YAIW (Yet Another Improbable Win)

October 18, 2009 – 11:42 am

NYY 4, Los Angeles 3. Incredibly the Yankees won another game they had no business winning. Once again the offense was anemic, and once again Joe Girardi over-managed the bullpen. And last night they added yet another wrinkle with poor defense. Derek Jeter and Robbie Cano combined for three errors on routine ground balls, and A.J. Burnett allowed a critical run to score on a wild pitch. But fortunately the Angels offense was just as weak, and their defense just as poor. And in the end, it was bad defense that cost the Angels and put the Yankees in the driver’s seat with a 2-0 series lead.

Walkoff Error!In many ways this game was a repeat of the second game of the Twins series. But this time instead of A.J. struggling to get by on the mound, he pitched quite well — with the exception of the disastrous fifth inning. In the end, he went 6.1 innings and gave up just 2 runs on 3 hits while walking just 2. But then Girardi inexplicably burned through his three top relievers — Coke, Chamberlain, and Hughes — in order to get just four outs between them. If he were protecting a small lead, maybe that makes some sense. Maybe. But this game had extra innings written all over it, and sure enough come the 11th inning he was having to resort to the second string relievers. And predictably, Alfredo Aceves immediately walked the lead-off batter, and a sac bunt and a single later LA was three outs from evening the series.

But again, just like the second Twins game, it was the new “Mr. October”, Alex Rodriguez, to the rescue with a game tying home run that gave the Yankees new life. And then in the 13th it was the Angels defense which finally cost them the game, and even then it wasn’t just one error but an unlikely combination of three mistakes. It started with Maicer Izturis making the wrong decision to throw to second instead of first, then he compounded that mistake by throwing wide of Erick Aybar. But somewhat overlooked by everyone was the fact that even then Jerry Hairston should have been thrown out easily at home, but Chone Figgins, backing up the play at second, fumbled the ball and couldn’t even get a throw off. And so the Yankees ended up with yet another improbable win.

So basically the Yankees have “held serve” in the series, and now it’s off to warmer climates for three games. To be honest, the Angels are a much better team than what we saw in the first two games. Their offense has been just as poor as the Yankees (although part of that is certainly a result of facing CC Sabathia in game one), and their defense has also been terrible (five errors in two games). But to be fair, you have to wonder just how much the weather had to do with their poor performance. In fact, you have to wonder about the wisdom of playing baseball in the third week of October. Fifty years ago, the World Series itself was completed by the second week of October, so weather like this rarely came in to play. But that’s a whole other story.

Photo: Yahoo! Sports

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