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ALCS G5: Yankees salvage final game in NY, win 7-2

Given I don’t write about losses to the Yankees, I’ll keep this to a minimum.
Would it have been nice to win last night, sending the Yankees home for the season in the Bronx? Hell yeah, it would have been. However, I don’t think anyone really expected the Rangers to beat the Yankees three games in a row in the Bronx to eliminate them. One could make the point that if the bullpen had done it’s job in the 8th in Game 1, we wouldn’t have had to play last night, but there you go. I’m feeling fairly good about it, still. Two games at home should not be a problem. I would much rather us not get to Game 7 so we can use Cliff Lee in the World Series Game 1. But you do what you have to. Would much rather us nail it down Friday night.
CJ Wilson was completely ineffective last night. Looked pretty bad. Don’t know why, but he just wasn’t working. Thing is, a decently pitched game from CJ probably would have won the game, as Sabathia was still pedestrian at best. Way better than the Game 1 incarnation, but still beatable. We didn’t take advantage of it. Oh well, back to Arlington. Will make for a more annoying thing for the Yankees to fly back home losers after that.
Here are my Game 5 notes:

  • Paul O’Neill says the Yankees seemed to expect the team would walk through the round lime they did with the twins.
  • Here we go. Gsme 5. The stadium seems oddly vacant for the start of a game!
  • You think the rangers might step on them in the first, but young grounds into dp in 1st
  • Two hits and no runs in the first. CC looks hittable, just mot as wild as game 1.
  • CJ answers back with 12 pitch 1-2-3 first
  • Yay! Kinsler seeing through, not uppercut! A miracle!
  • Kinsler stolen base in second is the 8th in the series, the cost against the Yankees ever in a postseason series.
  • Kinsler stranded there on Treanor K
  • CJ has thrown ball one to first four batters including four pitch walk to both Arod & Berkman
  • Yankees score first bang bang play at home. It was a walk run.
  • Two runs scored on a bad news bears play where the ball was thrown away twice. Young muffed a throw, and CJ threw it away too.
  • Both walks have scored.
  • Wilson comes back with a K on 9th, and a quick grounder on first pitch by Jeter to escape horrible inning where the Yankees scored 3.
  • Shutdown inning executed by CC in third, but it wasn’t an easy one. We need to break through soon.
  • CJ just does not have it. Back to back HR by Swisher & Cano. Who are we getting up?
  • Berkman at first just took a bad spill sliding in foul territory. Don’t want to see that.
  • Cj just came out for fourth, he still looks bad, he needs to come out before it gets any worse
  • Jeter has grounded out 6-3 in his first three plate appearances.
  • Cj put up a zero in fourth after leadoff double.
  • Were on the board, with a solo HR by Matt Treanor in the 5th.
  • Moreland follows HR with a single to center.
  • Rangers look to be hitting CC a bit harder in the 5th.
  • Dammit. Hamilton hit into dp with men on first and second to end 5th.
  • In the bottom of the 5th, Wilson is still in, but Cruz is out. Tight hamstring. Uh-oh.
  • Leadoff walk in bottom of 5th by cj. Why is he still out there?
  • Kirkman in for the 6th. Leadoff double, but no runs. Good deal.
  • Kerry Wood in for 7th. Andrus gets an infield hit on chopper off Woods hand.
  • Elvis gets picked off – WTF! No more leads at all for him.
  • Nothing quite as disheartening as a pickoff in the playoffs when behind. :(
  • Ogando gives up another home run to Yankees. This time to Curtis Granderson
  • Moreland fought off Rivera really well in the 9th, eventually getting a single to left.
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ALCS G4: Rangers homer their way to verge of World Series!

A reading from the book of Kurt Cockran Chapter 1 Verse 1..

“If the Yankees get a hit and no one is there to see it, does it count?”

When this game started, I was of the ilk of “Well, OK, we’re either going to bomb them, or Burnett will pitch a gem, and it’ll be tied 2-2″. We ended up bombing them, but man, was it NOT in the way I thought it was going to happen.
There was a ton of talk about Burnett not having pitched in awhile, and that he was having an awful season, and nobody in their right mind could believe that Burnett was starting this game. Girardi was committing post season suicide by doing this. I thought we had a shot if Burnett didn’t pitch well. Thing is, he did for the most part. If you take out the last pitch he threw, his line would have been 6 innings, five hits, two earned runs. Not too bad, but as we know that’s not what his line was. It was 6 innings, 6 hits, five earned runs.
The bottom of the second was interesting enough. It brought back memories of 1996 where a home run ball was disputed in the right field wall, then we brought instant replay into it. But not on that play, on another play where it was ruled a home run, but called back. The Yankees were briefly up 2-0 until it was reverted back to 1-0.
The top of the third was interesting too, as we scored two runs without the benefit of a ball leaving the infield. Walk, hit by pitch, sac bunt, ground out to first, infield single to third. That was the way we scored two runs in the third. We let the Yankees back in it by allowing ‘em to tie in the bottom of the third and to take the lead in the bottom of the fourth.
It stayed that way for awhile – the Yankees up 3-2.
Tommy Hunter was “eh”. He wasn’t going to be Cliff Lee from last night, but I was expecting him to survive the fourth. He didn’t. 3.1 innings, 5 hits, 3 ER. No walks, but he wasn’t very good with control. Could have been worse, mind you, but we managed to keep it together – or at least off the scoreboard after that. The Yankees didn’t score any more runs after the fourth inning.
They certainly tried in the 8th. They had the bases loaded again after some awful bullpen work by Clay Rapada & Darren O’Day (plus the only batter Holland faced in the 8th). Those guys walked the bases loaded. Darren Oliver came in and did not repeat his Game 1 meltdown, and got the job done. Flyout by Swisher, and a groundout by Berkman. It was certainly dicey there in the 8th as the tying run was up at bat.
Not that half the stadium would know, as they started a mass exodus again early. So much for the vaulted Yankee fan loyalty. They’re about as fickle as Cowboys fans are. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by that, but I am.
There was a lot of offense late, but the best moment came on the final pitch that A.J. Burnett threw, which was to Bengie Molina. The Yankees had made the right move and walked David Murphy to get to Molina. He’s obviously not a slouch with the bat, but it is the odds move to make. Walk the lefty to get to the righty. Problem is Burnett grooved a pitch first to Molina, and he nailed it – almost got to the second deck in left field. At the time, it put the Rangers up 5-3. It was a HELL of a feeling, as I was feeling kind of down at that time, to be honest. Not ready to give up – but feeling that we weren’t going to win the game. Molina made use of Nelson Cruz’s boomstick, and bam – it changed in an instant. It led to this:

Yeah, I know the image is a total hack job, but I didn’t have the time to fiddle with putting Nelson Muntz in there properly. :)
After that, there were three more home runs. Two by Josh Hamilton, the second of which landed right in the middle of the Yankees bullpen. Very amusing. The other was a titanic blast by Nelson Cruz in the ninth to get us to the final score of 10-3. But Molina was the big power guy for me – his home run was the game (and dare I hope series) clincher. After that it was our game, except for a moment in the bottom of the 8th when we danced with letting the Yankees back in – but this time we did manage to step on their throats.
Also, Vlad Guerrero is hot, he went 4-5 this game. That bodes well assuming we do advance. :)
Below is my list of game notes, there’s some good stuff in there. Check it out. Oh man, we’re only ONE GAME away from the stinkin’ World Series. We could be there in about 17 hours from the moment I’m typing this. It’s by far not over, but then again, I’m the fan, not the player. Players will say the right thing, but they have to be lying if they don’t at least smell it. :)

Here’s the list:

