Tagged: Mike Scioscia

Yankees Sweep Angels To Extend Win Steak To 6

GAME 57

YANKEES 6, ANGELS 2

Since 2000 there is only one team in baseball that has a winning record against the New York Yankees and it is the Los Angeles Angels led by manager Mike Sciosia. But after what happened to the Angels this weekend, that record will not stand too much longer.

Brett Gardner, Chris Young and Jose Pirela each hit home runs and left-hander CC Sabathia threw six solid innings on Sunday as New York completed its first sweep of Los Angeles in the new Yankee Stadium in front of a paid crowd of 43,178.

The victory allowed the Yankees to extend their winning streak to six games.

Sabathia (3-7) entered the game with a 5.45 ERA and in the first inning he allowed consecutive solo home runs to Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. For Pujols it was the 535th of his career and it allowed him to pass Jimmie Foxx for 17th place on the all-time home run list.

However, Sabathia recovered to retire 17 of the next 20 batters he faced until he was ejected from the game in the sixth by home-plate umpire Dan Bellino for arguing balls and strikes. Bellino subsequently also ejected Yankees manager Joe Girardi.

But relievers Justin Wilson, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller combined to pitch three scoreless and hitless innings while striking out five batters to nail down the victory for Sabathia.

Trailing 2-0, the Yankees scored a run off left-hander C.J. Wilson (3-5) in the third inning after Pirela led off with a double, advanced to third on a flyout and scored on a groundout by Didi Gregorius.

The Yankees tied it and later took the lead off Wilson in the fifth when Young led off with his seventh home run of the season and his first since May 2. In fact, Young entered the game mired in a 5-for-46 (.109) slide that dropped his season average from .306 to .220.

One out later, John Ryan Murphy reached on an opposite-field bloop single and Gregorius followed a lined single to right. Gardner then put the Yankees ahead to stay with a long blast to right on a 2-0 fastball. It was Gardner’s fifth home run of the season.

Pirela led off the seventh inning with a deep drive into the left-field bleachers for his first major-league home run and it extended the Yankees’ lead against Wilson and the Angels to 6-2.

Wilson was charged with six runs on seven hits and no walks with eight strikeouts in seven innings. Wilson entered the contest with a 2.44 ERA in 44 1/3 prior innings at the ballpark.

Sabathia, 34, ended his day giving up two runs on five hits and one walk with seven strikeouts in six innings.

However, it was his sixth strikeout in the fifth inning that allowed the veteran left-hander to reach a rare milestone. When he struck out Johnny Giavotella looking for the second out of the fifth, Sabathia became the 31st pitcher in Major League Baseball history to reach 2,500 strikeouts. Sabathia, already baseball’s active leader in strikeouts, also became only the ninth left-hander to reach the mark.

With one out and one on in the sixth inning, Sabathia threw a 1-1 slider to Kole Calhoun that Bellino called a ball. Television replays clearly showed that the ball was over the plate and crossed above Calhoun’s right knee.

On the next pitch, Calhoun rapped into an inning-ending double play. As Sabathia left the mound he asked Bellino where the previous pitch was. Bellino said down and, when Sabathia countered by saying the pitch was not down, Bellino ejected him. Girardi hopped over the dugout railing to get between Bellino and Sabathia to pick up the argument and he also was ejected.

It was Sabathia’s first ejection since 2006 and the first of the season for Girardi.

With their victory, the Yankees are now 32-25 and they maintained their 1 1/2-game lead over the second-place Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East. The Angels have now dropped five straight games and they are 28-29.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • You have to give Sabathia credit for keeping his composure after allowing two first-inning home runs. It was his first victory since May 16 against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium and his first at Yankee Stadium since Sept. 20, 2013. There is no doubt that Sabathia is no longer the ace that he was. But he proved on Sunday that he can provide the Yankees with quality starts.
  • Gardner’s three-run blast was his first home run since he launched another three-run blast on May 25 against right-hander Jeremy Guthrie to cap an eight-run first inning against the Royals at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees won that game 14-1. Gardner was a pain in the Angels’ backsides the entire series. He had hits in each game and was 5-for-13 (.385) with a walk, a triple, a homer and five RBIs. Gardner had been slumping ever since taking over for the injured Jacoby Ellsbury in the leadoff spot on May 20.
  • Pirela, 25, has always been considered the best pure hitter among all the team’s prospects. That is why it was odd after he batted .305 in 2014 in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and he hit well in spring training that he only was hitting .200 on May 25. Since then, Pirela is 5-for-11 (.455) and has raised his season average to .268. Pirela was 2-for-3 with a double, a homer, two runs scored and an RBI. He still is very weak defensively, but with Stephen Drew batting .168 he deserves to start against left-handers as he did on Sunday.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

Former Gold Glove winner Chase Headley committed his 13th error of the season in the third inning. However, it was later erased by a boneheaded attempt to move up to second base by Trout on a fly ball to right by David Freese. Beltran caught the fly and threw out Trout at second before Erick Aybar could cross home plate, which means his run did not count. So the way I look at it there is nothing to really complain about because the Angels were outsmarted and outscored in the series 22-11. (Right-hander Esmil Rogers handed them five of those runs on a platter in Friday’s nail-bitter.)

ON DECK

Fresh off their two consecutive series sweeps of the Seattle Mariners and the Angels, the Yankees will take Monday off before opening a two-game home series with the Washington Nationals on Tuesday.

Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (3-1, 2.76 ERA) will make his second start after being activated from the disabled list. Tanaka was brilliant in limiting the Mariners to one run on three hits with no walks and six strikeouts in seven sharp innings of a 3-1 victory on Wednesday.

The Nationals will counter with right-hander Max Scherzer (6-4, 1.85 ERA). Scherzer is coming offa loss to the Toronto Blue Jays last Tuesday in which he was touched for four runs on six hits and two walks with five strikeouts in six innings.

Game-time will be 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.

 

Yanks Thank Heaven After Halos’ 9th-Inning Scare

GAME 55

YANKEES 8, ANGELS 7

It is always considered a moral strength for those who have so much to do charitable acts of kindness for those who have so little. But some of the New York Yankees pitchers on Friday took that sentiment too seriously.

The Yankees scored eight runs for Nathan Eovaldi while right-handers Esmil Rogers and Dellin Betances gave most of them back but New York managed to hold on to beat Los Angeles by a single run in front of 40,310 paid at Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees took an early and decisive lead on right-hander Jered Weaver and the Angels on a pair of two-out, two-run homers by Stephen Drew and Mark Teixeira in the second and third innings, respectively.

They added another run off Weaver (4-5) in the fifth  –  again with two out  –  on an RBI single by Alex Rodriguez that scored Brett Gardner, who had tripled earlier in the frame. It was Rodriguez’ 1,997 career RBI, which allowed him to pass Barry Bonds for second place on the all-time RBI list.

The Yankees added a pair of runs in the fifth to chase Weaver from the game.

Brian McCann led off with a double and moved to third on a groundout. He then scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat Didi Gregorius. Drew followed with solo home run, his second of the game and his seventh of the season.

Weaver, 32, left he game and was charged with a season-high seven runs on nine hits and no walks with two strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.

Eovaldi (5-1), meanwhile, was cruising through the first five innings, holding the Angels scoreless on four hits and one walk with four strikeouts until he completely lost command of the strike zone in the sixth inning.

He walked three of the first four batters he faced, throwing five strikes and 12 balls, which ended his evening.

Left-hander Chasen Shreve came on and allowed an RBI infield groundout to Kirk Nieuwenhuis before ending the threat by striking out Erick Aybar.

Shreve and rookie left-hander Jacob Lindgren pitched scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth, respectively, while the Yankees added a run in the seventh off left-hander Edgar Ibarra on a double by Rodriguez, his third hit of what was a four-hit night, and an RBI single by pinch-hitter Chris Young.

Then the real drama began when Rogers was summoned by manager Joe Girardi to get the final three outs after Angels manager Mike Scioscia had removed Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Aybar from the lineup.

Johnny Giavotella opened the “House of Horrors” inning with a single and Tyler Featherston, who had just entered the game for Aybar and was 1-for-29 on the season, doubled to left.

Grant Green, who had replaced Trout in the batting order, then hit a pop-up between newly inserted second baseman Jose Pirela and Chase Headlley, who had been shifted from third base to first base.

