Tagged: ALCS

To CC or not to CC?

Two proven pitchers… two good options.

CC 10:24.pngNobody questions the importance of game 6 — or any postseason game for that matter — nobody but Girardi. When your up 3-2 in the LCS, you better go all out to win. Game 7 will bring out every bad possibility, and will turn it into the ultimate failure. Game 7 is what to avoid. 

Girardi has Pettitte going for game 6. With the rainout on Saturday, the Yankees have a chance to start Sabathia on regular rest. Regardless, Girardi has Pettitte going for game 6. 
This brings us back to the original statement. The importance of game 6. Starting Pettitte in game 6 may be the safe route — you will have CC to fall back on should you lose — but by doing that, you are treating both games as if they have the same importance.
As I said before, you better want to stay away from game 7. You don’t want to be in a spot where one mistake ends your season. So, we come to the question, which pitcher gives you the best chance to win game 6, and avoid game 7.
The answer to that is CC. In the regular season, Pettitte had an ERA of almost 8 against the Angels. And CC, has not only proven himself to be the one in the postseason, but has beaten LA twice already. 
Then rises the question, What if CC doesn’t win? Then we are screwed for game 7? Well, if your not going to win game 6 with CC, your not going to win game 7 with CC. After all, would you rather have your best pitcher against Saunders in game 6 or Lackey — their best — in game 7.
It’s not hard to agree with Girardi here.
“We’re going to stick with Andy.” Girardi said.
It’s almost as simple as that. Again, after all, Pettitte is a darn good pitcher. There’s no reason you can’t win behind Pettitte. He is the most experienced, most accomplished and the best case for a so called “big game pitcher.” In reality, CC and Andy are both pretty damn good options. And having a chance to pitch them back to back in game 6 and 7 isn’t to bad of  a spot.
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Poll of the Day:
Who should start game 6 for the Yankees?(online surveys)

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ALCS Game 6 Preview

Angels Logo.gif2009 ALCS.gifYankees NY Logo.gif
Game 6 – LAA @ NYY
8:20 PM ET
NYY Leads 3-2

Angels probable pitcher:

Joe Saunders.jpg
Joe Saunders
#51 LHP
(16-7) 4.60 ERA 186.0 IP 101 SO 1.430 WHIP
Last Game: 10/17 @ NYY: ND, 7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, BB, 5 SO, HR, 105-57 Pit-Str
Postseason (Career): 2 GS (0-0) 4.63 ERA 7 SO 1.371 WHIP
Postseason (2009): 2 GS (0-0) 4.63 ERA 7 SO 1.371 WHIP
Run Support (Season): 6.55 Runs/Game
vs Yankees (Season): 2 GS (1-0) 4.72 ERA 6 SO 1.350 WHIP
Away (Season): 15 GS (8-4) 5.13 ERA 49 SO 1.597 WHIP
Opposing Hitters (Yankees):
Most PA: Nick Swisher (25)
Best BA: Alex Rodriguez (.500, 7 for 14)
Most H: Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez (7)
Most HR: Alex Rodriguez (2)
Notable Stat: –3, < 2 outs: .436 BAA 27 RA
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Yankees probable pitcher:
Andy Pettitte.jpg
Andy Pettitte
#46 LHP
(14-8) 4.16 ERA 194.2 IP 148 SO 1.382 WHIP
Last Game: 10/19 @ LAA: ND, 6.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R, BB, 2 SO, 2 HR, 95-59 Pit-Str 
Postseason (Career): 37 GS (15-9) 3.90 ERA 148 SO 1.329 WHIP
Postseason (2009): 2 GS (1-0) 2.84 ERA 9 SO 0.947 WHIP
Run Support (Season): 5.52 Runs/Game
vs Angels (Season): 3 GS (0-2) 7.88 ERA 6 SO 1.813 WHIP
Home (Season): 16 GS (6-4) 4.59 ERA 74 SO 1.490 WHIP 
Opposing Hitters (Yankees):
Most PA: Torii Hunter (37)
Best BA: Mike Napoli (.556, 5 for 9)
Most H: Vladimir Guerrero, Gary Matthews (9)
Most HR: Torii Hunter, Juan Rivera (1)
Notable Stat: Night games: 3.54 ERA Day games: 5.73 ERA
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Keys to the Game:
  • First pitch: In the 2009 regular season, opposing batters hit .409 on the first pitch against Saunders. 
  • Wait it out: The third time a team faces Saunders in a game, they are hit a combined .302 in the regular season.
  • Think air: Saunders had a 1.32 GO/AO (Groundouts to Air outs) ratio in the 2009 regular season. The league average was 1.06 GO/AO. Saunders lives on the grounder, so think about keeping the ball off the ground. 
  • Swipe #2: Opposing teams are successful 82% (14 for 17) of the time when attempting to steal second base.   
Scouting Report:
  • The fastball: Saunders throws his fastball at an average speed of 90.5 MPH and throws it 63% of the time.
  • The curveball: Suanders throws his curveball 15.3% of the time at an average speed of 76.2 MPH.
  • The change: Saunders drops his change 17.9 % of the time at an average speed of 82.5 MPH.
  • The slider: The slider is Saunders least popular pitch. He throws it just 3.5% of the time at an average speed of 81.4 MPH.
Poll of the Day:
What will be the outcome of the ALCS?(answers)

