Tuesday, October 20, 2009

8 Hours of Incredible Baseball - Yankees vs. Angels

Last night - that's Monday the 19th was a great night of baseball, starting at 4:07 PM and lasting until past  midnight.  There were two playoff games, both ending at 5-4 for the home teams, Angels and Phillies., on walk off doubles.

In the first game, the Angels, seemed headed for disaster.  With a loss, they would have fallen behind 0 - 3 in the series.  The Yankees got solo HR from Jeter, A-Rod, and Damon and led 3-0.  The Angels couldn't hit Pettitte, so there chances looked grim.  But they persevered and got a HR by Howie Kendrick and a dramatic, majestic HR by Vladimir Guerrero to tie the score at 3.

That's when things started to get interesting from a strategic point of view, and Joe Girardi made some confusing moves.  With one out, and the bases empty, in the 7th inning, he pulled Pettitte and brought in Joba Chamberlain.  Chamberlain got rocked, giving up a triple, long sacrifice fly, and a double; and of course the lead.  As usual, it didn't take the Yankees long to tie the game, which they did on Jorge Posada's HR in the 8th inning.

It looked like the Angels would win the game in the 10th.  They had 1st and 3rd, no out.  But the "Great Mariano" got three straight ground outs to Texeira at 1st base.  And the Yankees escaped, as the game went on.

The Angels won in the 11th when they scored a run with the help of Yankees manager Joe Girardi.  It's ironic that in game 2, the Yankees won on a physical error by Angels 2nd baseman, Maicer Izturis.  In last nights game, the error was a strategic, mental error by Girardi.  In the bottom of the 11th, with two out and no one on base, David Robertson, was inexplicably removed from the game, in favor of Alfredo Aceves.  Although, Aceves is a good pitcher, so is Robertson.  And Robertson easily retired the first two batters of the inning.  Plus, another right handed batter was coming up and Aceves, like Robertson, is right handed.  Lastly, it was the 11th inning and if the game had gone a few more innings, the Yankees would have run out of relief pitchers.  There seemed to be no advantage whatsoever, to rush Aceves into the game at that point.

Still, the odds were with Aceves.  He needed only one more out.  But he gave up a single to Kendrick, and a game winning, walk off double, to the weak hitting, Jeff Mathis.  Final score in 11 innings; Angels 5 - Yankees 4.  The Yankees lead the series 2 games to 1.

Next post in a few hours will cover the last 4 hours of last night's game - a dramatic win for the Phillies and a heartbreaking loss for the Dodgers.

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