Neither player made the catch and the ball just landed harmlessly between them to score Giavotella.

Rogers then uncorked a wild pitch to allow both Featherston and Green advance and later walked Efren Navarro, who had replaced Pujols, to load the bases. Kole Calhoun then lined a single up the middle to score Featherston.

Girardi replaced Rogers with Betances, who entered the game with 0.00 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 28 1/3 innings.

David Freese greeted the right-hander with a two-run single to center. Matt Joyce walked to reload the bases and Chris Iannetta drew a bases loaded walk to bring the Angels to within two runs at 8-6.

After Betances was able to strike out Niewenhuis for the first out, Giavotella rolled into a fielder’s choice to short that allowed Joyce to score to narrow the margin to a single run.

Beatances then righted the ship just in time to fan pinch-hitter Carlos Perez with the potential tying run on third to gain credit for his second save of the season, though he would likely tell you that he did not deserve it.

Rogers was charged five runs on four hits and a walk facing five batters and he did not record a single out.

Betances ended up giving up his first earned run of the season on the Giavotella fielder’s choice.

Girardi appeared to lose some more of what little hair he had and the hair he did have grew visibly grayer in the ninth. But, in the end, the Yankees were able to send the Angels to their third consecutive defeat while the Yankees won their fourth straight game.

The Yankees lead the second-place Tampa Bay Rays by a half game in the American League East and have a 30-25 season record. The Angels dropped to 28-27.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Drew entered the game with the lowest batting average of any qualifying player in Major League Baseball at .165 and yet he was 3-for-11 in the three-game series against the Seattle Mariners. His 2-for-4 night with two homers and three RBIs give him a .173 average with seven homers and 19 RBIs. Drew is just very lucky that Pirela is batting a weak .237 and top prospect Rob Refsnyder is scuffling on defense at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The Yankees dropped second baseman Brian Roberts on July 28, 2014 after he hit just .237.
  • Texeira is on a real roll during the Yankees’ four-game winning streak. In those games, Teixiera is only 4-for-16 (.250) but he has three homers and eight RBIs. Teixiera is now batting .240 with 17 home runs and 43 RBIs. The 17 homers are second in the majors to Nelson Cruz of the Seattle Mariners, who has 18. The 43 RBIs lead the American League.
  • Rodriguez’s 4-for-5 night raised his batting average from .270 to .284. He now only needs nine more hits to reach the 3,000 hit mark of his career. On May 5, Rodriguez was batting .227. Since then he is 32-for-95 (.337) with five homers and 12 RBIs.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • Eovaldi, 25, was largely very good on Friday. His split-finger fastball was a devastating pitch for him and kept the Angels off balance. However, he had a 5-0 lead heading into the sixth inning and imploded. He has pitched into the seventh inning in only four of his 11 starts and he is going to have to do better than he did against the Angels. He is 5-1 but it has more to do with his run support than his pitching.
  • Rogers, 29, actually has been worse as a right-hander out the bullpen than David Carpenter, who was designated for assignment on Wednesday. With his dreadful showing on Friday, he is 1-1 with a 6.39 ERA in 31 innings over 17 games. With Carpenter gone, the Yankees have only two right-handers in the bullpen (Rogers and Betances). It appears that with starter Ivan Nova on the way back that right-hander Adam Warren is headed back to the bullpen real soon. It also may be a good idea for Rogers to keep his bags packed.
  • Betances was bad but I actually fault more both Headley and Pirela for allowing that pop-up to drop. That also is a product of Girardi shifting players out of position. It also is not wise to rest a Gold Glove first baseman (Teixeira) when your second baseman (Pirela) is wearing a glove for no particular reason. Still, Headley needed to take charge to call that ball and he did not. It is just a microcosm of the mental and physical errors this team has made on defense. It just has to stop.

BOMBER BANTER

McCann was able to start on Friday because both an MRI and CT scan done on his sore right foot on Thursday were negative. McCann said that the soreness in his foot ran up to his calf and forced him to leave Wednesday’s game in the second inning. However, the 31-year-old catcher said he was fitted we new orthodics for his right arch and he was able to play on Friday. He was 1-for-3 with a double, a walk and he scored a run.  . . .  The Yankees said on Friday that Michael Pineda’s turn in the rotation will be skipped, citing they want to cut the right-hander’s workload after he pitched just 76 1/3 innings last season. Pineda, 26, will not pitch again until June 12 against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards. Pineda is 7-2 with a 3.33 ERA this season. Girardi told reporters that Pineda was injured and that it only was a concern about the 70 1/3 innings he already has logged.

ON DECK

The Yankees will continue their three-game home series with the Angels on Saturday.

Warren (3-4, 3.75 ERA) will start for the Yankees. Despite the fact that Warren held the Oakland Athletics to just two runs in seven innings on Sunday, he lost because the Yankees did not score him any runs. Warren is 1-3 in his past four starts despite posting a 2.70 ERA in that span.

The Angels will counter with hard-throwing right-hander Garrett Richards (5-3, 3.26 ERA). Richards is 2-1 despite yielding 13 runs (11 earned) in his past 18 1/3 innings over his past three starts.

Game-time will be 7:15 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast nationally by FOX Sports.

 

Yankees Clip Halos’ Wings On Fly Lost In Sun

GAME 145

YANKEES 6, ANGELS 5

They say behind every dark cloud is a silver lining.

On Sunday, the New York Yankees benefitted from a silver-lined ray of sunshine in the seventh inning that prevented Peter Bourjos from catching a fly ball to centerfield off the bat of Mark Teixeira and cost the Los Angels Angels the game. The game-tying run would have scored on what would have been a sacrifice fly anyway, but Bourjos’ misplay allowed a second run to score as the Yankees halted a four-game, three-city losing streak in front of 42,581 fans at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA.

The Yankees were trailing Ervin Santana and the Angels 5-4 at the start of the seventh. But Brett Gardner greeted Santana with a single up the middle into centerfield. Derek Jeter followed with a sharp single to right-center that advanced the speedy Gardner to third base.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia removed Santana (11-11) in favor of left-hander Scott Downs. Downs was able to strike out Curtis Granderson but Teixeira lifted a deep fly ball into straightaway centerfield. Bourjos camped under it but he lost sight of the ball and it fell out of his glove and rolled away from him.

Gardner scored easily and Jeter was able to speed his way around third and into home without a play as the Yankees were able to take their first lead of the game.

The Yankees’ bullpen troika of Rafael Soriano, David Robertson and Mariano Rivera managed to make the one-run lead hold up over the final three innings.

Cory Wade (5-0), who pitched a scoreless sixth in relief of starter Freddy Garcia, got credit for the victory. Rivera recorded his 40th save of the season. In his 15 seasons as the Yankees’ closer he has notched 40 or more saves in eight of them. It also was the 599th of his career. He needs only three saves to pass Trevor Hoffman for first place on the all-time saves list.

