World Series Game 2: AJ Handcuffs Phillies

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The above photo is of Ryan Howard after AJ struck him out three times tonight. OK, no it isn’t, but I’m sure that’s how Howard felt – especially after Mo struck him out too, making him eligible for this.
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Everybody was so nervous (including me) about AJ and whether he’d be able to control his emotions, avoid the wildness that’s plagued him in the past and perform on the big stage.
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Obviously, he performed so well that the Yankees beat the Phillies 3-1.
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He wasn’t just good. He was masterful, working seven innings and only giving up a run on four hits. After the game, he told the media: “It’s the funnest I’ve ever had on a baseball field.” So what if “funnest” is not an actual word. It was AJ’s night and if he wanted to say “funnest,” then “funnest” it was!
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Pedro was keeping the Yanks off balance in the early innings, and when the Phillies jumped out to a 1-0 lead I thought, Please don’t let this be a repeat of Game 1. But Tex came to the rescue with a solo shot in the fourth to tie the score and break out of his slumber.
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After Matsui put the Yanks ahead with his own blast into the seats, I decided it was safe to eat dinner. The “lucky” turkey club sandwich had lost its effectiveness during the ALCS, so I turned to the only food that was deliverable to my house at that hour.
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The pizza was delicious, but then – after Posada knocked in Gardner in the seventh for 3-1 – the umps made that questionable ruling on Damon’s “double play ball” and I needed some of these.
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Not to beat a dead horse, but is the umpiring bad or what? Seriously. These guys….
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…were reminding me of these guys.
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With AJ done after seven, Girardi went right to Mo for the six-out save and got it – Mo’s 38th career postseason save. It’s staggering how many times Yankee fans have witnessed this scene over the years.
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Other plays of note:
Molina’s pickoff of Werth in the fourth.
Singles by Hairston and Melky in the seventh.
Jeter getting the Clemente award and Fox not showing it.
Ditto for Paul O’Neill’s first pitch.
Alicia Keys’ purple boots.
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Oh, and Pedro’s post-game press conference during which he wore a dark pinstriped version of this.
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“If I was on the Yankees, I’d probably be like a king over here,” he told the media.
The man is never dull. And he can still pitch. But AJ was better, and the Yanks evened the series at 1-1. Now they’re off to Philly by train. All aboard, boys.
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33 Comments

Wow!! Congratulations on this huge win. I kept hearing that it was a “must win.” There you go. I kept thinking about you when I heard about the victory. Now on to Philly.
http://catlovesthedodgers.mlblogs.com

Hey, I thought this was the good experienced umpire crew! This series is going back to the Stadium with either team being up 3-2. I do not think that either team can beat the other team three times in a row. The Molina thing worked for this game, it’s just that I don’t know if I would do it again in Philly. I mean that would create a real sub-prime type of offensive situation at the bottom of their order. A.J. made me a believer with this game even though I’ll still pretty nervous the next time he starts. Can’t seem to break that habit!

Thanks for starting my day with a smile!!! Good thing they won last night. It was another nail-biter. You are so right about the umps -at least they aren’t biased -bad calls for everyone! AJ was awesome, Pedro was good, but he’s still a piece of work. Thanks, Jane.

Whew! So glad they won! AJ was brilliant, and two of the slumbering stars woke up long enough to hit homers.

The Tim/Joe lovefest over Pedro was enough to make ME want to reach for the Tums, Jane. If they said one more thing about his intelligence I was going to scream. But, I guess when you are Tim and Joe a fire hydrant would seem intelligent in comparison. And you’re right etoubman, Pedro is still a piece of work.

Hairston came through with that nice hit. Though the umps made the wrong call, at least this one was close and in real time it was hard to tell.

If having Molina catch will make AJ pitch like last night, he can catch all he wants! That and his great throw to first to get Werth was also a gem.

