So, you expected the Anaheim Angels to roll over and play dead for the New York Yankees last night? Should have known better. This is a tough, pesky Angels team and it shouldn't be a huge surprise that they played with a lot of fire, and that they extended this series to a sixth game.
I can sense some of the 'creeping 2004-ism' out there in a Yankee Universe filled with a longing for a 27th World Series title, and a painful memory of an epic collapse in 2004 that forever changed the Yankee landscape.
Well, Yankee fans. Life is still good. Our team still leads this series 3-2 heading back to the Bronx. And Saturday night Yankee Universe will turn its hopeful eyes to the often heroic veteran left-hander Andy Pettitte.
How can you not feel good about that? Pettitte has toed the rubber 37 times in post-season games, 33 of those as a Yankee, and has often been brilliant. His post-season record is 15-9 with a 3.90 ERA. He has been outstanding in both of his post-season starts thus far in 2009.
Oh, and then there is the big enchilada, CC Sabathia, lurking for a Game 7 start on full rest Sunday if he happens to be needed.
So, what's not to feel good about?
Of course, the best scenario would be for the Yankees to jump out to an early five or six-run lead and have Pettitte cruise into through seven innings or so. Anything to keep 'Manic Joe' from starting to think about all the moves he could possibly make.
No way am I pinning last night's loss on Girardi. Even if I did want to reach through the TC set and throttle him when he pinch-ran for Alex Rodriguez in the ninth inning. Umm, Joe, you never, ever take your best player out on purpose even if Freddy Guzman is a little bit faster. If that game had gone extra innings and the Yankees did not have A-Rod's bat thanks to Girardi I would have been ticked.
Last night's loss is on A.J. Burnett, for letting the Angels get off the deck in the first inning and then for seemingly losing some focus in the seventh. Yes, we can debate whether Burnett should have been in there to start the seventh. But, you can't kill Girardi all the time for having a quick trigger, as many have, then rip him when he shows faith in his starter. And it is on Phil Hughes, who pretty much imploded in the seventh inning and has not been the lock down guy in the post season the Yankees saw during the regular season.
Girardi, by the way, reminds me of a kid with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) on Christmas morning. He has all these expensive, shiny toys to play with and he can't wait to move on to the next one -- even if he is barely done unwrapping the one he is currently using. Sometimes that can be fun, but it can also make a mess of things once in a while.
Joe needs to calm down, get out of his players' way, and let them do what we all know they can.
Yet, you have to feel good heading into Saturday night. The Yankees need one win to advance to the big dance. Our fate is in Pettitte's hands. Can't complain about that.