The Yankees’ victory improved their season record to 88-57 and, coupled with the 9-1 loss by the Boston Red Sox to the Tampa Bay Rays, the Yankees have increased their lead in the American League East to 3 1/2 games. Despite the fact the Yankees had lost four in a row, the Red Sox now have dropped five in a row and are only 3 1/2 games ahead of Rays in the wild-card race. The Angels, who are 80-66 on the season, are only five games back.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • The Yankees should be called the Ache-ees for all the injuries they are playing through on this road trip. They played Sunday without Alex Rodriguez, Nick Swisher, Russell Martin and Francisco Cervelli but they were able to keep scratching back from behind on Santana. They scored only nine runs on 22 hits in their last four games. Today’s six runs on eight hits showed signs of life for a team that has looked dead tired.
  • Robinson Cano finally stopped swinging at pitches out of the strike zone long enough to collect two hits, including a solo home run in the fourth off Santana that drew the Yankees to within a run. It was Cano’s 25th home run and his 106th RBI of the season. His career highs in homers and RBIs were set last season when he hit 29 home runs and drove in 109 runs.
  • Curtis Granderson has struck out so many times during the month he looks like he will have a shot to catch Cincinnati’s Drew Stubbs for the major-league lead (188). Granderson has 159 but he has struck 14 times in his 37 at-bats this month. But Granderson was able to connect for a two-run home run off Santana in the fifth inning that brought the Yankees back to within a 5-4 score with the Angels. It was Granderson’s 39th home run and he now has 111 RBIs, which leads the American League.
  • Eric Chavez continues to provide both offense and defense replacing Rodriguez at third base. Chavez was 2-for-4 with a double and a single and he drove in a run. One of the reasons the Yankees have been able to withstand this recent spate of injuries is because of solid play off the bench from Chavez and others.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • Garcia struggled and had to battle in every inning against the Angels. Howie Kendrick followed a leadoff single by Erick Aybar in the first with a two-run home run to put Garcia and the Yankees in an early 2-0 hole. The Angels played their usual pop-gun infield rollers and bunts offense to steal a run on a wild pitch in the third. Bourjos then connected for a two-run home run in the fourth. But give Garcia credit for escaping a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the fifth by inducing rookie slugger Mark Trumbo into an infield popup and getting Alberto Callaspo to roll out weakly to second to end the threat.
  • Jesus Montero came back to Earth a bit with three strikeouts against Santana. Pressed into service as the catcher with both Martin and Cervelli out, Montero also allowed two stolen bases in the fifth and he seemed to be at fault for not blocking Garcia’s wild pitch in the third. But he did nail Callaspo on an attempted steal in the second and he drew an intentional walk in the seventh from Downs.
  • Eduardo Nunez was 0-for-3 with a walk in the Sunday’s game and he is in the throes of a his worst slump of the season. Since Aug. 28, when he was hitting .280 on the season, Nunez is 3-for-34 (.088) and his average has dropped to .256.

BOMBER BANTER

The Yankees put out an emergency call to catcher Austin Romine, who had completed his season at Double-A Trenton, and he made his major-league debut in the seventh inning. Romine replaced Montero behind the plate and he likely will do the bulk of the catching until Martin and Cervelli return. Ironically, when Romine entered the game, his brother Andrew was watching from the Angels’ dugout. Andrew is a third baseman who was a September call-up for the Angels. The Yankees hope to have Swisher and Martin back in the lineup soon. Rodriguez and Cervelli are going to need more time before they are able to return.

THIS TRANSMISSION WAS DELAYED 

Angels Pay Grandly For Error With Cano’s Slam

GAME 116

YANKEES 6, ANGELS 5

Managers always warn their teams the importance of playing errorless defense against the Yankees because they have a habit of making teams pay for their mistakes. Angels second baseman Maicer Izturis received a graphic demonstration of how that can play out on Thursday.

Izturis botched a routine Mark Teixeira grounder with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning to load the bases and Robinson Cano followed with a laser line-drive home run off the facing of the second deck and into the right-field bleachers at Yankee Stadium off reliever Scott Downs as New York held on to defeat Los Angeles.

It was Cano’s fifth career grand slam and his 20th home run of the season. The key blow also broke a two-all tie and handed a 2-1 series victory to the Yankees over one of their chief rivals for the American League wild-card spot.

Rafael Soriano (2-1) pitched a scoreless inning of relief in the top of the seventh to get credit for the victory. Reliever Fernando Rodney (2-4) took the loss. Mariano Rivera got credit for his 30th save, however, his week of hiccups continued when he surrendered a three-run home run to pinch-hitter Russell Branyan in the ninth.

Rodney opened the key seventh by walking the No. 9 hitter, Francisco Cervelli. Brett Gardner moved him to second with a sacrifice bunt. Russell Martin was sent in to pinch-run for Cervelli and Rodney ended up walking Derek Jeter.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia replaced Rodney with the lefty Downs to face Curtis Granderson and he fanned Granderson on a slider in the dirt. Downs then thought he had escaped potential danger when Teixeira tapped a high-hopper over the mound to Izturis. But the ball careened off Izturis’ glove and rolled to his right. Instead of the end of the inning, the bases were loaded for Cano.

Cano then redirected a 0-1 Downs inside fastball on a line into the right-field seats to give the Yankees a 6-2 lead. Most of the crowd of 47,431 in attendance erupted in cheers as Cano took a matinee curtain call.

Yankee starter Bartolo Colon pitched well and was only hurt in the fifth inning of a scoreless game. It started with a one-out infield single by Erick Aybar, who was 0 for his last 30 at-bats. Alberto Callaspo followed with a two-run homer into the second deck down the right-field line.

Angels starter Tyler Chatwood held the 2-0 lead until the bottom of the sixth inning.

Derek Jeter opened the frame with his third consecutive hit and his second straight infield single. Granderson then connected on a long fly ball to right that carried into the bleachers in right-center for his 32nd home run of the season and his fourth home run of the three-game series against the Angels.

With the Yankees up 6-2, manager Joe Girardi opted for Cory Wade to close out the ninth. But Wade ran into trouble after getting the first out. Izturis singled up the middle and Peter Bourjos followed with a double down the left-field line. Girardi then brought in Rivera to close the game.

However, Branyan, who owns two of the longest home runs in new Yankee Stadium history, connected on a first-pitch cutter and the ball carried high and out to the right-field seats to make it 6-5.

In his last three appearances spanning 2 2/3 innings, Rivera has given up four runs on four hits and two of those hits have been home runs. He now has a loss, a blown save and one very close shave in this contest.

Rivera was able to retire Aybar and Callaspo to collect his 30th save in 35 chances this season. Rivera has now saved at least 30 games in 14 of the 15 seasons he has been the closer for the Yankees and it was his ninth in a row.

With the victory the Yankees improved to 71-45 and they also gained a half-game on the idle first-place Boston Red Sox in the American League East. They are a game back. The Angels dropped to 64-54 and they are now eight games behind the Yankees in the wild-card standings.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • The Angels do not want to see Granderson for a long time. In the three-game series, Granderson was 4-for-12 with all four hits home runs. He drove in seven runs and scored five. Granderson is now tied with Teixeira for second in the majors in home runs, one behind the Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista (33). In addition, Granderson took over the major-league lead in RBIs with 93, one more than Boston’s Adrian Gonzalez. He also leads the majors in runs scored with 105, 21 more than Boston’s Jacoby Ellsbury.
  • The Angels also do not want to see Cano. He was 7-for-12 (.583) for the series with four extra-base hits, including two home runs. He scored three runs and drove in six. That means he and Granderson combined were 11-for-24 (.458) with six home runs, 11 RBIs and eight runs scored. The two lefties were pretty much a two-man wrecking crew to Angels pitching.
  • Jeter’s three-hit game raised his season average to .276. Since coming off the disabled list on July 4, Jeter is 39-for-125 (.312) with two home runs and 23 RBIs. He also has scored 21 runs and stolen five bases. Rumors of the demise of “The Captain” might be greatly exaggerated.
  • Soriano gave up a one-out single to Bobby Wilson in the seventh inning. That was the first baserunner he has allowed over his six appearances since coming off the disabled list. He had retired 15 batters in a row. He retired the next two batters to complete six straight scoreless appearances.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • It is obvious that Rivera is in one of his typical in-season pitching slumps. His 13.50 ERA over his last three appearances and the two home runs he has surrendered in this series are an indication of it. But the Yankees remain unconcerned about their Hall-of-Fame-bound closer. Unless the Yankees are hiding an injury, Rivera should snap out of it soon. That is the hope anyway.
  • Eric Chavez had a rare rough afternoon at the plate, going 0-for-3 with a strikeout and he did not get a ball out of the infield. His batting average dropped below .300 to .295 but it is obvious that Girardi will continue to use the veteran third baseman over Jorge Posada, who is slumping badly from both sides of the plate.
  • Eduardo Nunez also took a rare 0-for-4 collar and it dropped his average to .268. Nunez actually has been filling in admirably at short for Jeter and at third for Alex Rodriguez. He is 0-for-8 in his last two games and this is the first time he has not gotten a hit in two consecutive games he has started since July 18 and 19 against Tampa Bay in St. Petersburg, FL.

BOMBER BANTER

Girardi said the Yankees will have a decision on their five-man rotation by this weekend. They have to choose to remove one starter between A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes. Burnett, who is winless in his last seven starts and is 0-3 with a 6.00 ERA, will not get another start before a decision is made. Meanwhile, Hughes will get a start on Saturday against Tampa Bay. Hughes is 2-3 with a 4.55 ERA in six games (five starts) since coming off the disabled list in July. Ivan Nova, who has won all three of his starts since being recalled from the minors and who is 11-4, will remain the rotation along with Colon, CC Sabathia and Freddy Garcia.