Melissa

i can’t believe how incredible aj was. i was worried about his control. i was worried about the big inning meltdown he always has. i was worried about everything and never counted on aj having as john sterling kept saying, his best game as a yankee. i am go glad he pitched his funnest game because it was the funnest one i watched him pitch too. game two of post season ump make up calls is kind of strange. i think i would have put joba in for a batter or two and tried to give mo only 3 or 4 outs. i hope mo has 3 more long saves in his arm. and for my dad’s birthday, a winning game to read about all day. yeah. go andy.
barbara

My kids, 37 and 26, have always done whatever I have told them to do. I told them to come home with a victory last night. They did what I told them to do. The pressure of knowing they didn’t have to pay for the tickets if they brought home a victory made them very active and vocal Left Field cheerleaders. Called me often. Discribed it as the a circus. The Yankee Store was ravaged. They got me a “Win one for the Boss” shirt and a hat. What a turnaround for AJ. He got better as the game went on. Confidence is High!!!

PS
My $181 each seats were drawing over $600 each on the street. For us they were “priceless”!

As usual Jane, LOL! As I type this I am watching the game, specifically A.J.’s masterful performance. I listened to the radio broadcast on the computer during the game because the Fox guys make me me nervous, talking aobut how dangerous they are. Enough of that. Great, great game. Now what can we do to get Alex going?

Laurie

Whew….is all I can say this morning.
AJ was awesome last night. I was so worried going into this game because as well all know we don’t always know what AJ we are going to get.

As always – thank you for my giggles this morning at work Jane. I am going to miss your posts after the season more than you know.
Peg

What a great game. AJ really stepped up. I am glad Matsui was able to knock one of out, he has been fairly quiet lately. Pedro defintely pitched well, just not as good as Burnett! I knew coming in that it was going to be rough against the Phillies. I am really hoping we take the next game. Speaking of which, I am pretty annoyed at the scheduling. 8pm on a Halloween Saturday? I am not sure how much of the game I will catch, but I will definitely be following it on my phone!

I was obviously thrilled with the victory as all good Yankees fans would be, but I really wanted to destroy Pedro. He pitched too well for my liking. A.J. was spectacular – we knew he had that kind of talent but how did he calm down so much in such a basically “must win” situation?

Melissa is right – Molina’s throw to first to get Werth was big. I think it was the moment that clinched it for The Bombers and kept everyone in a positive mode.

It still scares me to see Mariano pitch two innings. He threw a lot of pitches. But in the Post-Game on YES Girardi basically said that the reason they rarely have him do that during the regular season is so he can do it in the post-season. Okay, I buy that.

I’m sure everyone heard about the Phillies fan that offered sex for W.S. tickets and got arrested for it. Funny, I had 8 phone messages when I got home last night from friends and family asking if this had happened to me. What are they trying to say?

Finally, I saw on the news this morning that the owners of the Dodgers (husband and wife) are divorcing over her alleged affair and his decision to fire her as a result. She wants a half million dollars per month in alimony to allow her to maintain the lifestyle to which she has become accustomed. Yeah, I could become accustomed to that.

Anyway, waiting now for Saturday – Dandy Andy will nail this one. GO YANKEES!!!

PHOOOOoooo…can I exhale now? It’s been about 10 hours…guess so. I’m SO glad we got one, on SO many levels. How GREAT that AJ was on…ain’t that just like postseason beisbol, that you seldom can predict where your heroes come from…even the HRs…both of ‘em unexpected, esp. Godzilla, who looked overmatched until he golfed that thing! Interesting comment from John Kruk, another Yankee-hatin’ analyst at ESPN…he said the entire game’s momentum turned with Molina’s pickoff, which WOULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED with Hor-Hay in there (Jersey Bob was thrilled), which picked up the crowd and the ballclub, then Tex’s Big Fly in the bottom of the inning…also loved Hairston’s rally-starter…feel so bad for Swish, but whaddya do when you ain’t hittin’ a lick? A comment on the umps…as a long-time softball ump, I’m struck by how OUT OF POSITION the key umps have been on key calls…how would the 1B ump KNOW whether or not Howard caught that liner with his view from BEHIND? The home plate ump can and should overrule…now, that was a very tuff call, but there’s been many others where the plate ump clearly would have had a better view or angle…ok, off the soapbox…savor the moment, and let’s hope we can have a Happy Halloween in a vewy scawy place, where the fans boo EVERYTHING…not always sunny in FILTH-adelphia!!

