Derek Jeter SS
Johnny Damon LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Hideki Matsui DH
Jorge Posada C
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Melky Cabrera CF
Pitching: LHP Andy Pettitte (1-0, 1.42 ERA)
Chone Figgins 3B
Bobby Abreu RF
Torii Hunter CF
Vladimir Guerrero DH
Juan Rivera LF
Kendry Morales 1B
Howie Kendrick 2B
Mike Napoli C
Erick Aybar SS
Pitching: RHP Jered Weaver (1-0, 1.23)
TIME/TV: 4:07 p.m., FOX
WEATHER: Take a wild guess – it’s Southern California! Temps in the 70s, clear skies. It should be a beautiful day for baseball. The full forecast is here.
STATE OF THE STRIPES: The Yankees are two wins from the World Series and six from their 27th title after snatching a marathon Game 2 on Saturday night. They haven’t lost yet in the postseason, and the last Yankees team to win its first five postseason games was the 1999 Yankees – who, you may recall, won the World Series. The only AL team to win its first six playoff games is the 1970 Orioles (who also won the title).
PETT ROCKS: Andy Pettitte’s win over the Twins in the ALDS was his 15th career postseason victory, tying him for the top spot on the all-time list. A win today would move Pettitte past John Smoltz into sole possession of the record.
TEAM GAME: The only Yankees who didn’t play in Game 2 were CC Sabathia, Pettitte, Francisco Cervelli and Chad Gaudin. The 21 players used set a new ALCS record in an extra-inning game, and the 38 combined players used by both teams also established a new ALCS high.
AMERICAN PIE: Jerry Hairston received the walkoff pie for scoring the winning run in Game 2, and it was the 17th walkoff win for the Yankees this season (15 in the regular season, one in the ALDS and now one in the ALCS). One of the most important parts of all the walkoffs? The Yankees bullpen. Yankees relievers have allowed three earned runs in 17 2/3 innings pitched this postseason, and are 2-0 with two saves and 20 strikeouts. Without a lockdown pen, there’s no chance for the hitters to rally.
STUCK IN THE MUD: The Angels are supposed to be the crisp and fundamentally-sound club but they’ve made four errors in the first two games of the series and are hitting just .154 as a team.
NOT-SO-SUPERMAN: Vladimir Guerrero often wears a Superman t-shirt when he’s lounging around the clubhouse but the Yankees (along with many other major league teams this year) have been his kryptonite: He struck out twice with the bases loaded in Game 2, and stranded eight runners. He has only two RBI this postseason.
CAPTAIN’S LOG: Derek Jeter’s third-inning home run in Game 2 was his 19th career postseason homer, moving him past Reggie Jackson and Mickey Mantle and into sole possession of third place on the all-time list. (Full disclosure: Jeter has played 127 playoff games. Jackson played 77. Mantle played 65.)
RANDOM QUESTION OF THE DAY: Is there an East Coast equivalent of In-N-Out Burger? (i.e. something so universally revered and coveted yet so attached to only one coast?)
IF THERE WERE WALK-TO-THE-PLATE MUSIC IN REAL LIFE, TODAY’S WOULD BE: Dani California by Red Hot Chili Peppers
UPDATE, 1:54 p.m.: The sun is out, the Angels are on the field hitting and we’re hours away from Game 3. Not much from Girardi in the pregame – he talked a little about choosing Sabathia for short rest, instant replay and a few other things. Here’s the audio:
Then CC came to the podium and did a very short press conference where he touched on what changes when you pitch on three days rest (basically, not very much at all). Here’s his interview:
UPDATE, 2:02 p.m.: Chad here with some notes from Girardi’s session with the beat writers.
- Brian Bruney is joining the team today. He’s not being activated, but there’s nothing left to do in Tampa. He’s just going to be around the team, kind of like Eric Hinske. Sergio Mitre and Ramiro Pena are not joining the team.
- Everyone is available in the bullpen. Even though Mariano Rivera went 2.1 innings on Saturday, Girardi said it’s still possible for Rivera to get four outs today.
- Not happy with the way Girardi has burned through relievers for only an out or two? Blame Chad Gaudin. Girardi said he’s comfortable playing matchups so often because he has Gaudin in his back pocket if the bullpen gets thin.
- If the bench is finished and Girardi has burned his DH for some reason, would CC Sabathia be the emergency pinch hitter tonight? “I would probably have to say yeah,” Girardi said. “He definitely has the most power.”
- Sabathia would not be the emergency pinch runner.
Finally, something I did not know: If you check the box score from Saturday night, David Robertson is listed at 33 pitches, but the Yankees have him at 25. They don’t count the pitches used for intentional walks.