  • Got a feeling aj will do welltonight. No big numbers, just gut feeling.
  • Better first for Burnett than any other Yankees starter so far.
  • 7 pitch 1-2-3 for Hunter, beating Burnetts 9pitch 1-2-3 in the first.
  • Burnett has 3 ks through two
  • Chalk one up for replay. Bs for umpires for not checking the Cruz one.
  • The first two innings aj looked like the one i didn’t want to show up. So far in the thirds, he is the one I enacted to show up.
  • Teixeira saved a run with a great play on Andrus grounder. Did tie the game though.
  • The chiller couldn’t get the ball out of his glove on a Young grounder. inf 1b and RBI for young.
  • The Rangers take the lead without a ball leaving the infield
  • And the game is on. Yankees tie it up with a two out single scoring Jeter who had tripled.
  • Hunter nails Arod with a pitch in the fourth. Wheeeee!
  • Tommy Hunter is NOT Cliff Lee. Out after 3.2 innings. Leaves with 2-2 score, but bases loaded.
  • Really nice play by Elvis for a 6-5 fc to get an out. And save a second run.
  • Got to see my favorite thing. A camera that is on get hit by this time not a ball, but a bat. Put a HOLE in the camera lens. Wow.
  • Nice work by Holland to keep a potentially disastrous inning from getting out of hand.
    Tex annoys me. Period.

  • Nice at bat by young in the 5th, working a walk after a million pitches.
  • Steve Bartmann II?
  • Ok, we didnt cash in in the 5th. Got that sinking feeling right now.
  • I do not want to see Holland again in the playoffs.
  • If the Yankees open it up here, im done scoring the game,
  • Tex looks like he’s coming out, he’s holding his hamstring.
  • The TBS guys name dropped Rich Harden. That was the only was he was getting into the playoffs.
  • The chiller strikes again with a 6-4-3 double play.
  • Tex is out.
  • Before Cruz’s at bat in the 6th, I “put in the call”. Didn’t work.
  • Rangers have had the leadoff hitter on in innings 2-6.
  • Capt uppercut flew out on.. Wait for it… An uppercut swing flyball to center
  • Holy crap! Bengie makes em pay for the intentional walk to Murphy. Heard some fans on the open mikes going Noooooo! As well as a few f bombs.
  • In the 7th, you’re watching the rainmaker hr by Hamilton go, and I’m thinking, “Can one of these please get out, instead of being caught in front of the wall”? Then it went out. I’m happy.
  • Rangers are starting to run away with it. Not done by far, but feeling confident for sure.
  • Joba was pretty much ineffective, allowing three hits, and finally striking out Kinsler.
  • Ok, I was wrong about Holland. :)
  • O’day & Rapada are letting them back in. Not liking this!! Three walks – WTF!
  • This feels like the top of the 8th in Game 1 again. Not good.
  • We lucked out. It appeared that an Oliver pitch hit Swisher in the pants leg, but not called.
  • HUGE HUGE play by Michael young to keep the game from going back the Yankees way.
  • What a middle finger there. Josh delivers a second home run this game right after the Yankees could plate anyone after a pretty big gift from our bullpen.
  • That’s the second multi homer game in Ranfers history – 96 ALDS by Juando Game 2.
  • Hamilton’s second HR wet right I to the Yankee bullpen. Just an additional little bit of fun.
  • If our bullpen didn’t melt down in game 1, the series would be over now.
  • Wow.
  • As my wife said.. “Just five minutes after game over, and the place is totally cleared out!”

Photo by Vernon Bryant of the Dallas Morning News.

