- Obviously Ibanez is the story of this game. He might not have continued the hot pace he was on early in the season, and indeed he might have really tailed off down the stretch, but Ibanez is always going to have his own chapter in True Yankee lore tonight. That ninth inning home run not only tied the game, it rejuvenated the spirits of everyone in Yankeedom after what had been an absolutely awful game to that point, and his 12th inning walkoff single to score Cervelli, of all people, seemed almost pre-ordained by the baseball gods.
- How about David Phelps? A rookie who’s been in and out of the rotation all year long, called on to make a spot start during a pennant race with just a day’s notice, and he gives his team 5.1 innings of two run ball? He wasn’t dominant or anything, but he certainly kept the Yankees in the game for 5= innings, especially considering that both of the runs he allowed came in the first inning. That’s putting your big boy pants on right there.
- I’ve spent the better part of three years now giving Joe Girardi guff for not managing with enough urgency when the situation warranted it, so I would be remiss if I didn’t credit him for his work tonight. From starting Phelps over Nova, benching Andruw Jones, to running out his best relievers in succession after Phelps left even though the team was trailing, Girardi played this like a must win all the way, and it paid off for him big time. Without a doubt the best work I can remember seeing him do as the manager of the Yankees.
- And while I’m handing out credit, I guess I should give some to Cervelli too. He worked a tough two out walk to keep the 12th inning going before hustling around third to score the winning run on Ibanez’s seeing eye single. I’m honestly happy for him that he got one big memory out of this season.
- It would be hard to understate how awful the first 8.5 innings of this game were. The Yankees were down 2-1 entering the ninth inning, and that one run came on a hopper by Eduardo Nune that Jose Iglesias could have made an inning ending play on. To make matters worse, the Red Sox tacked on an insurance run with a solo home run off of Rafael Soriano to lead off the ninth inning, just after Brett Gardner got picked off to end the eighth. There were a lot of people out on the ledge until that Ibanez home run changed everything.
- The Yankees went 2-21 with runners in scoring position. Yikes.
- Mark Teixeira had a rough night in his second game back, going 0-6 with nine runners left on base. The nadir for Tex came in the ninth inning when, with the bases loaded and one out after Ibanez’s home run, his bat splintered on a fastball down th heart of the zone, leading to a weak pop up that couldn’t get Derek Jeter home from third. Had the bat stayed in tact that ball was going to the warning track at least.
- While the pitching staff was very good for 11 innings, Soriano had a bit of a rough time in the ninth, and wound up throwing 43 pitches over two innings. He kept the Sawx off of the score board in the 10th, but you’d have to figure that he’ll be unavailable for the season finale tomorrow, and that Girardi was either unconcerned with anything beyond tonight, or figures his offense can beat the tar out of Daisuke Matsuzaka tomorrow night.
What a rush! The Yankees turned a terribly frustrating near loss into a blood churning victory in the span of mere minutes, and now they enter tomorrow night masters of their own destiny. All they have to do is beat Dice-K and they’ll wrap up both the A.L. East division crown and the top seed in the A.L. playoffs. The worst they can do is find their way into a 163rd game in Baltimore on Thursday. That’s getting it done, folks.