Chase Utley hit two home runs. Big whoop! These two teams are the two most powerful offenses in the MLB and all that really happened was one guy hit a couple homers. Very disappointing.
The Phils took game one simply because of the lack of offensive production from the Yankees offense. The Phils got their two runs from Chase Utley who took CC Sabathia out of the park on a few bad pitches by CC. It is a tough game one loss for Yankees fans because who knows if we will be able to take a game in Philly. The home field advantage will be very important in this series and the fact that we already lost a game at home might come back to bite us in the butt.
Honestly, I was very disappointed at the lack of excitement in this series so far. CC really didn’t pitch all that badly but the couple mistakes he made hurt him. Other than that, he and Cliff Lee were phenominal and I’m not taking anything away from them. The offenses in this series are really what is making this series really exciting. Hopefully it gets a little more exciting.
Game two is going to be Pedro Martinez’s return to Yankee STadium. Will we here the “Who’s your daddy” chant or will we get a lot of boos in Pedro’s direction? who knows but it will be really interesting to see the fans’ reaction to his return. The Yankees will rely on AJ Burnett to go out there and pitch just as well as CC did last night, maybe without the homers though. The offense really needs to wake up too. I guess they thought they had already finished the season or something because there was no sign of it last night.
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.
After a come from behind win at home against the Angels, the Yankees are headed to California to play two in the California sun. The way the Yankees have played the first two games in NY, it will be tough to stop them, even when the Angels are at home.
In this first game in Aneheim, the Yanks are living up to their nickname, “the Bronk Bombers.” The Bomers continue to dominate this postseason as solo shots from Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Johnny Damon have put the Yankees up 3-1 over the Los Angelses Angels of Aneheim going into the sixth inning. A lead off home run by the captain Derek Jeter ultimately wrote the script for this one as Alex Rodriguez and Johnny Damon have both put souvenirs of their own into the stands. With Andy Pettitte rolling on the mound, the Yankees look to be on pace for another win.
The first shot from Derek Jeter was certainly a shot that was a no doubter off the bat. The same for Rodriguez’s shot which was an even bigger bomb. Rodriguez almost hit another one that just missed as it stopped at the warning track. Johnny Damon’s was more of a line drive that went a couple of rows into the right field stands just past the pole. The Yankees just started teeing off on Jered Weaver who had a really tough fifth inning. Jorge Posada got a hold of one and roped it into the outfield for a single. Weaver has been pulled and the Angels are looking to the bullpen to stop the Yankee offense. Good luck. The Yankees look really confident and will be tough to stop at this point in the game.
CC Sabathia is set to go tomorrow on three days rest and it will be really interesting to see if the Yankees can close out the series with a sweep, assuming they win today to go up 3-0 in the series. The Yankees have done everything right this postseason: they have pitched, they have hit, and they have been opportunistic taking advantage of some key mistakes by the Angels team. Today, Torri Hunter made a big baserunning mistake as he was picked off by Andy Pettitte and his great move trying to steal second. This Yankees team sure looks like a World Series caliber team. Maybe even better.
CC Sabathia was absolutely brilliant last night against the Angels and led the Yanks to a game one victory. It’s always important to get the first game victory to get the momentum in your direction so hopefully this is a good sign for success in this series. The next we’ll see of Sabathia will be in game four when he makes his second appearance on three days rest. It’ll be interesting to see how that all goes down but for now on, back to Sabathia’s brilliance.
He went 8 innings giving up four hits, one walk and one run while striking out seven. He was probably the best I’ve seen him in a while now. And that is saying something because he is definitely in the Cy Young considerations. He was great.
The offense was able to get a few breaks since the usually really good Angels defense made three errors which cost them dearly. THe one that probably hurt them the most was the one where Matsui hit a pop up right in between Chone Figgins and Eric Aybar and it just dropped without either one trying to catch it. The Angels really had a tough game last night but the Yankees did their part in making sure the Angels offense didn’t get very far. That was why CC was so important last night. It is all going to go down to pitching. Like I said in my last post.
On the offensive side of things, there wasn’t any one person that had a terrific game. They did their job without doing anything huge. No homers, which was due to the fact that the wind was blowing strongly into the f ield, and they just got on base and scored runs as simply as it gets. Simple baseball. Not too exciting but it was still a great game. A big win for the Yanks and the momentum is definitely going their direction to start this series.
Tonight, AJ Burnett goes against Joe Saunders. For Yankee fans, the biggest question is this: which AJ Burnett will show up?
Youve got CC who has pitched on three day’s rest before in the playoffs, AJ Burnett who is a dominant pitcher when everything is working for him and then you’ve got Andy Pettitte who is a postseason veteran being with many of the past Yankees’ playoff teams. This is about as good as a three man rotation there is. And this is how the Yanks will be running for the ALCS. CC will start game one, Burnett Game two and Pettitte Game three. It’s awesome baby! Yeah, I just quoted Dick Vitale, sue me.
