They say that baseball breaks your heart, but what they don’t tell you is that it gives you heart attacks. Seriously, it should come with a warning label.
With the exception of Tuesday night’s 10-1 blowout, the ALCS games against the Angels have been as nerve-wracking as they’ve been exciting, with the outcome never clear until the final out. Tonight’s 7-6 loss was a case in point, and I’m exhausted.
AJ was so astonishingly bad in the first inning that I was ready to jump off a bridge. He had nothing. His pitches didn’t dive and dart. They just sat there, begging to be eaten, like some balls of mozzarella.
At the same time, the Yankees offense looked lifeless against Lackey (is there any Yankee batter who can hit a curve ball?), so I figured it just wasn’t our night – especially after yet another blown call; Damon was clearly safe at first and, instead, was ruled an inning-ending out. I’m beginning to think the umps should use these.
But then a funny thing happened: AJ settled down. He held the Angels scoreless for five innings, giving the Yanks a chance to come back – and they did. Lackey became unhinged in the seventh after he gave up a double to Melky and a bitterly contested walk to Posada. He walked Jeter to load the bases, and Scoscia had seen enough. Lackey didn’t want to leave the game and practically had to be dragged away.
In came Oliver, who helped Tex break out of his slump by serving up a three-run double. Then he intentionally walked A-Rod and allowed an RBI single by Matsui to tie the score at 4-4. Suddenly, we had a brand new ball game. When Cano tripled off Jepsen, the Yanks went ahead 6-4 and I got up from my couch and started dancing around the living room.
No, I didn’t think we had the game won. Not with three innings left to play. But I was feeling a whole lot better about our chances. Should Girardi have brought back AJ to pitch the bottom of the seventh – with a rested bullpen available, not to mention the best closer in baseball? Probably not. But it was Hughes who threw mozzarella balls to Guerrero and Morales, and the Angels took a 7-6 lead and kept it. Where was Dave Robertson? That’s what I’d like to know. When it became clear that Hughes didn’t have it, why not bring in D-Rob, who has shown such great strikeout-potential? Why, Joe? Why?
And then in the top of the ninth, after A-Rod walked against Fuentes, you pulled him for Guzman. So my question is…..What if the Yankees had tied it up and we’d gone into extras? Why would you want your best hitter out of the lineup? What’s more, why didn’t you have Guzman try to steal, since his speed is the only reason he’s on the roster? Why, Joe? Why?
And just one more thing, Joe. Gardner should be in the lineup and Swisher should be playing this.
Just a suggestion. Anyhow, the series moves back to New York for Game 6. I’m sure Fox is thrilled. I’m not. Well, my heart isn’t. It’s still recovering from tonight.