Horse

I was wondering when the real 2010 Yankees were finally gonna show up.

The Yankees — riding a far-from-dominant but still-plenty-competitive outing by CC Sabathia — finally erupted on offense after a three-game stretch in which they scored only five runs, beating the Rangers 7-2 to stay alive for another game in the American League Championship Series.

Sabathia gave the team six innings of seven-strikeout, two-run ball, significantly managing to limit the damage despite giving up 11 Ranger hits. C.J. Wilson was much less sharp than he’d been in Game 1, allowing six runs (five earned) over six innings, walking four while striking out only two. While Wilson is a very talented pitcher, this was exactly the type of outing I expected the team with the best OBP in the league to have against the pitcher who walked the most batters in the league.

The Yankees got on the board early (for once), tagging Wilson for three in the second, as consecutive singles by Jorge Posada and Curtis Granderson scored Alex Rodriguez and Lance Berkman, who had drawn walks, and Posada himself. One inning later the Yankees added to their tally, with back-to-back home runs from Nick Swisher and Robinson Cano, who slid seamlessly into the three-hole.

Despite leading 5-0, the Yankee lead never felt insurmountable given the fact that we’ve seen this Texas team plate bunches of runs in a hurry, though if there was ever a man you wanted on the mound for the Yanks with a five-run lead, it’s Sabathia. I have to say, I knew Texas was going to be a tough opponent coming into this series, but I had no idea they were going to be this tough. Every at-bat against the Rangers feels like an epic battle, with a seemingly endless amount of two-strike fouls. In fact, Texas fouled off 36 pitches in this game! I can’t remember the total number of two-strike hits the Rangers have in this series, but they added five more in this one, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they were approaching some sort of postseason record.

The Yankees were able to add another run on a Lance Berkman sacrifice fly (from the right side!) and a Curtis Granderson solo jack in the eighth for a huge insurance run.

The teams now fly back to Texas for Friday’s Game 6, as Phil Hughes faced Colby Lewis in a Game 2 rematch. Most Yankee fans have never experienced the team being in a 3-1 hole in a seven-game series before, and it was significantly energizing and encouraging to see that the Bombers weren’t ready to call it a season just yet. If they can steal just one more game from Texas they’ll get one last shot at the seemingly invincible Cliff Lee, with a trip to the World Series on the line. While I said prior to this series the last thing I wanted to see was a Game 7, with the Yankees still trailing I’ve never wanted to see one more.

8 thoughts on “Horse

  1. Charles Thompson

    Well, if you're like me and you blame Joe Girardi for every loss, you need to tip your cap to the man for a desperately needed victory. Amazing how well things work out when you get hits with runners on while keeping the other team from doing so. Great point about the tough ABs put together by the Rangers, they kept things uncomfortable all game despite the early deficit. It really wasn't until Grandy's shot that I really began to think about Game 6. Great sign that the Yanks could put together this kind of effort after all those poor losses and the injury to Tex.

  2. While I agree that it was wonderful to see this kind of game from the Yankees — a game we knew they were certainly capable of having — I am curious as to just what kind of effect you believe the manager actually has on the outcome of a game.

    I don't mean it in a snide or snarky way at all; I'm genuinely interested in your viewpoint. You seem like a bright guy, Charles, and I don't see how you could blame the manager for every loss, unless you were being hyperbolic.

    Sure, we can crush Girardi for bad decisions, but ultimately it's up to the players to execute. There were several cases to be made that Girardi lost Game 4, but I don't see how you could blame him for Games 2 and 3 — he didn't go out and give up seven runs in Game 2, not did he take any at-bats while the Yankees got shutout in Game 3.

    And similarly, you can't really credit him for yesterday's win. He had one of the best pitchers in baseball on the mound, and his best-offense-in-the-Majors finally woke up. It happens; that's baseball.

    Anyway, please don't misinterpret this as trying to pick a fight for no reason — we don't get a ton of commenters and I greatly appreciate that you've been coming by regularly. I guess I just don't quite understand fans' willingness to credit/debit the manager when a player does or doesn't perform, and I'd like to hear different opinions on it.

    While I've certainly had my issues with Girardi (if I ever see him try to have a guy bunt with a 2-0 count, or god forbid 3-0 count ever again I might destroy my TV), I actually can't think of a single manager in the game right now I'd rather have at the helm. Girardi's progressive, understands stats and (usually) manages the bullpen quite well, this most recent series notwithstanding. Who would you replace him with?

  3. Dangerous Dean

    Congrats on a clutch win. I had hoped that Texas could continue the hot streak and put your boys away yesterday, but the roles were reversed.

    On the Rangers board where I usually hang out there were a lot of optomistic fans who were sure Texas would sweep in NY but I tried to tell them that this Yankee team is just too talented and confident to fold the tent this soon.

    I don't know what is going to happen Friday night, but I had predicted Rangers in six before the series and I hope they can do it. Though your Yanks are banged up, I am not proud. I will take ANY kind of series victory over you guys.

    Keep up the good work.

  4. Thanks Dean. Crazy how this game works sometimes, eh? I have no idea what to expect for Game 6 at this point, other than that I'm just glad I get to watch my team play one more game.

  5. Dean – Just out of curiosity, is there a primary Ranger beat blog? If so, what's the URL?

  6. Charles Thompson

    Larry – I am actually in total agreement that Girardi is the right man for the Yankees and it is hardly fair to blame the manager for his players' failures all the time. That being said, I'll try to explain how I view the manager's role and how it affects the team's performance.

    Obviously game 5 was won by a strong outing by our ace, who was awesome despite not having his best stuff, backed by an offensive reawakening. I can't really point to any single tactical or strategic decision that Girardi made that really affected the outcome of the game, although I did like the fact that he sent Kerry Wood out for the 8th after his strong 7th. I do however give him credit for not letting his team throw in the towel after going down 3-1 while losing Tex. It think lesser teams would have folded. While this likely has as much to do with having a veteran clubhouse with insane amounts of postseason experience, I believe that more than anything else, the manager sets the emotional tone for the club. Despite being harangued by people like me after game 4, Joe kept his cool and his team executed last night.

    On the flip side of the coin, I think he gave up on game 3 when it became clear Lee had unreal stuff, and that attitude trickled down to the players. Despite Lee's dominance, the yanks still had a puncher's chance by the 8th inning. I think Joe was content to let the game run away from him. Obviously our chances of beating Lee that night were slim, but it was tough watching Joe let Robertson implode like that.

    I just hope that Joe has figured out that Boone Logan is not going to get Josh Hamilton out.

  7. Charles,

    Well put, and I agree with much of what you say.

    However, be prepared to see Logan face Hamilton again. As frustrating as it's been to have Hamilton take Logan deep, Logan's still far more likely to retire Hamilton than Hamilton is to take Logan deep again in any given at-bat. As good as Hamilton is, no one bats 1.000 against anyone. Logan will have to retire him soon enough.

  8. Charles Thompson

    You're probably right. And I can't say that I feel comfortable with Joba/Robertson/Wood vs. Hamilton either. However, if/when the dreaded Logan-Hamilton matchup takes place I might need to take a walk around the block.

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