran over to third but that is as far as he got. He should have scored but his baserunning error cost him and the O’s). Another great play at the plate came from Molina as well as Phil Coke who was on the mound. Now, usually a past ball is not a good thing but this one turned into a good thing. Coke threw one in the dirt and Molina went back to get it as the very speedy Brian Roberts was heading home. He threw to Coke who was covering the plate and Coke tagged out Roberts who never even touched the plate. Two amazing plays at the plate saved the tie for the Yankees and the game went into the ninth. You have to see the video because you can’t really understand how great these plays were. Here’s the link to the video.
So, the Yankees played a great overall game. Offensively, they were a little slow. The only run before Matsui’s homer was on an Eric Hinske homer. Same on the other side of the field. Only a Nick Markakis homer put the O’s on the board. So, other than the home runs, there was pretty much no offense on either side.
Pettitte pitched pretty well. He didn’t get the win though and that’s unfortunate since he deserved the win. The rest of the pitching was good as well. Aceves got the win as he pitched the ninth before Matsui’s homer. Here’s therest of the box score.
P.S. How ’bout that Kevin Millwood. Not only did he pitch great enough to stop the Red Sox, but he made two crazy snags against Dustin Pedroia who hit them right back to the mound. One he caught with his glove, but the second he snagged it with his bare hand. Very impressive.
The Yankees-Red Sox series is pretty much the only thing on my mind among everything else baseball. Obviously it is because I am a Yankee fan and we are in the middle of a season series with our rivals. It’s great. I’m sure every other Yankee fan blogger out there is talking about the same things I am. It’s just how things go. If your team is in a rivalry series, you are going to write about it. So here we go.
Chien Ming Wang did exactly what I assumed he would do when he took the bump last night. He sucked. He was the second Yankee pitcher in a row to be chased before the third inning. Tuesday night, it was AJ, and last night, Wang was chased as well. In Wang’s 2.2 innings pitched, he gave up four runs on six hits and three walks. He gave up one homer to Mike Lowell. Bottom line… he was aweful.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox sent Tim Wakefield to the mound, who has been having a very good season. At 7-3 before the game, he showed how good of a season he has been having. He went 6 innings only giving up 8 hits, three runs, and had two strikeouts. I wish those were the kind of stats we could have from the Yanks pitching. But yeah right. Wang was terrible.
As far as the offense goes, they were fine. They did score last night which made me happy. They only scored five runs so they didn’t do that great. They are definitely capable of more than that. The pitching is what ruined it for us. They were unable to hold the Red Sox offense to a few runs or fewer. They gave up too many early runs and we were out of it by the time we made our comeback. We only lost by one run but hey… you can’t always expect a comeback from the offense. It’s a two way road. The offense does their job and the pitching staff does their job. That’s how it rolls.
We had our big offensive performers last night as did the Red Sox. For us it was obviously Mark Teixeira… when has it not in the recent past. He went 4-5 with a homer and two runs. Johnny Damon hit a homer as his only hit on the night, but at least that’s something. Jorge Posada and Hideki Matsui also had good nights at the plate. Matsui went 2-3 with a run scored and Posada went 2-5 with run scored and an RBI. Robby Cano also pitched in with a RBI despite going hitless for the game.
The pitching… well they were so bad I’m not going to talk about them any more. Except Phil Coke and Alfredo Aceves. Kudos to you guys. But Wang and Hughes. You guys sucked. A thumbs down from Simon for you guys.
So I’m really disappointed about how we haven’t been able to get a win against the Red Sox yet this season. If we could get one win, that would STELLAR. So far, it hasn’t looked good so I am not expecting anything good from the Yanks in game three of the series. We do have CC going to the mound for us. He is going against Brad Penny who hasn’t been very consistent this season. He has been alright but maybe we can get something from him. But again, I’m not expecting anything good today.
So we start up interleague action again after the series with the Red Sox. We head back home to host our cross town National League rivals. The Mets. They are having a decent season so far and can’t be underestimated. Johan Santana has been lights out this season. Too bad he hasn’t gotten a ton of run support. But he’s great. We play him and the Mets for three. Then we have a day off before facing the Nats at home for three. We go right into a three game series with the Marlins after the Nats’ series. Then we have the Braves for three after a day off following the Marlins series. We finish everything off against the Mets again in Citi Field. So that’s the near future. Maybe we can get some wins against our interleague opponents because we obviously can’t get any against the stupid Red Sox.
Go Yanks. Maybe we’ll get a win. Possibly. Actually, probably not. I’m being really pessimistic right now aren’t I.