UPDATE, 2:20 p.m.: Yankees are out on the side of the field, just starting to stretch while the Angels finish up BP. If you’re looking to kill some time, check out this story from Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. It’s all about the pitch Brian Fuentes threw to Alex Rodriguez in Game 2 and has this terrific quote from the always-quotable Torii Hunter on what he thought when he looked in from center field saw the catcher’s sign for a fastball away:
“I wanted to call timeout,” Hunter said. “I saw it and thought, ‘Nooooo!’ Alex is one of the greatest players in the game. You know he’s going to hit that pitch. There’s a short porch in right field. . . . We threw two fastballs inside, and he didn’t budge. Then we threw one away . . . that was weird.”
UPDATE, 3:34 p.m.: There was a fairly large group of Yankees fans behind the visiting dugout for batting practice, but this place is slowly becoming a mass of red t-shirts. For me (Chad) this is the first I’m seeing Angel Stadium and I have no complaints about the place. It’s only the second time I’m seeing California — I covered the NCAA Tournament out here in 2002 — and again, it’s hard to complain.
That’s a shot of Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada during BP.
UPDATE, 4:10 p.m.: They’re playing “Enter Sandman” as we wait for the Angels to take the field. I always think that sounds weird when the Yankees are in the other dugout.
UPDATE, 4:14 p.m.: And we’re off. It’s 73 degrees at first pitch here. Lots of empty seats, though not surprising since it’s the middle of the afternoon on a workday. We’ll see if they fill in.
UPDATE, 4:15 p.m.: Three pitches in and it’s 1-0 Yankees. That was Jeter’s third career postseason leadoff home run, and third during this year’s playoffs. Absolutely drilled it to left.
UPDATE, 4:24 p.m.: Figgins on base is never good news. Meanwhile, the Angels gave out Thundersticks to fans on their way into the stadium. It sounds like … well, like a lot of people banging plastic sticks together all the time. Kind of irritating.
UPDATE, 4:28 p.m.: Great turn by Cano at second to hang in on the double play. Figgins was right on top of him and did a hard slide, but Cano didn’t bail out – that’s something he’s really improved on. A few years ago, he would often fade out into the outfield and his throws would sail; this time he stayed right on the bag and got plenty on his throw to first.
UPDATE, 4:42 p.m.: Not deep enough from Swisher to get the run in. Now it’s up to Melky to try to extend the lead.
UPDATE, 4:45 p.m.: Nothing doing. Melky grounds out and Weaver escapes.
UPDATE, 4:49 p.m.: Among the celebs in the house are Jack Nicholson, Adam Sandler and – my personal fave among that group – Pat Sajak. I went through a phase as a kid where I wanted to be a game show host. Sajak is cool, though I always liked Dick Clark on the old “$25,000 Pyramid.”
UPDATE, 4:57 p.m.: Weaver back at it. He’s at 40 pitches already. Pettitte has thrown 20.
UPDATE, 5:02 p.m.: Yankees needed to make Weaver work more there. Only 10 pitches to get three outs that inning.
UPDATE, 5:14 p.m.: Pettitte has thrown 33 pitches, which doesn’t count the 12 – yes, 12 – pickoff attempts he’s had through three innings.
UPDATE, 5:19 p.m.: Yup, Alex is “in a good place.” He kills it at Angel Stadium, and crushes one to left to make it 2-0. That’s his fourth homer of the postseason.
UPDATE, 5:22 p.m.: A-Rod also has nine RBI during this postseason, which is a new career-high for him. He had eight in 2004.
UPDATE, 5:25 p.m.: That homer by Alex gives the Yankees an even 10 for the postseason – four by A-Rod, three by Jeter, one each by Matsui, Posada and Teixeira. How many have they given up? Another round number. Zero.
UPDATE, 5:33 p.m.: Yanks let Weaver off the hook there. The Angels had Darren Oliver up and throwing, and one more hit probably would have knocked Weaver out.
UPDATE, 5:43 p.m.: And it finally pays off for Pettitte – he picks off Hunter and points his glove at Teixeira afterward for making a perfect throw to second.
UPDATE, 5:46 p.m.: It’s 51 pitches and 15 pickoff throws for Pettitte through four.
UPDATE, 5:50 p.m.: That was a brutal change-up from Weaver and Damon crushed it over the right-field fence. Weaver hadn’t allowed more than two homers in a game all season before today. Oliver is back up in the bullpen. This could be it for Weaver.
UPDATE, 5:52 p.m.: A-Rod just misses another homer. Weaver got lucky there.
UPDATE, 5:57 p.m.: Day game, night game – you guys don’t care. We cross the four-digit mark in comments before the end of the fifth and are already into Thread No. 2. Come on over.