Big sigh of relief! Good game, great AJ. Pedro still has it – but we were able to take care of business. His “I’d be like a king” comment was too funny – dream on, big guy. Good signs of life from Tex and Matsui. I think A-Rod will wake up in that hitter-friendly park in Philly. By the way, love the cartoon dreamboat. Umpires again were terrible, and are making the case for instant replay every time they take the field. Totally agree that it would have been great to see more than a still photo of Jeter getting the (well-deserved) Clemente award. And not even a mention on TV of Paulie throwing out the first ball. At least I could hear the crowd reaction on TV. Gayle and I will be in Philly on Sunday night to represent, but let’s win game 3 first. Go Yankees!

The announcers lovefest with Pedro made me want to puke my dinner! HELLO….we are in Yankee stadium and AJ is pitching a great game and all we hear is Pedro this and Pedro that! Gag me! In fact they have a love fest with all the Philly players…its like we aren’t even there…no mention of Jeters breaking Gehrigs record during the season ….no mention of any Yankee accomplishments! Then after the game, waiting for YES to kick in all the channels ….Pedro this and Pedro that….come on!!!
The umps are killing me too….altho he did make the blown call right (sorta) by giving us the call in the double play!
Mo worried me in the 8th, thought it was too soon for him but it worked out. I thought AJ could have gone longer and really wanted him to get pulled out during the inning so he could get an ovation! But it was fun seeing Pedro get serenaded!
I got a kick out of Jeter in the pre-game ceremonies…..moving to the music till he saw himself on the screen and laughed!! Such a cutie….but what the heck was he thinking bunting in that situation. Did he do that on his own?
Wel onward to Philly and good luck to Andy!!

Love this blog post … as always very entertaining

I didn’t get to watch the first 4 innings or so due to work (kept up w/ it via Gameday Tracker), but I can’t believe they didn’t show Jeter getting his award or O’Neill’s first pitch. I seriously hate FOX carrying ANY sports, but especially MLB. They butcher everything.

One thing that drives me nuts is how many cutaway shots they do in between EACH PITCH … it’s a minimum of 5-6. And like what they’re cutting away to adds and relevance to the game itself. SHOW THE PITCHING THROWING THE BALL TO THE PLATE AND THE BATTER TRYING TO HIT IT!!!

And I don’t want to talk about the umps, but they suck (LOL).

I know baseball purists (which I consider myself one) don’t want instant replay in the game. They cry “it’s never been used before. Mantle didn’t have it, so why should A-Rod?” … well, we didn’t have the technology back then to be able to use instant replay. I want it restricted and not have every single play reviewed or balls and strikes reviewable (OMG, how long would that take?!?!?!), but something must be done. Sure Mantle didn’t have instant replay in his day, but neither did Johnny Unitas but Brett Favre does now. The NFL, NHL and NBA all have some sort of reasonable instant replay guidelines. Why not the MLB? Why not get the call right on the short hop scooped up by Ryan Howard? He didn’t think he caught. If he did, he wouldn’t have thrown it to 2nd base. He would have just touched 1st for the double play, right????

Ok … this is your blog, Jane. I’ll quit ranting now. Keep up the good work.

