"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Better Lucky Than Good

Joe Buck summarized it perfectly in the ninth inning: “What. A. Game.”

Game 2 of the American League Championship Series went the way pundits and prognosticators figured every game between the Yankees and Angels would. There was great pitching, timely fielding, and enough punching and counter-punching from both sides to merit an HBO documentary. And like Game 2 of the Division Series against the Minnesota Twins, nine innings weren’t enough to decide the outcome.

Question marks defined the lead-up. Would the weather hold? Would AJ Burnett? How quickly would the Yankees offense strike against Joe Saunders and get into the Angels’ bullpen? Would the Angels rebound after matching the worst defensive performance in their postseason history?

The answers were yes (until the ninth inning); yes, sort of quickly but not with enough oomph to force Scioscia’s hand; and kindasorta.

The scoring reflected the team’s personalities: The Yankees flexed their power while the Angels thrived on their speed and ability to execute small ball. In no inning was this more apparent than the 11th: Alfredo Aceves followed 2 1/3 innings of splendid relief by Mariano Rivera by promptly walking the leadoff man, Gary Matthews, Jr. A sacrifice bunt by Erick Aybar put the lead run in scoring position for Chone Figgins, whose first hit of the postseason plated Matthews to give the Angels a 3-2 lead. In the bottom half, Angels closer Brian Fuentes, who led the AL with 48 saves during the regular season and was a stalwart to the Colorado Rockies’ run to the World Series two years ago, made the mistake of throwing an 0-2 fastball up and out over the plate to Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod drilled a line drive to right field — a 320-foot Yankee Stadium Special into the second row to tie the game at 3-3.

”I just can’t imagine a scenario where you would go braindead and want to do that,” said MLB Network’s Joe Magrane, referring to Fuentes’s decision on 0-and-2 to throw the fastball in that location.

There were times over the next few innings where both teams wasted scoring opportunities. Jeff Mathis belted a two-out double in the top of the 12th and was stranded when Matthews struck out to end the inning. In the Yankees’ half, A-Rod popped up with the bases loaded and the winning run on third. In the top of the 13th, Robinson Cano, for the second time in the game, misplayed a routine grounder off the bat of Aybar. And for the second time, the pitcher bailed him out; David Robertson induced an inning-ending groundout from Vladimir Guerrero, which left Aybar at third base.

The Yankees did not waste their chance in the 13th. Jerry Hairston, Jr.’s leadoff single plus Brett Gardner’s sac bunt had the Yankees set up well. After an intentional walk to Cano, Melky Cabrera, the Yankees’ designated walk-off king during the regular season, hit a bouncer to Maicer Izturis at second base and Izturis, instead of getting the sure out at first base, threw to second to try to force Cano. The throw was wide, pulled Aybar off the bag and rolled to Figgins, who had a play on Hairston at the plate. Figgins bobbled the ball, Hairston scored and the Yankees won thanks to another Angels miscue. The Yankees’ ability to play small-ball and manufacture runs has been lost in the series analysis.

From a fan standpoint, it was a welcome sight to see the Yankees celebrate another extra-inning playoff win. The last time the Yankees played an extra-inning game in the LCS was 2004, when David Ortiz singled home the winning run in the 14th inning of Game 5 to keep that epic comeback alive.

Now it’s on to California, and the big question: With a 2-0 series lead, regardless of what happens Monday, will Sabathia pitch Game 4?



Time of game: 5 hours, 10 minutes
Pitches: 432 (Yankees 230, Angels 202)
Runners Left On Base: 28 (Angels 16, Yankees 12)
Teams’ Combined BA with RISP: .131 (3-23, Yankees 0-8)
AB: 95 (Yankees 48, Angels 47)
Errors: 5
Hits: 21



Per dictionary.com, one definition of the word “consistent” reads as follows:

Being in agreement with itself; coherent and uniform: a consistent pattern of behavior.

By virtue of that definition, AJ Burnett is consistent. His “consistent pattern of behavior” has been to tease with brilliance for a smattering of innings, only to implode over the course of an inning or two. Sometimes he recovers, sometimes he doesn’t.

Such was the case Saturday night. For the first four innings, Burnett appeared to be following in CC Sabathia’s footsteps with an ace-caliber performance. He threw first-pitch strikes to 14 of the 15 batters faced and struck out three. He allowed just three base runners: one via, another on a walk, and he hit a batter.

Burnett’s teammates responded to the solid effort. A two-out RBI triple by Cano opened the scoring in the second inning and Derek Jeter padded the lead with a solo home run in the third. Based on the way Burnett was mixing his pitches, there was reason to believe that two runs would be enough to secure a 2-0 series lead.

Then the fifth inning rolled around and Burnett looked like the maddening enigma Cliff Corcoran described in his Game 2 preview. A leadoff double to Maicer Izturis appeared innocuous until he yielded an RBI single to Erick Aybar and then loaded the bases by hitting Chone Figgins with a curveball and walking Torii Hunter. Aybar scoring on a wild pitch was almost a foregone conclusion, considering he would have scored on Ball Four to Hunter had the fastball that ricocheted off Jose Molina’s shin guard landed in the field of play. The fifth-inning printout: seven batters faced, 1 first-pitch strike, 2H, 2ER, BB, HBP, WP, 33 pitches.

Burnett returned to his earlier form for the next 1 1/3 innings, tossing just 24 pitches and allowing just one base runner.

If the series goes to a Game 6, do you feel confident he can give a similar performance and minimize the damage?


