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2010 ALCS Game 5: New York Wins And The Real Yankees Are On The Way To Texas

As the saying goes, if you can’t hit the baseball get the hell off the field was the theme coming into Game 5 tonight in the Bronx.img_1105

Instead, it was the New York Yankees who got the job done beating the Texas Rangers 7-2, in a must-win to stay-in the series game.

The Rangers are still ahead of Yankees 3-2 in games. If this Wednesday afternoon game is an indication of what’s to come in the next game, Texas should be running home nervous.

The Yankees flat out put the Rangers back where they belong when Cliff Lee is not pitching.

I have held to my opinion about the Rangers all season long; I do not think the Texas Rangers are as good as people think.

The Rangers have some good players like Josh Hamilton, but someone had to replace Alex Rodriguez production when he came to New York. Overall the team is just not well rounded, because without Cliff Lee, the Rangers would not be in the ALCS and maybe make the playoffs because the AL West was such a joke in 2010.

Cliff Lee Yankees are without all-star, gold glove first baseman Mark Teixeira for the rest of the playoffs. Tex’s Yankee teammates do not crumble without him, life is not easier by any means but the Yankees are talented enough to still win. Unlike the Rangers, who without Hamilton at the end of the regular season, fell apart.

Sabathia did not have one of his smooth days on the mound, but CC grind-ed his way through six innings and held the Rangers to two earned runs. This is what defines an ace, and it is why Sabathia was brought to New York in the first place.

The pitching has not been its best for the Yankees, but the main problem seems to be fixing itself because the Bombers are hitting again. This is the first time in the ALCS that the Yankees kept the lead from the start and never gave it up all game.

Finally reality hit the Yankees who seemed to be riding the late bus to school the last two games.

The Yankees entire lineup participated in the win, with a hit, RBI, home run or a walk. It is about time that the Yankees started playing like themselves again.

Imagine if the pitching and hitting could get it together for the same game, the Rangers would not stand a chance.

Guess the Rangers will have to wait another day to try and make it to a place they have never been.

The Yankees need to continue to just be themselves, but it’s another must-win for Game 6. When the Yankees have their backs against the wall, they seem to right themselves pretty quickly.

Cliff Lee will be on the mound for the Rangers in Game 7, but let’s get through Game 6 before anyone starts to get ahead of themselves, even a lowly sports writer and die-hard fan like myself.

2010 ALCS Game 4: New York Yankees Lose A Double Tex

Going into Game 4 of the ALCS, the New York Yankees were down 2 games to one to the Texas Rangers.

So, it’s understandable how hesitant Yankees fans were to trust the decision of starting AJ Burnett in the most important game of this postseason for New York.

Burnett did okay, better than expected but once again the Yankees couldn’t hit the baseball and once again stranding runners on base.

Things hit rock bottom in the fifth inning when Mark Teixeira grabbed the back of his right leg trying to get to first. What might have seemed like a slide into the base was actually Tex in pain that was so bad Tex needed help off the field.

Skipper Joe Girardi said that it would be a miracle if after the MRI Tex would be cleared to play. So, season is over for Mark Teixeira and that will hurt the Yankees at first-base big time. Regardless of Tex’s recently ice-cold bat, he was bound to warm up if the team went on to play more games.

The Yankees are not themselves, and handing the Rangers the wins. It is due to lack of production and not playing to their established potential.

Fact remains if both ALCS teams were playing at the top of their game, the Yankees would prevail.

Well, that is not reality for the Yankees but it still can be. Nothing is set in stone just yet, but if the Yankees want to win they have to play.

The Rangers are playing ALCS-worthy baseball right now and deserve to move on to the World Series. It would be a first for the Rangers franchise and nothing is standing in the way of that happening as of now.

If the reigning World Champions want to keep that title, than winning Game 5 on Wednesday afternoon is the perfect and last chance to start playing New York Yankee baseball.

With CC Sabathia on the mound the Yankees should be able to get this series back to Texas.