Jay (twitter.com/UC_SID)

Jane, no kidding on the 3 Stooges. gee-ma-nee.. and I actually think the “double play” NY turned in the 8th was a makeup. Utley was safe in my opinion. And guess what? Not one single replay from Fox… .hmmmmm. I’m happy for a squared up series and look forward to Saturday. Nice post kid! : )
Buz – http://buzblog.mlblogs.com/

Okay, while we’re all still ranting on the umps, and the images are still fresh…here’s another Ump Tip. Lots of times, we watch the reactions of the players themselves as a clue for what to call, because MOST players, even the pros, are NOT so brilliantly clever that they can effectively fake a play instantly. Yes, fielders will fake that they caught a ball sometimes, BUT…let’s look at what Howard did. IF he thought that he caught that ball, it was EASY schmeezy for him to trot over to first base to double off Posada. But what did he do? He immediately THREW IT to second base — think about it — he’s telling us that HE thought that it was a ground ball, and he’s throwing to second (a MUCH tougher play — you risk a bad throw, bad catch, bad tag) to force out Posada. Here endeth the lesson (and “never stop fighting” — thank you, ‘Elliot Ness’ Costner)!!

I hafta do some research. This has been bothering me for awhile. I vaguely remember three strikeouts being a hat trick, four being the sombrero and five the not-coveted golden sombrero. It’s been twisted I think.
http://www.paullebowitz.com/
http://www.princeofny.blogspot.com/

Thanks, Cat. It was definitely a must-win game or we would have gone to Philly down 0-2. It was another nail-biter but then I guess most World Series games are. Each one matters so much!

I know you were worried about Molina, Len, but it did turn out perfectly with his pickoff of Werth AND his ability to keep AJ together. He even worked a walk! If AJ keeps pitching like he did last night, I’d use Molina again. What I worry about is having Matsui on the bench when we’re in Philly without the DH. I guess Hinske will see some playing time?

Glad you had a smile, Ellen. Pedro was very good and AJ was just better. Which made for an exciting (and nail-biting) game. The umps ineptness didn’t effect the outcome so I didn’t get all that riled up this time. But in general, they’ve been awful.

Melissa, I didn’t write about the Tim/Joe lovefest of Pedro because I didn’t want to give it one more second of “airtime.” But since you brought it up, IT MADE ME NUTS! It was like they were doing an entire special on him, showing the old clips, saying what a genius he is, etc. Meanwhile AJ was winning the game and pitching great! Bizarre! On Twitter we kept making jokes about Pedro, the brain surgeon, and Pedro, the rocket scientist – all the things he was a genius at. It was nice to see Hairston come through with that hit, and Molina’s pickoff of Werth was huge.

I’m glad AJ pitched his funnest game too, Barbara, because he made it our funnest game in the Series so far. :) I’m a little worried about Mo at this point with all the six-out saves. I would have tried Joba in the eighth or even brought AJ back for a batter or two. And, of course, I hope we get a win for your father’s birthday. (Happy birthday in advance, Harold!)

Your kids did a good job guiding the Yankees to that “W,” John. Give them a raise in their allowance. LOL. I can imagine how that store was ravaged. I would have bought one of those shirts myself and a lot more, so it’s good that I stayed away and saved some money. Now can’t your kids go to Philly too? We need them! Amazing that you could have gotten $600 for your tix. Maybe in my next life I’ll be a scalper.

I’m not worried about A-Rod, Laurie. Really. In each series it seems that some are hot and some are not. He carried us through the first two series, so now it’s up to Tex and Matsui or Posada or Cano to step up. I think he’ll hit well in Philly, but even if he doesn’t we’ll be OK. How’s that for optimism!

So Peg=mhugill? Good to know! AJ was awesome. I can’t say it enough. I loved watching him after the game during his press conference, especially since he had his two young sons on either side. So cute. And for a guy who’s so intense on the mound and such a prankster with those pies, he’s very quiet and reserved. Interesting. As for missing my posts after the season, this blog never stops. There’s always something to write about!

I was happy for Matsui too, cheshirecat. He really golfed that inside pitch and it was so huge to take the lead right there. I wish he didn’t have to sit on the bench in Philly but I can’t see Girardi using him in left. As for Halloween, I’ll be home watching the game and eating pizza. We never get trick or treaters up here in the hills so it’ll just be me and my husband and the Yanks.

