Sweep Sends Yanks to ALCS Versus Angels

I was tempted to call the sweep last week, but thought predicting the Yanks in four was more prudent.  Pettite, A-Rod, and Posada, however, thought otherwise, carrying the Yanks to a big 4-1 ALDS clinching victory in the final game in Minnesota’s Metrodome.  Pettite was simply outstanding, setting down the first 12 of the game and allowing a mere three hits, a walk, and a run while fanning seven in 6 1/3 on a mere 81 pitches/58 strikes.  Rarely has Pettite been better in the playoffs or otherwise, throwing everything for strikes and baiting Twins batters with a sharp slider.  He had everything working, including a sharp curve ball.

He had to be, for that slug PaVoldemort was tough on the Yanks, allowing a couple hits before the seventh.  With the Yanks down 1-0, A-Rod worked the count to 3-2 before smacking a belt-high fastball on the outer edge way out to right, well over that infernal baggie that will not infest right field in the new stadium next year, tie game.  What clutch play by the ALDS MVP.  A-Rod was money in every single game that series, delivering at least a big hit every game.  No opponent wants to see that.  Nor did the Twins want to see Posada rope one out to deep left two batters later for a solo shot, 2-1 Yanks.  Sorry, Girardi and Molina, there is no way Jorge’s bat should come out of the lineup against the Angels, a very tough team with a deep lineup.  Jorge must play, period.

The bullpen again held tough.  After Pettite fanned Kubel to end his magnificent stint, Joba came on and allowed a double to Young.  But he held fast, with some help from A-Rod who made a nice play on Harris’s grounder, holding Young at second.  Joba then fanned Morales, ending the threat.

Things got tense in the eighth.  Hughes entered and allowed a lead-off double to that pest Punto, a ball that a combination of Brett the Jet and Melky, instead of JD and Melky, may have kept to a single.  Frank the Sage and I texted each other the same thing–Gardner for JD in the eighth, moving Melky to LF; didn’t happen and should have.  Then Yankee headiness again proved the ultimate antidote for a Twins miscue on the base paths, for Span hit one up the middle for an infield single.  Yet Jeter, knowing he probably would not get the speedy Span, hesitated, watched Punto round third wildly as he ignored his third base coach, and threw home to Posada, who gunned down Punto trying in vain to get back to the bag at third; great play. During a spirited chinwag with Frank the Sage last night, he extolled The Captain’s virtues at length, praising Jeter for always being a step ahead, for always knowing what to do in key and even unusual situations.  Look at the great, heads-up defensive gems in the ALDS–Swish to Jeter to get Gomez at second before Young crossed the plate; Jeter throwing home last night to trap Punto; Teixeira with the snare off Young in the top of the eleventh in Game 2.  Jeter was central to a couple of the biggest.  He also added that big two-run homer in Game 1 to tie it right after the Twins scored two.  Great player; all-time great.

After Hughes got Cabrera to fly out to center, Mariano entered for a four-out save, making it look easy when it was anything but.  It started with facing the dangerous Mauer, the go-ahead run with two out in the eighth.  What did Mariano do? Just induce an all-too easy 3U by sawing off the bat of the AL batting champ and likely MVP.

The Yanks made the Twins pay for their mistake in the eighth by adding two huge insurance runs in the top of the ninth.  With one out, Teixeira, A-Rod, and Matsui walked to load the bases.  Nathan entered to face Posada, who lined an 0-1 belt-high fastball to right to score Teixeira, 3-1 Yanks.  Cano then blooped an 0-2 RBI single to right, 4-1 Yanks.

That’s all Mariano needed.  Cuddyer got a cheap bloop hit to right to start the ninth, but Mariano caught Kubel looking over the outside corner, fanned Young, and got Harris on a weak, two-hop 6-3 to end the ALDS with a sweep.  Sweeperific!

A-Rod batted .455 with 2 homers and 6 RBI in the series, clearly the MVP.  Jeter was .400 with a homer and 2 RBI.  Posada was .364 with a homer and 2 RBI.  But with the Twins pitching well, the Yanks’ arms carried the day, allowing a mere six runs in 29 innings.

This was great, just great, to see the Yanks win and win fast against a game Twins team.  Now they get to set their rotation, which I believe should remain a three-man rotation with C.C. going in Games 4 and, if necessary, 7 at home.  Only Game 4 would require his going on short rest, and he is very good on short rest.  It would also allow the tough top three of The Big Guy, A.J., and Lefty to remain intact, Joba to stay in the bullpen for the ALCS where he has been good, and Gaudin to stay the long man. It is feasible, and provides an outstanding opportunity for the Yanks to win.

The Angels come to The Bronx for the start of the ALCS, which begins Friday night.  As The Sage and I opined last night, they’re rested after besting Boston in three, yet so are the Yanks.  They solved their Boston dilemma; now it’s time for the Yanks to solve their Angels dilemma.  I believe they will.

Yanks in seven.

I cannot wait until Friday night.

Enjoy it, Yankees fans.  This has been tremendous thus far.

Published in: on October 12, 2009 at 4:50 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I never call sweeps. I’d rather be surprised when they happen than look like a fool if they don’t. I have a feeling this series will go 6 or 7 games, because I just can’t see either team rolling over and playing dead.

    The key will be pitching. We got three quality starts out of CC, AJ and Andy against the Twins, we’re going to need at least two from each of them against the Angels. A 7-game series might be what gets us over the “we can’t beat the Angels” hurdle because the last two times they’ve beaten us, they’ve been short series and our pitching was depleted.

    I really expect big things from everyone – especially the lineup. It needs to wake up. Aside from Alex, no one else had a spectacular ALDS. Sure some players had good games, but Alex was the only player to consistently play well. We scored 15 runs in this series, Alex was responsible for 6 of them. If he has to shoulder the entire lineup himself, he’ll fail for sure – no one is that strong, not even him.

  2. In the 2001 World Series, the Yankees as a team hit .183/.240/.288 for the entire series. That’s a .528 OPS. They hit worse than Jose Molina for seven games, and still won three of them and Mariano on the mound going for a fourth.

    My point is that if the pitching holds up, then one player hitting is sufficient to carry the day

  3. great recap jas–

    what bothers me about MLB and TV is that now both teams have to wait five days between games. never good for anybody. the schedules should be flexible to take into account the sweeps that occurred in both DS series. ALCS should begin on wednesday. then of course all these delays + the WBC push the WS well into november–i know this is old news, but still isn’t good for the sport or fair to the teams

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