Wow, Just Wow

October 10, 2009 – 1:14 pm

NYY 4, Minnesota 3. If this is not a “team of destiny” they might as well ban that phrase from use. Now I do understand that there’s still a lot of baseball to be played, and this juggernaut could be derailed at any moment. But for now at least this is one amazing journey. Last night it was Alex Rodriguez sending the game in to extra innings with a two-run homer in the ninth, and then Mark Teixeira getting the walk-off home run in one of the most improbable wins yet for this unbelievable season. Let us visit the highlights of everything the Yankees had to overcome to win this one:

Tex Pie1) First off we had “Bad” A.J. Burnett struggling mightily to take over the game from “Good” A.J. Over the course of 6 innings, he walked 5 and hit 2 batters — with 5 of those BBs/HBPs coming with two outs. Every inning was an adventure, with the Twins leaving at least one runner on base in every inning. But somehow he came out of it all with the proverbial “quality start”, giving up just a single run.

2) Then starting in the seventh inning, once again Joe Girardi went in to his over managing act with the bullpen. I forgave him doing that in game one as there seemed to be some logic going on, but last night there wasn’t a hint of anything but madness. First he burns Phil Coke by using him for only one batter in the seventh, in a tie game that could easily go extra innings and thus require all the good arms in the bullpen being available. There’s no reason at all Joba Chamberlain shouldn’t have finished the seventh, thus saving Coke. And then when the Yankees somehow miraculously got the game in to extra innings, he pulls Alfredo Aceves in the 11th and goes with Damaso Marte who has a 9.45 ERA (yes, that’s not a typo!) and who has no business whatsoever being on the roster in the first place, much less in a critical game that is tied in extra innings. Leaving Aceves in to pitch the 11th was such a no-brainer that one really has to worry about just what Girardi was thinking. And so the Yankees end up with second year man David Robertson, who has just come off an elbow injury, pitching in his first post-season game ever with runners on first and second and no one out. Somehow Robertson got out of the inning without the Twins scoring, and thus saved Girardi this time. But if this is a glimpse in to how Girardi is going to manage the bullpen in the post-season, well, it’s going to take a whole lot of Teixeira and Rodriguez miracles to get them through.

3) And then there were the major base-running blunders on both sides. In the Twins fourth, Carlos Gomez ran them out of what could have been a big inning by over-running second base, and then at least failing to get in a run down in order to give Delmon Young time to score. And then the Yankees returned the favor in the tenth when Brett Gardner got doubled off third base on a play where he had no business breaking for the plate. Although to be fair to Gardner, what was third-base coach Rob Thompson doing there, letting him get that far off third? Gardner has the speed to score easily from third on anything that gets out of the infield, so there’s no need to get a quick start there — something Thompson has to be telling him.

4) And finally, what the sam hill was up with the umpiring last night? Aren’t the umps for post-season play supposed to be the cream of the crop, chosen based on how good a job they have done during the year? Chuck Meriwether had one of the largest strike zones I have seen all year, with pitches both high and well outside the zone being called strikes. Now he was fairly consistent, and it was that way pretty much from the first inning on — so you can argue that it’s up to the hitters and pitchers to adjust. But still, for post-season play you expect better. However, Meriwether’s strike zone pales compared to the blown call by Phil Cuzzi on Joe Mauer’s hit down the left-field line that very clearly hit in fair territory and should have thus been a double. There are lots of close calls in every game that on slow-motion instant replay show that maybe the umpire didn’t make the right call — but this was not one of those cases. This call was so outrageously wrong you have to ask just what was going on with Cuzzi on that play. If that’s ruled a ground-rule double, the 11th inning easily goes a totally different direction, and so the game.

But enough of all that. Bottom line is that the unbelievable ride goes on. I can’t wait to see what they do to top this one, as surely they will!

Photo: Yahoo! Sports

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.