The second and third innings notwithstanding, the Yankees could not maintain the early success they had off Joe Saunders, who capably changed speeds and was just wild enough to force Mark Teixeira, A-Rod and Hideki Matsui to be anxious in their approaches and swing at the first pitch they saw in the strike zone. Only twice after the third inning did the Yankees send more than the minimum three batters to the plate against Saunders. Three times the leadoff man reached, only to be erased by a double play.



PLUS: A-Rod. His third late-inning, game-tying home run of the postseason. All have gone to right field. Could it be that in five postseason games he’s redefining what it means to be clutch?

PLUS: Johnny Damon. Two more hits and a great catch in the ninth inning to rob Figgins of a base hit.

PLUS: Mark Teixeira’s defense.

MINUS: Mark Teixeira’s offense. He was the only Yankee starter to go hitless.

PLUS: The guts of the Yankees’ young bullpen guns. Phil Coke, Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, and the eventual winning pitcher, David Robertson. The quartet combined to pitch 2 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball despite allowing six base runners.

MINUS: Robinson Cano’s defense. Between Cano, Izturis and Aybar, my unofficial count is three physical errors and one mental error by players wearing the ski hoodies.

MINUS: Vladimir Guerrero. Guerrero was 1-for-7 with two Ks. He went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position.



“I’ll sleep good on the plane ride.”
— Yankees manager Joe Girardi


Show/Hide Comments 1-100
1 bartap   ~  Oct 18, 2009 2:33 am

Methinks we're going to see this on, albeit edited, on Yankees Classics.

2 Diane Firstman   ~  Oct 18, 2009 2:52 am

and a new record for posts on a game thread!

3 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Oct 18, 2009 4:09 am

Holy Shit..and I missed it!! 2260 comments on the game thread, and I'll read each one as I get archived replay on!

4 Rich   ~  Oct 18, 2009 4:11 am

This game typified Pat Riley's quote that “There are two things in sports—winning and agony.”

5 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Oct 18, 2009 4:44 am

Ok, I've caught up a bit on the comments and am watching the eternal brilliance of Mo now. But why on earth were Joba & Phil pulled so soon? It doesn't take away from the great win, but I just can't figure it out..

Oh thelarmis, ShaunP, etc..I did catch Jeter's tater on the way out the door this morning, then followed the game notes on my cellphone via Yahoo Japan. So lame to have to be out on assignment during a game like this!

6 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Oct 18, 2009 5:45 am

Whoa...what was with that safe call on Aybar at 2B in the 10th?? How do you suddenly enforce that... odd call...

7 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Oct 18, 2009 6:15 am

That A-Rod home run..really, how could he hit in that rain?
How could Fuentes throw him such a fat pitch on 0-2??
As other commented..check out bOBBy with the leap!!

A-Rod..we are lucky to watch this guy hit!

and Angels fans should be cursing Artie Moreno for letting K-Rod go...

8 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Oct 18, 2009 8:51 am

Great pitching, awesome D from Tex, A-Rod has become Mr. Clutch..and best of all, 2 1/3 from Mariano..there can be no debate: he is not only the Greatest Reliever of All Time, he's really become one of the Greatest Baseball Players of All Time. NO ONE has dominated their position as much as St. Mariano! How lucky we are to have seen his whole career!

9 seamus   ~  Oct 18, 2009 9:01 am

uh oh. I think I walked into Mr OK Jazz's game thread. :)

What a game! Wish you could have hung with us mr ok jazz!

10 nemecizer   ~  Oct 18, 2009 9:34 am

I don't think these games are all that good for my blood pressure, but it sure feels good to wake up the next morning and know that we've won one of them.

Coolstandings is giving the Yankees an 83.7% chance of winning the ALCS. I have a feeling it's going to be Yankees-Dodgers in the WS.

11 williamnyy23   ~  Oct 18, 2009 9:39 am

Joe Magrane had an 8.74 ERA in 11 1/3 post season innings. I wonder how many braindead pitches he threw?

It was comical to hear Buck and McCarver continue to castigate the 2B umpire for making exactly the right call on the Posada would-be double play. Aybar never once touched the base or even made an attempt. The neighborhood play is granted when a fielder hits the bag around the same time as a sliding runner, not when the fielder is camped out at the bag as Aybar was.

Mariano is good.

12 RIYank   ~  Oct 18, 2009 9:42 am

And there came a wanderer, from the Town of Hairs, and he said unto them, "Lo, I have journeyed far and wide these twelve years from Baltimore to Arlington and Chicago and yea, even unto Cincinnati, but ne'er have I been bless'd to bask in the Postseason Light. And I undertake to join arms with you against the evil seraphim."
And they told him, "Take this stick, and wield it in battle, standing shoulder to shoulder with the pinstriped warriors." And the wanderer took the stick and struck out against the seraphim and worried them and badgered them and caused them to err, and when the journeyman, whose name was called Jerry, returned home, they greeted him with a sweet of beaten cream, and they rejoiced.

Thanks be to Mo.

13 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Oct 18, 2009 9:51 am

[9] Yeah man, Tuesday morning at 530am will be ready! Following the games this year on the Banter has really been enjoyable.

[11] But still..how often is that play called "safe"? It's like travelling in basketball..if officials/umpires are not going to consistently enforce a rule, you can't blame a player for being angry at the selective enforcement..

14 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Oct 18, 2009 9:52 am

[12] Well done!
Time for a Guinness and some Mad Men with the lady..methinks she is a bit tired of me watching 5 hour games and then reading the Banter for another hour..

15 williamnyy23   ~  Oct 18, 2009 9:58 am

[13] A good umpire should call it all the time. A good middle infielder doesn't miss the base when he has all day to touch it.

