Playoff baseball is the best. The. BEST. If you don't believe me, then you have not watched any of the last several nights of October MLB drama.
Saturday was a little painful because I thought a few times that the Angels were going to pull that one out. Sunday's Phils v. Doyers game was no contest from the first pitch. But yesterday, oh boy, yesterday was a different story.
Yesterday's Angels v. Yankees game was hard to watch in the beginning. Those idiot announcers, Tim McCarver especially, were so jonesing for a Yankees win, talking about the return of the Yankees mystique and how they were going to roll through the rest of the playoffs, with only Philadelphia being the worthy opponent. That was after Johnny Damon's home run. Then Howie Kendrick hit a cutter to the Angels bullpen. All of a sudden two runs didn't seem like such a big deficit. Still though, my spirits were low. I had the game on, and was pretending like I was going to get some reading done while it was going. I drifted in and out of sleep, until about two pitches into Vladdy's at-bat. Still coming to, Vlad launched one to that same bullpen that had also become recently acquainted with Howie's homer a couple innings earlier, a surge of adrenaline rushed through my veins and immediately I was on my feet coaxing that ball from 650 miles away to clear that leftfield wall. And then it did, and we had a new game, 3-3.
I hate Tim McCarver with a passion. Is it possible to be more in love with the Yankees than any announcer in baseball? My disdain was aroused when he mentioned Izturis missing the squeeze play last year that cost the Angels a run in the Boston series. Moron, it was Aybar. No matter, Izturis couldn't drive in Aybar that inning anyway. Then Abreu overran second base and Derek Jeter made the play at second base. Jeter was the second player backing up the throw from Cabrera in centerfield, and no one even had to tell him to throw to second base, can you believe that??? Well, Jeter is also a member of MENSA in addition to being a future Hall of Famer. I also heard his tears cure cancer. Spare me. Admittedly, it was a great play, but can you guys please get your noses out of there? Your noses are all brown now and it's scaring the children.
The worst, however, came when Mathis hit the leadoff double in the 10th that looked like it was going to close the game. Wait...Scioscia isn't pinch running Willits for Mathis??? I just don't understand! How can he not want that additional foot speed on the base paths??? Uh, maybe because Mathis is an excellent defensive catcher and you don't want to lose the game on a passed ball. Don't forget that Mathis also threw the laserbeam that doubled as a baseball that eliminated the speedy Gardner from the base paths that would have provided the go-ahead run for the Yankees had he been on base when Posada hit the bomb to center-rightfield by the Adenhart poster. And nevermind that Mathis also blocked four balls in the dirt that eventually struck out the Yankee hitter when there were two on base with only one out. Scioscia should have definitely pinch ran Willits for Mathis, and then put in Bobby Wilson to catch the rest of the game. Don't forget that Bobby Wilson is also the guy who...wait...who is he again? Oh yeah, he was the everyday catcher for the Salt Lake Bees, that other Major League team, that...what? What do you mean the Bees are a Triple A team? You mean the only MLB catching experience he has was from this past season? 11 MLB at-bats in his career? Well, yeah, put that guy in! Pin your hopes of getting back into this series on a guy behind the plate with 19 games under his belt. Good idea, Tim.
Well, newly anointed Yankees killer, Howie Kendrick gets a two-out single in the 11th and now Mathis is back up to bat. Girardi makes several questionable pitching changes, Mathis ropes a double to center-leftfield. Game over.
I have to admit, after Game 2, I told my roommate that I thought he should move Guerrero out of that cleanup spot, move up Kendry or Juan, and take our chances with them. The guy couldn't have looked worse, right? Well, I had also forgotten that Vlad was actually 4/10 in the Boston series, and he hadn't been doing any worse than those other two guys I mentioned. Actually, those guys have been all but nonexistent thus far in the postseason. Scioscia, this is why you have a championship ring and why I'm sitting on the couch avoiding my homework watching you inch us closer to the series. You smart, I dumb. You big, I small. I bow to your managerial prowess, especially after you called that pitch-out. I'm sorry. You are the best manager in all of baseball.
Normally I'm the cautiously hopeful type when I watch sports. I have years and years of should-have-beens under my belt, so I try and temper my excitement, but I feel like this Angels team is different. If I were a betting man, I'd call my bookie today and put money on them to escape from this series in seven games. I'm serious. There have been several moments when I've really felt like this is a team of destiny.
I'm also super spiritual, and while I don't want to imply that these impressions are actually revelations coming from a divine source, I do feel it incumbent upon me to inform you that once I had the distinct impression that some salsa had gone bad, and I told my buddy not to eat it, but he did anyway and then he totally got food poisoning, so you be the judge.
Sorry to all the Dodgers fans out there reading this blog, i.e. Laura. I hurt for you. I can't say that I'm rooting for them like you, but I know your investment and was rooting for them in your behalf. I left the game at the top of the ninth inning sure that the series would be tied up when I came back. Ouch. Sorry. It hurts to be in Mudville when Casey can't connect and then Broxton somehow gets lit up in the bottom of the ninth right when it looks like you guys are about to tie the series. I'm speaking from my own playoff ghosts of seasons past. But it's pretty great when Casey hits an extra-base knock in extra innings to inject new life into a series.
History shows that pitchers going on short rest in the playoffs are pretty bad. They have something like a 20-34 record, or something like that. Sabbathia was never a postseason beast anyway, so I'm liking our chances today. But I did forget that the Angels were going to lay down and let the Yankees walk all over them on their way to the World Series so that they wouldn't muddy their cleats. Sorry.
No way, Angels in 7.
You're still an idiot Tim McCarver.