November 2009

All Heart

The Yankees may be losing 6-2, but there is no quit in them.

Brett Gardner proved that point on one spectacular play.
With no outs in the fifth inning, Jayson Werth lined a rocket shot to the
left-centerfield wall.

Gardner sprinted toward the wall, and with complete reckless
abandon, he leaped into the air, caught the ball and crashed backwards into the
wall.

If you are watching this game, I don’t have to convince you
of how inspiring Gardner’s catch was or of how hard the impact must have been. From my vantage point (auxiliary press box in left field) I have a birds-eye view of the outfield, and I could see the cushioning on the wall move inward when Gardner slammed up against it.

Gardner didn’t get up off the ground for a few minutes, but
he also refused to leave the game.

–Alfred Santasiere III

Milestone at-bat

Joe Girardi replaced relief pitcher David Robertson with
pitch hitter Eric Hinske in the top of the fifth inning. For Hinske, tonight’s
at-bat broke an interesting major league record, as he became the first player
to take the field in three consecutive Word Series with three different teams.

In 2007, Hinske won a World Series ring with the Boston Red
Sox. And last season, he was on the Tampa Bay Rays, who lost the Fall Classic
to the Phillies.

Of greater significance, Hinske earned a walk in his
historic at-bat, and came around to score the Yankees’ second run of the game.

The Yankees are trailing 6-2, but there is a lot of baseball
yet to be played tonight.

–Alfred Santasiere III

Optimistic Start

You can’t get overly excited when your team scores in the
first inning, mostly because we’ve seen several starting pitchers settle down in
the second inning.

But tonight is different. The fact that the Yankees tagged
Phillies ace Cliff Lee for one run in the first inning is a reason for some
major optimism.

The reasons for my increased confidence are because the
Yankees have now scored more runs (1) in one inning tonight (World Series Game
5) than they did in nine innings of Game 1.

Secondly, Lee threw 20 pitches in the top of the first,
which means that he’s having location issues. That’s not the same Cliff Lee the
Yankees saw in Game 1, and it could spell an early exit for Lee.

The Yankees first inning score came on an RBI double by Alex
Rodriguez, who continues to blaze his way toward one of the greatest postseasons
a player has ever had.

With the hit, A-Rod knocked in his 16th run of
the 2009 postseason — and that is a Yankees franchise record.

–Alfred Santasiere III

Superman

Alex Rodriguez has done it again!

This time it wasn’t with a home run, but with an RBI double
in the top of the ninth inning, with Game 4 of the World Series tied at four.
Rodriguez’ hit gave the Yankees a 5-4 lead, and put Mariano Rivera on the hill
in the bottom of the ninth.

With two outs and facing Phillies closer Brad Lidge, Rodriguez
delivered what he called the biggest hit of his life.

This game was crucial. 

With the win — that Rivera sealed in
the bottom of the ninth — the Yankees took a three games to one lead in the
Fall Classic. That lead is especially important because the Yankees will be
facing Phillies ace Cliff Lee tomorrow. 

The Yankees needed this game, and it was a brutal battle
until the very last pitch.

–Alfred Santasiere III

Huge Inning for CC

The fifth inning was huge for CC Sabathia.

The Yankees had an early 2-0 lead, and then the Phillies
tied the score at two in the fourth.

The Yankees came right back and scored two more runs on hits
by Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon in the top of the fifth.

With a 4-2 lead, Sabathia got into trouble in the bottom of
the fifth inning against the top of the Phillies order. Sabathia gave up a lead
off single to Jimmy Rollins and walked Shane Victorino before the first out was
recorded.

Staring down the heart of the Phillies lineup (Ryan Howard,
Chase Utley and Jayson Werth) after already having thrown 75 pitches — on only
three days rest — was Sabathia’s greatest challenge of the night thus far. It
also represented the Phillies best chance so far to put together a huge inning.

But Sabathia dug deep. He got Utley and Howard to hit weak
pop outs into Jeter’s glove, and he struck out Werth.

Sabathia’s comeback in the fifth preserved a two-run lead, and
moved the game one inning closer to Mariano Rivera. In my opinion, it was the most important inning of Sabathia’s Yankees career.

–Alfred Santasiere III

Baseball at its Best

It took until Alex Rodriguez’ home run in the fourth inning
last night for the Citizens Bank Park crowd to lose it’s venom and for the
noise level to become bearable.

Tonight, in Game 4 of the World Series, the Yankees wasted
no time dulling the crowd noise. Derek Jeter led off the game with a single,
Johnny Damon followed with a double and Mark Teixeira knocked in the first run
with a grounder to the right side. Within minutes of the game’s start, the
Yankees were ahead. And after Phillies starter Joe Blanton drilled Rodriguez
with a fastball in the upper back — and received a warning from the home plate
umpire — the Yankees tacked on a second run.

The Phillies came back in the bottom of the first and tagged
CC Sabathia for one run. Immediately, the white towels were waiving and the
atmosphere turned hostile again.

So far, it appears that the biggest game of the year to date
is going to be a hard fought and nasty battle. The first inning can accurately
be summed up as a roller coaster.

–Alfred Santasiere III

(Very) Happy Halloween

It was a happy Halloween, not only because the Yankees just took a 2 games to 1 lead over Philadelphia in the World Series, but also because CC Sabathia will be taking the mound tomorrow (I mean later today, since it is almost 1:00 am).

The Yankees should be confident in Game 4. Sabathia is 3-1 this postseason, and he has given the Yankees quality starts in the four games he has pitched.
If Sabathia can give the Yankees a fifth quality start, they will have a great chance to win Game 4 against Phillies fourth starter Joe Blanton.
I can’t wait.
–Alfred Santasiere III
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