First things first, I want to thank a few people for enhancing my game watching experience. These people kept sane during the game–as they do all the time–and were a welcome escape from the fatalism from the first seven innings:
These are all awesome people and if don’t follow them already, start doing so immediately.
And now on to last night’s game. Um, wow. Seriously, where do we start? Well, let’s start at the best place to start: the end.
Depending on whom you ask, this is either the best WPA graph ever or the worst WPA graph ever. Mr. Ryan, Mr. Bush, your thoughts? I can’t find it in my timeline, but there was a tweet from Dave Cameron last night saying that in the 8th inning, the Rangers’ win probability dipped from about 94% to about 32%.
On to the individual performances:
Dustin Moseley’s water treading is subjectively the most important performance of the night. He, and Joba Chamberlain, held the Rangers scoreless in two combined innings before the Yankees struck for six runs in the eighth. Kerry Wood got a little help from the umpires (more on the strikezone later) and Mariano did his thing (great AB from Michael Young with one out, but Mo set him down swinging).
CC Sabathia was all sorts of off tonight. His pitches were flat and he had no idea where the ball was going. His fastball was constantly up in the zone and he was getting hit hard.
Objectively–and by that I mean by WPA–Robinson Cano led the Yankees with a 0.293 rating, followed by Mariano Rivera’s .219. Shockingly, the team’s best hitter and the team’s best non-starting pitcher had the most to do with the Yankees’ winning. I’m stunned.
In closing, I want to get a few things out there:
–Nick Swisher needs to stop with the bunting BS. Whether it’s coming from the bench or he’s doing it on his own, it’s a bad play. I know the Yankees were winning when he tried to bunt and it was just for insurance run purposes, but it’s still an bad play. Swisher is a bad bunter and either he or Joe Girardi needs to realize that. Just because he’s in the two spot doesn’t mean he should start bunting. The reason he’s in the two hole is for his best assets: his on base ability and his power. No matter what the situation, the Yankees are better served by having Nick Swisher attempt to work the count and walk or let him swing away for power. Swish, I love you, but enough with the bunting. You’re a patient, powerful hitter and those skills have led to your success in Major League Baseball. Please stick to them.
–For whatever reason, Brooks is giving me trouble this morning and I can’t access the strikezone data from last night, however, it was pretty bad. Gerry Davis was giving both the Yankees and the Rangers calls off the plate. If memory serves, the Yankees were getting the inside corner on RHB/outside corner on LHB and the Rangers were getting the low strike. Both teams were also getting screwed out of strike calls in the high, inside part of the strike zone to left handed batters. It was nice to see TBS employ the straight away center field camera on replays of pitches and I wish they would use that camera as the primary camera for game action.
–Last but not least, I want to talk about fans–Yankee fans. There are more people than the aforementioned Tweeps, so if I forgot you I’m sorry and you know I love you, but I’m glad that so many of you/us kept the faith last night and realized that the game–and the series–was not over after one miserable inning by CC Sabathia. The reactions from some people were just ridiculous. I just typed up an angry rant, but then deleted it. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you don’t need to be told that the game ends after 27 outs and that the series does not end after one inning. This game should remind us–again–that the Yankees should never be counted out until the last out of the game has been recorded. I don’t know how many times I’ve written that sentence–or something like it–this season and doing that is a blessing and a curse. It’s great to see the Yankees come back time and time again, but it’s frustrating to see so many fans doubt them the minute they lose a lead or lose a game. The flip side, though, is also annoying. No one I know personally has declared this series over, but Michael Kay did. He was adamant about this point last night during the post game show. Memo to Kay: just like the game isn’t over when the Yankees are down 5-0, the series isn’t over because the Rangers are down 1-0. That’s a gigantic overstatement and he should know better. That man finds new ways to insult and shock my intelligence every single day.
That was one hell of a game and I had one hell of a time watching it. I definitely needed a six pack and a carton of cigarettes after the game, and I am very much a non-smoker. So, Yankees, if you please, win this afternoon’s game in 2010 ALDS Game 3 fashion. My blood pressure would greatly appreciate it.
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