CC’s past postseason experience will be key for his pitching on three days rest. It is going to be tough but he has done it before and he should be able to get through it and still give us a great outing. Now, the Angels are no easy team to beat but CC’s short rest will be a very important part to this series.
All I can say is I hope he is doning plenty of these fist pumps because he hasn’t had the most consistent of seasons. If he has all his pitches working he will be great but he needs to really work.
Andy Pettitte just needs to be the Andy Pettitte that Yankee fans all around have come to expect him to be. Or maybe a little better. He puts in a good effort and usually comes out with a good outcome. This quality pitcher is the third guy in the rotation and will probably have the least pressure on him. But that doesn’t mean he needs to lighten up. I’m sure Pettitte will give out a quality peformance as he alwasy does.
I hope I don’t have to into the offense being phenominal and them having no problem getting on and scoring. It is all going to come down to pitching and that’s that.
The Yankees just keep on rolling and to be completely honest, I think it will take a lot more than the effort the Twins gave last night to stop the Bombers.
CC was absolutely phenominal. I can’t say enough about it. He pitched 6 2/3 solid innings and he was just about as good as he has been all year. This win shows that despite being denied 20 wins on the season that he is still about as good as they get. With 8 K’s and only one earned run, I officially summarize this game for the Yanks as domination.
CC wasn’t the only successful Yankee last night. Far from it in fact. Let’s start with the Captain. Mr. November just picked up where he left off in the regular season and completely dominated Twins pitching. He was 2-2 with a homer, three runs scored, and two RBI’s. An outstanding performance from the captain was just the beginning of the successt the Yankees had last night.
Hideki Matsui surely showed that he still deserved the nickname “Godzilla” and belted a homer in the fifth. He finished the game having gone 1-3 with that homer and he also drew a walk.
A-Rod went 2-4 wtih two RBI’s and a run scored and he played a solid third base as well. Nick Swisher also drove in a run to add to the Yankees’ success. Another thing I’d like to add about Swisher is how important his clubhouse presence has been all season. Every team should have at least one guy like this. Someone to keep everyone going and to keep spirits up. The jokester on the team, the prankster. Swisher definitely filled that roll this year with the Yankees and I am really grateful of that.
When the game finally rolled into the ninth inning, it looked as if the game was done with. The Twins had no chance. They weren’t even gonna come close to scoring at all…
-Now with the way I just said all that it seems like I’m going to say that they came back and won the game. Yeah right. Not on Mo’s watch.
Mariano Rivera pitched as spectacularly as he has all year. Another great performance that left the Twins scratching their heads. He let up one hit and one walk but other than that he was fantastic striking out two.
The great thing about Mo is that he does all of this with only one pitch. His cutter, which wasn’t originally a cutter, has gotten the job done over his career unlike any other pitcher’s pitch in history has. That story was in Sports Illustrated recently and it was one of the best articles I have read in a while. Mo is one of a kind.
With the opening game win in the books, the Yanks have one day off before they send AJ Burnett out to face off against Nick Blackburn.
-By the way doesn’t Blackburn and Joe Mauer look really similar or is it just me?
Well, I’m pretty sure that Burnett has the advantage in this one but Blackburn is still a quality pitcher. The Twins may have some chance… possibly… maybe a little… Yeah right, I’m just joking. The Yankees are going to win this one as they did the first one.
When talks about the AL and NL Cy Young awards comes up, the general consensus usually comes up with four or five solid candidates for the awards. This season, there is no doubt that the NL race is between these three guys:
Tim Lincecum (SF)
Adam Wainwright (StL)
Chris Carpenter (StL)
So, that race is one in itself. The AL race is a totally different race from my perspective. There are so many quality guys in the AL that are worthy of the award but since I pretty much have to narrow it down to a few guys, I have come up with five guys that could possibly win it.
Being a Yankee fan myself, you have to think I’m gonna start off with the top guy in the Yankees’ rotation. And he is not just on this list because of where he plays. He is a legitimate candidate. Sabathia came just short of reaching twenty wins for the season when the Rays tore up the Yankees on Friday, 13-4. CC just wasn’t on his game and unfortunately he was unable to make it to twenty wins. That doesn’t mean his chance at winning Cy Young were shattered. No it just means that he isn’t going to have the distinction of having twenty wins. It’s alright. Adam Wainwright was also denied twenty wins when he recorded a no decision in his final start of the regular season.
Sabathia has had the pleasure of playing in New York and behind an offense that is probably the best in the league at scoring runs. That right field fence has looked great all year for Yankee hitters and he has really taken advantage of that. His record to finish off the season is 19-8. A solid record for any pitcher. To get to 19 wins is a huge aspect of his Cy Young resume. His 8 losses aren’t too bad a total but Sabathia definitely had some trouble at the beginning of the year that drew up that ugly loss total.
Sabathia’s ERA at the end of the season totals up at 3.37 which is a respectable one. Any ERA below 3.50 is generally considered solid. Sabathia has really picked it up toward the end of the year compared to the beginning of the year. He had real trouble early and that is why his ERA after the first month of play was really high.
