Tagged: Angels

Phil Hughes starts, Cano clutches, and Mo saves on Jackie Robinson Day

hughes.jpg

Thursday. It was Jackie Robinson Day. It was also Phil Hughes’ debut as the Yankees’ fifth starter of the season.
I’ve been anticipating to watch this game on ESPN for it was my first live Yankees game, although I’m 12 hours ahead from the Bronx. Too bad I missed the first inning. Thanks to my Tita who wanted to watch something else. But thank God I made it in time to see the second inning’s actions.
The first player in the box was Hideki Matsui. The first pitch was a ball, but the second pitch was driven deep to the right centre field. There were cheers from both sides of the crowd, and it was nice of the Yankees fan to still cheer for Godzilla.
I saw Hughes’ disappointment, and I am impressed with how he carried himself. I am always impressed with Hughes. He’s just 23 years old but he carries an aura of a veteran, sort of Andy Pettitte aura.
It was Jackie Robinson Day and the man in the box for the first at-bat of the bottom of the second was the second baseman of the Yankees, who was named after the man who broke the colour barrier. On the second pitch, Robinson Cano drove a solo homer in the right field  off Scott Kazmir tying the game against the Angels.
As if the solo home run was not enough, Robinson Cano did something impressive, besides his defensive skills. With Alex Rodriguez on second base, Cano hit another homer in the right field.
Every fan of the Yankees, and some other fans of other Major League teams, are aware of Robinson Cano’s roots including the significance of his jersey number- 24. Of course, he couldn’t wear #42 for it was retired in the entire Major League in 1997 to honour Jackie Robinson. No one is allowed to wear 42 again, except for Mariano Rivera.
Robinson Cano was the first and last Yankee player who hit home run during the Game 3 of the Yankees vs. Angels series in the Bronx. Derek Jeter was the second and only other Yankee who drove a home run.
It was in the third inning when Phil Hughes fought a battle against the Angels. His pitch count was increasing that certainly had Dave Eiland and Joe Girardi concerned. I was concerned too. It was his debut as a starter of the season. I am glad he won the battle with just one man left on base, whom he had walked.
When I saw Phil Hughes’ pitch count in the fifth inning, I already knew that it might be his last inning. But I also thought that it’d be possible for him to still pitch in the sixth inning but not in the entire inning. I was right.
Phil Hughes still pitched in the sixth inning but Joe Girardi had to take the ball from him after two at-bats, when Torii Hunter and Hideki Matsui, for a walk, got on base. It was obvious that the third, including the fourth inning, had a toll in his arm.
More than Torii Hunter’s wheels, I was worried about Phil Hughes’ arm. I think he had a total of 108 pitches during the game. That was a gamble. When Phil Hughes returned to the dugout, I was impressed by the fans who gave him a standing ovation. It was sweet.
Hughes was replaced by David Robertson, followed by Damaso Marte then Joba Chamberlain. The latter was doing good especially with his slider but something went wrong. I wouldn’t say it’s his mechanics. Joba can throw impressive pitches, but he’s not at par with veteran pitchers nor with Hughes when it comes to mental preparation and attitude, which greatly affect a pitcher’s performance in a game.
With two men on base, Enter Sandman was played in the entire Stadium. Mariano Rivera came to save and close the game. Mo only faced Bobby Abreu, who grounded out to Robinson Cano to Mark Teixeira for the final out of the game.
The Yankees won the third game against the Angels, 6-2 on board. They won the series with 2-1.

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Old Guard pitchers advance the Yankees back to World Series.

Thumbnail image for Andy and Mo.jpgAfter  being suspended on Saturday night because of hefty rain, Game 6
was finally pushed through on Sunday night in the Bronx, New York.

The
Yankees may have lost Game 3 of the series with Pettitte as their
starter, but Dandy Andy presented himself in the mound in Game 6 with
confidence and results that speak of his possible legend.

The
36-year old pitcher only allowed one walk, of which Howie Kendrick was
the recipient. It was after Vladimir Guerrero hit an RBI, which he
grounded off first in the second inning. Guerrero’s move was considered
to be a wrong move; obviously.

The Angels have committed a lot
of mistakes during the series, some of which were not even part of
their accumulated 8 error record in the ALCS. Some of those errors even
helped the Yankees reach homeplate.

One easy and unwonted out
happened during the sixth inning. Chone Figgins, after bunting
Pettitte’s 89 MPH fastball, grounded out to catcher Jorge Posada. He
was out for tagging himself as he ran to first base. His left foot
touched the ball.

