The countdown has reached the final six games that Brandon C and I agreed topped all 167 total games played this year. Without further ado, here are the next three.
On a day where CC Sabathia had far from his best stuff, he was able to toss nine complete innings and keep the Yankees in the game despite trailing 4-1 from the bottom of the fourth to the bottom of the eighth.
With win expectancy favoring the Toronto Blue Jays tremendously (93%) in the bottom of the eighth inning, it was Robinson Cano who got the ball rolling. A two-out double to right-centerfield sliced the lead in half before Russell Martin's single up the middle made it a 4-3 game.
After a one-out, pinch-hit Jorge Posada double in the bottom of the ninth, Derek Jeter stroked a weak grounder to third base that advanced Chris Dickerson (pinch runner) but put the Yankees in a do or die situation. Curtis Granderson, like always, rose to the occasion, pulling a grounder through the right side to tie the game 4-4. Upon successfully stealing second base, he was promptly brought home by a Mark Teixeira bullet off the glove of Juan Rivera that won the game for New York.
Our next two games include the most brilliant pitching performance of the season and an unlikely hero providing some big time fireworks.
5. July 26: CC's masterpiece - Rain was undoubtedly a nuisance this season. It delayed/cancelled an extraordinary amount of games. CC Sabathia arguably had his best stuff ever on this night and cruel Mother Nature unjustifiably punished him.
Sabathia was plowing through a helpless Seattle Mariner team in the midst of a sixteen (going on seventeen) game losing streak. The first 19 batters that approached the plate were all unsuccessful at reaching base. Of those 19, 12 couldn't even get a piece of the baseball. CC's fastball was blazing and his slider was elusive, electrifying the crowd and bewildering Seattle.
Brendan Ryan eventually lined a ball into left-centerfield for Seattle's first hit of the night in the seventh inning, but no one will ever forget CC's monstrous flirtation with a perfect game. Despite walking three straight batters in the eighth and having to leave the game early, his 14 strikeout performance will go down as one of his best in pinstripes.
4. September 21: Jorge Posada clinches it for New York - In the second game of a day/night doubleheader with the Tampa Bay Rays, the Yankees entered the game needing one win to clinch the American League East.
Jorge Posada's 2011 campaign with the Yankees was far from what everyone wanted. He couldn't hit lefties if it were soft-tossed to him from five feet away, his numbers across the board continued to decline, and he was no longer a useful catcher or designated hitter.
New York's embattled, disgruntled 40-year-old newly donned bench warmer was given an incredible opportunity in the eighth inning of this game. With the bases loaded in the eighth inning in a 2-2 game, Posada was called off the bench to hit for Jesus Montero. Faced with an 0-1 count, Posada smashed a base hit through the right side, scoring pinch-runner Greg Golson and Mark Teixeira. Other than the fact that Posada thought he was called upon in the bottom of the ninth, it was a dramatic moment. Jorge provided the final push the Yankees needed to become AL East champions in 2011.
Brandon will have games #3, #2 and #1 on Friday.
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