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Caught In A Clinch
2008-09-10 19:06
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Yesterday afternooon, for the third game in a row, the Yankees got out to a quick start and emerged with little to show for it. Sure they wound up blowing out the Angels on Tuesday night, but only after Alfredo Aceves had made a 1-0 score hold up for five innings. Yesterday, the Yankees got two runs in the top of the first on a pair of walks, a Jason Giambi RBI single and a balk by Angels spot-starter Dustin Moseley, but Andy Pettitte gave one back in the bottom of the inning on a Garret Anderson double, a wild pitch, and an RBI groundout by Juan Rivera.

Johnny Damon led off the third with a walk, but got picked off ahead of a single by Derek Jeter, who was subsequently stranded at first base. A one-out single by Xavier Nady in the fourth was erased by a 3-6-3 double play off Hideki Matsui's bat. Then in the fifth, Pettitte fell apart. Singles by Gary Matthews Jr., Anderson, and Guerrero loaded the bases with none out. Pettitte then rallied to strike out Rivera and Kendry Morales, and got ahead of Robb Quinlan 1-2, but Quinlan battled back to a full count before delivering a two-RBI single that gave the Angels the lead which was inflated to 4-2 when Guerrero scored on Nady's subsequent throwing error.

Untitled And that was that. Pettite walked the next batter and got the hook. Jose Veras, Phil Coke, and Joba Chamberlain stopped the scoring there, but so did Moseley and relievers Jose Arredondo and Scot Shields, passing the game to Francisco Rodriguez. Down to their last out, The Yankees mounted a threat with a walk by Giambi and a single by Xavier Nady that put pinch runners on the corners, but Rodriguez got Hideki Matsui looking to earn his 56th save of the year and move into second place on the single-season saves list. He'll pass Bobby Thigpen soon enough.

At that point attention turned to the Rangers-Mariners game, which was broadcast for the remaining fans on the Angel Stadium scoreboard. The M's had an early 4-0 lead, but the Rangers tied it up with a pair of two-run homers off M's starter Jared Wells in the fifth. Seattle got back out ahead with two runs off Kevin Millwood in the fifth, but another two-run homer tied the game back up at 6-6 in the sixth. The M's took the lead again with a run in the bottom of the sixth and added another in the bottom of the seventh. That was enough to survive a Chris Davis solo homer off Miguel Batista in the eighth and when J.J. Putz struck out Michael Young to wrap up Seattle's 8-7 win, the Angels clinched the AL West for the fourth time in five years.

As things stand now, the Angels will face the Wild Card team in the ALDS. As of this writing, the Rays had a 1.5 game lead on the Red Sox and the two teams were tied 1-1 in the 12th inning at Fenway. The Angels have faced the Red Sox in the postseason three times, but have lost all three series. In recent years, they've been swept twice in the ALDS by Boston and haven't won a postseason game against the Sox since they held a 3-1 in the 1986 ALCS. The fifth game of that series was the game in which Dave Henderson homered off Donnie Moore in the ninth inning to prevent the Angels from reaching their first World Series. So, you think the Halos are hoping they wind up facing the Rays?

Comments
2008-09-10 20:15:16
1.   Shaun P
I think the Angels are in for a fight either way, because (IIRC) the Rays (managed by former Angels bench coach Joe Maddon) have beat the Angels 6 out of 9 times this year.

SWB has taken a 2-0 lead in the (best of 5) Governor's Cup series over Durham (TB's AAA farm club). SWB got there by knocking off Pawtucket (Red Sox AAA farm club). So, at least in AAA, things are going right. =) I wonder if we'll see Hughes and/or IPK up when all that is over?

2008-09-10 21:23:54
2.   Bruce Markusen
Once Scranton's postseason has ended, I'd like to see several players brought up to New York, especially Juan Miranda, Shelley Duncan, Cabrera, Hughes, Kennedy, perhaps even Mark Melancon. Giambi's not coming back, so platoon Duncan and Miranda at first base. And let's find out if Cabrera learned anything from his send-down.

There's nothing worse than watching old players who are about to become free agents play day after day during the tail-end of a lost season.

2008-09-11 06:34:30
3.   Mattpat11
2 I don't think watching a career minor leaguer with a bench player ceiling like Shelley is that much more fun.
2008-09-11 06:43:47
4.   JohnnyC
It's more fun watching Jason Giambi fail to move his fricking feet on a throw to second base time after time and Bobby Abreu watch balls go over his head and past him on his right side into the gap despite playing essentially 2 feet in front of the fence.
2008-09-11 07:25:13
5.   Shaun P
I don't know about fun, but this is funny:

http://tinyurl.com/5d9yt8

2008-09-11 09:33:05
6.   rbj
5 LOL. But isn't that how Paplebon usually dresses?
2008-09-11 11:24:30
7.   3rd gen yankee fan
5 That is beautiful. That made the rest of my decade.
2008-09-11 11:28:12
8.   3rd gen yankee fan
I find it very interesting that his mom would embarass him like that. Either she's completely clueless about how much he's hated... or she hates him too
2008-09-11 18:41:15
9.   Bobo the Hobo
I dont think the Angels are worried one bit about the Red Sox, though everybody else seems to forget that the Angels literally dominated the Red Sox this season, winning their last EIGHT meetings after blowing a lead late in the first game against them back in April. Boston has not shown that it can beat Los Angeles at all. I think Tampa Bay may worry the Angels a bit, because the Ray's have been better than the Angels head to head this year. Angel's versus the Red Sox, though, doesnt seem to be as close. The Yankees did better against the Angels this year than the Sox (3-7 rather than 1-8).

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