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ALCS Game 4 Champs & Tramps

Yanks pound Angels, one away from the pennant.


A-Rod 10:20.png

With the Yankees 10-1 win on Tuesday night, the Yankees are just one win away from their first World Series appearance since 2003. Here are the champs of the game, and the tramps of the game.

Champs:

A-Rod
With yet another home run last night, A-Rod now has an RBI in every game this postseason. He has more home runs and RBI’s this postseason than he recorded in his four previous postseasons with the Yankees. His home run was his fifth of the postseason and the third of this series, both career bests. 

CC
Another “choker” in the postseason has come up big for the Yankees. Pitching on three games rest on Tuesday, CC went 8 innings giving up just 5 hits, 1 run, 2 walks and 5 strikeouts. Sabathia has an ERA under 1.4 this postseason and a WHIP of .750. Chances are we won’t see Sabathia again in this series.
Other Considerations: Melky Cabrera, Kendry Morales, Ervin Santana
Tramps:

Kazmir
After a great season against the Yankees, pitching to an ERA of 3.20 in 3 regular season starts, the young lefty struggled in his postseason debut in Anaheim. Kazmir went just 4 innings, giving up 6 hits and four walks while surrendering 4 runs. His control was just not there, and the results reflected that.
Umps
Just a couple of weeks after a horrible foul ball call in the ALDS, the umps didn’t have a much easier time tonight. Starting with a missed call on a pick off at second, the umps continued to miss relatively easy calls throughout the night. Swisher was called out on a sac-fly saying he left to early, when replays showed that not only did he not leave early, but the ump wasn’t looking anywhere near the play. Later on, an easy double play call was missed, where only one of the two out runners were called out. Ultimately, none of the calls lead to any runs, but MLB should certainly look into these umps.
LA’s ‘pen
Holding down this Yankee lineup when trying to bridge 5 innings is not an easy task, but this Angels pen had big trouble holding the score. Santana was the one bright spot out of that pen. The combination of Bulger and Palmer gave up 5 runs in just 1 2/3 innings. That was the defining factor of game 4.
Other Considerations: Chone Figgins, Bobby Abreu, Hideki Matsui
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A monumental mistake

Girardi’s decisions cost Yankees game 3.

Angels Walk Off 10:20.pngJust a few days after the heroic game 2 in New York on Saturday, the Angels and Yankees put on another show Monday afternoon. This time in Anaheim. The Yankees had the early lead, on the back of three solo home runs. After blowing a lead and coming back, the score was 4-4 as the two teams entered extra innings for the second game in a row. 