16 Will Weiss   ~  Oct 18, 2009 10:04 am

[13] I've seen the neighborhood play called a few times. I thought it took a lot of guts, even though it was the right call. It made up for the out call on Jeter's double-play in the fifth inning. He clearly beat the return throw.

17 ms october   ~  Oct 18, 2009 10:12 am

mk asked alex on the field last night if he could believe that he came through again with the big hit (or something to that effect) and arod said yes, he could believe it, he has done it his whole career - i loved that answer

18 RIYank   ~  Oct 18, 2009 10:13 am


If the series goes to a Game 6, do you feel confident he can give a similar performance and minimize the damage?

Game 5, right? CC for Game 4, then Burnett for Game 5.

19 williamnyy23   ~  Oct 18, 2009 10:15 am

[16] This wasn't a neighborhood play though. Aybar set up straddling the bag awaiting the throw, then shifted his feet and still didn't touch the bag. The umpires will give you the neighborhood call if you reach the 2B area just as the throw and runner are coming, not if you have literally seconds to touch the base while awaiting the throw.

20 Will Weiss   ~  Oct 18, 2009 10:25 am

[18] I'm not assuming Sabathia is a lead-pipe cinch to pitch Game 4, despite the reports. I asked the question earlier in the piece re: Sabathia not pitching Game 4 should the Yankees win Monday. I have a feeling Gaudin could see daylight and not in a last-man standing type of role.

21 Will Weiss   ~  Oct 18, 2009 10:26 am

[18] But if Sabathia does pitch Game 4, then yes, you're right, Burnett's pitching Game 5 and my statement is incorrect.

22 RIYank   ~  Oct 18, 2009 10:27 am

[20] Good point.

23 williamnyy23   ~  Oct 18, 2009 10:27 am

Arod is the ONLY play in major history to hit 3 HRs that erased a deficit (either tied or put the team ahead) in the 7th inning or later of a post season game .

24 williamnyy23   ~  Oct 18, 2009 10:28 am

[23] That's 3 HRs ever...imagine all in one series!

25 ms october   ~  Oct 18, 2009 10:32 am

[24] postseason, not series, right - but still impressive

26 williamnyy23   ~  Oct 18, 2009 10:53 am

[25] One series would be ridiculous, but what I meant was imagine all in one post season. Besides, Arod is the only player to hit 2 such homeruns in one series (2009 ALDS), so he would just be besting his own record.

27 seamus   ~  Oct 18, 2009 11:03 am

arod is unreal.

28 RIYank   ~  Oct 18, 2009 11:05 am

The Yankees have played six post-season games now; A-Rod has an RBI in six post-season games; the Yanks have won six post-season games.

Jeter's pretty good, too.

On a different topic, to my mind it is now clear that Hinske would have been a better roster move than Guzman. Even in the situations where Guzman is useful, he can turn out to be useless, if you see what I mean.

29 Will Weiss   ~  Oct 18, 2009 11:12 am

[28] Five postseason games, RIYank, but the point is duly noted. 11-0 would be sick.

Alex Belth and I were discussing the Guzman/Hinske decision last night during the extra innings. If Gardner's going to be the default choice for defensive replacement / pinch runner, it would have been better to have Hinske, a lefty power bat, in there for an emergency. Plus, he hit the Angels well in the second half, particularly in Anaheim.

30 ms october   ~  Oct 18, 2009 11:24 am

[28] [29] i know people thought i was defending guzman over hinske - i wasn't, i just sort of know how girrardi approaches these things and he loves the *idea* of two pinch runners.
but last night definitely showed where not having hinske is problematic.

but since guzman is around for now, i would use him over gardner as a pr next time a sb is needed

31 ms october   ~  Oct 18, 2009 11:26 am

i also hope matsui packed the good bats for the trip to la, as the angels are fools if they give arod much to hit

32 seamus   ~  Oct 18, 2009 11:38 am

I really think Guzman is the obvious choice. I just think he is more likely to be useful than Hinske. Might Hinske have been useful last night? sure, because the game went to extra innings. But I think the odds of having multiple games where HInske is useful (ie. 10th+ inning pinch hitter) are much smaller than multiple games where a 7th-9th inning pinch runner is useful.

33 RIYank   ~  Oct 18, 2009 11:43 am

[32] But seamus, even last night, when the situation for him to be useful arose, he was in fact completely useless. It could have been Giambi running and it would have made no difference. Whereas there were PH opportunities well beyond the available PHs.

34 RIYank   ~  Oct 18, 2009 11:54 am

Hey, could someone explain the rules on a point that came up last night:
When Vlad G. swung at strike three and the ball got loose and hit him, he was allowed to continue and reached base safely. Had it been a batted ball, of course, he would have been out and the play called dead.
I couldn't find anything in the rules that explicitly addresses this point. Anyone know where to find it? "The Batter" and "The Base Runner" have little bits about dropped third strikes, but nothing about being hit by the ball in that play.

35 a.O   ~  Oct 18, 2009 11:58 am

[33] Nope. No way Giambi goes first to third on that single by Gardner.

36 ms october   ~  Oct 18, 2009 12:01 pm

i just put on the replay of the post game:
coney is still insisting on calling joe saunders, tony saunders
and yes mk looked ridiculous in that hat

one thing coney said that i find somewhat interesting is when aj's curve is off po would get frustrated with it and just call fastballs, but molina doesn't give up on the curve as quickly - i still don't believe in the molina myth, but that was an interesting point

on the play where vladdy grounded to jeter and jeter's threw pulled tex off the bad and tex tagged vladdy out rather than step on the bag to force him out, i am surprised the angels didn't get the run across home before vladdy was tagged out

37 a.O   ~  Oct 18, 2009 12:04 pm

[11] Hall-of-Famer Joe Moron, I mean Morgan, went so far on ESPN Radio to say that the ump should never make a safe call if the 2B "gains no advantage" by not touching the bag. Why not do that with plays at first and tag plays then?

38 ms october   ~  Oct 18, 2009 12:06 pm

[34] i found this on some umpire thread

5.1.1 SITUATION E: On the third strike, B3 swings at and misses a pitch. The ball touches his arm or person. RULING: B3 is out. The ball becomes dead immediately. (5-1-1a, 8-1-1d)

39 RIYank   ~  Oct 18, 2009 12:13 pm

[35] Don't know, maybe not, but it didn't matter! It was entirely inconsequential. What difference did it make whether Guzman was on third or second? Had he already stolen, then he could have scored on the hit. But he didn't steal. And I expect this kind of thing will happen again, more than once. It's what mattpat calls "Pinch Stand There."

[38] Huh. So, they just missed the call on the Guererro play?

40 The Mick536   ~  Oct 18, 2009 12:14 pm

Loved A-Rod's quote: ... I coulda been 2-0 and then he gave me a good ball to hit.

He coulda thrown Jete a bone during the interview, too.

Think about how big his head would be if he didn't pop out.

And let's not just give Teix credit for his fielding. I'll forgive Jete's error, but not Cano's two. His balaclava got in the way. Otherwise, they be playing great on the field. Other team not scoring too many runs. How many came in on wild pitches?

[11] Correcto mundo.

42 Raf   ~  Oct 18, 2009 12:20 pm

[19] Still, more often than not, the runner is called out.

[28] He can be useful, if deployed properly.

[34] I didn't see the play, was it a wild pitch, a passed ball?

43 a.O   ~  Oct 18, 2009 12:21 pm

[39] So, post hoc, ergo propter hoc? It didn't matter in that situation because Robbie grounded out, but there are many situations where Guzman v. Hinske or Giambi running from either second or third could have made a huge difference. If you want to reason like that, you also haveto say that every time Hinske does not get a hit, he was a bad choice for the roster (if they'd chosen him instead).

On the Vlad call, they blew it!

44 Raf   ~  Oct 18, 2009 12:22 pm

MLB Network has game 5 of the 04 ALCS... Must be some kind of halloween joke, right?

45 The Hawk   ~  Oct 18, 2009 12:23 pm

I'll say it again, the problem with Guzman was how he was used last night, running for Matsui (fine) with two out and Gardner coming to the plate (not fine). Plus it set up a black hole with those two batting back-to-back in the order from then on.

Save the pinch runner for when there's a better chance he'll score.

46 The Hawk   ~  Oct 18, 2009 12:27 pm

[36] What is the Molina myth?

47 RIYank   ~  Oct 18, 2009 12:28 pm

[43] So, post hoc, ergo propter hoc?

"After this, therefore because of this?"
I don't see how that applies, honestly. So, I guess my answer is, "no".

I'm saying that pinch running situations may come up as often as pinch hitting situations, but even when it seems useful to have a faster runner, it's very often going to be useless. Obviously, if Cano had got a hit, and you're right that Giambi couldn't have made it to third on the single, and Cano had got a hit that would not score a slow runner from second, then it would have been useful. Obviously, I am not claiming that a PR is never useful under any circumstances! I'm only saying those circumstances are a lot less common than you might think. The Yankees' pinch runners did them absolutely no good whatsoever, whereas they're PH bench player won the game.

48 RIYank   ~  Oct 18, 2009 12:29 pm

[36] Ms. Oct., that play is still a force play (Vlad hadn't reached first yet), so it wouldn't have mattered if the run scored before the tag. It's a tag force play for the third out, so the run wouldn't count in any case.

49 RIYank   ~  Oct 18, 2009 12:32 pm

[45] I don't quite agree with that. You want to use a PR when using him gives you the biggest increase in scoring chances, not when its a good chance he'll score.
If he had stolen second, that would have hugely increased the Yanks' scoring chances (and if Brett then does execute the 'butcher boy' single, ballgame over). But, he didn't. And we have to face the fact that our speedsters entering a game cold are often going to be unable to steal. And this makes them quite a bit less useful.

(I do agree that Guzman could have been deployed better, though.)

50 Just Fair   ~  Oct 18, 2009 12:35 pm

My head is reeling. What a win. I think my shift button and exclamation point might be broken from last night. HOLY SHIT! maybe not. : )

51 Just Fair   ~  Oct 18, 2009 12:46 pm

Oh, and if weather forecasters switched jobs with baseball announcers would anyone notice?

52 ms october   ~  Oct 18, 2009 12:48 pm

[46] that he is the solution to all the yankee pitching issues
i'm not trying to downgrade him, but as mp pointed out last night, and which i have said before as well - many of the things that people get on po for happen with molina too - the mound conferences, the wild pitches/passed balls, etc

[48] okay thanks for the clarification riyank

53 ms october   ~  Oct 18, 2009 12:50 pm

[51] probably not

just fair did you catch the story from the other night (possibly apocryphal) that coney almost missed throwing out the first pitch because he was hanging in the bar doing with mk's radio show

54 Raf   ~  Oct 18, 2009 1:04 pm

[53] I doubt if the story was apocryphal, Cone admitted to it during the postgame.

55 ms october   ~  Oct 18, 2009 1:16 pm

[54] yeah i heard that, i more wondered if coney was exaggerating himself

56 The Hawk   ~  Oct 18, 2009 1:16 pm

[49] I'd think the increase in scoring chances has gotta be subjective to the situation. In other words there is a threshold that needs to be crossed, whatever that may be, where the chances are actually decent. A large increase that still gets you to a low percentage isn't what I'd advocate.

So maybe for the sake of argument Matsui had a 5% chance of scoring, but Guzman increased it to 40%, that's a huge increase but if Matsui was on second with no outs, and Matsui had a 40% chance and Guzman increased it to 60% I'd take the latter, even though the increase in the chance of scoring is less.

To be clear, I'm making these numbers up completely, its just to illustrate the point.

57 The Hawk   ~  Oct 18, 2009 1:19 pm

[52] I've never heard that myth. I thought you were gonna say the myth that Burnett pitches better to Molina and I was gonna say "But he does". But never mind.

58 RIYank   ~  Oct 18, 2009 1:19 pm

[56] Huh, that seems wrong. You have some weapons. Your goal is to win. Increasing winning pct. is the way you get to your goal. So you should use each weapon at its maximum value.

Maybe I'm missing something, though.

59 Just Fair   ~  Oct 18, 2009 1:24 pm

[53] Ha. That's a good one. i did not hear that. He must have had a cold. He couldn't smell his time coming. : D

60 mehmattski   ~  Oct 18, 2009 1:25 pm

I think if you're playing for exactly one run, then Guzman is absolutely the best choice. If Gardner smacks one down the left field line, Matsui may not score from first, but Guzman almost definitely will. A Hit-And-Run with Guzman can open up the hole between 1st and 2nd for Gardner to poke one through and then you have 1st and 3rd for Cano.

If the play had taken place in the seventh inning, then you can bring in the "Guzman batting in front of Gardner" hole in the lineup angle. But not in extra innings, when you're playing for exactly one run.

61 Shaun P.   ~  Oct 18, 2009 1:36 pm

I got just about 5 hours of sleep last night, and yet I don't feel tired in the slightest. My second wind hasn't left me yet. Has anyone crashed yet, and if so, how bad was it?

At the same time, I cannot imagine what Angels fans are feeling this morning - though those on the West Coast got at least 3 hours' more sleep than many of us did.

I'm also glad that Bruce got the last post - a very nice thread.

[60] et al - As much as I was loathe to see both Swisher and Matsui out of the lineup, I've convinced myself it wasn't as bad an idea as it seemed because of the rainy, late conditions. If someone on the Yanks could have actually hit the ball out of the infield, I could well imagine a miscue by Abreu or Rivera where the ball is rolling around, and Guzman or Gardner leg out a triple. A home run its not, but three bases work pretty well. Presuming of course that someone can drive them home!

I'm looking forward to Monday's early start, because I'll be able to get to bed at a decent hour on Monday night - but how am I going to get out of work in time to get home for a 4 PM start? That I haven't figured out yet.

Now if you'll excuse me, Giants vs Saints is waiting for me on the TiVo.

62 JeremyM   ~  Oct 18, 2009 1:39 pm

[12] RIYank, that post is hilarious. Well done. I always find Tolkien's stuff that is similar in tone to be both unintentionally funny and awesome.

63 monkeypants   ~  Oct 18, 2009 1:45 pm

Is anyone else have problems getting this page to load? I'm using a Mac, alternating b/t Safari and Firefox, and something seems to be making the page hang for several minutes while reloading.

64 joe   ~  Oct 18, 2009 1:49 pm

No problem on my Mac with Firefox, MP.
Try restarting firefox?

65 RIYank   ~  Oct 18, 2009 1:51 pm

[62] Thanks!
[63] Nope. I have the same setup as you, no problems.

66 monkeypants   ~  Oct 18, 2009 1:52 pm

[57] No, that's a different myth. He has certainly pitched better when Molina has been catcher. But I remain unconvinced that he has pitched better because Molina has been his catcher.

But it's all "mute" at this stage in the game.

67 monkeypants   ~  Oct 18, 2009 1:53 pm

[65] Hm. Seems to be working fine now. Whatever,

68 mehmattski   ~  Oct 18, 2009 1:56 pm

[23] Because I have too much time on my hands, I present all the players who have hit at least TWO deficit erasing, 7th or later home runs in the post season:

Alex Rodriguez (3)
Pete Rose (2)
George Brett (2)
Jim Leyritz (2)
Albert Belle (2)
Shane Victorino (2)
Javy Lopez (2)
Johnny Bench (2)
Dave Sheridan (2)
Scott Brosius (2)

69 RIYank   ~  Oct 18, 2009 1:57 pm

Is everyone watching the NFL now? Great game. (I have no particular stake in it, not being a Giants fan.)

70 RIYank   ~  Oct 18, 2009 1:59 pm

[68] Oh, see, I knew it. Finally, A-Rod has reached the lofty heights of Scott Brosius. He's been chasing Brosius ever since he put on the pinstripes, of course. Gritwise.

71 monkeypants   ~  Oct 18, 2009 2:00 pm

[69] Yes, the Giants game completes my weekend sports trifecta. So far I am 1-1 (Yanks, ND), but it's not looking good for the G-Men. However, Yankees' playoff victories count for infinite, so no matter what the Giants do my weekend sports tally will be positive.

72 monkeypants   ~  Oct 18, 2009 2:02 pm

[68] Who was Dave Sheridan? My curiosity was piqued but I couldn't find him on baseball-prospectus.com.

73 mehmattski   ~  Oct 18, 2009 2:06 pm

[72] It's Pat Sheridan. I have no idea where I got Dave from.

74 mehmattski   ~  Oct 18, 2009 2:08 pm

[73] He hit a two run homer with the Tigers down 1 in the 8th inning of Game 3 of the 1987 ALCS (off Jeff Reardon), and before that hit a game tying solo homer off Tom Henke in the 9th inning of game 2 of the 1985 ALCS.

75 RIYank   ~  Oct 18, 2009 2:14 pm

The Saints are good.

76 monkeypants   ~  Oct 18, 2009 2:18 pm

[73] [74] Pat Sheridan..that name rings a bell. Ah yes, a quick check shows that he *did* play for the Yankees briefly, in 1991. That season is sort of a haze in my mind.

77 Rich   ~  Oct 18, 2009 2:46 pm

mk asked alex on the field last night if he could believe that he came through again with the big hit (or something to that effect) and arod said yes, he could believe it, he has done it his whole career – i loved that answer

Kay's question was one of the stupidest I have ever heard, and that's saying a lot.

78 The Hawk   ~  Oct 18, 2009 2:48 pm

[58] I guess it depends on what you consider maximum value. I don't consider a scoring increase between two runners to be of inherent value over that of a scoring chance increase, period.

79 The Hawk   ~  Oct 18, 2009 2:53 pm

[66] Now that's just perverse. If he pitches better when Molina catches, what else is here to say? I mean, there's an established pattern; the simplest explanation is because it's Molina, but really what difference does it make if the pattern persists? You can't just keep chalking up completely to coincidence.

80 The Hawk   ~  Oct 18, 2009 2:56 pm

[68] I wonder if any of those players had a comparable number of similarly poor post season games to A Rod

81 mehmattski   ~  Oct 18, 2009 3:02 pm

[81] Well, Jim Leyritz had a career post-season batting average of .217.
Pat Sheridan hit .174 in his 76 career postseason at bats.

So I'm gonna have to go with yes.

82 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Oct 18, 2009 3:05 pm

Afternoon, Team!

Was the game any good? I missed it.

No, no, just kidding! I saw it from about the 7th on in a bar in Brooklyn. Good Lord, I feel like I lived ten lifetimes in those 6 innings.

I really missed you guys, but was with you in spirit.

Mariano Rivera. Alex Rodriguez.

I was standing outside in the rain, having a much needed smoke, peering in to the television screen through the bar window visualizing Alex hitting a home run (as, I'm sure, was every other Yankee fan in the world) thinking, "Maybe, maybe, nahh, can't really happen, but maybe, maybe..." Then once he failed to swing at that 0-1, which looked fairly fat to go down 0-2, I thought, "Well, that's that, then," and slumped into a depression.

And then, lo and fucking behold...



Though it turned out all right, though, I have to wonder about wtf is going on with our defense. Talk about dodging bullets.

83 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Oct 18, 2009 3:06 pm

[69] Watching the what?

84 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Oct 18, 2009 3:10 pm

Oh, and btw, props as well, of course, to Joba and Hughes.

But watching Mo last night just made me want to expire on the spot. There aren't enough tears in the world to pour forth to express the joy he induces.

It gets to where all they have to do is show him begin to stir in the pen, or show him looking on from the dugout with a towel wrapped around his head and I just want to cry.

The man is a blessing, a gift from the heavens.

85 monkeypants   ~  Oct 18, 2009 3:14 pm

[79] Perverse? I don't think so. You do know that there is a difference between causation and coincidence? Maybe AJ has pitched better when Cody Ransom was in the line up (I don't know, I haven't checked)...but if so, I would still suspect that this is coincidence and should not be used as evidence to start Ransom over A-Rod or Jeter. In addition, several observable behavious (cross ups, PBs/WPs, conferences at the mound, etc) were offered up as evidence that AJ and Posada were not "on the same page", which in turn was used to further justify starting Molina. Yet as we saw last night, that behavior has not disappeared with Molina behind the mound.

AJ has a long history of flakiness. His very best games this year were with Posada behind the plate. Some of his worst games were with Posada behind the plate. Overall, I see no "consistent pattern" at al--just more of teh same flakiness.

So in the end, the evidence boils down to: AJ has pitched better in more games that Molina has caught than those when Posada has caught, with nothing else to prove that this is a cause-effect dynamic.

So, you can call that reasoning perverse if you want. But in my mind (and I am not alone on this) this does not meet the burden of proof to warrant benching the clearly, demonstrably superior offensive player. Not even close.

86 ms october   ~  Oct 18, 2009 3:26 pm

[77] yeah alex was even a bit stunned by the question

[82] afternoon weeping. glad you survived the game and got to see a good chucnk of it.
i do think the weather was a bit of a factor in the cano and jeter errors, plays they should have made but the rain was coming down hard and caused the angels some problems too - so hopefully the yankee errors will not rear up again.

[85] my mind is with your mind

87 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Oct 18, 2009 3:29 pm

Hey, Ms. O. Hope you're right. I was ready to strangulate Frosty in the 13th or whenever that was.

Let's go kick some ass in the California sun.

88 Rich   ~  Oct 18, 2009 3:30 pm

[85] Perverse? I don’t think so. You do know that there is a difference between causation and coincidence?

As they say in the social science literature, correlation does not equal causation (;) ), so I agree with your point. We don't know why AJ has been effective with Molina over the last two games, just as we don't know why AJ was so dominant against the RS on August 7th with Posada catching. But even though I would prefer that Posada catch every post-season game, I don't think using Molina when AJ starts is that big a deal.

As Neyer recently observed:

Because as well as Posada hits and as poorly as Molina hits, the difference between them within a particular game is so small, it defies measurement.

89 ms october   ~  Oct 18, 2009 3:34 pm

[87] i think i speak for most banterers that we were ready to strangle frosty on both of his errors

90 Rich   ~  Oct 18, 2009 3:37 pm

Frosty is Cano? I think all the players with ear flaps looked like Elmer Fudd hunting.