ON DECK

Now that the Yankees have dispatched one potential wild-card rival in the Angels, they will face another in the Tampa Bay Rays in a three-day weekend home series.

The Yankees will open the series with CC Sabathia (16-6, 2.81 ERA). Sabathia is coming off a spanking he took at the hands of the Red Sox. He is 0-4 against them this season and 16-2 with a 2.11 ERA against the rest of baseball. He is 9-6 with a 3.00 ERA in his career against the Rays and he is 1-1 this season.

The Rays will counter left-hander David Price (9-10, 3.89 ERA). Price also struggled in his last outing. He gave up four runs on 4 2/3 innings against Oakland on Sunday. Price is 3-2 with a 3.97 ERA in his career against the Yankees and he is 0-1 with a 5.71 ERA against them in three starts this season.

Game-time will be 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be televised by the YES Network.

 

Morales’ Eighth Inning Blast Powers Halos Over Yankees

Transmission of this report was delayed due to time constraints.


GAME 16
ANGELS 6, YANKEES 4

Kendry Morales connected with a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning off reliever Joba Chamberlain as the Los Angeles Angels defeated the New York Yankees 6-4 on Friday night at Angels Stadium in Anahaim, CA.
Reliever Fernando Rodney (2-0) pitched a scoreless eighth inning to get credit for the victory. Left-hander Brian Fuentes pitched a perfect ninth to pick up his second save of the season. Chamberlain (0-1) took the loss, only the second loss from a member of the Yankees bullpen this season.
The loss was also the first time this season the Yankees have lost two consecutive games. Their season record dropped to 11-5 and they are a half-game behind the Tampa Bay Rays in the A.L. East. The Angels evened their record to 9-9 in the A.L. West.
YANKEE POSITIVES

  • Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter combined to tie the game at 1-1 in the third inning when they hit back-to back doubles off Angels starter Ervin Santana. 
  • With two outs in the third inning, Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano hit back-to-back RBI singles to give the Yankees a 3-1 lead.
  • Nick Swisher connected on a fat 1-0 fastball off Santana in the fourth inning and registered his second home run of the season to tie the game at 4-4.
  • Though A.J. Burnett struggled with his command all night and had two bad innings, he did manage to pitch very well in other 4 1/3 innings he pitched. In those innings he faced 16 batters, retired 13 of them, gave up only two hits, walked one and hit a batter. 
  • Jorge Posada did something unusual for him when he catches against the aggressive Angels: He threw out Bobby Abreu attempting to steal in the seventh inning.
THE NEGATIVES

  • Burnett two bad innings were bad enough. In those two innings he gave up four runs on seven hits and a second hit batter. With a 3-2 lead and two outs and nobody on base in the bottom of the third inning, in succession, he hit Kendry Morales with a pitch and gave up back-to-back RBI doubles to Juan Rivera and Maicer Izturis.
  • Chamberlain simply did not have his usual command when he entered the game in the eighth inning. He gave up a leadoff single to Hideki Matsui and then surrendered the two-run home run to Morales that lost the game. Morales is 5-for-7 with two home runs off Chamberlain in his career.
  • Teixeira continues his month-long slide. He was 0-for-4 and his average dropped to .117. His worst at bat was in the fourth inning with two outs and Jeter at third and Nick Johnson at first. Teixeira struck out with his bat on his shoulder. The good news is May is just one week away. Hang in there, Mark!
  • Posada, who came in hitting .348, was also 0-for-4 and his average fell to .320.
  • The Yankee offense, as a whole, took a long siesta after Swisher’s solo home run tied it in the fourth inning. From that point on the Yankees managed just two hits, three walks and a hit batsman.
DIAMOND NOTES

Some Angels players and fans were angry with Teixeira for his collision with Angels catcher Bobby Wilson at home plate in the third inning. Wilson had to leave the game immediately for CT scans for a concussion and a left ankle injury. However, replays showed the throw from Bobby Abreu bounced up and Wilson moved back towards the plate when Teixeira collided with him. Teixeira had no idea the ball would carom off Wilson’s mask and properly tried to jar the ball loose. Angels manager Mike Scioscia said “It was a clean play. No doubt about it.”  . . .  Wilson’s CT scan for a concussion was negative and the results of the left ankle screening will be released later. Mike Napoli replaced Wilson behind the plate. The Angles recently lost starting catcher Jeff Mathis to a broken right wrist and he is on the 15-day disabled list and is expected to miss up to 6-8 weeks. Wilson was starting his first game of the season.  . . .  It was it little off-putting that Angels broadcasters Victor Rojas and Mark Gubicza seemed to be implying that the four hit batsman (two for each side) could have been deliberate. Considering that Burnett and Santana combined to give up eight earned runs on 12 hits and five walks, I would think that both pitchers’ lack of command were evidence in itself they were not trying to hit anyone. With the erratic command Burnett had on Friday he likely would have missed if he tried to hit a batter.  . . .  Chan Ho Park’s right hamstring is not responding to treatment as quickly as the Yankees would like and they will send the veteran right-hander to Tampa, FL after the series with the Angels concludes on Sunday. Park was placed on the disabled list April 16 and he was scheduled to throw a bullpen session in Baltimore on Tuesday. But, Park instead requested he be sent to Tampa to work out in warmer weather.  . . .  In the wake of Dallas Braden’s diatribe against Alex Rodriguez for breaking an unwritten “rule” of running over the pitcher’s mound in Oakland on Thursday, Braden said Rodriguez “should take note from his captain.” However, Jeter squarely stands behind Rodriguez. As for the so-called rule about running over the mound, Jeter said “I never heard that.” He also said Braden’s statements were “out there.” When asked about the controversy again on Friday, Rodriguez refused to comment further.

Andy Just Dandy As Yankees Claim 40th Pennant

ALCS GAME 6
YANKEES 5, ANGELS 2


He started 2009 without a contract from the New York Yankees but Andy Pettitte shined in the postseason lights on Sunday night like there was no doubt he belonged there.
Pettitte pitched 6 1/3 innings of gritty, determined baseball to win a major-league record 16th postseason game as the Yankees finally threw a big rally monkey off their backs by downing the Los Angeles Angels 5-2 to win their 40th American League pennant.
By virtue of winning the American League Championship Series by four games to two, the Yankees defeated an Angels franchise that had bounced them out of the postseason in 2002 and 2005 and earned the right to face the National League and defending World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series, which will begin on Wednesday night.
Controversy swirled amid Pettitte’s start Sunday after Saturday night’s postponement of Game 6 at Yankee Stadium. Pundits wondered why manager Joe Girardi would not start CC Sabathia on four days rest to vanquish the Angels rather than Pettitte.
But Pettitte’s effort in the Bronx quelled those fears and will allow Sabathia to open the World Series against the Phillies on Wednesday night. Sabathia earned a piece a hardware for himself by being named the Most Valuable Player of the series by virtue of his dominant wins in Game 1 and Game 4.
Pettitte (1-0) gave up only one run on seven hits and one walk and fanned six batters to win his 16th postseason game, which broke a tie at 15 that Pettitte shared with John Smoltz. Pettitte’s overall postseason record is now 16-9.
He also won a major-league best fifth series-clinching victory to pass Catfish Hunter, Roger Clemens and Dave Stewart.
“That’s great, it’s great,” Pettitte said. “But the greatest thing is to be able to clinch this game and to help this organization get back to the World Series. That’s very special for me.”
In his two starts in the ALCS, Pettitte was 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA.
“What can you say about him?” Derek Jeter said to MLB.com. “He’s a guy you want to see on the mound in that situation. He’s pitched in every big game. He’s had a lot of success. You never see him fazed by anything. We have a lot of confidence in him.”
This after a 2008 postseason in which the Yankees allowed Pettitte to become a free agent and they signed to a late contract for $11 million less than he made last season. Pettitte actually pitched so well during the season that he ended up being the Yankees second-best starter with a 14-9 record and a 4.04 ERA.
“Pettitte pounded the strike zone today,” Torii Hunter said. “He’s usually a guy who throws a lot of balls. He pounded the zone and was ahead of everybody today.”
It also was fitting that the Yankees closeout victory in the ALCS would come with Mariano Rivera pitching the final the two innings to collect his 37th career postseason save and his second of the series.