In sports, you simply aren’t considered a real champion until you have defended your title successfully. Winning it once can be a fluke; winning it twice proves you are the best. ~ Althea Gibson


New York Yankees: Not Scoring Runs Just Blame It On The Pitching

The ALCS has not been good for the New York Yankees thus far, but blaming the pitching is just a mask for the real issue.

The issue is not hitting, which means runs don’t score. With zero or two as a team’s score, it forces the pitching into having to be almost perfect to get a win.

For example look back at CC Sabathia’s start in Game 1 of the ALCS. Sabathia, who is an ace in all terms is human at times and that CC was on the mound against the Rangers that night.

Sabathia posted his shortest outing of the season, leaving the game after four innings, giving up six hits, five earned runs, one a home-run, while walking four and striking out three. To say he imploded would be correct, but guess who won that game?

The Yankees did in one inning, being down 5-1 entering the top of the eighth the bats scored the five runs needed to take the lead. Then it was over because Mariano Rivera in the ninth is a postseason God.

So, the reason behind the Yankees losing ALCS Game 4 is not AJ Burnett’s fault, as he pitched much better than Sabathia.

In the sixth inning Burnett threw one bad pitch, which turned into a Bengie Molina homerun. Molina scored the two Rangers on base and turned the Yankees 3-2 lead into a 3-5 New York deficient and an eventual Yankee loss.

Whatever is not happening on the mound is also not happening at the plate and that is the Yankees or any other team’s recipe for disaster. This holds even truer in the tough postseason.

Philadelphia Phillies seem to be following in the Yankees footsteps in the NLCS, as the Giants 3-0 shut out the Phillies. A post-game quote from Phillies Shane Victorino sums up my point:

“If you don’t hit, it doesn’t matter how good the pitching is,” Shane Victorino said. “So you can’t blame our pitching right now. We need to find a way. Cole gave up three runs today and we scored nothing.”

It is crazy that the two best teams can’t seem to hit the ball and it is a shame for baseball. A rematch of a Yankees-Phillies World Series make for an awesome series, ratings would be through the roof.

Without question, MLB will see it’s worst ratings if the Giants-Rangers both make it into the championship ever! No one in the northeast (huge sports media market) will even care to watch, which only hurts the game itself.

A rematch is still possible but surely the Yankees and Philles are cutting it too close.

2010 ALCS Game 3: Cliff-Less New York Yankees Lose to Texas Rangers

Even knowing the Texas Rangers had Cliff Lee on the mound, the New York Yankee fans arrived at the game ready for a win and made it loud and clear

That dream became a nightmare pretty fast, as Lee brought his A-plus game once again and the Rangers won 8-0.

So, instead fans left confused, discouraged and embarrassed. Below are the three dilemmas I had, after freezing my butt off in the Bronx:

1) Everyone was confused by Joe Girardi’s decision not to use Mariano Rivera for the last three outs. The hope was to hold the Rangers at two runs through the ninth. In turn, that would give the Yankee batters a chance at the bottom of the ninth inning to maybe get back in the mix.

What happened was embarrassing, as Texas scored six more runs mainly off sloppy fielding mistakes by New York. With Texas up 8-0, any hope of a comeback was just too far out of reach.

Up to this point, Girardi had used Mo in all five postseason games and one would think to go with the best you have to offer. Especially considering the Yankees are the comeback kids and Lee’s pitch count was already in the mid-120, which is why it made no sense. Maybe Girardi forgot this was a playoff game?

2) Why the game was so discouraging is that Andy Pettitte pitched solid as a rock after giving up a first inning home run to Josh Hamilton. Pettitte put the Yankees in the position to win posting five strikeouts and walking zero batters.

In order to win, teams have to score runs, and Pettitte got no insurance whatsoever. Pettitte deserved a win, but his performance was not overshadowed by the loss as every fan at the Stadium cheered for the southpaw big time.

3) Did the umpires loss the game for the Yankees? Well, there was definitely one questionable call that might have made the difference. Not taking away from the surreal performance by Lee because with 13 strikeouts and not a run scoring surely can stand on its own.

