Last night the Yankees and the Angels placed an epic game in the New Yankee Stadium. It was the kind of game that only can happen in baseball because of its nature. The drama kept me glued to the television once I returned from patient visits during my on-call duty earlier in the evening. I have seen these types of games before and when they get to extra innings they take on a life of their own.
The weather conditions in New York were terrible. If it was the regular season the game would have been postponed. With temperatures which started at 47 degrees they dropped into the lower 40s as the game went on with a stiff wind and mist and drizzle, which turned worse as the rain became steady with the wind blowing rain into player’s faces as they attempted to catch fly balls. The conditions were some of the worst that I have ever watched with the exception of the 2005 home opener for the Norfolk Tides at Harbor Park where the temperature was 38 degrees at game time with a 25-40 knot wind coming out of left center. Thank God for global warming or we would have really frozen our asses off that night.
The Yankees got out to a 2-0 lead with one of the runs coming off of a Derek Jeter home run in the 3rd. In the top of the 5th the Angels tied the game using some small ball as well as a wild pitch which scored the tying run. The game would remain knotted at 2 each another 6 innings until the 11th inning. With the weather getting worse and both teams beginning to scrape the bottom of their bullpens the Angels scored when Chone Figgins singled to drive in Gary Matthews Junior with 1 out. The Yankees gave the intentional walk to Bobby Abreu to load the bases and Tory Hunter grounded into a double play to end the inning. Had Hunter gotten a hit the Angels might well have gone back to Anaheim with a split in the City.
In the bottom of the 11th with the Angels leading 3-3 Alex Ramirez led off for the Yankees. Angels pitcher Brian Fuentes got ahead of Rodriguez quickly and with a 0-2 count served up a fastball low and outside that Rodriguez lined into the right field bleachers about 18 inches over the outstretched glove of Tory Hunter. Fuentes got out of the inning but blew the save. The 12th inning saw the Angels with another chance to move ahead but could not get a runner across the plate. The Yankees now left the bases loaded in the bottom of the 12th allowing the Angels another shot at them. They got runners to second and third but Vladimir Guerrero grounded out to the pitcher. Once again a great scoring opportunity was lost.
In the bottom of the 13th the Yankees got their leadoff hitter, Jerry Hairston on base and he was advanced on a sacrifice grounder. The Angels intentionally walked Robinson Cano to set up a chance at a double play. Melky Cabrera hit a ground ball to Angels 2nd Baseman Maicer Izturis who attempted to get the runner at second but threw the ball away skipping it past Erick Aybar and Chone Figgins who could not get the ball to make the play at the plate which allowed Hairston to score the winning run. The game was a marathon lasting over 5 hours and will go down as a memorable game.
The hero of the game was Alex Rodriguez. His 11th inning home run kept the Yankees in the game and was his third home run in clutch situations this post season.
I picked the Angles in 6 figuring a split in New York. I have the feeling that this series could quickly go south for the Halo’s if they are unable to get things back together in Anaheim. Though I picked the Angels, largely due to the “X” factor of Nick Adenhart, the Yankees in my view are the best team in baseball, something that I have said for months. They are playing with an attitude and there is not a player on the team who is not hungry to bring the World Series Championship back to New York. Rodriguez and C.C. Sabathia are shedding their reputations as players who “choke” in the playoffs. The Yankees are for real and I do not know if the Angels can come back. It is true that they have owned the Yankees in Anaheim this year but these Yankees do not look like they will be at all intimidated by what happened in the regular season in Anaheim.
More commentary in the coming days my friends, so until then stay safe, be blessed and take care.