Sunday, November 01, 2009

Yankees Take a 2 to 1 Lead

The game turned on a ball four count to Mark Teixeira. Up until that point in the fourth inning, Cole Hamels looked in complete control. The Yankees hadn't even gotten a hit to that point. Meanwhile, Andy Pettitte looked off and the Yankees were quickly down 3-0. Then Teixeira came up and with a full count in the fourth inning, took a pitch that was low and inside according to the umpire. But the Pitch Trax thing featured by FOX showed the pitch to be a strike. Then A-Rod came up.

A-Rod could have been coming up with two out and nobody on. But instead, there was one out and a man on first. No way you can pitch around A-Rod at that point. Hamels jammed A-Rod just slightly but A-Rod got enough of it to send it to the wall in right. A-Rod chugged into second and Teixeira held up at third. But A-Rod thought it was gone and the replay showed it hit the camera in right. The umpires huddled and then looked at the replay and ruled it a homer.

The question that was never asked and we'll never get an answer to was whether the ground rules before the game discussed whether the camera was in play or a homer if hit. The replay didn't clearly show that the ball would have cleared the fence if the camera wasn't there because a bit of the camera hung out further than the fence, or so it appeared. This Fan thought the replay was inconclusive. But if the camera had been discussed during the ground rules before the game, and it was said that if a ball hits the camera, it's a homer, we'll never know.

That made the game 3-2 and the Fan isn't a sports psychologist, but Hamels probably had a bit more pressure on him at that point. After Pettitte held the game at three, Hamels gave up a double to Swisher, a single (lucky dunk shot) by Pettitte tied the game. Jeter then hit another dunk shot to center to make it first and second before Damon rattled a double to right to put the Yankees up 5-3.

At that point in the game, the Yankees had received a couple of favorable calls, gotten a couple of lucky hits and were up by two runs. But the Fan told the good wife that the game was far from over. Jason Werth made that statement sound ominous with his second homer of the game to make it 5-4, but Pettitte held it from there.

That's the thing about Andy Pettitte. Is Andy Pettitte a great pitcher? No. He isn't. He isn't overpowering. He isn't really tricky. But he consistently keeps the Yankees in the game long enough for good things to happen. He made 32 starts for the Yankees this year. He gave up six earned runs twice and five earned runs four times. That was the most he gave up in any game all year. He bends, but he doesn't break. He doesn't get blown out. The same holds true for the post season and Saturday night was no different. He gave up four runs in six innings. His ERA for the Series stands at 6.00. But it could have gotten much worse, but he doesn't let it. And that's why he has more post-season wins of anybody ever.

Of course, a good bullpen doesn't hurt either. The Yankees got a good inning from Joba, a great inning from Marte (surprise!), one out and a homer by poor Phil Hughes and a two out, non-save from Rivera. Rivera has probably already earned his Hall of Fame ticket, but if the Yankees can win this series, then it's more of a lock than ever. The guy has just been a life saver.

Sabathia goes tomorrow for the Yankees against Joe Blanton. On paper, it looks like a mismatch. But nothing is a mismatch until the game is over. If the Phillies win, we have a heck of a series going. If Sabathia is sharp and the Yankees win, then the Phillies are in a heap of trouble.

Addendum: According to a next day story, the ground rules DID state the camera was out of play. Aha! Click here.

No comments: