The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

ALCS Game 2: Angels at Yankees

Posted by: Sam Borden - Posted in Misc on Oct 17, 2009 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Derek Jeter SS
Johnny Damon LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Hideki Matsui DH
Nick Swisher RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Melky Cabrera CF
Jose Molina C

Pitching: RHP A.J. Burnett (0-0, 1.50 ERA)

Chone Figgins 3B
Bobby Abreu RF
Torii Hunter CF
Vladimir Guerrero DH
Kendry Morales 1B
Juan Rivera LF
Maicer Izturis 2B
Mike Napoli C
Erick Aybar SS

Pitching: LHP Joe Saunders (0-0, 0.00)

TIME/TV: 7:57 p.m., FOX

WEATHER: Not much better – and probably worse – than yesterday. It’s cold and brisk with rain lingering all over the area. In other words, perfect baseball weather. Check out the forecast here.

STATE OF THE STRIPES: The Yankees are three wins from the World Series and seven from their 27th title after taking Game 1 yesterday. They haven’t lost yet in the postseason and haven’t been bothered by all the off days they’ve faced. Since playing their final regular-season game on Oct. 4, they’ve played four games in 12 days and won them all.

BATTER VS. PITCHER: Here’s the Angels vs. Burnett. And here’s the Yankees vs. Saunders.

BURN AFTER READING: A.J. Burnett is making his second career postseason start after a rocky-but-effective outing in the Division Series. Burnett allowed one run in six innings against the Twins but walked five and hit two batters, shooting his pitch count up and forcing him to work out of trouble too often. He’s had mixed results against the Angels; he was 1-0, 4.26 ERA in two starts against them this year and 2-2, 4.43 ERA in six career starts.

QUIET NIGHT: Game 1 was only the second time in 84 games at Yankee Stadium where neither team hit a home run (the other was June 18 vs. Washington).

START STRONG, FINISH STRONG: How important is getting the first run of the game? The Yankees obviously have no problem coming from behind, but they’re 67-20 when they score the first run of the game (which they did last night). The Game 1 win also improved them to 82-4 when leading after seven innings.

JOHNNY ROCKETS: Johnny Damon’s 1-for-12 showing in the ALDS was his worst postseason series – he’d never had less than three hits in nine previous series. Damon turned it around in Game 1, though, going 2-for-5 with a single, double and two runs scored. The double was his first in the postseason since Game 3 of the 2005 Division Series.

HIT-DEKI: Hideki Matsui has only played in 15 ALCS games, but his double in Game 1 tied him with Bernie Williams for most all-time doubles in the round (both have 10). Most amazing? Williams needed almost three times as many games (41) as Matsui to set the mark.

DANGEROUS BOBBY: Look for Bobby Abreu’s at-bats to be a good benchmark for Burnett in tonight’s game, as the former Yankee is 20-for-64 (.313) with 12 walks against Burnett.

CLEAN IT UP: The Angels made three errors in Game 1, or three times as many as they made in the entire Division Series. The Yankees have yet to make an error in the postseason.

RANDOM QUESTION OF THE DAY: What ever happened to bullpen carts? I miss them.

IF THERE WERE WALK-TO-THE-PLATE MUSIC IN REAL LIFE, TODAY’S WOULD BE: Rain is Falling by Electric Light Orchestra (because, hopefully, it’s not)

UPDATE, 4:24 p.m.: They have set up the batting cage and nets on the field as though there is going to be batting practice. It’s currently very cloudy but dry at the Stadium, and not as cold – or windy – as yesterday. We’ll see how long that lasts.

Joe Girardi just met with the media and spoke on a variety of topics, including whether or not he feels the Yankees have an advantage in the elements because the Angels are a “warm-weather” team. Short answer: No. Check out the audio, which should be along shortly, for more. Girardi also said Andy Pettitte has not flown ahead to California, though the team may send him depending on if Game 2 actually gets played to completion tonight.

UPDATE, 4:48 p.m.: Josh here. Girardi said this morning when he checked the weather it looked “grim.” Now, he is hopeful they will play tonight.

Here’s what Girardi said during his presser:

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I’ll have more in a bit from the manager’s sit down with the beat guys.

UPDATE, 4:55 p.m.: The Yankees are starting to filter out on to the field. A-Rod and Jerry Hairston are taking some early grounders, both wearing ski hats.

UPDATE, 5:04 p.m.: Wide variety of looks from the Yankees during their team stretch. Some guys are just in sweatshirts or the regular fleece warm-ups (Girardi, Posada); others are in the “Elmer Fudd” hats that have ear flaps (Swisher, Rivera); and others are in full-on Eskimo/bank-robber face coverings (Joba).

UPDATE, 5:20 p.m.: OK, here’s a few notes from Girardi —
• He is more hopeful there will be a game tonight than he was this morning: “When I looked at it this morning it looked grim, but now when I look at it I think we have a pretty decent shot at playing. We’re going to convene at 7 o’clock and talk about it, but it looks like the percentages went down. We hope maybe this can be a little like yesterday.” It better start soon.
• Girardi said it was “tough” to insert Molina for Posada, but the Burnett-Molina combo worked well in Round 1.
• Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and Mariano Rivera could all be stretched to four or five outs tonight if need be. The off-day gives them that luxury, Girardi said.
• No word on when the game will be played tomorrow if tonight is postponed. Girardi heard both afternoon and night, which throws a little dirt on the assumption that they will definitely play in the afternoon. The forecast calls for rain all day tomorrow so one does not appear to be an advantage over another.
• A-Rod earned a charley horse on his collision with Jeff Mathis last night. It actually gave Girardi peace of mind, knowing Rodriguez came out of the pile with only a bump.
• Still no word on who will pitch Game 4. Girardi said the Yankees discussed Plan Bs on Thursday in the event of postponements yesterday or today. Obviously a key factor will be if a game is played Monday, or if Game 3 is pushed to Tuesday and Monday becomes an off-day. MLB has not informed the Yankees of what will happen with Monday, Girardi said.
• He expects to meet at 7 with Mike Scioscia and MLB to discuss tonight. MLB decides whether the game is played or not.

UPDATE, 6:19 p.m.: Yankees are off the field, Angels are on and the raindrops are starting to fall. Among the notables on the field during batting practice: Jeff Nelson, who still has the buzz cut. He looked cold.

UPDATE, 6:30 p.m.: FYI, Tino Martinez will throw out the first pitch tonight.

UPDATE, 7:01 p.m.: Both teams are off the field and the grounds crew is working. It’s cold, but not raining.

UPDATE, 7:49 p.m.: Nice ovation for Tino. Still looks weird to see Posada catching the ceremonial first pitch. Burnett just started the long walk in from the bullpen, Molina on his left and Dave Eiland on his right.

UPDATE, 7:57 p.m.: And we’re off. It’s 47 degrees in the Bronx and – what do you know? – dry (for now). Enjoy the game.

UPDATE, 8:01 p.m.: The only one NOT wearing sleeves is A-Rod.

UPDATE, 8:05 p.m.: A.J. through one after getting Vlad to bounce out. Torii Hunter’s hands must have felt like he’d been electrocuted on that fisted double to right. It’s chilly out here.

UPDATE, 8:08 p.m.: First pitch swinging for the Captain and Saunders has one out on one pitch.

UPDATE, 8:14 p.m.: Burnett threw first-pitch strikes to all four batters in the first, then started off Morales with a fastball strike for five in a row. Good sign.

UPDATE, 8:19 p.m.: Six of seven first-pitch strikes for A.J. and he’s through two having thrown 25 pitches, 19 strikes.

UPDATE, 8:30 p.m.: Josh here. Robbie Cano tripled into the RCF gap to give the Yanks a 1-0 lead. He drove in Swisher, who walked with two outs.

Big confidence booster for both guys. Swisher has not only struggled hitting, he had yet to walk. That’s a big deal for him to go without one over four games. He only did so four other times this season. And that was also Cano, Cano The Eskimo’s first extra-base hit of the playoffs.

UPDATE, 8:39 p.m.: Another solid stretch by Tex to just get Aybar. Don’t forget, the cold temps don’t just affect the pitchers throwing the ball; a rushed throw like that from Jeter can be hard to grip, too.

UPDATE, 8:42 p.m.: First walk of the game and first time this series that Figgins has sniffed first base. Putting him on is usually a recipe for disaster …

UPDATE, 8:46 p.m.: … but not this time. Abreu hit it hard but on a line to Melky in center. Still 1-0 Yanks.

UPDATE, 8:51 p.m.: Well, he can’t always smack a single the other way. Sometimes they go out of the park. It was Jeter’s sixth career LCS home run and his 19th postseason home run, passing Reggie Jackson and Mickey Mantle  for sole possession of third place on the all-time list. 2-0 Yanks.

UPDATE, 9:01 p.m.: Hunter just can’t buy a hit with Teixeira at first. Second time in two nights Tex has stretched to keep Hunter off base. That’s his second great play of the night.

UPDATE, 9:02 p.m.: Say what you want about Jose Molina, but he’s tough – that hit his knee and his face, and then on the next pitch he jumps out to find the loose strike three and makes a great throw to get Guerrero. Plus he’s wearing a skully under his helmet, which is cool.

UPDATE, 9:07 p.m.: Burnett has thrown first-pitch strikes on 13 of the 15 batters he’s faced. One walk, one HBP, one hit — he’s got it going tonight.

UPDATE, 9:14 p.m.: Cano gives it a ride but Torii Hunter catches (almost) everything in CF. By the way, don’t forget to check out @LoHudYankees on Twitter. Josh Thomson is updating all game on there.

UPDATE, 9:19 p.m.: That leadoff double to Izturis is only the second time in 14 innings this series that the Angels have had a leadoff man on. Let’s see if A.J. can get out of it.

UPDATE, 9:21 p.m.: Nope. Burnett nearly knocked that ball down with a swipe behind his back but it hopped off the mound and into center. 2-1 Yankees now, with the top of the Angels order coming up.

UPDATE, 9:25 p.m.: This is getting hairy in a hurry. Suddenly, Burnett can’t find the strike zone and is falling behind every hitter. That was the second time he’s had a curveball dip and hit a batter on the foot, and now it’s two on, one out and Bobby Abreu – who has crushed Burnett in the past – at the plate.

UPDATE, 9:32 p.m.: That was a great sequence by Burnett and a terrific catch in foul territory by Damon. Burnett through nine straight fastballs, none less than 93 mph, and finally got Abreu to foul out to deep, deep left. Now he needs to get one more out to escape this mess.

UPDATE, 9:37 p.m.: Ball four to Hunter skips into the stands and, by rule, it’s only one base for the runners when it comes from a pitch (it’d be two on a live ball in play). Break for the Yankees there. Robertston warming in the pen.

UPDATE, 9:40 p.m.: Another breaking ball in the dirt that gets away and it’s tied, 2-2. You can see why Burnett would want to throw the curveball there since he struck out Guerrero on that pitch in a similar spot earlier, but it was clear he was losing control of the curve as the inning went on.

UPDATE, 9:43 p.m.: After getting ahead so often over the first four innings, Burnett just lost command in the fifth. He threw first-pitch balls to six hitters and a first-pitch double to the seventh. Let’s see if the long inning hurts Saunders.

UPDATE, 9:48 p.m.: Joe Girardi is a genius. He knew that playing Molina, having him bunt and foul it off twice would result in a smacked single to right. Brilliant! Now Jeter up with two on and none out. Seems to me like a good time to go to another thread.




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