“You know that he’s unbelievable when he goes out there,” Girardi told MLB.com. “Let me tell you, it’s nice having him down there.”

Rivera did give up a run in the eighth inning on a Vladimir Guerrero RBI single to bring the Angels to within one run but the Yankees managed to add two runs in the bottom of the eighth without the benefit of a hit and two more uncharacteristic Angels errors.
With the Yankees leading by a run in the bottom of the eighth, the Yankees benefitted from a leadoff walk to Robinson Cano. Then the Angels misplayed consecutive sacrifice bunts by Nick Swisher and Melky Cabrera to score one run.
Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick, covering first, dropped a throw from catcher Mike Napoli on Swisher’s bunt. Then Angels pitcher Scott Kazmir shot-putted a throw over the head of Kendry Morales on Cabrera’s bunt and Cano scored on the play.
The Angels, who finished fourth in the American League with the fewest errors, made a total of eight errors in the series. These two in the really eighth sealed their fate.
On Kazmir’s bonehead toss, Brett Gardner (pinch-running for Swisher) and Cabrera moved to third and second, respectively. After one out and a walk to Johnny Damon, Mark Teixeira closed out the scoring with a sacrifice fly to deep center to score Gardner and make it 5-2.
The Yankees built their 3-1 lead by chasing lefty starter Joe Saunders in the fourth inning. That inning also started with a walk to Cano and Swisher followed with a single. Cabrera sacrificed them up a base. 
After a walk to Jeter, Johnny Damon put the Yankees ahead in the game 2-1 with a two-run single to left. After Teixeira beat out an infield single to deep short, Saunders walked Alex Rodriguez with the bases loaded to make it 3-1.
Saunders (0-1) also punched his ticket out of Game 6. He left after just 3 1/3 innings, giving three runs on seven hits and five walks. 
Much was made of the fact that Saunders had entered Game 6 having gone 7-0 in his nine starts since coming off the disabled list on Aug. 26. After Sunday night at the new Yankee Stadium, Saunders is now 7-1 in his last 10 starts.
Darren Oliver entered the game to replace Saunders and induced Jorge Posada to hit into an inning-ending double play and he pitched two more shutout innings to keep the Angels close.
The Angels only run off Pettitte came in the third inning when Angels catcher Jeff Mathis, who entered the game hitting .600 in the series, doubled to the gap in right-center. After Erick Aybar fanned, Chone Figgins, who hit .086 in the postseason, grounded out to Cano as Mathis moved to third.
Pettitte then hung a breaking pitch to Bobby Abreu, who singled sharply to right to score Mathis with the game’s first run.
While the Angels struggled again on defense in clutch situations, the Yankees turned in a number of sparkling plays in the field to frustrate the Angels’ offense.
In the second inning, Morales lined out sharply to right and Swisher ran in quickly to catch it and threw to first base to double off Guerrero, who had strayed too far off the base.
Cano’s stop of Figgins’ grounder in the third actually robbed Figgins of a hit and kept Mathis from scoring before Abreu came to the plate.
In the seventh inning with one out and Juan Rivera on first with a single, pinch-hitter Maicer Izturis lined a hard one-hopper to Jeter at short. But the ball bounced away from Jeter right to Cano standing on second. Cano alertly picked up the ball to force Rivera.
In the eighth inning Figgins blooped a single just out of the reach of Jeter in short left. Abreu t
hen rocked Rivera with a broken bat bouncer headed for rightfield, but Teixeira dove to his right to stop it and got back to his feet and beat Abreu to the bag for a key first out as Figgins took second.
With Figgins a threat to steal third base, Cano stayed just to the right of second base when Hunter bounced what looked like a single up the middle to centerfield. But Cano ranged to his left to snag it and threw Hunter out easily for the second out.
Figgins did score to make it 3-2 on Guerrero’s single but the plays for Teixeira and Cano certainly limited the damage as the Yankees won their fifth postseason game at home with no losses.
The Yankees were a major-league best 57-24 at home this season and they are now 37-9 at home after the All-Star break, including the postseason wins.
The only drama left was left to Rivera pitching the ninth inning. The crowd of 50,173 stood and cheered  every pitch as Rivera retired Howie Kendrick on an easy bouncer to Teixeira for the first out and Juan Rivera lofted a easy fly to Cabrera, who had replaced Swisher in right for the ninth, for the second out.
The crowd got even louder as Rivera ran the count full to pinch-hitter Gary Matthews Jr. Then Rivera threw his 34th and final pitch of the night and Matthews swung and missed. 
Euphoria erupted from the pitcher’s mound up into the third decks of the Yankees sparkling new palace, which had seen the Yankees collect its first pennant under the pristine glow of its lights.
The players quickly ditched their uniform caps and donned brand new ones emblazoned with the official 2009 World Series logo.
“They played an incredible series,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “They outplayed us, and they deserved to win. Naturally, they’ll represent our league in the World Series, and we wish them well.”

“It’s a great feeling, with what these guys did and how hard they worked,” Girardi told MLB.com. “They never gave up. Even when we went through some tough times, they were there. They kept fighting back. Our team has shown a lot of character.”
The Yankees are now but four games away from the 27th championship and, on this night in the Bronx, they put those thoughts aside to celebrate what had taken them six seasons to achieve: Playing in the World Series.
“In order to win a World Series, you have to get there,” Rodriguez said. “We’ve done that, and hopefully, the good Lord blesses us for four more.”



CC’s Dominance Puts Yankees On Brink Of World Series

ALCS GAME 4
YANKEES 10, ANGELS 1


When your getting ripped in the New York newspapers and on sports talk radio shows, Yankees manager Joe Girardi is finding lots of comfort in writing CC Sabathia’s name on his lineup card.
Sabathia (2-0) quelled all the dustup over Girardi’s supposed mismanaging of Game 3 by throwing eight dominant innings at the befuddled Los Angeles Angels as the Yankees won Game 4 of the American League Championship Series 10-1 on Tuesday night.
The victory puts the Yankees up 3-1 in the best-of-seven series and also leaves them within one victory of making the team’s 40th trip to the World Series in franchise history.
For the naysayers who did not think Sabathia should pitch Game 4 on three days rest, the 6-foot-7 lefthander actually pitched just as well as he did in Game 1. In his eight innings of work, Sabathia gave up five hits and two walks and struck out five batters.
“I never had any doubt about me being able to perform on this stage and to pitch well late into October,” Sabathia said to MLB.com. “But it seems like people did. I feel great. You know, hopefully, I can keep it going.”
Sabathia’s only blemish came on a letter-high fastball Kendry Morales muscled for a solo home run to left-center with one out in the fifth inning that drew the Angels to 5-1. That was as close as the Halos would get to Sabathia the rest of the night.
After giving up the home run to Morales, Sabathia gave up back-to back singles to Mike Napoli and Erick Aybar. But Sabathia got Chone Figgins to bounce into a fielder’s choice and Bobby Abreu flew out harmlessly to center to end the inning.
Figgins and Abreu are now a combined 4-for-32 in the ALCS, a .125 average.
Sabathia also wriggled out of a jam in the sixth after he walked Vladimir Guerrero and Torii Hunter singled to open the inning. Sabathia, as he always has this season, remained calm and induced Juan Rivera to hit into a double play and Howie Kendrick lined out to Mark Teixeira.
In Sabathia’s other six innings of work, he only gave up an infield single to Rivera in the second inning and walked Abreu in the first. He threw only 59 pitches in those six innings to retire 18 batters.
In Sabathia’s two starts in the ALCS, he has now pitched 16 innings, given up two runs on nine hits and three and struck out 12 batters. His is 3-0 with a 1.09 in the 2009 postseason.
“He really doesn’t change,” catcher Jorge Posada said. “When he’s down, when he’s up, he’s always the same. He just goes out there and does his job, and that’s all you can ask for. He really doesn’t change at all.”