After David Robertson recorded two quick outs in the bottom of the 11th, Girardi decided to bring in Aceves. Aceves then surrendered a single then a RBI double to win the game for the Angels. 
After the game Girardi said that he “liked the matchup better,” with Kendrick and Mathis, the next two hitters.
Heres the problem. According to “The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball” batter-pitcher matchups mean nothing. Studies they did show that there is no predictive value to a so called “good matchup.” 
To show that, they used data from 1999-2001 to find the best batter vs pitcher matchup. That matchup was Luis Gonzalez vs Andy Ashby. In 1999-2001, Gonzalez had a wOBA (weighted on base average) of .798 against Ashby. The interesting thing is that in the next year, 2002, Gonzalez hit a much lower .300 against the same pitcher. That isn’t just a fluke, because the top 20 batter-pitcher matchups all had the same result.
What does all of this mean? It means that no matter what the matchups are, you can’t expect it to withstand in any given at bat. You should always expect a batter to hit at his norm, rather than his numbers against a certain pitcher.
In this case, Aceves had never faced Kendrick and Mathis was 0 for 2 in his career against Aceves. We don’t even need any data for that. That is not even close to enough information to even argue that the matchup is better, which we just established wouldn’t mean anything anyway.
Along with that mistake came two others. Gardner pinch ran for Matsui and was caught stealing on a pitch out. I had said right before that the Angels would pitch out on the first pitch. They did and Gardner was thrown out. If something is predictable, don’t do it. More recently in game four, Jeter was running on the first pitch and was picked off. Girardi has become to predictable.
All I am saying is that some 15 year old kid (that’s me) should not know more than the manager of the New York Yankees. If I were the manager, that game would not have ended in that inning, and who am I? It’s debatable how much influence a manager really has. But one thing is for certain: It takes a great manager to make a bad team win, and a really, really bad manager to make a good team lose. And Girardi is a really, really bad manager.
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Jeter collects #20 in the postseason

Jeter’s leadoff home run puts Yanks on top.

Thumbnail image for Jeter HR 10:19.png

Going into Mondays game in Anaheim, the Yankees owned a 2-0 lead in the ALCS. It would be needed, as the Yankees have never played well in southern California.

Derek Jeter was quick to prove that wrong. In the first at-bat of ALCS play in Anaheim, Jeter crushed his 20th postseason home run — a long shot over the left field wall — to give the Yankees a quick, 1-0 lead.
It was his 20th career home run in the postseason, just 1 game after he knocked his 19th home run which passed him by Reggie Jackson and Mickey Mantle for 3rd on the all-time postseason home run list.
Home run #20 now puts him 2 away from 2nd place and former teammate Bernie Williams (22) and 9 away from LA’s Manny Ramirez (29).
Jeter’s leadoff home run was his third of his career and his 2 home runs this series ties a career high for home runs in a series. The most home runs he has hit in a postseason came in 2000 when he hit 4, he is just one shy of that mark.
Derek also leads in all-time postseason games played, at-bats, plate appearances, runs scored, hits, total bases, singles, and — not as impressively — strikeouts. 
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Poll of the Day:
Can A-Rod now be called a “clutch” player?(answers)

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A Game for the Ages

A-Rods clutch homer in the 11th keeps the game alive.

Hairston 10:17.jpgIt’s not to surprising that the Yankees have continued their walk off magic into the postseason. Leading the major leagues with both 51 comeback wins and 15 walk offs in the regular season, the Yankees lead in both those categories in the postseason. Last night (and this morning) marked the Yankees second walk off win and their fourth comeback win this postseason. Just a week away from the thriller game 2 of the ALDS, the Yankees put on another show in the Bronx.

Burnett for the Yankees and Saunders for the Angels both took the mound to start the game. Both pitched very well, each giving up just two runs and going more than 6 innings. Burnett was a bit sloppy though, giving up one of his runs on a wild pitch.
Burnett wasn’t the only sloppy one. The Yankees had 3 errors and the Angels had two. They combined for 4 double plays and 28 men left on base. With those kind of numbers, it is no surprise the game went 13 innings.
The bullpens were the silver lining in this one. The Yankees finished the game with just one reliever left, Chad Gaudin. They used 7 relievers who combined for 6.2 innings pitched. Together they allowed just 1 run and struck out 6 batters. Robertson, the final pitcher, recorded the win.
The Angels somehow managed to use just 4 relievers. They, to, pitched very well. They combined for 5.1 innings and gave up 2 runs and struck out just three batters. Ervin Santana got the loss.
The Yankee bullpen probably came out on top in this one. Especially because of probably the biggest point in the game. The Angels, after taking the lead in the 11th inning, brought in their closer Brian Fuentes. The due up batters were A-Rod, Guzman and Gardner. Guess what? Down 0-2, A-Rod lifted a shot right over the right field wall to tie the game. A-Rod now has 6 straight postseason games with an RBI, dating back to 2007 against the Indians. That is the longest streak in his career by a long shot.
From then on, it was sloppy. Each team had opportunities in each inning but couldn’t cash in. The player who could probably take the most blame is Guerrero who came up with bases loaded, 2 outs twice and struck out both times. It was clear, to me at least, that one of these teams was going to win on a gift, because neither team was acting like they really wanted it.
That was the way it turned out. Hairtson scored in the bottom of the 12th on a throwing error by Izturis at second to win the game.
“Izzy just tried to do to much,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “Your not going to turn two there.”
The game took 13 innings and 5 hours and 10 minutes. It was the second longest by innings and the fourth longest by time in ALCS history. Hopefully, for the sake of our health, the Yankees never break that record.
Player of the Game: Alex Rodriguez: 1 for 6, HR, RBI
The Wrap-Up: This was going to be a big game either way it turned out. If the Angels could go back to Anaheim tied 1-1 in a place where the Yankees are horrible, this series would pretty much be in their hands. Instead, the Yankees have full control. But, don’t forge what happened in 2004. No lead is a sure lead. The Yankees know that more than anyone.
Coming Up Next: We go to southern cal. where weather will surely no longer be the problem. It will be Pettitte vs Weaver. I haven’t seen the forecast, but I’d bet $1,000 it will be 70-80 degrees, sunny and low humidity on Monday. Typical southern cali day.

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ALCS Game 2 Live Coverage

Damon 10:17.png

It’s cloudy and 45 degrees right now in the Bronx. Both teams hope to get in this second game of the ALCS. If it were to get rained out, tomorrows game would take place on Sunday, before flying to Anaheim for game 3 on Monday. 
According to weather.com, there is a 35% chance of rain at 8:00 pm and then a 50% chance of rain for the rest of the night. Temperatures are expected to be a bit below 40 degrees. It will be another cold one at the stadium. Look forward to seeing Cano playing ninja style again. It will be interesting to see how the weather affects A.J.’s breaking ball. We saw it was difficult for last nights starters to throw a good one. 
“We’ll see what happens,” Yanks manager Joe Girardi said last night. “I’m not too concerned, because we played tonight. Hopefully we get tomorrow’s game in. But if we don’t, we don’t.”
Lineups and game notes are posted.
THE LATEST:
1:07 a.m. Hairston scores winning run on throwing error by Izturis. Yanks up 2-0 going to LA. I’m going to sleep. See you later today I guess.
1:01 a.m. Robertson gets Guerrero on a ground ball to second. We go to the bottom of the 13th.
12:57 a.m. Game began 5 hours ago.
12:47 a.m. At some point, someone is going to need to swing at the first pitch, which tonight and all season, has been a fastball right down the middle. Either way, we now go to the top of the 13th inning.
12:46 a.m. Bases loaded, 2 outs, bottom of the 12th, 3-3, A-Rod at the plate. Dream.
12:36 a.m. Bottom of the 12th. Ervin Santana comes in to pitch. It will be Melky, Posada and Jeter. Please let this be the inning.
12:25 a.m. Marte does the job, gets Morales on a ground out to third. Robertson coming in. Robertson pitched in the ALDS and escaped from that bases loaded, no out jam in game 2 which allowed the Yankees to win the game. 
12:21 a.m. The 7th pitcher of the night comes in for the Yankees with 1 out in the top of the 12th. It will be Marte. He made 1 appearance in the ALDS and gave up 2 hits without recording an out. He will try to get on track here with his ALCS debut.
12:20 a.m. #91 Aceves still in the game. Time to focus, still outs that need to be recorded and runs that need to be scored.
12:11 a.m. You gotta be kidding me! MR CLUTCH? MR OCTOBER? NO, MR RODRIGUEZ! A-Rods 3 HR’s this postseason are the reason they are 4-0 and have a chance at 5-0.
12:05 a.m. Hunter grounds into 5-4-3 DP. A-Rod leads it off for the Yankees in the bottom of the 11th. If the lead holds up, the series will be tied at 1 moving to Anaheim.

