Throughout the playoffs, one of the things we will do here at Pinstripe Alley is review each game 'Kudos & Wet Willies style. Who gets praise and who gets criticism might be obvious in some cases, but I'm sure we will stir up a little argument.
That said, let's get on with the Game 1 'Kudos & Wet Willies.'
Kudos to ...
- Curtis Granderson: Travis has already broken down Granderson's sixth-inning two-run triple off Francisco Liriano. Impressively, the rocket off the high right-center field wall was against a very tough left-hander who Granderson has not hit well in the past. In fact, extra 'kudos' to Granderson for all the work he put in with Kevin Long this season to improve his swing and put himself in position to come up with that huge hit.
- Mark Teixeira: Huge, game-winning two-run home run that took a lot of the life out of the Target Field crowd. Did anybody else flash back to the Tino Martinez World Series grand slam off Mark Langston when Tex hit that shot?
- Yankee Bullpen: It wasn't completely clean, but three shutout innings is three shutout innings. Good work from Boone Logan, David Robertson and Kerry Wood, and vintage stuff from Mariano Rivera.
- Jorge Posada's Offense: Two hit for the 39-year-old catcher, including an RBI single in the sixth inning that got Granderson to the plate.
Joe Girardi: For not over-managing this game. Despite Liriano starting for Minnesota, Girardi overcame the urge to get either Brett Gardner or Granderson out of the lineup. Granderson, of course, got that huge hit. Gardner went 0-for-3, but made some excellent defensive plays and drew a walk. I also though Girardi did a good job with the bullpen.
- Roy Halladay: Have to toss in a 'kudos' here for Halladay's historic no-hitter in Philadelphia's 4-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds. A 'Wet Willie' to me, though, for not watching the game.
Wet Willies to ...
CC Sabathia: This is a really tough one to give, but I have to. CC did get the win, but he didn't really give the Yankees the shutdown type game they will need from him if they are going to repeat as world champs. Six innings, four runs (only three earned) is not really up to CC's standards. He dug the Yankees a 3-0 lead, and when they got him four runs and a lead he could not hold it.
- Jorge Posada's Defense: This is what you live with when you have a 39-year-old catcher with declining skills. A pair of hits, but also a passed ball that cost the Yankees a run. Cross your fingers that Jorge's defense does not cost them a game at some point in the postseason.
- The Umpires: How can a six-man crew, with an umpire standing right there in right field and two umpires perfectly positioned in the infield, miss that call in the ninth inning? Greg Golson obviously caught that ball, and I didn't need the television replay to tell me that. Utterly amazing, and the fact that it brought Jim Thome to the plate as the tying run really ticked me off. Fortunately, it did not hurt the Yankees. Sorry, but Bud Selig and Major League Baseball are out of reasons for not instituting full use of replay.