In the bottom of the seventh, Joba came in with one out. On his first pitch Kendrick smacked one to deep center. Swisher tried to make a play on it but couldn’t and the Angels had the go-ahead run on third. Maicer Izturis followed with a deep sac fly to right and the Angels had the 4-3 lead. Matsui worked a walk to start the eighth and Brett Gardner was put on as a pinch runner. On a 1-0 count Gardner tried to steal second and was thrown out on the pitch out. Jorge Posada then sent the next pitch out for another Yankee solo homer to tie the game.
With both teams unable to break the tie, the game headed into the tenth inning. Phil Hughes gave up a double to Jeff Mathis to start the bottom of the tenth. Mo was brought in and Aybar laid down a bunt. Mo tried to get the runner at third, but his throw was low. Figgins hit a sharp grounder to first and Teixeira made a great play to tag the bag and hold the runner on third. Abreu was intentionally walked to load the bases. Hunter grounded to first and Teixeira got the runner at the plate for the second out of the inning. Mo then got Guerrero to ground out to first, with Teixeira once again making the crucial defensive play.
The Angels got another chance in the bottom of the eleventh when, with two outs, Girardi replaced David Robertson with Alfredo Aceves. Kendrick, who the Yankees pitchers just cannot seem to get out, drove a single to center and Mathis followed with a big double to center. Kendrick scored and the Angels took the walk off win to make the ALCS 2-1.
RISP/LOB: The Yankees have somehow managed to get away with winning despite failing to capitalize on runners in scoring position. The Yankees were 0-8 with runners in scoring position and left ten on base. Over the last two games this means the Yankees are 0-16 with RISP and have left 21 on base.
Joba/Aceves: Both gave up a run on a two hits. Joba at least got one out.
Melky: The Yankee center fielder went 0-5 and left seven runners on base.
Gardner: it’s very possible I am being too hard on him, but his decision to steal in the eighth was painful. The pitch out worked and he got gunned down pretty easily. Does this mean Jorge gets the same pitch to knock out of the park if Gardner is still on? Who knows, but there is one less out and one more baserunner.
Teixiera: Ignoring the fact that his offense is still lacking, Mark Teixeira continues to show just how strong a fielder he is. If Giambi was still manning first for the Yankees, the game would have been lost a lot earlier. He did a great job covering second in the eight to catch Abreu making a poor base running decision and he was instrumental in all three outs that kept the Angels from scoring in the tenth. Personally, I am willing to overlook his offensive slump so long as he keeps flashing the glove.
Posada: 2-4 and hit the solo homer that tied the game at 4. He did not strand anyone on base.
Hughes: Phil went 1.2 innings and only gave up one hit.
The Question of Overmanagement:
Joe Girardi is a smart guy. Sometimes I wonder if he is too smart. He likes to play the numbers and the matchups, but baseball is not purely academic. Sometimes you need to recognize that your guy has his good stuff working and that may outweigh the numbers, or conversely, your guy doesn’t have his good stuff and shouldn’t go, despite the numbers. Girardi made a number of moves in this game that made Yankees fans scream – and not for joy. Marte made one pitch, and it ended an inning. Instead of letting him keep pitching the following inning, Girardi replaced him with their other lefty, Phil Coke – who made three pitches. Two lefties, done after four pitches. Girardi then decided to forget about the DH and replace Damon’s arm with Hairston’s in the middle of the tenth inning, with two outs. Robertson came out in the bottom of the eleventh and was pitching well, getting two outs on eleven pitches, but Girardi pulled him for Aceves who gave up back to back hits and lost the game. According to Girardi, they liked the matchup better. However, the numbers do not give much insight on why that would be and Girardi declined to expand on that statement.
Honestly, the Yankee offense had me wondering if they had it to pull this game off. They seemed anemic – at least, as anemic as you can be when you hit four homers. The problem is they were four solo homers and the Yankees have been terrible when they have base runners. A team like the Angels isn’t going to let the Yankees get by without putting together some hits when they have runners on base.
In the On Deck Circle:
The Yankees will try to get back on track Tuesday night as they send CC Sabathia up against Scott Kazmir. CC will be pitching on short rest, a feat he has successfully performed in the past. Last year in Milwaukee he went three straight starts on short rest and went 2-1 with a 0.83 ERA. In CC’s last start he went eight innings and gave up only one run on four hits. Kazmir is coming off a shaky start in the ALDS, where he gave up five runs on five hits over six innings against the Red Sox. Kazmir was having a disappointing season in Tampa, but seemed to be getting his groove back in Anaheim. Over his career, he 6-5 with a 2.67 ERA against the Yankees. First pitch is on FOX at 7:57pm.