Both pitchers locked in after the first. CC was more economical with his pitches, but faced some trouble in the top of the fourth. Guerrero sent a pitch to the deepest part of center, but it was miraculously blown back in and Vlad had to settle for a double. He moved to third on Rivera’s ground out, but Kendry Morales fisted (Chip Caray’s word of the week) the ball to left and the Halos got on the board.
The Yankees got that run back in the bottom of the fifth. Damon started the inning with a double. Teixeira struck out and A-Rod walked. Matsui then doubled over the head of Aybar, scoring Damon, as Juan Rivera tried an ungraceful cut-off slide to stop the ball. Unfortunately, A-Rod ran through the stop sign at third and collided with Angels catcher Jeff Mathis at home. The umpire called Alex out, however, replays showed that A-Rod was never tagged with the glove. Nonethless, it was an impressive play by Mathis to make the catch, tag and hold onto the ball.
In the bottom of the sixth, Melky walked and moved to second when Lackey made a throwing error on a pickoff attempt. Jeter then singled into center, scoring Melky and moving to second on a fielding error by Hunter. At the end of six, the Yankees had a 4-1 lead. CC gave the Bombers eight strong innings and Mo came out in the bottom of the ninth to pick up his second save of the postseason.
Posada: Jorge went 0-3 and walked once during the game. He left two runners on base.
Cano: Robbie Cano also went 0-3 at the plate, however, he did make some nice plays at second.
RISP/LOB: The Yankees should have run away with this game. They were 3 for 12 with runners in scoring position and left 11 runners on base. They got away with it last night with CC dominating the Halos, but if Burnett has a shaky start, or Gaudin ends up making a start, the Yankees are going to need to capitalize on those base runners.
CC: In the ALDS, the big news was Jose Molina catching for AJ Burnett. In the ALCS, the news seems to be potentially pitching CC on short rest. The big man showed why Girardi even makes that an option, by owning the Angels last night. He went eight innings and gave up one run on four hits. He walked one batter and struck out seven.
Matsui: The Yankees’ DH (with some help from the Angels infielders) went 2-3 and picked up two RBIs.
Jeter: The Captain quietly continues to be nothing but consistent for the Pinstripes. He went 2-5 with a RBI and a run scored. This is his 45 postseason multi-hit game, the most all-time.
Damon: Johnny had more hits in the game last night than he had in the ALDS. His slump appeared to be over as the left fielder went 2-5 with two runs scored.
Musings on Game One:
Errors: While the Yankees were not good at taking advantage of runners on base, they did take advantage of the Angels sloppy defense. The Halos committed three errors and that doesn’t count the ugly pop fly that Figgins and Aybar watched each other not catch.
A-Rod at home: I have gotten on A-Rod for some bad base running plays a few times this season, and last night seemed to be another example. Apparently, when he was initially waved home by the third base coach he put his head down to run and never saw the stop sign. Regardless, the play itself, while ugly, perhaps should have counted as a Yankee run. It is hard to tell whether A-Rod’s foot touched the plate or not (though it is evident that he was not tagged as he went into the plate). In fact, it is not clear whether Alex was ever tagged, however, the umpire was not in a good position to make the call so you can’t blame him for making a call I was making from the couch…until the various slow mo replays and different angles made me pause for a second thought.
Buck and McCarver: I really hate watching games on Fox because Tim McCarver and Joe Buck make me want to cry with their analysis. Particularly frustrating last night was the long and ridiculous conversation they had over whether Mark Teixeira’s foot was on the base when CC fielded a bunt and threw out Hunter. Teixeira went down in a bit of a split to keep his foot on the bag and Hunter threw a bit of a hissy fit. My favorite (meaning, I pulled out my hair) line from McCarver was Was [his foot] on long enough? Personally, I didn’t know there was a specific amount of time your foot had to be on the bag to be out, but what do I know. McCarver also had some weird theories on the way Teixeira’s foot went back towards the bag after he initially went down. I’m guessing McCarver has never gone down in a split, having done quite a few as a field hockey goalie I can assure him, that’s what happens in a split, if it didn’t then I’d be concerned. Anyway, that is my rant on my favorite Fox announcers. Thank you for listening!
In the On Deck Circle:
Weather permitting, the Yankees will take on the Angels tonight. Joe Saunders will take on A.J. Burnett. Saunders last pitched on October 4th, and historically pitches well on the road. He is 25-10 with a 3.97 ERA in his career on the road, however, this year his road ERA is 5.13. He picked up a win against the Yankees on September 21, when he went 8.1 innings, giving up 7 hits for two earned runs. Burnett will try to build on his excellent ALDS start. He held the Twins to one run on three hits, striking out six and walking five. First pitch is supposed to be at 7:57pm, unless Mother Nature decides otherwise.