91 ms october   ~  Oct 18, 2009 3:38 pm

[90] yeah - frosty the cano-man

92 monkeypants   ~  Oct 18, 2009 3:39 pm

Wow, the Giants are getting pasted today.

93 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Oct 18, 2009 3:39 pm

[89] I mean, it's the first thing you learn in baseball: GET IN FRONT OF THE BALL! I plain old bobble, while maddening, I can kind of live with, human error and all that, but there was NO EXCUSE for not getting in front of that ball.

[90] Courtesy Ms. O, yes, Frosty is Cano.

94 monkeypants   ~  Oct 18, 2009 3:41 pm

[88] I see what you are saying overall.

But Neyer is dead wrong on this. The difference between Posada and Molina, as I demonstrated a week or so ago, is about .25 runs per game (assuming 3 ABs for Molina). Assuming that Molina only bats twice, as he has the last two games, we would be looking at more like about .15 runs.

That is pretty much measurable.

95 The Hawk   ~  Oct 18, 2009 3:44 pm

[81] Are you sure you have to?

96 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Oct 18, 2009 3:54 pm

My, my, my.

So the Old Hoss is in New York (of all places) and decides to watch the game at a happening bar mid town, and picks, for what seem to him to be good and obvious reasons, Mickey Mantle's. Major disappointment. Way too easy to get a good seat at the bar ten minutes before opening pitch (not really complaining about that!) and no one seemed .... tuned to the game or what was going on in any way beyond a cheer when a Yankee hit (louder when Jeter homered). No real energy or life. I finished the game back at the hotel. Next time I post here that I'm around and about for Banter live talk!

No disappointments in that finish. I have to say (someone may have, in the 2300 posts last night!) that Alex's homer on that count in that situation in that cold and rain will stay etched for awhile. The Fox freeze cam (well named last night) showed just how hard he had to WILL the ball to carry, because he did not get full extension. It was a bad pitch at 0-2, but it wasn't such a bad pitch, it very nearly just popped him up (which is what happened later with bases loaded). A Rod fought that ball out of the park. I am mightily impressed.

Ditto with ... wait for it ... one Rivera, closes some games for us. Is there anything LEFT to say about that career?

I do disagree very slightly with the 'true classic' description ... way too sloppy a game. There are obvious reasons for why it was, and all of them are spelled weather, but the errors, the messed up risp at-bats, some sense of benches (ours, anyhow) not adroitly used ... I do know that 'classics' can also be just brilliantly tense not brilliantly well-played, and I also hope the Banterers gave my man JD his props for the catch of the night.

I think if we win Game 3, Girardi will think long and hard about leaving Sabathia for Game 5.

I think the William is (mostly) right. Neighborhood plays get called when you don't show up the ump by not even bothering to move your feet, leaving it way too clear on any replay that the ump 'blew it'. If you are coming over, gliding over the bag, you'll get the call, just as catchers get the call even without an actual tag (as in Game 1 on A Rod). Having said that, every middle infielder knows you DO usually get it, and the ump picked a huge moment to decide not to be shown up. Aybar did mess up badly, though, as it was an EASY DP, even if he shifts and tags the bag.

97 monkeypants   ~  Oct 18, 2009 3:59 pm

[96] Hoss!

Folks were asking about you during the epic game thread last night. Well, actually, someone asked where the real Horace Clarke was, and several of us thought the question was in reference to you, and we noted that you're scarce on game threads.

98 The Hawk   ~  Oct 18, 2009 4:00 pm

[85] So in the end, the evidence boils down to: AJ has pitched better in more games that Molina has caught than those when Posada has caught, with nothing else to prove that this is a cause-effect dynamic.

Burnett pitches better with Molina catching than with Posada catching. I don't care if it's cause-effect of black magic, it's working. I think it's perverse to question that, and bringing Cody Ransom into the equation proves that. (x + Cody Ransom = perversion)

99 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Oct 18, 2009 4:01 pm

[96] I wonder about the not quite into it phenomenon at bars. I mean, I was at a dive in Williamsburg and yes, there were a few souls as riveted as myself, and there was some real energy, but not of the entire bar, undivided attention, turn off the jukebox, variety. I wonder if such places even exist anymore?

To say nothing, of course, of hearing the game spill out of car radios and boomboxes on stoops (transistors before that, of course)...

I mean, there was still energy, and some focus, but man, it ain't the fifites anymore.

And yes, on the replay I was stunned to see that Alex failed to get full extension and was just overawed by his strength.

100 The Hawk   ~  Oct 18, 2009 4:02 pm

And btw [85] You do know that there is a difference between causation and coincidence?

Kind of snotty.

Show/Hide Comments 101-122
101 monkeypants   ~  Oct 18, 2009 4:05 pm

[100] Almost as snotty as using the word "perverse", I thought.

We can agree to disagree on this point.

102 ms october   ~  Oct 18, 2009 4:05 pm

[96] too bad the mickey mantle's was such a dud - banter live talk sounds good.

yes arod definitely had to muscle that ball through the zone as he could have easily pooped it up.

jd got kudos on at least 2 defensive plays last night.

oh and i don't think any of us thinks it was a classic game - just a classic victory.

103 The Hawk   ~  Oct 18, 2009 4:07 pm

[99] I wonder if such places even exist anymore?

Farrell's in Windsor Terrace was like that, I'm sure there are tons of them. Just not in Williamsburg, necessarily (not the first place I'd look, btw).

