Back To The Show! Yanks Beat Angels 5-2, Advance to World Series

Yes, YES YES! YES! YES!  Great stuff in The Bronx last night as the Yanks beat their nemesis Angels 5-2 to advance to the World Series for the first time in six years.  Lefty was simply outstanding, going 6 1/3 strong and allowing 7 hits, a walk, 1 run earned, and fanning 6 on 99 pitches/64 strikes.  From the beginning, he was smooth, efficient, and in control of all his pitches.  His curve was particularly sharp and he used it with precision to both get ahead and strike out Angel batters.  JD broke through with a two-run single to give the Yanks a 2-1 lead in the fourth that they would never relinquish, and the team took advantage of a couple Angel errors in the eighth to tack on crucial insurance runs after the Angels cut the lead to one off Mariano.

The game started with the Yanks stranding six runners in the first three innings, not unlike Game 4.  That hurt, for they trailed 1-0 in the third as Mathis led off the third with a double, and Abreu’s two-out single scored him.  But the Yanks broke through in the fourth with a terrific rally off Saunders.  Cano came back from 0-2 to work a walk, Swish singled, Melky bunted them over, Jeter worked an eight-pitch walk, and JD lined a 2-1 fastball to left center, 2-1 Yanks.  After struggling in the ALDS, JD really came around in the ALCS, batting .300 with 5 RBI.  Teixeira’s infield single re-loaded the bases, and Saunders walked A-Rod on a close 3-1 fastball inside, 3-1 Yanks, ending Saunders’s night after getting worked over for 30 pitches in the fourth.  But Oliver entered and got Jorge to ground into an inning-ending 4-6-3 DP, clipping the threat short in a still productive fourth.

Andy kept the Angels in check, getting a 4-4-3 DP to end the fifth.  The Angels threatened in the sixth with a two-out rally when Hunter got an infield single on a slow roller to A-Rod, and Vlad blooped a double to right on a pitch down and away, one that only Vlad would consider tantalizing, second and third.  But Pettite got Morales on a comebacker off his glove and right in front of his face to escape.

After Teixeira’s 5-5-3 DP ended the sixth, Lefty got Kendrick on a liner to Swish, then gave up a single to Rivera, ending his night and earning a standing ovation from a raucous Yankee Stadium crowd.  Joba entered and was sharp, getting Mathis on a grounder that took a bad hop and bounced up hard on Jeter but thankfully careening right to Cano, standing on second, for the second out.  As I reminded my daughter as we watched, that is why players move and move to the ball when it is hit–you never know what can happen.  Joba then got Aybar on a 6-3 to end the seventh.  A-Rod smoked a single up the middle to start the seventh but Jorge’s second DP ball erased him.

Mariano entered for a six-out save in the eighth.  Figgins started with a typical Mariano garbage hit, a bloop barely past the reach of a sprinting Jeter in shallow left.  Teixeira made a great diving stop on Abreu’s grounder, 3U and Figgins to second.  Hunter grounded out to Cano on what could have been an RBI single, but Cano was cheating toward the middle to hold Figgins, two down.  Vlad scored the first postseason run off Mariano in New York in ages, singling through the hole on the right side, 3-2 Yanks, but Mariano got Morales on a 4-3 to end the inning.

The Yanks got big insurance runs in the bottom half.  Cano worked a four-pitch lead-off walk off Santana, Kazmir entered and Swish bunted, but Morales’s throw bounced off Kendrick’s glove at first, Swish safe.  Melky bunted and Kazmir floated one well over the leaping Kendrick into right field, scoring Cano 4-2.  Jeter grounded out to Kazmir, JD walked, and Teixeira ripped a long sac fly to center, scoring Swish, 5-2 Yanks.  A-Rod walked again, but Weaver got Jorge looking, ending a chance to completely blow it open.

But honestly, that was that, for I knew like most others that Mariano wasn’t going to allow more.  He buzzed through the last three, getting Kendrick on a 3U, Rivera on an F8, and fanning Matthews Jr. to end the game and ALCS.

In a spirited late-night chinwag with Frank the Sage, we paid considerable respects to the fallen Angels, truly a tough team.  The Sage put it well when he said that, with all due respect to the Red Sox, it is the Angels who have been the Yanks’ biggest nemesis this decade, certainly in the playoffs.  It is the Angels beyond whom the Yanks could not advance come October.  In the immortal words of Inspector Clouseau, Not anymore. This was a tough series win, one well earned, and one that I and a good many of us knew had to occur.  The Yanks had to get past the Angels, they had to solve their playoff nemesis just as the Angels had to and did solve theirs in Boston.  That New York did, and they did it with good pitching and some timely hitting.  They will need to improve their RISP hitting against the Phillies, going 2-8 last night but stranding 12.  They also played good defense (including getting a great 9-3 DP from Swish doubling off Vlad in the second) and committed far fewer mistakes than the usually mistake-free Angels.  But pitching won the series, with the Yanks holding Figgins to .130, Abreu to .160, Morales to .167, and Rivera to .200.  That’s simply outstanding.

