I have to admit I was sitting there in my chair Friday night when the eighth inning started and I did not think I would be handing out many 'Kudos' today. Why would I, with the Yankees trailing, 5-1, and looking as if they would go quietly in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series.
Ah, but these are the Yankees. With those 27 World Series titles, including one last season, to fall back on. And these are the Texas Rangers, who have never been in this situation before. So, of course, the Yankees made more postseason magic, coming back to win, 6-5.
Thus, a much different 'Kudos & Wet Willies' than I thought I would be writing. Let's get started.
Kudos to ...
- Brett Gardner: Tremendous hustle on an innocent ground ball to first base, turning it into a hit with a head-long, injury-risking dive, opened the door for the Yankees five-run eighth-inning rally.
- The Yankee bullpen: Five scoreless innings in relief of the unusually shaky CC Sabathia. A scoreless inning from Joba Chamberlain, two brilliant innings from Dustin Moseley, an adventurous -- but scoreless -- inning from Kerry Wood leading up to Mariano Rivera. Mo pitched around a leadoff single to give the Yankees a 1-0 series lead.
- Robinson Cano: A home run to get the Yankees on the board in the seventh inning, and a huge RBI single to keep the line moving in the pivotal eighth inning. Three hits overall for the night.
- Marcus Thames: Shattered his bat into a gazillion pieces in the eighth inning, but delivered a soft single to left that produced the winning run.
- Derek Jeter: It must be the postseason as Jeter came up with doubles in the eighth and ninth innings. The first one plated Gardner, brought the Yankees within three runs at 5-2, and caused a noticeable shift in the atmosphere at The Ballpark in Arlington.
- Alex Rodriguez: A clutch two-RBI hit in the middle of the eighth-inning rally. That is what the Yankees need from A-Rod, and he delivered.
Wet Willies to ...
CC Sabathia: Blame it on the extended rest he had prior to starting Friday night. Or, shrug and just pass it off as a bad night for a guy who has been a postseason horse for the Yankees. Whatever. Any way you look at it, four innings, four walks and five runs is not what the Yankees need from their ace.