GAME RECAP: ALCS GAME 5

The rally monkey rears it’s ugly head, Yankees unable to clink the ALCS.

FINAL SCORE: YANKEES 6 ANGELS 7 (F9th)

SCORING PLAYS

  • Bottom of the 1st: Chone Figgins walks. Bobby Abreu doubles to center field, Chone Figgins to 3rd. Torii Hunter singles to center field, Figgins and Abreu scores (NYY 0, LAA 2)
  • Bottom of the 1st: Vladimir Guerrero doubles to center field, Torii Hunter scores (NYY 0, LAA 3)
  • Bottom of the 1st: Kendry Morales singles to left field, Vladimir Guerrero scores (NYY 0, LAA 4)
  • Top of the 7th: Melky Cabrera 1-out double to right field. Jorge Posada draws a walk. Derek Jeter walks, Melky Cabrera to 3rd, Jorge Posada to 2nd. After Johnny Damon flies out to left field, Mark Teixeira doubles to center field: Cabrera, Posada, and Jeter score (NYY 3, LAA 4)
  • Top of the 7th: Alex Rodriguez is walked intentionally. Hideki Matsui singles to center field: Teixeira scores, Alex Rodriguez to 2nd (NYY 4, LAA 4)
  • Top of the 7th: Robinson Cano triples to center field, Rodriguez and Matsui score (NYY 6, LAA 4)
  • Bottom of the 7th: Jeff Mathis singles to left field. Erick Aybar draws a walk. Chone Figgins moves the runners with a sacrifice bunt. Bobby Abreu grounds to first base, Jeff Mathis scores (Aybar to 3rd) (NYY 6, LAA 5)
  • Bottom of the 7th: After a Torii Hunter walk, Vladimir Guerrero singles to center field: Aybar scores, Hunter to 2nd (NYY 6, LAA 6)
  • Bottom of the 7th: Kendry Morales singles to right field, Torii Hunter scores (NYY 6, LAA 7)

STARTING PITCHING (from Yahoo Sports)

  • John Lackey: 6 2/3 innings, 6 hits allowed, 3 earned run, 3 BB, 7 SO, 3.65 ERA
  • AJ Burnett: 6 innings, 8 hits allowed, 6 earned runs, 3 BB, 3 SO, 5.84 ERA

KEY PERFORMERS: John Lackey gave the Angels a very solid outing, posting 7 strikeouts through 6 scoreless innings before the top of the 7th unfolded. Both Hunter and Guerrero had 2 RBI each, as well as Kendry Morales who went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI including the game winning hit.

COMMENTARY: Like many of you, Joe Girardi’s announcement that Jose Molina would be catching for AJ Burnett during the playoffs gave me pause. Certainly loosing Posada’s bat was a concern, but more importantly what did this move say about Burnett’s psyche and overall mental state. For those of you not convinced about the importance of psyche, I give you Alex Rodriguez as proof that the mind is a powerful thing.

Now we all have seen Burnett unravel before our very eyes, sometimes a half inning is all it takes and there is no doubt that Burnett was put on the quick fire as the Angels scored 4 runs on 4 straight hits to begin the game. But Burnett settled down and worked through the Angels lineup for the next 5 innings without giving up a run, long enough for the Yankees to put up a 2-out rally for the ages in the top of the 7th scoring 6 runs and grabbing a 6 to 4 lead which at the time felt like enough to clinch the series. I thought it was important for Burnett to get those scoreless innings under his belt after such a rocky start. Think about it this way, if the lead held up Burnett would get the win and Girardi would have a confident 2 starter ready to face the Phillies in the World Series. That is why I can’t see the upside of having Burnett pitch the bottom of the 7th. Girardi had a rested bullpen and it is very different for a reliever to start the inning than to come in with men on 1st and 2nd with no outs and the speedy Chone Figgins at the plate. Instead Burnett is left with the lasting image that he gave up a walk after giving up a lead-off hit and put his team in a pressure situation that they could not overcome.

Once again Girardi’s managerial approach comes into questions, I’m not even going to mention his pitching choices in the 7th, and many Yankee fans are left wondering if the Yankee skipper has a feel for the game (it can’t all be scientific folks). There are other aspects of this game that I fail to mention in this short piece, like Teixeira and Cano combining for 5 RBI with RISP or Swisher’s failed chance at glory, forgive me for I’m emotionally drenched from the quick reverse of fortune that was the 7th inning of Game 5 of the ALCS.

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