The Texas Rangers were taking batting practice on the field at Yankee Stadium prior to Game 3 of the ALCS.
They were taking turns as usual, some hitting the ball into left center, some down the right field line, and some to the Rangers relief pitchers shagging fly balls in center.
Then Vladimir Guerrero stepped up to the plate.
Sitting in section 236, which is the second section of the left field bleachers--if you are looking from left to right from the field--one does not expect to acquire many souvenirs courtesy of a home run ball. In fact, I can’t remember a single time anybody hit a ball into the Left Field bleachers during a game yet at the New Stadium.
But when Vlad made contact, the ball responded by flying more than 400 feet into Row 9 of Section 236, before bouncing over my head into Row 13. Neither me or my friend came up with the ball, but from that time on, I realized one thing:
Everything really must be bigger in Texas!
Two more balls off Texas bats eventually made their way to the bleachers, only a few minutes before Josh Hamilton put one over the wall in real life during the first inning off Andy Pettitte.
It is just a microcosm of how the entire Series has played out for the Yankees.
Texas has CLEARLY been the better team, while the Yankees look like the Twins circa 2009 and 2010 after they made the playoffs.
Aside from late in Game 1 and the early stages of Game 4, the Yanks have shown absolutely no desire whatsoever to score runs. And at no point, besides Andy Pettitte’s performance in Game 3, have they shown any desire to keep the game close.
I’m not going to quoting the cliché manner that Derek Jeter and Joe Girardi have described these games, because we are all familiar enough with the “Burnett pitched well except for one mistake” and the “We need to play better” lines.
But come on, Yankees, quit playing like the Mets and start doing something!
Sure, I might be a bit angry because I spent nearly 250 bucks on Game 3 tickets to support my team and they didn’t even put up a fight, but how can a team that can supposedly be “that good” look so bad against the Rangers?
Unlike many Yankee fans, I showed that I don’t leave games early. Even during the regular season, I went to more than one blowout in which I stayed until the bitter end.
This series will be no different, at least from a TV standpoint.
I think this is the first time this team (meaning the team that started by winning the WS in 2009) is now forced to win a “must-win” game. I mean, that’s exactly what it is. If they lose this game, they’re done. Out.
Joe Girardi, it seems, has been managing this series like it was a regular game, not like a “play today, win today” game. Say what you will about Joe Torre, but in the playoffs he was notorious for giving both starters and relievers a short leash.
But when David Robertson is in trouble, and ultimately gives up 5 earned runs when the Yankees needed to keep the game close, that’s managing like it’s a regular season game. Keep him in, and save the other relievers for the next game, Girardi basically said.
That’s not how you manage in the playoffs. If the pitcher is not producing, you take him out and put someone else in.
And if he IS working, you leave him in.
So, in a sense, Robertson was a victim of this two days in a row. He was left in during Game 3 way too long, but at the same time, was taken out of Game 4 way too early.
When it comes to Game 5, it’s very clear-cut, however.
Start CC, hope he goes 7, bring in Mo for innings 8 and 9. Simple as that.
Even Joe Girardi can’t mess that one up.
But, again, the only problem lies with the offense. The Yankees made C.J. Wilson look like Cy Young during Game 1, and there’s nothing any of the next games did to make one believe this will not happen again.
I’m going to be with this team until the end, whether they win or lose Game 5.
It would be much nicer if this team would wake up and win, though.