“He was spectacular again,” Girardi said to MLB.com. “To be able to shut this club down like he did, again, is no easy feat. This is a very dangerous lineup. We had some chances early, and CC kept getting outs for us. We finally broke through and got a couple of runs, and we kept tacking on.”
Meanwhile, the Yankee offense had former Tampa Bay Rays lefthander Scott Kazmir battling with his command and had him on the ropes early before breaking finally through on him in the fourth inning.
The Yankees 2009 version of Mr. October, Alex Rodriguez, started the fourth with a line single to center. Posada followed with a double. 
After one out, Robinson Cano hit a ground ball to Kendrick at second base. Kendrick elected to try to cut off the run at the plate but threw high to Napoli at home, which allowed Rodriguez to slide under Napoli to score the game’s first run.
After Nick Swisher drew a walk, Melky Cabrera ended the Yankees’ recent spate of not hitting with runners in scoring position (totaling 26 at-bats) as he delivered a line single to left that scored Posada and Cano. Swisher moved to third.
“I feel really good, because it was bases loaded and I got a big hit for the team,” Cabrera said.
“We’ve had some frustration with runners in scoring position so far in this series,” Girardi said to MLB.com. “But tonight, we were excellent in those situations from the fourth inning on.”
Kazmir then walked Derek Jeter to load the bases again and then the inning took a very odd turn, courtesy of third base umpire Tim McClelland. Johnny Damon sent a fly ball to centerfield that Hunter settled under and caught.
Swisher raced home ahead of Hunter’s throw with the what would have been the Yankees’ fourth run of the inning but the Angels appealed that Swisher left third base too soon. McClelland surprisingly called Swisher out and the inning was over.
Television replays revealed two things about the play: No. 1, McClelland was looking at Hunter and not Swisher’s feet as the play unfolded. More importantly, No. 2, Swisher did not leave the base before Hunter caught the ball. McClelland’s magical ability to look two places at once and imagine Swisher left too soon cost the Yankees a run.
But McClelland, the longest serving umpire in the major leagues, really topped himself in the following inning.
Before the second McClelland drama unfolded, Mark Teixeira led off the fifth with a single for only his second hit of the series and it broke an 0-for-13 slide. The hit also brought an end to the festivities for Kazmir.
He was replaced by Jason Bulger, who promptly gave up a two-run home to Rodriguez on his second delivery. The 375-foot blast to left for Rodriguez was the third homer and his fourth and fifth RBIs of the series. In the ALCS, Rodriguez is 6-for-16 (.375).
“I will say that in other postseasons I failed, and sometimes failed miserably,” Rodriguez said. “It certainly feels good to come through for my team and help the team win.”

“When I grow up, I want to be like Alex Rodriguez,” Nick Swisher said to MLB.com. “I’ll tell you what, man. I don’t know how it feels, but it’s got to feel like it’s a beach ball coming in.”
Rodriguez now has five home runs in the 2009 postseason, which ties him with Reggie Jackson for second o
n the all-time postseason home run list. Rodriguez only trails Bernie Williams, who hit six home runs in the 1996 postseason.
“He’s been as clutch as anybody could have hoped for on their side,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “He’s a heck of a player. He’s playing his game right now. We’re obviously going to have to do a little better job of making some pitches on him.”
Kazmir, who was acquired by the Angels largely due to his ability to pitch well against the Boston Red Sox and the Yankees, ended up going 4-plus innings, gave up six hits and four walks and four earned runs.
Bulger, after serving up the Rodriguez home run, than gave up a walk to Posada and, as a result, was handed a trip to the showers with Kazmir courtesy of Scioscia.
Darren Oliver came on to restore order but, thanks to McClelland, there was anything but order. After Hideki Matsui struck out, Robinson Cano doubled in deep centerfield and Posada, who had stolen second base, should have scored before Hunter got to the ball. 
However, Posada chose instead to tag up at second base and had to hold at third.
Then the confusion ensued. 
Nick Swisher hit a weak grounder back to Oliver and Oliver threw home to make a play on Posada. Napoli, who had Posada halfway between third and home, ran Posada back towards third base.
Posada was tagged by Napoli as he pulled up at third. Cano, who was unsure of where to go stopped a foot off the bag at third. Napoli tagged him also. The Angels believed they had a double play and the inning was over.
But McClelland said no. He called Posada out but allowed Cano to have third base. Most of the 45,160 bleacher umpires in attendance at Angel Stadium booed McClelland unmercifully for his error in judgment.
It may have been a botched call but since Oliver got Cabrera to bounce into a fielder’s choice to end the inning, McClelland’s bonehead mistake did not cost the Angels a run as it had the Yankees an inning before.
Angels fans still booed McClelland after the inning ended.
But, like a gallon of water to a thirsty Bedoin camel herder, McClelland was let off the hook by some late-inning thunder from the bats of the Yankees. 
Johnny Damon added to the Sabathia four-run cushion in the eighth with a two-run home run off reliever Matt Palmer. 
Palmer became the pitcher who keeps on giving in the ninth, when Rodriguez doubled and scored on a Posada flyout after Abreu’s throw to cut him down at third bounced into the Angels’ dugout, allowing Rodriguez to trot home. 
After two were out, Palmer walked Cano and Brett Gardner followed with a bloop single to center. Cabrera followed with a ringing double to plate Cano and Gardner to cap the scoring and make McClelland’s erroneous calls irrelevant.
Cabrera ended the night 3-for-4 with 4 RBIs.
Now the 2009 Yankees stand within one game of returning to their first World Series since 2003, when they lost to the Florida Marlins in six games. The Angels have a huge hole to climb to prevent that from happening.
Since the ALCS was changed to a best-of-seven format in 1985, 12 of the 16 teams who have held a 3-1 lead have advanced to the World Series.
“You just want to keep going and keep playing well,” Sabathia said to MLB.com. “We’ve been playing good all playoffs. We’ve been having good pitching, playing good defense. You know, we just need to close it out. It’s that time.”
Fellow free agent signee A.J. Burnett (13-9, 4.04 ERA) will get the call from the Yankees to close out the Angels on Thursday afternoon in Anaheim, CA. Though veteran righthander has two no decisions in the postseason, he is sporting an ERA of 2.19 in his two starts.
Angels Game 1 starter John Lackey (11-8, 3.83 ERA) will pitch for the Angels. Lackey is 1-1 with a 1.38 ERA in the postseason but lost Game 1 to Sabathia and the Yankees 4-1, largely due to mental and physical errors on the part of his his teammates on defense.
Gametime is 4:57 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by FOX.

Error Scores Hairston In 13th As Yanks Edge Halos

ALCS GAME 2
YANKEES 4, ANGELS 3 (13 INNINGS)


Jerry Hairston Jr. waited 12 years to make it to the postseason and he waited five hours to become the New York Yankees latest walk-off hero on Saturday night.
Hairston came through with a pinch-hit single to lead off the bottom of the 13th inning and he later scored from second on an errant throw by Maicer Izturis as the Yankees defeated the Los Angeles Angels 4-3 and took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven American League Championship Series.
Hairston’s leadoff single allowed manager Joe Girardi to have Brett Gardner bunt him to second base. Angels manager Mike Scioscia then ordered righthanded reliever Ervin Santana (0-1) to walk Robinson Cano to bring Melky Cabrera up to the plate.
On Santana’s first offering Cabrera grounded a ball to the left of Izturis at second base. Instead of making an easier play to first base, Izturis elected to turn and fire the ball to shortstop Erick Aybar to force Cano.
However, his off-balance throw sailed to the right of Izturis and rolled into shallow leftfield. By the time third baseman Chone Figgins could retrieve the ball Hairston sped home without a play to end a five-hour and 10-minute marathon on another windy, rainy and chilly night at Yankee Stadium.
A wild on-field celebration ensued and Hairston received the customary whipped cream pie to the face courtesy of Yankees starter A.J. Burnett.
“I knew if I got a chance to do something, I wanted to do something positive,” Hairston said. “This game isn’t easy. I just wanted to enjoy the moment. My grandfather never had the opportunity that I’ve had. That was definitely for him.”
“That’s the beautiful thing about the playoffs,” Derek Jeter said to MLB.com after the game. “It takes 25 guys to win, and you never know when you’re going to get that opportunity.”
The walk-off victory was the second in the postseason for the Yankees, who fashioned 15 walk-off victories in the regular season. With the victory the Yankees also remain undefeated in the postseason.
For the Angels, it was another loss punctuated by an error that cost them dearly. On Friday, the Angels committed three errors and Aybar allowed a run to score in the first inning on a popup he let drop in front of him as the Angels lost 4-1.
The Angels, who committed the fifth fewest errors this season, have now committed five errors in the series.
But the Yankees were not much better in the field on Saturday. Cano committed two errors and Jeter added one. But none of those errors led to an Angels’ run. 
The instant classic walk-off victory was set up by more heroics from the Yankees’ newest “Mr. October,” Alex Rodriguez.
With the Yankees trailing for the first time in the series 3-2 in the bottom of the 11th and Angels’ closer Brian Fuentes on the mound, Rodriguez stepped to the plate with yet another chance to save the Yankees this postseason.
Rodriguez entered the game hitting .429 in the postseason with two home runs and seven RBIs. 
Fuentes put Rodriguez in an early 0-2 hole on his first two pitches. However, Rodriguez managed to get the bat on the next offering on the inside part of the plate and drive the ball on a line out to rightfield.
Former Yankees rightfielder Bobby Abreu backed up to the wall and leaped but the ball carried over his glove in the first row of the bleachers for Rodriguez’ third home run of the postseason and the game was tied at 3.
“I know I had a blast out there today,” Rodriguez told MLB.com. “That was a great game. That’s what I’ve been doing all year — trying to keep things simple and not trying to think too much.”