Sabathia also finished the season with 197 strikeouts. He finished two complete games and one shutout. Sabathia’s season was definitely worthy of a Cy Young award. But personally, he would be my third choice for the award this year despite being a Yankee. I know it’s unfortunate but I am making my picks according to how good they had over the season and Sabathia did not have the best season among the AL pitchers.
2. Felix Hernandez
This young flamethrowing Mariner is a clear candidate for the Cy Young this year. His season has included two complete games and one shutout. He struck out 211 guys over the season. And guess what… he still has one more start today. Despite playing for a Mariners team that lacks much offense, other than Ichiro, Hernandez has done a great job of maintaining his success. Hernandez has one more game to go but his current record is 18-5. A record that is a little better than Sabathia’s. Sabathia does have one more win than Hernandez but Hernandez has less losses. It’s close but that is not the only thing that goes into account when thinking of a Cy Young resume.
Hernandez has a phenominal 2.38 ERA which to me is just fantastic considering he doesn’t get much run support from the M’s. He really can control a game and knows how to get it done like the best of them…. wait a minute, he is one of the best of them.
Hernandez’s age is what is so amazing. He is so successful so early in his career, this being his fifth year in the league. He still has a long way to go and this success and poise he is showing now will surely get him into high places as his career goes on.
Hernandez also finished the season with 232 innings of work which is clearly more than any other guy on the Mariner rotation or bullpen. He has really done something special in Seattle this year and he is a legitimate Cy Young candidate as well. He is my second pick in this contest.
3. Justin Verlander
Verlander has also had a fantastic season. He has led that Tigers team back to the spotlight in the AL Central after a few really really really really… okay you get the point… bad years. With the Tigers on the brink of a playoff birth, Verlander will be a key to the Tigers’ success if they get to the playoffs.
Verlander finished this season with a 19-9 record. A very good one that easily compares with Sabathia’s and Hernandez’s that will go up as the top three records in the league. Verlander has been a solid… more than solid… top of the rotation guy for the Tigers. He has been the vocal point of this team all year. The offense hasn’t been great but it has been good enough to support the pitching and Verlander hasn’t really needed all that support. With the stuff he has, there isn’t really much you can do to support him other than put a single run up on the board.
Verlander always finishes at the top or near the top of the strikeout list. This season, he finished with 264 and every one made the opposing batter just look back and think about how good the pitch was. Verlander is that good. You always have to include this flamethrower in the Cy Young conversation. The only difference this year is that his team has been a little more successful and he has gotten more recognition that he has the past few years. Verlander’s ERA was also fantastic this season at 3.45 which is a little lower than Sabathia’s. To me, either him or Sabathia would go third in my voting but I would put Sabathia there because of the success of the Yankees this year. Nothing against Verlander but they are both great performers.
Verlander also finished the season three complete games and one shutout.
4. Roy Halladay
You always have to include Roy Halladay in the Cy Young talks no matter what. He has had that kind of influence in this league since he came into it as a rookie.
Halladay’s numbers this year have been down and his Cy Young resume has decreased in value. Much of this came from the constant rumors of his being traded at the deadline in the summer. His performance surrounding the deadline shows many stats that are uncharacteristic of his career. Some bad losses, tough ERA numbers. And just about anything that can go wrong during an outing. It happened to him.
Halladay didn’t have a terrible season though. His record was 17-10 to finish the season. Not terrible but a tough number of losses. He probably could’ve come up with a win or two more but that was due to the trade rumors and the fact that the Jays had a tough time getting runs on the board over a period of time over the summer.
Halladay is the lowest on my list of candidates for every reason I explained to you now. He finished with nine complete games and four shutouts, which are two stats he holds over the other candidates in this competition. He struck out 208 guys which is a respectable number. His season has been a generally good on but not a Cy Young good season.
Winner: Zack Greinke
I know, I know he’s on the Royals. But that is a key reason why he is the winner of this competition. I mean come on… a Royals pitcher in this conversation? That’s ridiculous. Well, it’s not. With the numbers he has put up this season, he is clearly the best pitcher in the AL.
His record doesn’t give him justice of how well he has pitched. At 16-8, Greinke has lossed more games than he should have if he had more run support. His ERA is a league low 2.16. That just proves that he really didn’t get enough run support ot get the wins. If he gave up one or two runs a game, he lost the game because of the lack of run support the Royals’ offense gave him.
Greinke also put up some good strikeout numbers finishing the season with 242. He six complete games and three shutouts. With the team he was pitching behind, I think it is possible that he could get a loss when he threw a shutout. Just kidding but still, I’m just making a point. Greinke’s season would’ve been no doubt a perfect Cy Young season if he was with any other team that could put up three or four runs a game of run support. The Royals have had a tough history and Greinke has been unfortunate enough to be stuck on that team and be such a great pitcher. With the talent he has, he is no doubt the Cy Young award winner in the AL this season.
P.S. My NL Cy Young vote is Adam Wainwright.