Tuesday, October 19, 2010

ALCS Game 4: Rangers at Yankees

Photo courtesy New York Yankees
New York needs a win tonight at Yankee Stadium to avoid falling in a 3-1 series hole.
The Yankees and their fans have been dreading a possible A.J. Burnett postseason start for quite a while now. Well, it's happening tonight, and there's no turning back now. This series very likely rests on Burnett's right shoulder. Sure, even if they lose tonight, the Yankees would only be down 3-1 in the series. But that would require three straight wins, including in Game 7 against Cliff Lee. Not the scenario they want to create for themselves.

With Burnett on the mound, Jorge Posada is on the bench. Francisco Cervelli is Burnett's personal catcher, so the backup will be behind the plate for the first time this postseason. Also not an ideal situation for New York.

How will this all play out? Stay tuned...

Where: Yankee Stadium
Gametime: 8:07 p.m.
TV: TBS Radio: WTNT-570 AM
Weather: Mostly clear, 55 degrees
SS Elvis Andrus
3B Michael Young
CF Josh Hamilton
DH Vladimir Guerrero
RF Nelson Cruz
2B Ian Kinsler
LF David Murphy
C Bengie Molina
1B Mitch Moreland
(P Tommy Hunter)

SS Derek Jeter
CF Curtis Granderson
1B Mark Teixeira
3B Alex Rodriguez
2B Robinson Cano
RF Nick Swisher
DH Lance Berkman
LF Brett Gardner
C Francisco Cervelli
(P A.J. Burnett)
8:28 p.m. -- So far, so good for A.J. Burnett, who has retired all six batters faced through two innings. Burnett certainly has the Yankee Stadium crowd behind him. They've been on their feet every time he gets two strikes. Much different environment than last night, when the place emptied out in the later innings with the Rangers out in front.

8:44 p.m. -- Holy home run controversies, Batman! We just had two of them in a span of three batters! Robinson Cano belted one just off the top of the right-field fence, but a Yankee fan who looked mysteriously like a 20-something Jeffrey Maier interfered with Nelson Cruz attempting to catch the ball. At least, it looked close enough to interference to me that the play should have been reviewed. (MLB rules allow for instant replay to be used in exactly that type of situation.) Yet right field ump Jim Reynolds wouldn't allow it. Bizarre. I do think the homer would have stood up on review, because even though Cruz had a shot to catch it, the fan didn't appear to reach onto the field of play. Still, how can they not review that? It's exactly what the system was created for. Before anyone could get too upset over that call, though, Reynolds botched another one on Lance Berkman's drive down the right-field line. Reynolds called it fair and thus a home run. Replay clearly showed the ball was foul. Thankfully, the umps convened this time and looked at the replay, ultimately reversing the call. Whew, quite the bottom of the second there. At the end of all that, the Yankees lead 1-0.

9:11 p.m. --  No pitchers' duel here. This one has all the makings of a wild slugfest. It's 2-2 after three, and both starters have been shaky.

10:20 p.m. -- Yankees lead 3-2 after five incredibly loooooong innings (the NLCS game was almost over at this point) but they just suffered a big blow when Mark Teixeira pulled up lame running down the first base line. Looks like a significant right hamstring pull, the kind that typically lands a player on the DL. Which means Teixeira could be done for the rest of the postseason, a major blow. Yes, he was hitless in this series. But he's still New York's No. 3 hitter and a fantastic fielding first baseman. You don't just replace that, even with a $200 million payroll.

10:34 p.m. -- Never doubt Bengie Molina's ability to come up with a big home run against the Yankees in the postseason. Right after TBS showed a montage of previous Molina postseason homers vs. New York, the big guy struck again, tattooing a three-run shot down the left-field line. This came moments after Joe Girardi intentionally walked David Murphy, a move that backfired about as bad as any move can ever backfire. Just like that, Texas takes a 5-3 lead in the sixth.

11:02 p.m. -- You know all that talk about how much better the Yankees bullpen was than the Rangers' relief corps? Certainly hasn't been that way the last two nights. David Robertson, Boone Logan and Joba Chamberlain just slogged their way through the seventh inning, allowing two more Texas runs. Derek Holland, meanwhile, very quietly tossed 2 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of Tommy Hunter and now is in line to earn the win. Rangers lead 7-3 and are nine outs from taking a commanding (and stunning) 3-1 lead in this series.

11:50 p.m. -- The Texas bullpen sure wants to make this interesting, doesn't it? Three walks issued in the bottom of the eighth by Holland, O'Day and Rapada, loading the bases with one out and bringing the tying run to the plate. So who saved the day? Why, none other than 40-year-old Darren Oliver, who got Nick Swisher (after appearing to graze his pants with a pitch) to fly out and Lance Berkman to ground out. After a torturous inning, it's still 7-3 and now the Yankees are down to three outs.

12:12 a.m. -- That'll do it. The Rangers tack on three more runs, win 10-3 and incredibly will play tomorrow afternoon for the American League pennant. On another topic, this nine-inning game was completed in a breeze four hours and five minutes. Today's NLCS game, also nine innings, was completed in two hours and 39 minutes. Sorry, folks, but the senior circuit is so far superior to the junior circuit.


Traveler 8 said...

Re all the speculation in another set of posts as to who Joe Hardy would be, I think that Cody Ross fits the bill.

NG said...


Any chance the Yankees might "sell low" on Burnett this offseason, especially if he tanks tonight? Low-level prospect package + eat salary?

The 2009 and before Burnett would certainly be the ace of this Nationals staff. Maybe getting out of NY, out of the AL East + some bounce back could get him back to what he was. Assuming the Nats can't get Cliff Lee for $$ reasons and can't get someone like Greinke w/o giving up too many legit prospects, this actually seems like an intruguing possible option.

Anonymous said...

I always look for Nats to root for in the post-season. Cincinnati had Bray, but they're out. Texas cut Guzman. SF cut Guillen. I think Nick Johnson is on the DL. Is Kearns still on the Yankees?

Mark Zuckerman said...

NG: I wouldn't hold my breath on the Nats acquiring Burnett. For one thing, he's got a limited no-trade clause, so he could try to block a deal to D.C. For another, he's making $16.5 million each of the next three seasons. Even if the Yankees ate a large portion of that, it's still a lot of money to pay for a guy who hasn't posted a sub-4.00 ERA since 2007.

Anon: Kearns is still with the Yankees but he's not on the active ALCS roster. You may see him in the dugout, though.

Section 223 said...

I still think they can chase A.J., but I am going to Regis's all night bank for several rolls of nickels.

Go ex-Senators!

dryw said...

Wow, replay of A-Rod's reaction to Molina's homer...he didn't even need to glance up before he knew that thing was going out. Yay for the non-Yankees! :-)

Traveler8 said...

David Murphy, not Ian Kinsler, was walked in front of Benjie Molina - just want you to know that a couple of us are following you in this one!

Sec3MySofa said...

So how much do you think the TV guys are looking forward to a Giants-Rangers WS?

Rob Dibble's Ghost said...

Haha...Yankee Stadium is emptier than Nationals Park on a rainy April Monday night! Love it! Unfortunately, my girlfriend is a Yankee fan, but oh well...

Thank goodness these TBS clowns are done after this series. It can't end soon enough!

DC Tom said...

Holy cow, how much is Girardi going to be second-guessed for his bullpen choices these last two games.

Not that he has a lot to work with, but still. What's interesting is that while I think it's usually overstated about the Yankees "buying" championships, the one part of your team that you should be able to "buy" is a decent bullpen! (Well, that and corner outfielders and first basemen...)

Bote Man said...

So, a Giants-Senators World Series then? Set the wayback machine to 1933 or 1924?

Also: Vlad Guerrero, home-grown Expos talent.

I'm done reminiscing. Check the radio pages on my web site for tips on how to sync your radio with your TV so that you can mute the noise and listen to real baseball play-by-play broadcasters.

A DC Wonk said...

Mark wrote:

"Sorry, folks, but the senior circuit is so far superior to the junior circuit."

You got that right! After 30-40 years I *still* can't believe there is such a thing as a DH! (Hey, why not juice up the game more and allow one designated fielder, too? What a farce!)

At least when you see "DH" in the senior circuit, it means doubleheader! (OK, well, they don't do that too many anymore either . . . alas . . . )

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