In the same sixth inning, the Angels might’ve
had a run when Vladimir Guerrero’s double RBI advanced Torii Hunter to
third base. The centre fielder’s speed has been a concern to the
Bombers. With two out, Mr. Iron Gaze saved the inning when Kendrick
Morales hit the ball back to him for the third out.

Posada.jpgWith long time teammate Jorge Posada catching behind the plate, the
left-handed pitcher struck out six Angels in 6.1 innings before Manager
Joe Torre climbed to the hill. The man in the mound knew what was
coming.

Pettitte may have wanted to stay longer, a lot of the
fans wanted too, but he yielded to his former teammate’s call and left
his throne with 99 pitches and a 2.84 ERA.

The post-season
veteran pitcher allowed seven hits and only had one run. The Yankee
fans gave Pettitte a standing ovation while the Old Guard starting
pitcher tipped his cap in recognition of the fans as he retired to the
dugout.

Joba relieved for him, pitching against two Halos. He
grounded out both to end the top of the seventh inning, but that was
all for him. Joe Girardi already had plans for the eight and ninth
inning.

The Sandman left the Yankee bullpen radiating assurance
to the Yankees and at the same time threat to the Angels. “I knew I was
going to be there for at least two,” said Rivera who was called in the
top of the eight.

Mariano Rivera is one of those pitchers you don’t want to face when you’re in the batter’s box.

“Man,
I don’t even want to talk about Mariano Rivera right now,” Torii Hunter
said. “You don’t want to face him. I don’t plan on getting to him. If
we do, the game is probably in the bag.”

Chone Figgins was
fortunate to hit an RBI on one ball – one strike count against Mariano
Rivera. He was not the only blessed Angel of the night. With two outs,
Figgins scored on Vladimir Guerrero’s RBI giving the Angels their
second and last run. It was the first post-season run given up by
Mariano Rivera at home since Game 2 of the 2000 World Series against
the Mets.

In the top of the ninth inning with two out, and just
one more for the final one, Gary Matthews Jr. was pinch hitting for
catcher Mike Napoli. It was an offensive move but obviously didn’t
work. Matthews, Jr. struckout swinging for the final out of the series.
The pitch was not even a cutter.

Andy and Mariano.JPGMariano Rivera secured the World Series ticket his Old Guard buddy Andy Pettitte clutched for the Yankees.

The
Bombers earned three runs in the fourth inning from Robinson Cano and
Nick Swisher on Johnny Damon’s RBI and from Derek Jeter who had to step
on homeplate to give way for A-Rod who was walked with bases loaded.

They
had another runs in the eight inning from Robinson Cano on Melky
Cabrera’s sacrifice bunt, which he earned as  double on throwing error
by Scott Kazmir, and from Brett Gardner on Mark Teixeira’s sacrifice
fly to centre field.

The New York Yankees defeated the Los
Angeles Angels on 5-2 in Game 6 of the American League Championship
Series. The Bronx Bombers will represent the American  League in the
World Series to face the defending champions Philadelphia Phillies of
the National League on Wednesday night in Yankee Stadium.

Also posted in MLBlog and Bleacher Report.

Phillies and Yankees on World Series

Old Guard.jpgThe wait is finally over.

After
5 days of waiting, the Philadelphia Phillies now know which team will
they face. The New York Yankees just defeated the LA Angels in the
American League Series of Game 6, 5-3 on board. It was a game that
lasted for 3 hours and 40 minutes with 50,173 people in full
anticipation.

The Phillies and Yankees have faced each other
during the regular season, and the Phillies have won the series, 2-1,
against the Yankees. Game 2 of that series was a walk-off win as Melky
Cabrera hit a single, scoring Robinson Cano. Alex Rodriguez provided
the tying run, a two-run homer to the right field.

Game 1 of the
World Series will be started in the Yankee Stadium and starting
pitchers will be CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee. Both pitchers are
considered aces in their ball clubs. But who will prevail?

Cliff
Lee has a 14-13 record, 245 hits, 3 walks, 10 strikeouts, and a 3.22
ERA. CC Sabathia, on the other hand, has an amazing 19-8 record. He has
allowed 197 hits and 67 walks while striking out 197. If Mo is capable
of calming the Yankees organization, and fans alike, during the late
innings, CC has a calming effect on me when he’s starting for the
Bombers.