104 The Hawk   ~  Oct 18, 2009 4:11 pm

[100] I wasn't being sarcastic, nor condescending. I got one or both from your statement (question). I was making an honest appraisal and expressing it in a straightforward, if critical, manner.

There's a difference. - I won't agree to disagree on that.

105 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Oct 18, 2009 4:13 pm

[103] No, not the first place I'd look, either, just where we happened to be. Windsor Terrace would make sense.

106 RIYank   ~  Oct 18, 2009 4:21 pm

[98] Soliving for X... hmmmm.
Got it!

X = Karim Garcia

107 Rich   ~  Oct 18, 2009 4:21 pm

Burnett pitched better with Cervelli behind the plate than with Posada or Molina. Granted it's a small sample size, but there are sample size issues with all three catchers.


108 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Oct 18, 2009 4:22 pm

Oh, and one other thing: Teix had a particular ab that really, really annoyed me. 12th, maybe? He watched a pretty fat strike on the outside part of the plate; had he been looking to go the other way (a single would have won the game), he could have easily poked that into right field. That he just watched it sail by made me wonder where his head was. I think it was an 0-1.

109 Diane Firstman   ~  Oct 18, 2009 5:22 pm

Yanks have best fans, says Lupica

But no fans have ever supported a baseball team, the most famous team in this world, the way Yankee fans support theirs.

They have done this on either side of 161st St. They showed up 4 million strong across the street and they were just as strong this season, even if the numbers dropped in the new place. Yankee fans stayed strong in the way they showed up and were just as strong when they told the people in charge that they weren't going to pay stupid prices to sit down next to the field, below what is known as The Moat at the new place, the Yankees thinking they could have class seating like they had in the Roman Coliseum.

No matter. They keep coming, down the steps from the 4 train at 161st St. and River, not taking the left the way they used to, going right now. They come out of the new station and walk past the sad ruined shell of the old Stadium, filled now only with memories, the place being gutted day by day on the inside.


I would think the Cubs and Cardinal and even (gasp) Red Sox fans might have a case.

110 RIYank   ~  Oct 18, 2009 5:23 pm

Lupica is such a hack. Ugh, that article makes me feel dirty.

111 ms october   ~  Oct 18, 2009 5:30 pm

lupica you mean the same lupica that just a few short years ago said nyc was becoming a mets town - get back to sports reporters and leave us alone- asshole

112 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Oct 18, 2009 5:31 pm

Mickey Mantle's ... I wondered if it was the 'hood I was in. I mean, midtown, Central Park South, etc. If there'd have been more share-the-game somewhere less upmarket.

In Toronto, when there is a European Cup or World Cup soccer game involving many different countries (but Italy preeminently) the energy in a local bar is so high it makes it worthwhile going a couple of hours early just to get in to the place ... and then see sports-fandom in overdrive. I've done it in Italian cafes, English pubs (saw Argentina win a war of brutal attrition after Beckham got tricked into a petulant small foul that still got him red carded .. agony!), a Greek restaurant (when Greece won the European Cup) and these have been really memorable experiences.

An ALCS game on a freezing October night in NY wouldn't have me expecting something like that ... but I did hope for more in the Mick's Place.

And I'm glad others saw the same thing I did in Alex's homer ... there is something astonishing in his getting that ball out.

Teix will straighten out, I am not worried there, just as I wasn't (you could look it up on the Banter!) about Damon.

113 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Oct 18, 2009 5:38 pm

[112] Oh, God, Europe! I know, I had the pleasure to be living in Rome the summer they won the World Cup (2005?). It was exhilarating. Huge screens up in public spaces throughout town, every bar and restaurant had the game on the tube for all the diners and drinkers to enjoy, it was so communal, really amazing.

And when the French guy missed that kick, God, the roars!

The howling and parading through the streets was something to behold, though frankly a little dark given the country's fascist past. Really something, though, to see all of Rome screaming and drinking and laughing and honking and waving and dancing in the streets.

114 thelarmis   ~  Oct 18, 2009 5:41 pm

[106] met a girl last night whose dad is a math professor! but he's not a baseball fan...

i sort of am. i kinda like the Yankees. but just a little bit...

115 oncewent3for2   ~  Oct 18, 2009 5:41 pm

[12] I love how you used "struck out" to mean "hit safely."

116 thelarmis   ~  Oct 18, 2009 5:45 pm

[102] "easily pooped it up"

hee hee ; )

117 thelarmis   ~  Oct 18, 2009 5:59 pm

crasnick on jeter's catch of vladi's "poop up" (hi ms. o!)

He looked like a guy trying to read a book in the shower.

118 RagingTartabull   ~  Oct 18, 2009 6:24 pm

now THIS is hilarious...all the In-N-Out and Del Taco must've gotten to this guy's head


119 thelarmis   ~  Oct 18, 2009 6:48 pm

burnett and saunders each had game scores of: 61

120 RIYank   ~  Oct 18, 2009 6:49 pm

Thelarmis, I'm watching the Patriots in a dreadful football game, but an early star was Pats' receiver and return man Julian Edelman.
Not a lot of us in the NFL...

121 Diane Firstman   ~  Oct 18, 2009 7:27 pm

My fantasy football QBs have combined for 40 points this weekend. Brady had 45.5 of them . . . and then there is Mark Sanchez ...

122 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Oct 18, 2009 7:33 pm

Speaking of bars and places to watch games..the new MLB Cafe has opened here in town. A friend and I were planning to check it out but we just couldn't stomach the buffalo wings and pitchers of beer at 8 in the morning for the live games...

I miss Hinske too but it does not matter..The Yankees are going to win the WS, the only question left is whether they run the table..

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver