Sabathia sets an example

IRRATIONAL EXUBERANCE
During last night’s chat, I made an off-hand comment that CC Sabathia had just pitched one of the best postseason games in Yankees history. This is undoubtedly true, but I had forgotten just how many Yankees had gone out and pitched shutouts in World Series play. Whitey Ford had three, Allie Reynolds two, and then there were one-offs by Waite Hoyt, Carl Mays, Vic Raschi, Ralph Terry, Spud Chandler, and (oh yeah) that Don Larsen guy. Going down to the League Championship level, there’s the nigh-obscene game Roger Clemens pitched against the Mariners in 2000, in which he held them to one hit, two walks and 15 strikeouts.

Still, if Sabathia’s night isn’t in the top echelon, it was close enough. The game lacked any tension once the Yankees took the lead, in large part because Sabathia didn’t allow them to build any momentum. He also set a terrific example for the occasionally twitchy A.J. Burnett to live up to in Game 2, assuming rain delays don’t knock him out after an inning or two.

I wish I had stats that showed how Burnett has fared pitching in freezing rain, but given that he spent most of his pre-Yankees career in the warmth of Miami or under a dome in Toronto, doubtless he hasn’t too much experience in that regard. Whatever the conditions, he’s made six starts against the Scioscia-men and has gone 2-2 with a 4.43 ERA. The overall line, 40.2 innings, 43 hits, 22 runs, 20 earned, five home runs, 11 walks, 39 strikeouts, doesn’t look all that bad; sometimes the little white ball just takes a funny bounce or two and things go all pear-shaped.

posada286_101709.jpgAs you know, Jose Molina is catching again today, while Mike Napoli is in the battery for the Angels, so shift a little offensive advantage the Angels’ way, at least for the at-bat or two that goes to Molina before Joe Girardi pulls him. He did so well with this in the last round that I don’t see the point in worrying about it. The only point to raise, as I did last time, is that the manager should be aggressive — if Molina bats in a key situation early, it might be worth sacrificing the defense for a chance to put some crooked numbers on the board. That’s Casey Stengel speaking through me on that one, and he got seven rings out of thinking that way so I believe him.

A couple of quick notes:
?    No matter how many times the announcers say that Bobby Abreu somehow turned the Angels into a team of Ed Yost-ian walking men, it just ain’t true. With the exception of Howie Kendrick, who was threatened with professional extinction if he didn’t get wise to himself and his impatient approach, most of the improvement shown by the Angels is down to Abreu himself. As with so many things, like the Angels “creating havoc” on the bases, it just ain’t true. They were third in the league in stolen bases and got caught more than anyone else. If this be havoc, the Yankees should say, let us have more of it. This should work to Burnett’s advantage. Note that even when the Angels beat him, it wasn’t because he went walk-crazy, as he sometimes does. In fact, his walk rate against the Angels is about half of what it is normally.

?    Second point about “havoc.” It’s just one bloody base. If Team A steals three bases and Team B hits three home runs, guess which team is going to win? As with the sacrifice bunt, the stolen base is a situational tool, and that’s all. Babe Ruth changed that in 1920. At the end of his career, after Lefty Gomez was let go by the Yankees, he had a tryout with a National League team. Asked the difference between the two leagues, Gomez said, “Over here they play like they don’t know John McGraw has been dead for ten years,” by which he meant that Dead Ball-era tactics were still being employed in the Senior Circuit. That Gomez was incorrect to cite McGraw notwithstanding — the Little Napoleon was among the first to realize the strategic implications of the lively ball and to change his ways — he was correct that many in baseball did not know that those old weapons had diminished in value, and even today there are many who do not know.

15 Comments

OMFG!!! WHAT A GAME! i am sitting here ripping my hair out. bottom 12, 3 all. can we do it? can we finally break the curse against the halos?

bottom 13, 3 all. i am stroking out here. this game is gonna kill me.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!! this is way better then sex! i am spent.

btw, not for nothing, but there should have been two errors on the final play. figins should have gotten one for letting the runner score.

Please tell me why I shouldn’t be scared to death Girardi is going to manage us out of the title.

