Onward to the ALCS

October 12, 2009 – 11:51 am

NYY 4, Minnesota 1. Good pitching is what it takes to win in the playoffs, and for the third game in a row the Yankees got great starting pitching. Andy Pettitte proved that he’s still the one that you want on the mound in the post-season, picking up his record-tying 15th playoff win. Carl Pavano also pitched very well for the Twins (somehow you knew Pavano would come back to haunt the Yankees after his disastrous stint in NY), but Pettitte more than matched up with him, allowing just 1 run on 3 hits over 6.1 innings. Actually Pavano had the Yankees shut out through six, but then who else but Alex Rodriguez homered off him in the seventh to tie the score. You wonder if all the “A-Rod can’t hit in the postseason” folks will ever show their faces in public again? Then just two batters later, Jorge Posada also homered for what would prove to be the winning run. In the ninth, with the game still 2-1 and the Twins very much with a chance to win, their bullpen inexplicably walked the bases loaded — really — and Posada and Cano made them pay for that with two insurance RBIs. And yes, that’s Robbie Cano hitting with runners in scoring position.

On To The ALDSFor the second game in a row, though, Joe Girardi insisted on making things scary with his overmanaging. In spite of how well Pettitte was pitching and with his pitch count only at 81 and with the bottom of the Twins order coming up, Girardi decided to pull arguably the best postseason pitcher in the history of the game and turn to two second-year guys who are really starting pitchers but are filling in as relievers for now. Makes no sense at all. And as you could pretty much predict, both Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes proceeded to put the tying run in scoring position with the first batter they each faced. Joba was able to pitch his way out of his jam, but Hughes was saved only by a great defensive play by Derek Jeter (what would the postseason be without a crucial defensive play by The Captain?), along with some questionable base running by the Twins. But bottom line is that they got the game to the ninth with the lead intact, and from there Rivera had no problem closing it out.

So now the Yankees are headed back to the ALCS for the first time in five years, and the quest for their first WS championship since 2000 continues on.  And guess who were the stars of that 2000 championship team? The exact same guys who were the stars of last night’s game — Pettitte, Posada, Jeter, and Rivera. Could that be an omen?

Photo: Yahoo! Sports

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