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ALCS G3: Cliff Lee dominates Yankees; Rangers win 8-0

Shutting out the Yankees at home in the playoffs. Who would have thunk it?
For a game that had a final score of 8-0, it seemed really weird to say it was a totally well pitched game, that was rather close the whole time. But it was. Other than a single pitch mistake, this was an absolute pitcher’s duel gem up until the ninth inning.
I think we all expected a pretty good, pitching dominating game, but what we got was freakin’ fantastic. Here’s the overall starting pitcher lines:
Andy Pettite: 7IP, 110P, 5H, 2R, 0BB, 5K
Cliff Lee: 8IP, 122P, 2H, 0R, 1BB, 13K
The only mistake made by either of them was a ball to Josh Hamilton in the first. Which wasn’t much of a real mistake, actually. Josh reached out and batted at a ball and got it over the fence in right to give us a 2-0 lead in the first. Off the bat, it looked like a ball that would just get dumped into right field for a hit, but it went out for a home run. It was an early lead, one that made me feel better about facing Andy Pettite. But that’s about all the offense that happened for quite awhile.
Cliff Lee started mowing down batters, including a few against Derek Jeter that made Jeter look more stupid for swinging (rather hard) at a ball out of the strike zone. Not easy to make Jeter look silly. The first eleven Yankees were set down in order, seven of them by strikeout. Cliff Lee faced 27 batters total. Of those, only two of them got hits (Brett Gardner & Jorge Posada), and one walked. That’s it. Everyone else sat down. It’s pretty close to total domination. Even given his pitch count of 122 after eight innings, he was going to come back out, and most everyone who was online with me thought so too. But then the top of the ninth happened, and he sat down, as well he should.
What happened in the ninth? Well, it was PAYBACK FOR THE TOP OF THE EIGHTH IN GAME ONE! I mean wow. It was just like the other day. Runs and hits just kept coming. Here’s a tally of the top of the ninth:

  1. Double by Hamilton
  2. Single by Guerrero (lifted for Borbon as a pinch runner)
  3. Single by Cruz
  4. Strikeout by Kinsler (who if first wasn’t occupied, probably would have gotten there on a dropped strike three
  5. Murphy pinch hits for Franceour, and is intentionally walked.
  6. Molina immediately singles, screwing with that idea.
  7. Mitch Moreland singled.
  8. Elvis Andrus doubled
  9. Michael Young grounded to third
  10. Josh Hamilton flied to left

That was the top of the ninth, and it was beautiful. It was even sweeter that it was against the bloody stinkin’ NEW YORK YANKEES. Fan posturing aside, what did amaze me was the shots of people leaving the stadium when it got to 3-0. THREE – and you bail out? Come on. When it got to 6, and especially 8, I could understand it. But Yankee fans bailing after just three runs? That’s disgraceful. I’ve always thought and believed Yankee fans (though misguided) to be loyal to their team. They showed tonight that they were NOT. EPIC FAIL on the part of Yankee fans in the ninth.
What is interesting about this is that if we can jump on AJ Burnett tomorrow like most everyone except Joe Girardi things we will, we could go up 3-1. That raises the possibility of not NEEDING to pitch Cliff Lee again in the series, setting him up for Game 1 in the World Series against (I hope) Roy Halladay. Anyway, I’m getting a bit ahead of myself, but man was tonight fun for a Rangers fan. Enjoyed the heck out of it.
Major kudos to TBS for not bombing us with celebrity sightings. I know TBS takes a lot of grief over their baseball coverage (I mean Craig Sager NEEDS TO GO), but they have a lot of great camera angles which Fox Sports Southwest could learn a thing or three from. But tonight, if this was Fox, we’d have an inning’s worth of total combined time of celebrity sightings, with nice graphics on the bottom saying who they are, etc. Don’t care about that junk. Yes, we know they’re there. I’m sure Billy Crystal was there. Do we need to see that every game? NO! Thanks to TBS for not doing that. Would have liked to have seen the moron who ran on the field during the game though. Was probably just trying to disrupt Bengie Molina’s timing at the plate :)
I also did take my twitter notes again, but decided not to flood Twitter with these notes tonight (see Jake, I was doing you a favor). Here they are for my site. Looking for game 3 tomorrow night. Hopefully right after my Phillies go up 2-1 on the Giants.
Oh, P.S. Before the game started, MLB Network was interviewing Tom Grieve, and at the end, they asked him about the claw & antler stuff. They got Tom to do it on the air. Grabbed a few shots of that off the TV. Check ‘em out before my list of in game notes below.