Both NL and AL teams know how big the World Series will
be. The Philadelphia Phillies will do everything to defend their title
while the New York Yankees will be looking forward for a 27th World
Series title.

There are a lot of World Series rookies from the
Yankees, but the Old Guard remains intact. The last Old Guard
appearance in the World Series, excluding Andy Pettitte who was in the
Astros, was on 2004. This would be a nice reunion, especially that
Pettitte is back to the Yankees. With new members in their club, the
World Series will be more exciting.

Yogi.jpgThe Phillies and Yankees are
strong teams in their respective leagues, but only one team will claim
the 2009 World Series title. I am a fan of both teams, but I am rooting
for my top favourite team, the New York Yankees.

The National
and American League Series are over.  But, “It ain’t over till it’s
over.” It must be a wonderful night for Yogi Berra who watched the
game. I’d love to hear what he’s got to say about Game 6.

Forget the chill in the Big Apple. The mound is on fire with the Big C.

If everyone in the Yankees Stadium was cold, CC
Sabathia was hot in the mound.

The Yankees’ starter dominated 8 innings with 7 strikeouts, 4 hits and just 1 run.
CC did give up a walk to Kendry Morales in the seventh inning but no damage done.

Mark.jpgIn the top of the sixth, Sabathia had a 3 up, 3 down with the help of amazing
defensive performances from Johnny Damon and Mark Teixeira,
respectively. Damon almost dived to catch Bobby Abreau’s line out hit
to
the left field. The next batter was Torii Hunter whose bunt grounded
out to Sabathia to Teixeira. The Yankees’ first baseman’s legs were in
full extension in almost a split as he caught the ball in the
first base. With two batters already out, Sabathia struck out the third
batter, Vladimir Guerrero, on one ball count.


One of CC’s amazing strikeouts was to Mike Napoli in the seventh
inning. The anticipated strike out earned a loud cheer from the crowd and a big “Yeah!” from CC himself. Napoli was the second batter
Sabathia struck out in the inning. The first was Juan Rivera.

Sabathia still pitched in the eighth. Erick Aybar and Chone Figgins,
the two Angels that gave the Yankees a run on Matsui’s pop out in the
bottom of the first, both grounded out. Next to bat was Bobby Abreu who
hit a fly out to left field.

CC
allowed only one run earned from Kendry Morales’ line drive base hit
that advanced Vladimir Guerrero, who hit a double RBI, to the home
plate. Sabathia left the mound with 1.13 ERA.

The
Yankees were able to have 4 runs from Jeter, Damon and Cabrera. Damon
scored twice. A-Rod attempted to make a run in the bottom of the fifth,
but he was called out at the plate as he collided with catcher Jeff
Mathis.

In the top of the ninth inning, Mariano Rivera was called from the bullpen to
close the game. His first pitched was to Torii Hunter who earned a walk on
one strike count. Next to bat was Vladimir Guerrero who struck out on
Mo’s 91 MPH cutter. The last two batters, who had to hit nothing but
the Sandman’s cutter, flied out to right field and centre field, respectively.

Mariano Rivera sealed the ALCS Game 1 with the Yankees leading, 4-1, against the Angels.

Also posted in Bleacher Report.

Pitched with Angst

It’s been six days since my last post here, but it feels like ages ago.
A lot had happened. I haven’t even written anything about the Yankees’
winning sweep against the Twins.

I think I’ve been busy last week. There was also not much ESPN coverage
so I wasn’t able to watch the game, thus couldn’t write passionately. I
wasn’t also able to watch the first game of the NY Yankees against the
LA Angels. My fave team lost, and I feel sad.

The first four innings and a half of the game were in favour of the Yankees until they reached the bottom of the fifth.

As I saw the results, I felt disappointed. The Yanks were having a good
start, but the fifth inning gave a lot of hits and runs for the Angels.
I’m not saying that the latter are no good, that they can’t hit or run.
But as a fan, you always hope that your team’s defense is invulnerable.

Baseball is Baseball. Anything can happen.

When the opposing team wins, one sometimes can’t help but put a little,
if not all, blame to the pitcher.

There are pitchers who put me at
ease, and there are those who are capable of pitching uncertainty to
me. But before I make my final “verdict” I make sure that I’ve read
enough details and/or information and have watched enough videos of the
particular game.

It’s just not fair to judge someone without prior knowledge. It’s better to remain silent.

I hope there will be no more error in the next game. And I hope the Yankees win.