Aybar 10:17.png

12:01 a.m. Matthews scores on a Figgins RBI single to left. Angels take the lead. That’s what you get for the leadoff walk.
11:44 p.m. Big break for the Yankees. Cabrera called safe at second on double play ball. McCarver saying it should have been called before. Maybe he wasn’t off the bag before! I understand it is to protect the players, but he didn’t even come close to touching it. Come on McCarver.
11:38 p.m. Rivera finishes throwing 2.1 innings. Last time he threw at least 2.1 innings in a postseason game was the 2003 ALCS. We go to the bottom of the 10. Darren Oliver in the game.
11:31 p.m. Rivera remains in the game to begin the tenth, entering his third inning of work. Last time Rivera pitched at least 2 innings in the postseason was the 2007 ALDS against the Indians. Aceves in the Yankees pen, Oliver in the Angels pen.
11:29 p.m. Cano grounds out to the catcher and slams down his helmet as he’s thrown out at first to end the inning. Should have swung at the first pitch which was right down the middle. Come to think of it, every hitter should, the entire league hit over .350 this regular season on the first pitch. Problem is, almost no one does it.
11:28 p.m. All with 2 outs: Matsui single, Guzman pinch runner, Gardner single, Guzman to third with the winning run. Cano at the plate with a chance to win it.
11:19 p.m. Snow falling in NYC.
11:16 p.m. Rivera strikes out 2 of the 3 batters he faced as a part of a 1-2-3 ninth inning. He faced the 1,2 and 3 hitters. Great game. If the Yankees win this one, it’ll be the 17th walk off of this stadium and the 2nd of the playoffs. 
11:03 p.m. Posada comes in as a pinch hitter and grounds out to second on the first pitch he sees from Jepsen who enters the game. First pitch was clocked at 100 mph.

Guerrero SO 10:17.png

10:57 p.m. I was surprised at first, but then again, who can resist. Hughes out after 0.2 innings of scoreless, 1 hit, 1 strikeout ball. He should have been out of the inning, but a Jeter booted double play ball kept the inning going. “The Sandman” enters, the crowd goes crazy. Exactly 3 hours after the game starts, Mariano Rivera enters the game. DESTINY.
10:34 p.m. Chamberlain strikes out Guerrero with bases loaded. Crowd, Joba and A.J. all go crazy. Game tied at 2 at 7th inning stretch.
10:26 p.m. Coke strikes out Abreu with runners on 1st and 2nd 1 out. Chamberlain comes in with 2 on and 2 out with Hunter at the plate in the top of the 7th.
10:14 p.m. Burnett out of the game. Tips his cap to the crowd. His line: 6.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO. Coke is in the game.
10:08 p.m. Saunders has thrown 91 pitches after 6 innings. If he comes out for the next inning, it will surely be his last.
10:01 p.m. Burnett gets through the 6th inning 1-2-3. His night probable over after throwing 105 pitches. Heres his line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO
Aybar Scores 10:17.png

9:43 p.m. Molina in the on deck circle is a signal that Burnett is going to stay in the game. He has thrown 90 pitches, 33 of which were last inning. Robertson was warming  

in the top of the inning.


