Monday, October 19, 2009

ALCS Games 1-3

- In the first two games in New York, the Angels wanted no part of playing in the cold. I have a theory about cold weather baseball games. The team with the most guys wearing ski masks, ear flaps, etc. loses. The reason is that the team wearing all the extra stuff is thinking about staying warm, while the other team is thinking about baseball.

- Is that Angels team in games one and two the same Angel team that played all season long? The Angels under Mike Scioscia are known by playing clean and being fundamentally sound, traits which have abandoned them thus far in the Yankees series.

- My first two point were exemplified best by the ball hit by Hidecki Matsui in the first inning of game one. You may remember this play by Chone Figgins and Erick Aybar looking at each other as a lazy pop up fell in between them, scoring the second Yankee runs.

- I'm tired of teams giving the Yankees games on a silver platter. Good grief. The Yankees have won five games in the playoffs so far, and you could argue that three of those games (ALDS Game 2, ALCS Games 1 and 2) were "lost" by the opponent, and only one was really "won" by the Yankees. I thought for sure the Yankees would have to play better than they did against Minnesota to beat the Angels, but apparently that's not the case.

- Vladimir Guerrero's bat is slow. He hit the home run off Andy Pettitte, but Pettitte doesn't throw nearly as hard as C.C. Sabathia or A.J. Burnett, guys that overwhelmed Vlad in the first two games.

- Did anyone want to win game three? Both teams gave the other plenty of opportunites to take the win, only to have their opponent return the favor.

- Jeff Mathis, for a guy that apparently doesn't hit much, has had some big knocks against the Yankees, knocking three doubles in six at-bats.

- Anaheim's bullpen has to stop giving up the long ball. The Yankees have alot of guys that can hit the ball out of the park, but late in games, home runs are killers.

- By the way, Alex Rodriguez is still only hitting .250 this series. Two of his three hits happened to leave the yard.

- Scioscia is a bit shaken in his confidence in Brian Fuentes as his closer. And he should be. A-Rod took him out on an 0-2 pitch, but he didn't swing at strike one or two, which left Fuentes thinking he could power an 88 mph fastball up and away past A-Rod. Poor choice.

- Joe Girardi overmanaged game three just a little bit. Five Yankee pitchers threw less than an inning each in game three. His last move was especially curious, removing a righthanded pitcher (David Robertson) throwing well with two outs and no one on in the 11th inning for another righthanded pitcher (Alfredo Aceves) against a righthanded hitter. The righthanded hitter, Howi Kendrick, reached base and scored on a hit by Jeff Mathis. Strange.

- I'm going to first guess Joe Girardi using C.C. Sabathia on short rest in game four. It might work out, but if the series goes seven, Sabathia will pitch on short rest again, and then go short again in the World Series. Girardi trying to run through the ALCS and World Series with only three starting pitchers tells me that he thinks his other options aren't that great. In addition, Sabathia pitched Milwaukee to the playoffs last year, but started to show signs of wear with the mounting short-rest starts, ultimately culminating in a poor outing against the Phillies in the NLDS. Girardi doesn't need to throw Sabathia while still in control of the series unless he really doesn't trust any other option, and if that's true, the Yankees may have a bigger problem than is immediately visible.

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