ALCS Game 2: Angels 3, Yankees 4

As the rain started to fall, neither team gave any indication of giving up as the score held at 2-2 through nine. In the top of the eighth the Angels had two on and two out, but Mo only needed one pitch to end the inning. He breezed through the ninth, and while the Yankees threatened, they did not score, sending the game into extra innings. In the top of the eleventh, Alfredo Aceves replaced Mo. He gave up a walk to Gary Matthews who moved to second on Aybar’s sac bunt. Figgins, who has been non-existent in the Angels’ post season offense, dropped a soft line drive into left to score Matthews and the Angels took the 3-2 lead.

The Angels called on their closer, Brian Fuentes, to pitch the bottom of the eleventh. He got A-Rod to a quick 0-2 count, but sent a fastball down the middle, which Alex lifted just over Abreu’s glove in right and into the stands, tying the game once again. Both teams had a chance to score in the twelfth, with the Yankees even loading the bases before A-Rod popped out to end the inning. In the bottom of the thirteenth inning, Jerry Hairston Jr knocked a single to center to start things off. Gardner moved him to second with a sac bunt and Cano was intentionally walked. Melky followed with a grounder to second where Izturis fielded it. Izturis was headed towards first, but instead of getting the easy out decided to spin and try for the double play. His throw flew past second and into shallow right and Hairston put on the wheels and sprinted home for the winning walk off run.

Bronx Cheers:
Cano: Despite his RBI triple, Cano did not have a great game. He committed two of the Yankees’ three errors.

Teixeira: While he continues to provide a great glove at first (and seriously, this is not something to be forgotten), Teix’s bat has been eerily silent through most of the playoffs. He went 0-5 and left three runners on base.

RISP/LOB: Once again, the Yankees won because they were able to capitalize on errors and not on runners in scoring position. They were 0-8…I’m sorry….0-8!!!! with runners in scoring position. They had plenty of opportunities to win prior to the 13th inning, but were unable to pull it off. They stranded 12 runners on base. The Bombers better start to hit with runners in scoring position as they head out to Anaheim. They should be able to score more than four runs on thirteen hits.

Curtain Calls:
AJ Burnett: While he had a shaky fifth inning and let loose another wild pitch, on the whole, Burnett had another solid outing. He went 6.1 innings and gave up only three hits and two earned runs. AJ struck out four and walked only two batters (much better than his last outing).

A-Rod: Even though he popped out with the bases loaded in the twelfth and stranded five base runners, Alex was a very important part of the Yankees’ victory. With the Angels ahead in the tenth, A-Rod’s solo homer on a 0-2 pitch gave him another clutch hit to silence his critics. It was the first homer he’d hit this season when the count was 0-2.

Bullpen: At the end of the night Chad Gaudin was the lone person left in the bullpen. The Yankees used Coke, Chamberlain, Hughes, Mo, Aceves, Marte and Robertson to combine for 6.2 innings of pitching only giving up five hits and one run on five walks and six strikeouts. The bullpen has continued to show that when they are locked into an extra inning battle like this one, they are willing and able to go the distance.

Hairston: Jerry Hairston Jr will never forget last night. He came through with a huge pinch hit and scored the winning walk off run in the wee hours of the morning. Hairston’s performance had some personal significance as he is the third generation of Hairstons in the major league he was the first to get a basehit in the postseason. His grandfather, who played in the Negro Leagues, never played in the postseason and while his father did, he did not get a hit.

Musings on Game Two:
Errors: On Friday the Angels owned the errors and it cost them the game. Last night both teams were hit by the error bug. Even Jeter seemed susceptible, juggling the ball in the eighth and allowing Maicer Izturis to reach. If I am the Angels, I am hoping the errors came out of not being used to the cold rainy weather in the Bronx.

Controversial calls
: Not to continue harping on the amazingly frustrating commentating by McCarver and Buck…but I can’t help it. In the tenth inning, Posada grounded out to second, however, Izturis started the double play, throwing the ball to Aybar at second. Aybar, however, managed to keep his feet on either side of the base both when he caught the ball and when he repositioned them for the throw to first. Despite being in the neighborhood of the base and getting the ball long before Melky got to second, Aybar failed to ever touch the base. This makes no sense to me. Perhaps it is not uncommon for umpires to give the fielder the call, but that doesn’t make it right. All it does is increase lazy play. There was no good reason for Aybar not to have a foot on the bag either when receiving the ball or switching to throw, other than laziness or a lack of attention. The umpire made the right call, despite what Joe Buck (has he ever actually played baseball, out of curiosity?) would have you believe, as he continually brought this up throughout the rest of the game. It seems particularly ridiculous when you consider how long they spent talking about whether Teixeira pulled his foot off the bag in Game 1. I think we learned from the Jeter stealing third incident that these lazy kinds of calls should not be expected or excused. Kudos to the umpire crew on this one.

Random Notes:

  • The Yankees completed their 17th walkoff win this season.
  • Yankee pitching has not given up a homer at Yankees Stadium in the postseason.
  • Chone Figgins was 0-19 before his RBI single in the 11th.
  • The Angels have five errors in the ALCS but only four runs.
  • The Yankees used 21 of the 25 men on their roster. Only Francisco Cervelli, Chad Gaudin, CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte sat out the game.
  • This was the Yankees fifth straight postseason win. While this is a good sign, they won six straight in 2004…and we all know what happened then.

In the On Deck Circle:
Tomorrow afternoon the ALCS will resume in Anaheim. Andy Pettitte will take the mound for the Yankees, hoping to continue his postseason dominance. He held the Twins to one run on three hits over 6.1 innings in his last outing. Pettitte has not done well against the Halos this year, however. He is 0-2 with a 7.88 ERA. Jered Weaver will face the Bombers batters. He limited the Red Sox to two hits and one run in his ALDS appearance. Weaver does well at home, going 9-3 with a 2.90 ERA in Anaheim, however, his career numbers against the Pinstripes are less impressive. He is 4-2 with a 5.88 ERA. First pitch is at 4:13pm (east coast time) in Anaheim!

Tamar has written for IIATMS since July 2009, having started off writing game recaps before shifting to the minor leagues. Born in Connecticut and having lived all over the country and in South Korea, Tamar now finds herself "temporarily misplaced" in New Hampshire. Please send help.