Jobu reviews the Bronx leg of the ALDS
Hey everyone, look! The team with the best record in the American League and home field advantage is actually playing a game at home! What a novel concept, right? That’s right, the Orioles and Yankees headed back to New York for games three through a possible five to close out their ALDS matchup. It certainly lived up to the regular season these two teams had with each other, but in the end they won games three and five to move on to the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers.
Game 3: Yankees 3, Orioles 2
John Sterling’s home run call for Raúl Ibañez might be the worst one he’s ever come up with (Raúl be seeing you? Are you serious, bro?), but I’ve never been happier to hear it than I was last night in the ninth inning… unless you count when we got to hear it again in the twelfth.
Before we get into that, though, let’s discuss the stink hole that was the Yankees’ offense the rest of game three. They completely wasted a stellar outing by Hideki Kuroda (8.1 Ip, 5 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 105 pitches and a no decision). They basically did nothing for the first eight innings, which set the stage for Jim Johnson in the ninth inning. Johnson got the first out, which brought A-Rod to the plate. Girardi then finally did what all of Yankees Universe has been begging for him to do, and it paid off big time. He said he had a gut feeling that Ibañez, a low ball hitter, could pop one over the fence off of Johnson because he’s a low ball pitcher… On a 1-0 pitch, it all worked out for the best. Ibañez, to the disgust of Buck Showalter and the elation of 50,000 + people in the stadium, hit a rocket over the right field fence to tie the game.
It was the third time Ibañez had tied a game with a pinch hit home run in the 9th inning or later in the last three weeks, and it nearly brought the house down. I’m not sure how Raúl is doing what he’s been doing the last few weeks, but thank god for him. His heroics wouldn’t end there though. After the Yankees didn’t get anything done in the tenth and eleventh, it was Ibañez’s time to lead off the twelfth. The Orioles had youngster Brian Matuz on the hill, but he would only get to throw one pitch in the inning. Ibañez got a fastball up and absolutely crushed it for a walk-off home run to end the game. John Sterling practically fell out of the booth, and the game was over. Incredible finish. Thank you Raúl.
Notable Offense: HR – Ibañez 2 (2), RBI – Jeter (2), Ibañez 2 (2), 2 hits for Jeter, Ibañez and Martin
Game 4: Orioles 2, Yankees 1
The Orioles only managed a solo home run by Nate Mclouth before starter Phil Hughes was taken out of the game in the seventh. They wouldn’t score any runs in the next five innings either. Unfortunately, the Yankees only scored one run, and it was on an RBI ground out by Robinson Canó. The rest of the time, Granderson, Swisher, Canó and A-Rod putzed their way out of scoring situations, and were otherwise made to look foolish for thirteen innings. Even the great Raúl Ibañez, who was set up in a home run or nothing situation in the ninth inning, couldn’t get the job done.
It was a truly pathetic performance by the Yankees offense, and it wasted yet another stellar outing by one of their starters. Hughes pitched 6.2 Innings, allowed only 4 H, 1 R, 3 BB and struck out 8 Orioles. It wasn’t good enough. Should have pitched a shutout. David Phelps took the loss after giving up consecutive doubles in the top of the thirteenth, but he can hardly be blamed for this loss. The game should have been over long before, and the Yankees should have been in the ALCS. Instead, they fumbled away opportunity after opportunity, and the Orioles won to force game five. Turrible.
Notable Offense: RBI – Canó (4), 2 hits for Jeter and Nix
Game 5: Yankees 3, Orioles 1
Some crazy things happened in this ane. First of all, Girardi finally straight up benched A-Rod. After pinch hitting for him in the ninth inning of two straight games, Girardi finally sat him against the righty Jason Hammel. As bad as A-Rod has been in this series, I feel like he ended up taking a lot more heat than he should have. Swisher has been putting up his fourth straight terrible post-season, and no one clamored for him to be benched. Curtis Granderson, meanwhile, was 1-16 in the firs four games of the series, and not a peep was heard about benching him either.
The Granderson move actually ended up working out, but that’s beyond the point. The real hero of game five was CC Sabathia. CC, who was definitely the MVP of this series for his ridiculous performances in games one and five (17.2 Ip, 3 runs), went the distance in the deciding game. He only allowed one run and escaped a bases loaded situation in the top of the eighth. His final line looked like this: 9 Ip, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 9 K, 121 pitches and his second win of the series (2-0).
The first run of the game was driven in in the fifth by (who else) Ibañez, who singled in Teixeira after Texy had straight up stolen second base off of Hammel and Wieters. Ichiro chipped in with a big RBI double in the sixth inning (senile John Sterling made me think it was going to be a home run as I listened on the way between my office and the bar at which I finished watching the game), and Granderson finally got around on a fastball to make it 3-1 in the bottom of the seventh.
The offense did just enough, and CC was brilliant, and the Yankees moved on to face the Tigers. CC really erased all the negativity he experienced in the first five months of the season with his two performances this series. Great job.
Notable Offense: HR – Granderson (1), RBI – Ibañez (3), Ichiro (3), Granderson (1), SB – Teixeira (1), Granderson (1), 2 hits for Granderson
Because of the terrible scheduling, the Yankees don’t even get a day off between the ALDS and the ALCS. While this is kind of lame because Sabathia now might not be available until game four, it might help them because they get to keep their momentum going. They also don’t have to travel, as the Tigers have to come to them to kick things off. Looking forward to the game one matchup between Doug Fister and Andy Pettitte, which is coming at you on Saturday night. Huge win in game five. Here’s hoping they keep it going.
Featured image courtesy of: Peter Morgan/AP
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