The call is now a confirmed a mistake made by first-base umpire Angel Hernandez in the bottom of the third inning. Umpire Hernandez called Brett Gardner out when the replay tells a different tale. Gardner hit a blooper and slid into first, which might have been more out of habit for Gardner who might have been safe on his feet too.

Regardless, he was clearly safe and not a whimper from Girardi at all. Pathetic for a manager not to get out there and defend his player.

There was one other call that again favored Texas, when Michael Young was a foot from the bag when Teixeira had already scooped the ball up.

This was not what Yankees fans came too see. Ultimately most fans knew that it was going to take a semi-miracle to beat Lee if his current pitching postseason trend stayed on target, but who knew it would be a bull’s-eye.

Yankees will send AJ Burnett to the mound Tuesday night, which is scary to think about considering how awful Burnett has been. Burnett has an opportunity to become a New York hero in Game 4, as we know he has the stuff to be lights-out, so let’s hope Burnett has found it.

New York Yankees Will Play Without Their Biggest Fan

Picture Is From The BLEACHER REPORT

If you ever been to Yankee Stadium over the last 22 seasons, my bet is you might have heard Freddy “Sez” Schuman banging on his spoon and frying pan.

Freddy “Sez” was the most loyal New York Yankees fan, who sadly passed away Sunday afternoon at the age of 85.

Freddy was rarefied air in the sports world, as his devotion was paramount. Freddy defined the true fan, holding handwritten signs with inspiring words for the Yankees and the fans each home game.

Freddy “Sez” will be sorely missed and your spirit will live in Yankee Stadium forever.

Another reason the team will fight extra hard for #28.

2010 Baseball Bloggers Alliance Announces Connie Mack Award Winners

Ron Washington of the Texas Rangers and Bud Black of the San Diego Padres were named winners of the Connie Mack Award by the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, noting them as the best managers in their respective leagues for 2010.

Washington, who weathered a drug controversy in spring training, led Texas to their fifth divisional title since 1994 and their first since 1999. While the voting was based on his regular season accomplishments, Washington also guided his team to their first ever postseason series victory when they eliminated the Tampa Bay Rays in five games in the American League Divisional Series.

Washington received ten first place votes in route to accumulating 74 total points. He edged out Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who received 67 points.

In the National League, Black’s guidance of a Padres team almost universally expected to finish last to first place most of the summer helped him edge Dusty Baker of the Cincinnati Reds by the slimmest of margins. The fact that the Padres fell just short of the playoffs while the Reds won the NL Central helped lead to the tight race. Black garnered nine first place selections and 53 total points to Baker’s seven first place nods and 51 total points.

The complete voting results are as follows (first place votes in parenthesis):

American League

Ron Washington, Texas (10) 74
Ron Gardenhire, Minnesota (7) 67
Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay (4) 35
Terry Francona, Boston (3) 20
Cito Gaston, Toronto 9
Buck Showalter, Baltimore 9
Joe Girardi, New York 2

National League

Bud Black, San Diego (9) 53
Dusty Baker, Cincinnati (7) 51
Bobby Cox, Atlanta (2) 33
Bruce Bochy, San Francisco (3) 29
Charlie Manuel, Philadelphia (1) 27
Brad Mills, Houston 3
Mike Quade, Chicago 2

The Baseball Bloggers Alliance was formed in the fall of 2009 to encourage cooperation and collaboration between baseball bloggers of all major league teams as well as those that follow baseball more generally. As of this writing, the organization consists of 224 blogs spanning all 30 major league squads as well as general baseball writing.

The BBA is organized under a similar structure as the Baseball Writers of America, where blogs that follow the same team are combined into “chapters” and only two votes from the chapter on an award are counted. The blog chapters that are focused on general baseball were allowed two votes as well, which they could use both on the same league or split between the two leagues.

Chapters generally followed one of two methods when casting their ballot. Either representatives of the chapter were given the ballots for voting or a “group ballot” was posted, accounting for both of their votes.  Ballots are posted on the respective blogs and tabulated on a 5-3-1 point scale for first, second and third.

This is an official press release from the Baseball Bloggers Alliance.