Ibanez’s heroics cut magic number to one

The good:

  • 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.

The bad:

  • 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.

The rundown:

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.

About Brien Jackson

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

16 thoughts on “Ibanez’s heroics cut magic number to one

  1. Cervelli scores the winning run. Ibanez drove him in with a hit off a lefty and Derek Lowe got the win. Dumbfounding.

  2. Yeah, 1,000 words about the game and I didn't even work Derek Lowe into it. Craziness indeed!

  3. Also, if Texas loses tonight the Yankees would be guaranteed the top seed if they win the division. They're down 3-1 at the moment.

    • Brien is that true? What if Oakland wins tonight/tomorrow and finishes 95-67 tied with Yanks?

    • But can't Oakland can also get top seed if they win tomorrow and Yankees lose? They are both 5-5 head to head and Oakland has better intradivision record (This is assuming Orioles lose)

      If the Orioles win, then since 163rd game will be played, that confuses whole lot more.. whoever finishes 95-58 technically has better record than Oak/Tex 94-68.. but the latter teams can't be penalized for not playing 163rd….

      Can you write an article that clears this up? Thanks

  4. I do think Girardi gets a thumbs down for his micromanaging of his lineup. Even when the lineups were announced, I thought it was a bad idea to move Cano down & Ichiro to 9th. The L-R-L or whatever is overrated. Good hitters will find a way to get it done.

  5. I know it was a victory I'm really happy and looking forward to the final game. However, I'm very confused and aggravated at moving Cano from the 4th spot tonight. Tex left 9 runners on base literally with a single and a sacrifice fly he could've been all the yanks needed to win. Simply put "don't change it if it ain't broken."

    • Cano and Lester both had pretty big platoon splits this year. Can't really fault Girardi for stacking the top of the lineup with right-handers.

  6. It's kind of ironic, yesterday on one of the topics here a poster wrote the Yankees had not won a single game this season when trailing after 8 innings. I may be wrong here I believe that poster was critical of the Yankees "home run" mentality. Don't know if that poster was correct or not about not winning when they were behind after 8 but if he was it's awfully nice that the Yankees 1st win of the season when trailing after 8 came when it did. Maybe it's poetic justice that a home run gave them the opportunity to get that win after 8 innings.

  7. CERVELLI!!!!

    So happy for the guy. Even tho he had a passed ball on a wild pitch (never worked out how folks decided that anyway – the ball did hit him) in his one inning behind the plate, great job working the walk to keep things going. One of those guys I always liked, even if he wasn't Jorge. As stated, so happy he got his page tonite.

    Soriano and his two innings? Could be a lot of things – myself, I think Joe was so ticked at the first pitch homerun he gave up that he just left him in. You know – thinking "You got us IN to this, you get us out."

    No way it should have been that close – twice as many hits, but only one more run. But great ending.

    • If I recall correctly, the pitch was in the dirt and to Cervelli's right. That's pretty typically ruled a wild pitch, as it should, even if we think Stewart or Martin would have been able to block it.

      • Thanks. Agreed, it was to the side and on the bounce. Just wasn't sure – since Franco did make contact with the ball. I know – it was his first inning behind the plate in the bigs…anyone would have been nervous.