“I just kept yelling, ‘He did it again! He did it again!'” Mark Teixeira said. “I couldn’t believe it.”
Pandemonium broke out among the Yankee fans in the crowd of 49,922 that dismissed the weather reports that warned the game may not be played or may be suspended due to heavy rain that was expected in the area.
Though it was cold (48 degrees) and windy (15-20 mph winds), the rain that did come down through parts of the game was light enough to allow both teams to play nine innings and then some. 
The Yankees actually started the game off in fine form.
In the second inning, Angels starter Joe Saunders issued a two-out walk to Nick Swisher. Cano then drilled a hanging breaking ball on an 0-2 count for a triple into right center to score Swisher with the game’s first run.
An inning later, Jeter blasted his second home run of this postseason and the 19th of his career with one out in the third inning.
Jeter’s 19th career postseason home run moved him past both Mickey Mantle and Reggie Jackson and into third place on the all-time list behind Bernie Williams (22) and Manny Ramirez (29).
However, Burnett — who led the American League pitchers this season in walks and wild pitches — had another one of those wild innings he is prone to in the fifth. 
Izturis led off with a double to right. After one out, Aybar singled to center to score Izturis with the tying run. After Aybar stole second, Burnett then hit Figgins with a pitch. 
One out later, Burnett walked Hunter on a 3-2 pitch that was not even close to load the bases. Burnett then uncorked a wild pitch while pitching to Vladimir Guerrero to score Aybar to tie the game at 2.
The score remained that way until the the Angels’ half of the 11th inning.
Yankees righthander Alfredo Aceves walked Gary Matthews to begin the inning. Aybar sacrificed Matthews to second with a bunt. Figgins, who was hitless in 18 at-bats throughout the postseason, then stroked a bloop opposite field single that scored Matthews and give the Angels their first lead in the series after 19 1/3 innings of play.
After an intentional walk to Abreu, Aceves got out of further trouble by inducing Hunter to hit into a double play.
David Robertson (1-0) saved the Yankees in the 12th by getting out of a jam after he entered the game with two outs. Catcher Jeff Mathis, who only entered the game in the eighth inning and batted only .211 this season, rocked Roberston with a lined double in the gap in right-center. 
Robertson walked Izturis intentionally and Robertson fanned Gary Matthews to end the threat.
In the 13th inning,  Cano committed his second error of the game on a grounder off the bat of Aybar to start the inning. Figgins sacrificed Aybar t
o second with the Angels’ second sacrifice bunt of the night. 
Robertson then walked Abreu intentionally. Aybar and Abreu both were able to move up on Hunter’s slow rolling groundout to Jeter. Robertson then got Guerrero to bounce out to Cano to end the threat and set up Hairston’s heroics in the bottom of the 13th.
“We’ve been saying all year how this team doesn’t quit, and they showed you right there,” Burnett said to MLB.com. “For some reason, we feel like when we come up last in this park, we can always win.”

“It was a long game,” Jeter said. “It seemed like a lot of missed opportunities on both sides. When you get to the playoffs, it’s tough to come up with runs. Pitching really sticks out. Fortunately for us, our pitching was a little better.”

After a well-deserved day off for both teams, the best-of-seven series now shifts scenes to the warmer climate of Anahiem, CA on Monday afternoon. The Yankees will call on veteran left-hander Andy Pettitte (14-8, 4.16 ERA). He will be opposed by righthander Jered Weaver (16-8, 3.75 ERA).
Gametime on Monday will be 4:13 p.m. EDT and will be nationally televised by Fox.

CC Puts Halos’ Speed In Deep Freeze As Yanks Roll

ALCS GAME 1
YANKEES 4, ANGELS 1


There is an old saying in baseball: You can’t steal first base. 
The Los Angeles Angels found out just how true that axiom is as CC Sabathia pitched eight dominant innings to lead the New York Yankees to a 4-1 victory on Friday night and a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven American League Championship Series.
Sabathia, pitching on eight days rest, braved the chilly 45-degree gametime temperature at Yankee Stadium and shut down the Angels’ run, run and run some more offense by only allowing four hits and one walk and striking out seven batters.
“It was about as cold as it gets,” Sabathia told MLB.com. “I pitched in a couple of games where it snowed in Cleveland, but it was pretty nasty today.”

“CC was the cold weather,” Angels center fielder Torii Hunter said. “He was pitching his butt off. CC’s the real deal, man.”
Three of the best base-stealers in the Angels’ lineup — Chone Figgins, Bobby Abreu and Erick Aybar — were a combined 0-for-11 in the game with three strikeouts. The Angels, as a result, did not attempt to steal a single base in the game.
“He pitched eight innings against this club, and to only give up one run, that’s quite a performance, because this is a very offensive club,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “And he kept the guys that can create problems off the bases all night. He was sensational.”
Sabathia (1-0) was so dominant that from the last out of the fourth inning until the last out of the eighth inning he did not allow a hit and only allowed a one-out walk to Kendry Morales in the seventh inning.
He punctuated his virtuoso performance with a fist-pumping flourish after he struck out pinch-hitter Mike Napoli to end the seventh inning. A huge portion of 49,688 fans in attendance shouted “CC” and cheered as he walked off the mound.
“That was a great feeling,” Sabathia told MLB.com. “To have the stadium rocking and chanting my name, and to be able to get a strikeout — I was pretty pumped up. I don’t really show a lot of emotion a lot of times, but it came out of me there.”
The Angels had pounded Sabathia for nine runs in 12 2/3 innings in two starts during the regular season. But the 2007 AL Cy Young Award winner, who the Yankees signed to a $161 million contract this winter, shook off the old history and pitched his usual game.
The strong starting pitching from the Yankees has been a recurring theme throughout the postseason. Including the three American League Division Series victories against the Twins last week, Yankees starters are now 3-0 and have pitched 27 2/3 innings, given up just four earned runs on 18 hits and seven walks and struck out 28 batters. The trio of Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte have a combined postseason ERA of 1.30.
Meanwhile, the Yankees took advantage of some really bad mental and physical errors the Angels made to support Sabathia’s brilliant pitching.
The Yankees got started right away on rightander starter John Lackey (0-1) when Derek Jeter grounded a leadoff single just past second baseman Howie Kendrick into rightfield. Johnny Damon, who was 1-for-12 against the Twins last week, blooped a broken-bat single to left that moved Jeter to third.
Then the Angels, who made the fifth fewest errors in the American League this season, started playing like the Bad News Bears. When leftfielder Juan Rivera picked up Damon’s single he threw so wide of second base that Damon took off and made it to second base easily. Rivera was charged with a throwing error on the play.
After one out, Alex Rodriguez added to his postseason resume with a sacrifice fly into centerfield to score Jeter with the game’s first run. The RBI was his seventh in four games.
Hideki Matsui then followed with an easy infield popup to Aybar at shortstop. However, Aybar looked to third baseman Figgins to make the play and the ball dropped two feet in front of Aybar. Damon, who was merely running out the popup, scored easily and Matsui was generously given an RBI single by the official scorer.
Sabathia’s only troublesome inning came in the fourth when Pedro Guerrero thought he had hit a home run to left-center. But instead, the heavy and chilly winds knocked the drive down and the ball landed at the base of the wall. Guerrero, who has had hamstring problems throughout this season, trotted into second with a double.
Sabathia retired Rivera on a grounder to Mark Teixeira at first and Guerrero took third on the play. He then scored on Morales’ first-pitch bloop single to left to halve the Yankees lead to 2-1.
But the Yankees pushed the lead back to two runs in the bottom of fifth when Damon led off with a double to left-center. One out later, Rodriguez was walked. Matsui then followed by slicing a 1-2 pitch to left that scored Damon easily.
However, Rodriguez — attempting to score from first base — ran through a stop sign by third-base coach Rob Thomson. The throw from Rivera hit the cutoff man Aybar and Aybar threw a strike to catcher Jeff Mathis at the plate. Rodriguez then crashed into Mathis in an attempt to dislodge the ball but was called out by home-plate umpire Tim McClelland.
Television replays showed that Mathis actually never tagged Rodriguez with the glove and Rodriguez actually got a foot on the base before the tag was applied but Rodriguez and the Yankees’ bench never argued the call.
The Angels’ shaky play in the field continued in the sixth inning and it led to another run. With two out, Lackey walked Melky Cabrera. On an attempted pickoff throw to first, the ball got past Morales and Cabrera advanced to second.
Jeter then singled on a 1-1 pitch up the middle and Cabrera scored easily as Hunter, a perennial Gold-Glove centerfielder, allowed the ball to clank off his glove and roll past him for the Angels’ third official error of the night. 
“We haven’t seen our guys crack the door open for a team like we did tonight in a long time,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said to MLB.com. “The Yankees are going to take advantage of that, and they did.”