9:39 p.m. Wild pitch by Burnett scores Aybar. Tie game now. Guerrero grounds out on next pitch. In retrospect, could have been a lot worse. You have to believe the Yankees can and will score another run.


9:36 p.m. Walk to Hunter loads the bases. Ball flys into stands, big break for Yankees because Aybar probably would have scored. Vladimir Guerrero at the plate with 2 outs. Very big spot.

9:33 p.m. Burnett gets Abreu on a long foul out to Damon all the way in the left field corner with his back against the wall. Still runners on 1st and 2nd now with 2 outs and Hunter at the plate. Big spot in the game.

9:24 p.m. Hit batsman puts runners on first and second with one out. One run lead for the Yankees in jeopardy as Abreu steps to the plate. First jam for Burnett here in the 5th. Abreu is 0 for 6 so far in the ALCS.


Jeter HR 10:17.png

9:21 p.m. Aybar with an RBI single up the middle after a Izturis double put a runner on second. Yankees lead cut in half, 2-1.

8:52 p.m. Once again Jeter comes through.  A line drive home run to right makes it 2-0 Yankees. That is his second HR this postseason and his 19th of his postseason career. He passes Reggie Jackson and Mickey Mantle for sole possession of 3rd place on the all time list.


8:30 p.m. Robbie Cano (with the ninja gear) rocks an RBI triple into the right field gap. Swisher scored the run and got on by a walk. All of that happened with 2 outs.

In the regular season, the Yankees allowed the most runs with 2 outs in all of MLB, but also scored the 3rd most in MLB. The Angels were 2nd in scoring runs with 2 outs.


Bur
nett 10:17.png

8:19 p.m. 1-2-3 inning for A.J. He seems to have sharp break on just about everything that he is throwing. He recorded his second strike out of the night by striking out Morales looking.

8:13 p.m. 1-2-3 inning for Saunders. He threw 13 pitches, 7 strikes. Damon just missed a home run. It was caught be Abreu about 4 or 5 steps in front of the wall. Looks as though the ball is not carrying so far in this series.

8:05 p.m. Burnett escapes first inning giving up just one hit — a bloop double to Torii Hunter. He added one strike out. Figgins and Abreu are a combined 0 for 10 so far in this series.


7:57 p.m. First pitch is a strike to Figgins. Temperature is 47 degrees.

7:04 p.m. Skies have cleared up a bit, but the chance of showers has increased to 50% at 8 pm ET, then 60% by 10 pm ET. As of this point, players are taking batting practice, and it looks, at this point, that play will begin as scheduled.

Stadium 10:17.png

6:30 p.m. Just found out that it will be Tino Martinez throwing out the first pitch tonight. There will be quite a greeting for him from the fans.

5:56 p.m. Weather Update:

Girardi on the weather:

“When I looked this morning, it looked grim,” Yanks manager Joe Girardi said. “Now I look at it and I think we’ve got a pretty decent shot of playing. I know the percentages went down. It seems like it might be like it was yesterday.”

Joe Girardi and Mike Scioscia are scheduled to meet with MLB representatives at 7:00 pm ET to discuss weather conditions.

5:10 p.m Lineups are posted in addition to some important and interesting game notes.

4:58 p.m. The gates opened to the stadium about 30 minutes ago. MLB is looking closely at the weather forecast for tonight. Right now it is not raining and 49 degrees with 11 mph winds. Keep up with the weather at weather.com