Did Girardi make a single correct move that game? Your Hinske note sadly was dead on. Please tell me why I shouldn’t be scared to death Girardi is going to manage us out of the title.

@dsteinha – if it makes you feel any better: 1) I agree that a lot of Girardi’s in-game decisions (including starters/lineups/relief pitching decisions) have been frustrating, but at the meta level the results have been good (the lineup shook out, the bullpen fell into place, no one was overworked, etc.). And 2) the worst-managed World Series I can remember was Bob Brenly managing the Diamondbacks in 2001…and they won. I see everything you see, but at this point I choose to have faith. Not much else we CAN do…

@esolo – You are right that there is a good chance it won’t matter, and I also agree that Girardi did a good job of organizing his bullpen personnel.

I hope Cashman sat him down on the flight and said “Nice win, Joe. Now…”

Don’t ya just love all the snivelers and whining that your bloggers are still saying Goldman? Hope the Yanks don’t lose, Hope Giardia doesn’t over manage. I find it hard to realize that these nitwits are Yankee fans!! The AJ/Molina is working ,by the way is Jorgy setting the bat on fire, as he lumbers into DP after DP. We’ll see what happens on the Angels base paths with Jorgy. I just love all these A-Rods lovers now.. The next time he misses in the clutch they’ll start screaming. Hey Goldman Jorgy has really done well when he goes into bat for Molina. DUH,it’s time to wake-up Goldie and let it go how wonderful you think Jorgy is. He’s just an over the hill ragarm catcher who’s bat meets the ball a few more times that Jose’s does. D-U-H… Go Yanks, go Jose..

I don’t understand. Jose Molina allowed a stolen base and a wild pitch. I thought that was impossible with the almighty defensive wizard Molina? Where were the intangibles?

I do believe that if Girardi keeps on over-managing (replacing Damon with Hairston in left field when Damon is due up third the next inning and thereby losing the DH) that the Yankees will lose this series. Why can’t he just let the players play the game.

I do believe that if Girardi keeps on over-managing (replacing Damon with Hairston in left field when Damon is due up third the next inning and thereby losing the DH) that the Yankees will lose this series. Why can’t he just let the players play the game.

You would think Girardi would notice, as he tells Francisco Cervelli with a straight face that he’s sending him up to bat, that it’s nice to have a bench with some guys who can actually, you know, hit.

Sending Hairston in to play defense seemed like classic overmanaging given that he’s forced to lose Damon’s bat for someone like Cervelli, and he loses a 2nd inning from Mo. I honestly don’t think this guy thinks about anything except the next play.

And why why why why did he take out Robertson there? What was he thinking? Practically every move he’s made the last two games has mystified me. Normally I’m slow to criticize because Girardi knows more about baseball than all of us, but c’mon Joe, stop killing my team.

Yes your right about the “OVER MANAGING” because he is, you don’t take out Robertson in that spot. And yes you do take out Damon for defense, the problem was they forgot to position him. You play back to avoid a double and corners play the line. The other problem I have is with Pettitte/Posada why would you throw Vlad a fastball in, and I don’t want to hear the excuse that it’s the pitchers fault, missed his spot. His spot should be in the dirt away or bounce it two feet in front of the plate, he will swing. Posada needs to stop asking for so many fastballs when they are looking foolish on the offspeed stuff. The other bonehead play was Gardner stealing on 0-1 , talk about a pitchout. Girardi needs to lighten up a bit and stop over thinking and just let the game progress. Well let go get them today! LETS GO YANKEES!!!!

Well Girardi has done it again. His removal of Robertson was stupid. You don?t try to fix something if it is not broken. It is not as if the Angels had brought in a lefthander and then the Yankees could bring in a lefty reliever.
Girardi should just stay out of the way and let the Yankees play. When he tries to think he gets in trouble.
And just a comment on Gardner. When will he learn to slide feet first. A player that slides head first does not know how to slide. On his attempt to steal the fielder had both legs in between Gardner and the bag. If you come in feet first a fielder will be a little more aware of the runner. Gardner is fast but not a good base runner. But he is Girardis favorite.

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