The Big Guy got the ALCS MVP, although it could easily have gone to A-Rod or could have been shared between the two.  Regardless, C.C. was money, as was A-Rod.  Kudos to Melky (.391) for having a heck of an ALCS, too.

Not to be overlooked in all the mirth, what a great way to open the new digs, getting to the World Series in its first year.  Honestly, although I had a few worries about some of the super-rich and their selective presence draining from the atmosphere, the new Stadium sounds an awful lot like the old one–LOUD.

I have to confess to being tempted to advocate pitching C.C. last night to seal the deal.  But truly, who better to have going on the mound than the man who is now the winningest postseason pitcher in the history of the game? Pettite’s gem earned him his 16th playoff victory, the most ever.  The guy is flat-out money, and was dominant when he had to be. I can’t say enough about Lefty; great performance in what has been a great year for him.  Great move bringing him back; great.

Back to the World Series for the first time since 2003, and it starts Wednesday night.  Although I am still under the weather, I am feeling a bit better, and may open up the Digital Living Room Wednesday night.  Funny how a trip to the World Series changes one’s outlook.

Enjoy it, Yankees fans.  We have been blessed thus far this year, and I don’t think it ends here.

[Edit: Thanks to everyone for stopping by The Heartland lately.  Last week, there were over 2,000 site visits, well more than usual.  I greatly appreciate that people come here to discuss baseball, and it still honestly surprises me that this blog has drawn any sort of attention despite my lack of spare time.  Thanks a lot, really.]

Published in: on October 26, 2009 at 9:19 am  Comments (10)  

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10 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Great to be back in the game.
    Just wanted to mention a couple of things here,
    1) A-Rod CC AND JETER!
    I know CC and A-Rod had great series but The Captain has played his usual clutch ball LEADING the way!
    2) Tex terrible hitting series BUT what D!!! He stopped about 5 – 6 runs with his glove at first not to mention how many times he picked up his teammates and made them look good. No matter how bad his bat was his glove was great. I can’t believe we lived through 7 years of Giambi’s incompetence. Wow! I have and I hope the Yankees brass has learned a valuable lesson here. D is also very important when you throw bucks at people.
    3)For everyone who trashed him during the year and even into the play-offs please apologize now. THE MELKY has been solid!!! 9 hits several key ones. Good D and a general good positive attitude since Spring Training. I think all of you Melky bashers should come out and apologize publically on this blog.

    Could talk all night but am too happy

    Yanks in 5

  2. The Captain has again been very good in the playoffs, Swedski, on both sides of the ball. Amen to Teixeira’s defense. He has been incredible, one of the best first basemen I’ve ever seen. On Melky, in all fairness, I and others have been congratulating him for his solid play for some time.

  3. *Releases the guillotine on the Rally Monkey. Picks up the severed head and sticks it on a pike*. REST IN PIECES!

    This has been one of the best seasons in a long time! Let’s beat the Phillies and get number 27! See you all on Wednesday Night!

  4. I was in college the last time we went to the World Series and it didn’t end too well. Here’s hoping that 6 years later, we’ve learned from those mistakes. The Phillies won’t be a pushover by any stretch of the imagination, but if we can get past the Superfluous Acronyms who were the 2nd best team in baseball, we can get past the defending champions. I say Yankees in 7. We’ll need 3 wins from CC to get this done.


    That is all

  6. Wiz, there are few among us Yanks fans who enjoyed that victory over the Angels as much as you. Huge victory; just huge. So far, Wednesday looks like a do for the HDLR. I cannot wait.

    I agree about the Phillies, Beth. They will be the kind of tough opponent that the Angels were, no question about it. That said, I agree with your assessment of the Angels–the second-best team in baseball. My boy Frank the Sage and I spoke at length about them last night after the big win, and agreed with that assessment of them and remarked on what value a stern test against them will have in the next series. The Yanks are without question battle tested. I also agree that C.C. should be used on short rest. He can do it because, should he start Game 4 on three days’ rest, he will have had seven days’ rest before Game 1 to make up for it. Plus, the Yanks have done a good job of managing his innings along the way, as with the bullpen to support him. Stick with the three-man rotation, I say.

    Nick, I plan to write something about that quite soon. I feel for Phillips’s family quite a bit, but loathe him even more now.

  7. Yeah I really hate him even more now at least he’s not on the tv now goodbye.

    I’ve been reading some Phillies Blog and forums they are very very confident in beating us. I can see why Sommers isn’t a fan of the fans.

  8. They will get their chance soon enough, Nick, and I don’t think they will like the results. The key is holding down their lineup. It is good and full of power, but I like the Yanks’ pitching a lot. If the Yanks keep them under control, and I believe they will, they will be fine.

  9. As I said on Lohud a few months back sport fans are typicallly ignorant to other teams. But there are fans that have more of a perspective, however.

  10. way to go Jason! congrats on covering the team all year and we made it to the big dance. Here’s to a good series and the elusive, but within sight, #27.

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