“Any time you get
a team to make mistakes, especially a good team like that, you want to capitalize on them,” Yankees right fielder Nick Swisher said. “I guess the more mistakes, the better. You can’t expect that to happen a lot. It probably won’t happen again.”
Sabathia, gift-wrapped a three-run lead due in large part to the Angels’ sloppy play, took it from there. The Angels, who had stolen 148 bases during the regular season, never could get their feared running game going because Sabathia was keeping their speedsters off base.
The only real controversy of the night occurred with one out in the top of sixth. Hunter rolled a bunt between the third-base line and the mound. Sabathia leapt off the mound, picked the ball up and gunned it to first and the throw beat Hunter. However, Hunter immediately disputed first-base umpire Laz Diaz’ out call, claiming Teixeira’s right foot came off the base.
Scioscia, who was desperate to get any runner on base he could, took over the argument and jawed with Diaz for a few minutes. But TV replays again showed that Teixeira had his foot on the base when the ball arrived, then slipped off and went back on. So Hunter actually was out and Diaz had the correct call.
Mariano Rivera came in to pitch the ninth and after a leadoff walk to Hunter, he retired Guerrero, Rivera and Morales for his second save of the 2009 playoffs and his major league-best 36th career postseason save.
But the night belonged to Sabathia, who the Yankees coveted and signed this offseason. 
“That’s why we got CC,” Damon told MLB.com. “To be a workhorse during the season, of course, but to shut down teams in the postseason.”
The series is scheduled to resume Saturday night at Yankee Stadium, though an incoming blast of winter air is expected to douse the New York area with rain. The Yankees, if the game is played, will start righthander Burnett (13-9, 4.04 ERA). The Angels will counter with lefthander Joe Saunders (16-7, 4.60 ERA).
Gametime is scheduled for 7:57 p.m. EDT. The game will be televised nationally by FOX.

Angels Worthy Foe But Yanks Will Win In Seven

AMERICAN LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
ANGELS vs. YANKEES


Both the Los Angeles Angels and New York Yankees begin the American League Championship Series coming off sweeps in the American League Division Series.
The Yankees had the best regular season record in the majors at 103-59 (.636) but the Angels can boast they had the second best record in baseball at 97-65 (.599). Based on those records and the fact that in interleague play the American League has been far superior to the National League, you could make a case that this series is actually the real World Series.
In other words, the winner of this series would have to be favored to win the actual World Series that follows.
Who will win?
As a lifelong Yankee fan I would say the Yankees — with my heart. But considering the teams split the 10 games they played this season and the run differential in those games was just six runs (61 for the Angels and 55 for the Yankees) it would be hard to pick a winner objectively.
CC Sabathia will enter Game 1 on Friday night with a 19-8 record and a 3.37 ERA. However, in his two starts against the Angels his was 0-2 with a 6.39 ERA. He is 4-7 with a 4.72 ERA in 14 starts against the Angels in his career.
John Lackey, Sabathia’s opponent in Game 1, won his only start against the Yankees this season, defeating Sabathia on July 12 by going seven innings and giving up six hits, three walks, two runs and striking out six.
But in his career, Lackey is 5-7 with a 4.66 ERA in 16 starts against the Yankees. The numbers are nearly identical to Sabathia’s against the Angels.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi revealed what will be the game plan the Yankees will employ against the running game of Mike Scioscia’s Angels. 
No. 1 is to keep them off base. That sounds easy enough but Chone Figgins, Maicer Izturis, Bobby Abreu, Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar were pretty tough for the Yankees to keep off base this season.
Figgins hit .333, Izturis .280, Abreu .314, Kendrick .310 and Aybar .353. Scioscia employs a very simple strategy when they reach base: run until they throw you out and then run some more.
That is why Girardi is emphasizing strategy No. 2: If they run, fine. Just stay focused on the batter. The theory being that as long as you can record outs, the runners can’t score. If you take your concentration off the batter, you make them better hitters.
That will be a test for all the Yankees starters in this series. Girardi could minimize the damage the Angels do on the bases by using Jose Molina in every game behind the plate.
Scioscia has so much respect for Molina’s arm that the Angels succeeded in stealing a total of five bases off Molina this season. One was a double steal and another was a busted hit-and-run with Kendry Morales running.
However, by catching Molina the Yankees would either have to lose Posada’s bat completely or the bat of Hideki Matsui if they chose to DH Posada. Posada hit .308 against the Angels this season with a team-leading 10 RBIs. Matsui hit .250 but provided power and drove in six runs.
Molina is virtually an automatic out at the bottom of the order much like starting catcher Jeff Mathis is to the Angels. So Girardi might have to pick and choose when he starts Molina and when he starts Posada in this series.
Molina did catch A.J. Burnett in Game 2. Girardi has not said if Molina will do likewise in the ALCS. But if Girardi wants to have a shot at preventing the Angels from running wild on the bases, he may have to find a way to get Molina behind the plate.
The Angels big fear is the nightmare the Twins just lived through: Alex Rodriguez.
Alex Rodriguez hit .455 in the tree-game series with the Twins with two home runs and six RBIs. His six RBIs were 40% of the Yankees offense in the series. Simply put, A-Rod became the Yankees newest Mr. October.
Add to that, that Rodriguez has made a career out of destroying Angels pitching. He has more home runs against the Angels than any team in baseball. This season, it took a while, but Rodriguez made a point to give the Angels a hard time this season.
A-Rod missed the first series in New York because he was rehabbing his surgically repaired hip. But once he did get back in the lineup, he made the Angels take notice. He was 8-for-24 (.333) with 9 RBIs in seven games.
The Angels best decide know how they are going to pitch to A-Rod, because it looks like he is headed for a monster ALCS that may top his one-man wrecking crew work he did to the Twins.
With Matsui, Posada and Robinson Cano (hitting .341 this season against the Angels) it may not make much sense to keep walking A-Rod either. They may be playing with fire.
There are two players who may be keys for the Yankees in this series. One is Burnett. Burnett was 1-0 against the Angels with a 4.26 ERA and he struck out 16 Angels in 12 2/3 innings, including 11 in his last start against them.
The other key could be Brett Gardner. Girardi likes to use Gardner as a late-inning pinch-runner and Gardner loves to run the bases like the Angels. 
He also beat the Angels with a steal of third where an errant pickoff throw to third rolled into the outfield and Gardner trotted home with what was the wining run on Sept 22 in Anaheim. Gardner is Girardi’s way of giving Scioscia back some of his own medicine.
We will see which team gets the better of the other on the bases. Gardner gives the Yankees as shot to even the score.
SERIES PREDICTION: YANKEES IN SEVEN