  • Joe MacGrane from MLBN picks Rangers in G3. Dan Plesac picks Yankees. Barry Larkin picks Ramgers, & Al Leiter picks Yankees.
  • Tom Grieve just did the claw and antlers on mlbn. Hahahahahahahaha
  • Again, my wife comes through with proper themed food. Hot dogs, fries, and kraut. Bonus, the baby as dressed in Rangers stuff! :)
  • Awesome at bat in first by young. Fouling off a bunch off stuff before getting a 2 strike hit
  • Wheeee! Hamilton goes deep, on a ball that off the bat looked like a bloop to right field
  • Both Hamilton home runs in post season have come off of lefthanders. #Rangers
  • 25 pitches for Oettote in the first. 9 were to Young
  • 15 pitch 1-2-3 inning for Cliff Lee in the first.
  • Uneventful top of 2nd for Rangers
  • 15 pitch 1-2-3 inning for Cliff Lee in the second.
  • 58 pitches by Pettite through 2.2IP. 17 of them just to Michael Young!
  • Rangers appear to have gotten a break on the inning ending play in the third, Gardner looked safe to me. Especially on the replay.
  • 13 pitch 1-2-3 inning for Cliff Lee in the third.
  • Secondary angle shows Gardner missed the bag on the slide.
  • Uneventful top of 4th for Rangers
  • Lee just smoked Jeter in the bottom of the fourth. Just carved him up.
  • 11 pitch at bat ends in a k to Swisher. Nice perseverance by Lee.
  • Perfect game is gone. Walk to Teixeira in the fourth. First walk of postseason.
  • Moron on the field in the top of the fifth. I know why we don’t show that, but I want to see it!
  • Seem like an awful lot of broken bats tonight. More than usual.
  • Uneventful top of 5th for Rangers
  • I’ve got a hand it to TBS. If this was FOX, we would’ve had probably a full innings worth of celebrity sightings and point outs. We haven’t had any and it’s in the bottom of the fifth. Good job TBS!
  • Broken bat bloop single by Posada breaks up the no hitter.
  • Lees pitch count is creeping up a little. 80 after 5 innings. Not bad, but a minor concern.
  • Can we not go to Craig Sager? He takes the cake over Jim Knox barely, due to his horrible clothes. #Rangers #LesNessmanLives
  • DAMMIT! Off Josh’s bat, it looked like a home run, but it missed getting out by a couple of feet – was a noisy out to Swisher.
  • Pettite seems awfully concerned with Michael Young at first.
  • Bot 6: Gardner gets on with a leadoff single. First thought. “Uh-oh. Here it comes.”
  • Lee gassed Jeter on another strikeout after the steal by Gardner. Felt like an emotion swing.
  • Nice infield hit by Frenchie, just beating the throw by Arod.
  • That’s now 11k’s for Lee through 7. He’s had at least one in every inning.
  • The first 11 Yankees were set down by Cluff Lee, seven by strikeouts.
  • 13 k’s through 8 for Cliff Lee. He’s at 120 pitches, but looking like he’s smoking everyone. I bet he goes back out for 9th.
  • Hamiltons double in the 9th sounded like yet another broken bat.
  • Come on guys. We need the insurance big time.
  • Great ninth so far. Walk to Hamilton, then a two strike single by Guerrero, and an RBI by Cruz.
  • Yankees fans are leaving? WTF? It’s only 3-0
  • Pinch hit murph for Frenchy. Loads the bases. Girardi probably playing for the DP with an exceptionally slow runner, Molina.
  • Molina beats the strategy with a single to left. Scored just 1 though.
  • 6-0 now. The top of the 9th is Payback for the top of the 8th in game one, isn’t it?
  • 8-0 now. One out, man on third. Yankees plsying the infield in now is fairly comical.
  • Jeter k’s for the third time in the ninth, the 14th Rangers k overall.
  • Teixeira k’s to finish the game, going to 15 overall.