“Old timers day is right around the corner. The current Yankees can play in that game too” ~ Fan at Yankee Stadium
So while those who may read my blog spent the weekend with loved ones I, your humble blogger, went to game five of the ALDS and game one of the ALCS.
First: The Ecstasy
Game five of the American League Division Series started at 5:07 on a cold, windy day in the Bronx. The Yankees started CC Sabathia (2-0 1.53) and the Orioles started Jason Hammel (0-1 3.18).
It was a pitching duel as neither team got a hit for the first three innings (the Yankees having apparently decided that batting more than .150 in the postseason is wrong.)
Baltimore finally got a hit in the top of the fourth when Nate McClouth led off with a single and stole second. However CC got J.J. Hardy to fly out to right field and Adam Jones and Chris David to fly out to center field. The Yankees got no hits in the bottom of the inning. 0-0 after four.
In the bottom of the fifth the offensive (and I do mean I find the Yankees lack of offense offensive) attack by the Yankees began. Mark Teixeira led off with a single and then stole second. (You read that correctly. Tex Mex stole a base.) Raul Ibanez then singled him home. 1-0 Yankees after five.
In the bottom of the sixth Derek Jeter walked and then scored on an Ichiru Suzuki double. Did the Yankees score any other runs that inning? Don’t be ridiculous. Eric Chavez (playing for the benched Alex Rodriguez), Robinson Cano and Raul Ibanez struck out. 2-0 Yankees after six.
In the bottom of the seventh Mr. Strikeout Curtis Granderson got his allotted one hit per postseason with a home run to right field. 3-0 Yankees after seven.
In the top of the eighth the Orioles got a run back. Matt Weiters led off with a walk and stole second. He later scored when Lew Ford singled him home. However CC got out of a bases loaded jam and struck out Nate McLout and J.J. Hardy to end the inning. 3-1 Yankees after eight.
At this point the bleacher creatures where I was sitting sensed that victory was in the air. (I think it was victory. It might have been the cheese fries the guy next to me was eating.) In the top of the ninth Adam Jones flied out to left field. One out. Chris Davis then struck out. Two down. And finally Matt Weiters grounded out to CC who threw to Teixiera to end the game. CC pitched a complete game allowing only four hits and one run while striking out nine.
The Yankees win the series 3-2 and the crowd goes wild (as the photo at the top shows). Now did I stick around to enjoy the moment? No. It was already 8:15 and I was late for work. So I went to work.
Notes on the game:
There were a few Orioles fans sitting in front of me in the bleachers. One was wearing a Ripken jersey, which brought out the bleacher wits. “Ripken was a pussy. Always injured” was one heckle. I got in one with, “His brother was better!”
Another Oriole fan was wearing a Weiters jersey with corduroy pants. He was heckled mercilessly. “Hey corduroys! Corduroys! I’m talking to you corduroys!”
And so the Yankees advance after winning the first round of the playoffs (which has become a rarity lately as the Yankees have decided to become the Atlanta Braves of the American League)
And I headed off to work, basking in the glow of the Yankee victory, all set to go to Game one of the ALCS the next night.
And finally, for Innominatus, my scorecard.
Game one of the ALCS was a rollercoaster of emotions, ending in a loss and losing Derek Jeter for the rest of the playoffs.
The Yankees started Old Man Pettitte (one of our “Core of three”, which is a nice way of saying “Should be retired.”) Face it, the Yankees make the Rolling Stones look as youthful as Justin Bieber. Detroit started Doug “Fister is my name not a sex act I enjoy” Fister.