Amazing that AJ was able to perform so well in that must-win situation, Diane. But then that’s why the Yanks paid him the big bucks. He certainly delivered. And I agree that Molina’s snap throw pickoff was a big lift for the team. I had a sense they’d get it done after that. I, too, worry about Mo with all these six-out saves, as I wrote above, but this is what they play for. It’s all hands on deck. They have the whole winter to rest up. I can see he’s not quite as effective as usual, but I hope it’s not a sign of wear and tear. The Philly she-fan is now saying she didn’t offer sex for tickets. Yeah, right. So people were asking you if you’d do the same thing? HAHAHA. Come on, Diane. Fess up. As for the McCourts, I asked someone in the Dodgers organization how he thought the whole thing would go and he said: “Scorched earth.” I’m guessing that means it’ll be a very, very ugly divorce.

Dave, you make an interesting point about the umps. If they’re out of position, how can they accurately make the calls? And your later comment about the players’ actions and/or acting abilities is genius. If Howard really thought it was a DP, why did he throw to second instead of doubling off Posada? Good sleuthing work!

I was very relieved to see Tex hitting that ball out, ladyjane. I hope he really heats up now. Fox’s coverage has been maddening. Would it really be so hard to show the fans what’s going on down there on the field instead of making us listen to their “analysts” and the endless promos for “Fringe?” Grrrr. So glad you and Gayle will be in Philly on Sunday. It makes me happy to know we’ll have at least two ardent supporters for the cause!

Adirondackgal, I share your antipathy toward Fox’s coverage. Since I’ve already droned on about it in the comments above, I’ll just say I thought it was over-the-top that they kept giving us a History Channel Biography of Pedro during a game in which AJ was shutting down the opposition in YANKEE STADIUM. I agree about letting AJ pitch to a batter or two in the eighth. Maybe he could have pitched the whole inning. But I can’t argue with the result, so let’s hope Mo can withstand all the work. I loved watching Jeter groovin’ to the music. At least Fox let us see that!

Jay, you are so right about those cutaways on Fox. In addition to the previously mentioned complaints, that’s been one of my other annoyances. Why can’t we just see the game? The whole game? Hasn’t it occurred to them that we love baseball and don’t all have A.D.D. and would not be bored if they didn’t cutaway during at bats? OK, enough of that. I’m still not a fan of instant replay – I do love the human element of umpiring – but maybe they could train the umps better or differently?

No replays on Fox, Buz. Interesting is right. Anyhow, aside from the whining about the broadcast and the umpiring, it was a great game and I assume the rest of them will be just as hair-raisingly good!

Paul, yes, please do your research and let me know. I’ve been using the term “golden sombrero” for four K’s, but if it’s wrong I stand corrected.

Si, Senor Pablo, I agree with you…the only GOLDEN sombrero I’ve seen so far was by…poor ol’ Swish, against the Angels. Oh well it was in the 10-1 game so no problemo. Lotsa hat tricks, however…I think I’m watching Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals out there sometimes!!!
One more comment…Ms. Diane, what ARE your friends saying about you? My, my…tsk, tsk! BTW, didja catch the quote from Ms. Finkelstein (the buxom blonde)’s lawyer? He said, “The only swinging she’s interested in is Chase Utley swinging that bat.” Well, as long as he swings that GIDP bat, that’s cool with me!!

Dave, I did see the interview this morning. It was pretty funny. I feel kind of badly for her husband. Its pretty embarassing, true or not. As for me, I’ve been a 100% faithful wife since we married back in September of 1981 but my reputation before that (and my love of the Yankees of course) has stayed with me for all these years – lol.

Hi Jane,
A masterful game by AJ and so nice to see him at the postgame with his sons, sitting with hands folded……perhaps Tex will come out of his funk now, and Mo, what can you say, I was impressed with Hairston’s at bat, a very big hit and Melky too…….on a lighter note, seeing your empty pizza boxes, and knowing you enjoyed them, well i am so jealous……… living in Chicagoland for 13 years, I have not had good pizza in 13 years, or bagels or hard rolls…….oh, the humanity……another big night for our Andy tomorrow…………..go Yanks……..Jane

I loved seeing AJ’s kids, Jane. They must have been completely awed during the press conference and yet they seemed very well behaved. So cute. I sure hope Tex comes out of his funk now. We need him to deliver for us offensively. He’s been terrific with the glove but he has to start mashing. I did enjoy the pizza. I don’t eat it very often, but I guess I’ll be ordering it again tomorrow night….and hopefully Sunday….and Tuesday. I have heartburn just thinking about it, but I’ll take it if it means we win this series!

