It was an offensive game tonight- mostly missed offensive opportunities.
Cano hit a solo homer that Nelson Cruz cried about because someone tapped his glove as the ball went a foot over it. He wasn't Ichiro-ing that wall, and the ump ruled he didn't have a play.
Berkman then followed Cano with a blast of his own that was correctly ruled a foul ball on review.
The Rangers responded in the top of the third with a pair of runs without a ball leaving the infield: BB, HBP, Sac bunt, groundout to 1B (run scores), dribbling single to third (run scores), bouncing groundout to third.
With 2 outs in the bottom of 3rd, Jeter tripled a ball of the top of the wall in dead center and was brought home by Granderson's single. All tied up.
Future Hall of Famer Vlad Guerrero singled to lead off the 4th, but AJ shut down the side. In the bottom of the 4th the Yankees mounted a small rally- Lance Berkman singled to load the bases with one out to drive Tommy Hunter from the game. Arod scored from third on a Gritty Gutty Groundout, and Cervelli struck out looking to kill the rally. But the Yanks led by one.
AJ, of course, responded to this lead with instant trouble giving up a leadoff single to Bengie Molina. He got the double play to clear the bases, then gave up another single to Elvis Andrus and walked Michael Young. But this time Josh Hamilton flew out harmlessly to center.
The bottom of the 5th brought a crushing disappointment and a minor disappointment. With runners on first and second and none out, Tex grounded into a potential DP to third- Young stepped on third and threw to first. The throw pulled the 1B off the bag, and Tex slid in, then lay on the ground in obvious pain. On review, he didn't slide- his legs gave out as he hurt his hamstring running down the line.
It gets ugly after the jump. Enter at your own risk.
Joe Girardi's Book gave the Yankees the kiss of death in the top of 6th- with Cruz on second and 2 out, Girardi called for the intentional walk to Mitch Mooreland (a lefty hitter who knocked 9 homers in 125 ABs against RHP this season). Here's why that's a stupid, stupid play: not because you 'fire up' the next hitter, or 'insult' the lineup, but because you're ordering your pitcher (who has 2 outs, by the way) to lose the strike zone for 4 pitches, and then NOT groove the next pitch. AJ grooved it; Bengie crushed it. Is this not a fire-able offense? I understand playing the matchup, but never like this. If you're going to call for the intentional walk, it has to be that pitcher's last batter.
The air went out of the Stadium, and the fire went out of the Yankee offense. They went down in order in the bottom of the 6th.
Drob came in with lightning in the 7th and Joe pulled him after two outs to play the matchup. Josh Hamilton tagged a solo homer off Boone Logan (Yankees down 3). In comes Joba for the matchup- Vlad crushes a double, Cruz walks on 4 pitches and Kinsler singles in a run on a dying quail (Yankees down 4). The Yankees responded by going down in order again in the 7th.
Joba pitched around a lead off single to start the 8th. There seemed to be a little more energy as the Yankees ran off the field, and the fans started to get louder. Granderson led off the bottom of the 8th with a walk. Thames struck out. Arod walked. Cano walked. Swisher flew out, after dodging a pitch that replay showed hit his pant leg. Instead of forcing in a run with 1 out, the Yankees had 2 outs, bases loaded, and Lance Berkman at the plate, who had a near homer overturned in the 2nd... and he grounded out weakly to third, though Young tried his best to misplay the ball.
Joe could have gone to Wood in the 9th. Instead he went to Mitre, and Hamilton tacked on another home run. Vlad Guerrero singled and Cruz homered to left. Still no outs.
I can't believe Sergio Mitre threw a pitch in the ALCS. I just can't believe Joe Girardi, with Kerry Wood and Mariano Rivera wasting away in the bullpen, went to Sergio Mitre. It's one thing in the 4th inning when the starter spits the bit- but in the top of the 9th when the Yankees had just brought the tying run to the plate. This is team whose offense is never, ever beaten. Until the manager gives up on the game. Joe Girardi is a terrible decision maker. He's a pretty lousy evaluator of talent (Thames in the field, Chad Gaudin and Sergio Mitre all season). That means he's bad at 2 of the 3 things that are the core of his job (the third part being media relations, and he's not aces in that).
I know Girardi's not going anywhere, but sweet Christ I wish he would. I realize that most managers are idiots; most subscribe to the same wrong-headed theories. A new guy will annoy me eventually by repeatedly making whichever mistakes are his modus operandi. But I'm ready for some new mistakes.
The series is not over, even if the talking heads say it is. But there's no more wiggle room, no more time for quiet offense or ineffective pitchers.
The last time the Yankees were down 3-1, they came back to win the '58 World Series against the Milwaukee Braves.
Play of the Game: Joe Girardi shoved his head up his ass, rotated and gave the Ranger's a nearly 40% boost towards winning the game.
Comments of the Game: PortlandYankee gives us the best matchup analysis of the night.
Kevin L gives us a Championship throwback to honor the stealthy MVP .
d_c_guy celebrates the alternative narrative supplied by a broken camera- inanity over indignity any day.
The Bernie troll, for dropping in just as Jeter passed Bernie in the postseason record books on the night Bernie threw out the first pitch.
MonotonousBlob and cmypath78 combine to provide a wonderful flash forward to this offseason's managerial negotiations.
OTRWaldo is ever optimistic.
longtimelistener and YankeesJets had a rally convo.
d_c_guy again for nailing another Joe G fail.