The Yankees could have blown the game away in the first two inning if the breaks (sorry Jeter) had gone their way. In the bottom of the first Fister walked Jeter, Teixeira and Ibanez to load the bases. (Suzuki and Cano had flied out to left field.) Alex “My skills. What happened to my skills” Rodriguez hit a sharp line drive that should have gone out of the infield but Detroit shortstop Jhonny Peralta (who has the range of a slug) somehow stopped it and threw to second to force Ibanez out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the second singles by Russell Martin, Derek Jeter and Ichiro Suzuki loaded the bases again. Cano hit a grounder to deep infield and Detroit 2nd baseman Omar Infante threw to first. Cano was called out to end the inning though he was clearly safe. I guess Baltimore finally got even for Jeffrey Maier in 1996.
And so there was no score until the top of the sixth when Austin Jackson led off with the weirdest triple one will ever see. The ball barely made it past the infield, rolled to the wall and stayed there instead of bouncing back closer to Swisher who had to run all the way over to get it. By the time he threw it (to the wrong base) Jackson was on third.
Prince Fielder then singled him home. The next batter Delmon Young singled home triple crown winner Miguel Cabrera.
In the bottom of the sixth the Yankee again had their chance. Texeira singled and Ibanez singled with Tex going to third on an error. First and third with no out. A perfect opportunity to score. But this is the Yankees after all. Rodriguez, Granderson and Martin struck out to end the threat. 2-0 Detroit after six.
In the eighth Detroit scored again as Delmon Young homered and Avisail Garcia singled home Jhonny Peralta. 4-0 Detroit after 7 1/2.
And here is where things started to get ugly. Sensing another futile Yankee loss the crowd in the bleachers got unruly. I stopped keeping score to watch the crowd (which at this point was more entertaining than the game.) Fights were breaking out and police were (none to gently) arresting people.
The bleachers started to resemble Omaha Beach on D-Day: Blood, death and young men screaming for their mothers
And so it seemed like the Yankees were going to be shut out as the bottom of the ninth started. Detroit brought in their closer of no note (Jose Valverde) who gave up a two run home run to Ichiro Suzuki (someone check his blood!) and then after a two-out walk to Mark Teixeira it was time for that man again. Raul Ibanez tied the score with yet another home run.
4-4 after nine and the bleachers erupted.
Was it time for another miracle extra inning Yankee comeback? Sadly no. David Phelps gave up two runs on three hits.
The 12th inning is also when Derek Jeter went down. The stadium fell silent when he didn’t get up. He had to be helped off the field. Flashbacks of Mo going down in May.
Adding injury to insult (loss) the news was not good. Jeter had fractured his ankle and would need three months to recover.
The Yankees activated Eduardo Nunez who will play shorstop for the rest of the playoffs (as far as the Yankees advance.)
Drew Smyly got the win for Detroit and Phelps the loss for the Yankees.
Notes on the game:
This was the single most exhausting game I’ve been to with the highest highs (Ibanez ties it in the ninth) and lowest lows (Jeter breaks his ankle.)
Can the Yankees beat Detroit?
Unless Cano, Rodriguez, Swisher and Granderson can do anything besides strike out and hit .100 we are doomed.
And on that note, here are some photos I took.
First, Mickey Mouse whores himself out for “The Man.“ Can’t say I blame him. I hear Minnie likes material goods.
Hall of famer John Smoltz buys a Philly cheesesteak. It’s heartening to see a hall of famer eat bad food. Poor guy. He just wanted to get something to eat and we were all lining up taking photos of him.
I wonder if he has the same problem when he tries to pick up a prostitute?
Poor guy just wants some and we are all taking photos of money changing hands, shouting “Make her scream John!”
The teams introduced before the game:
The NYPD Eye in the Sky, destroying your civil liberties since 9/11:
And for Innominatus my scorecard (until the 8th inning anyway.)
And finally, since I am just an unfrozen caveman blogger and can’t embed this stuff, two videos I uploaded onto youtube:
As I write this (Sunday afternoon) game two is about to start.
The Yankees have gone down meekly to the Tigers. They now are behind 2-0.
I hate to say put a fork in them but the Yankees are done.
The question is who will be the scapegoat? I doubt they will fire Girardi but hitting coach Kevin Long should not feel too confident in his job. (115)