Hi Jane,

I’ve spent some time reading about the game and here are a couple thoughts. I bet Cliff Lee isn’t too happy that he motivated A.J. and he probably won’t talk about what makes him successful. He also gave great pitching advice about being unpredictable but it helps when you never miss your spots. Also, I think Pedro wants to pitch for the Yankees. He kept talking about how he is a New Yorker and how the fans like the way he competes. I wouldn’t mind having him. And yes, the blogoshpere is worried about Mariano but we know Mariano’s not worried about Mariano. He’s got what Lee was talking about – confidence.
Enjoy your day off!
Laurie

Jane,

Can we have the Angels (and their fans) back please? I swear through one loss from the Phils I have heard 10 times the complaining than from the Angels fans all series. Not to mention the classy Angels players and manager, as opposed to the prognosticating and psychich members of the Phillies organization. I’d much rather play the Angels for 14 games than the Phillies for 7, if not to spare myself the incessant garbage being spewed 100 miles to the southwest. Yuck.

I don’t think anything fazes Cliff Lee, Laurie. He and AJ are buddies in Arkansas, so it was only natural that AJ would want to do as well as his friend did. That’s why these guys are competitors and I’m just sitting here at my computer. LOL. I’ve always thought Pedro wanted to come back to NY after his experience with the Mets wasn’t too thrilling. He does stir the pot and he can still pitch. And you’re right about Mo. He doesn’t seem worried so I guess we shouldn’t be. I just hope he’s soaking that arm in some fountain of youth right now. Day off? Not for bloggers! I’ll be back with another post later tonight.

Are you hearing it from the Phillies fans, rocklandyanks? I’m out of the loop here in California so I get more flak from Angels fans. All I can tell you is the Phillies fans on MLBlogs are great, and I’ve enjoyed our back and forths about the series.

LOL @funnest. Baseball players are funny, most of them go through college, but most aren’t too bright.

http://www.bronxbaseballdaily.com

congrats to your Yankees on the win…even with the umpires inefficiencies someone actually won the game…. and now its off to Philadelphia, hopefully more excitement and a happier time for the Phils…:-)
~peter
Outside the Phillies Looking In
http://devilabrit.mlblogs.com

It’s funny about “funnest,” Rob. I remember when I was a kid in NY and watching the Knicks a lot. One of the players was interviewed at half time and said, “I hope we’ll do a little gooder in the second half.” I realized then that they weren’t all geniuses. I love them anyway!

Thanks, Peter. It’s been such a great series so far, pitching wise, and so tense. I know the crowd in Philly will be loud! Looking forward to tomorrow night.

I loved watching this game. I loved seeing our boys stick it to Pedro. I loved seeing Pedro make a fool of himself yet again. Just so many things from this game worth smiling about, it’s almost too much! Key word = almost. I’m looking forward to Andy’s start tonight. He’s gonna get it done, I can feel it. Happy Halloween!

- Lisa
http://perennialpinstriper.mlblogs.com/

Oh, good. You’re practicing that power of positive thinking again, Lisa. You say Andy will get it done, so it WILL happen. Happy Halloween to you too! Let’s hope we scare the Phillies.

“Other plays of note:…Alicia Keys’ purple boots…” that’s so funny.
We’re tied now, looking forward to tonight’s game! Thank you for the sense of humor in your posts, I enjoy stopping by :)
http://enjoyingtheballgame.mlblogs.com

I’m so glad you’ve been enjoying the posts, Saundra. I’m looking forward to tonight’s game too, even as my stomach starts to tie itself in knots!

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