It was about as polar opposite as can be in the two LCS games. Beautiful, sunny and gorgeous in LA and drizzling chill in NY. That being said, what controlled each of these games was not the weather. The weather was just a side note.
The game is played between the pitcher and the hitter. Yesterday, the pitching dominated. It didn’t matter if it was 90 and sunny or 45 and miserable. The pitching ruled the roost in both houses.
“Hitting is timing… pitching is upsetting timing.” – Warren Spahn
Still, out of that total domination we witnessed from the ten inch bump, there were some impressive at bats. Not many impressive hits, but some pretty impressive at bats.
The Phillies Ryan Howard is the one constant you cannot ignore. This guy is just an RBI hitting machine. So much so that the Phils themselves are simply on a mission to get Howard to the plate. Because when you do.. he will likely deliver. He did it again yesterday, clubbing a massive Home Run that put the Phils on top 1-0.
That single run would have been enough to win the game if not for “the Ut-oh mistake”.
Chase Utley’s 2nd throwing error in as many games inexplicably opened the door for LA. The Dodgers may have tied the game but it was like pulling teeth trying to push across the go ahead run. Through a revolving door came the pitchers out of the Phillies bullpen. They almost pulled off the escape. Except for the best at bat of the day in both games.
Andre Ethier did not get a hit to score the winning run. He didn’t have to. The bases were loaded and Andre was down 0-2 in the count. He was calm and focused on every succeeding pitch and worked his way to a full count. The pressure was on the mound, not in the box. And it showed. Andre’s walk gave the Dodgers an unexpected 2-1 win that evened the series at one game apiece. All you can say in a game like that is whew!
On the other coast it was a different version of the same story. You can’t blame the sun baked Angels for cramping in the cold. We’ve all been there. You get so cold you make routine things seem like climbing Mt. Everest.
Cold Shmold. Again it was the men on the mound that made the difference. Upsetting the hitter’s timing at every turn.
The Yankees did put together a couple of decent at bats in the first inning. Led by who else? The Captain. Jeter got everything started as always. Are we in October? He scored on a sac fly by Alex Rodriguez after Damon had moved him to 3rd.
Then we had a brain freeze in the Angels infield on Matsui’s frozen pop.
Matsui would later lace another shot into the left field gap that scored his 2nd RBI of the day. Juan Rivera made a decent play to stop the ball from getting to the wall, while A-Rod created havoc by racing through a stop sign at third.
I’m not sure if it was a miscue or a statement. It was definitely aggressive and sometimes that type of play is purposeful and meant to pump up your team. That could have been the case. Not to mention that one more run was needed at the time and Alex may have felt that it was worth the gamble. Either way, he was out at home.
Derek Jeter did provide that extra run on a frozen rope to center field that skipped past Hunter. It would have been an RBI no matter how you look at it. The ball was smoked. Derek Jeter had a typical October day at the plate with 2 hits an RBI and a run scored.
Even though one of his hits was a frozen pop, we’ve gotta give the nod to Hideki Matsui’s line of 2 for 3 with 2 RBIs and a walk. That’s just the way the ice crumbles when the fellas on the mound are dominating the game.
Here’s an interesting side note. There have been 84 games played at Yankee Stadium. This is the first complete game that did not have a Home Run! Sure, there was a rain shortened game in April. . . But, this was a complete game. Upsetting Timing indeed.
Congratulations Hideki Matsui. You weren’t Godzilla… but
You are Yesterday’s Hitter!