The Yankees outlasted the Angels in Game Two of the ALCS on Saturday, taking a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. The series continues this afternoon in Anaheim. River & Sunset takes a look at some of the subplots orbiting Yankee Universe.
We're not close to the celebration yet
They say in sports that a playoff series doesn't truly begin until the home team loses a game. I'd suggest Yankees fans should take heed. As the Wolf in Pulp Fiction once so eloquently said, "Let's not go sucking each other's *#%@ just yet."
As Yankee teams in 1995 and 2004 proved, winning the first two games at home isn't necessarily indicative of anything. A good start doesn't always guarantee a good finish.
The ever-trustworthy Andy Pettitte is on the mound this afternoon, which gives you confidence that 3-0 is near. But as those Golfing BoSox once taught us, even that lead is not safe.
There can be no let up now. The Yankees need to go Drago on Creed here.
The Bombers offense need to stop bombing (the Dane Cook-kind of bombing)
The Yankees can't hit.
Not right now, anyway. It's a pesky little truth that's easy to forget when the team is undefeated in the postseason. But the Yanks have gotten this far solely because of two things: 1) A-Rod and 2) their pitching.
Think about where this team would be without the heroics of Rodriguez right now. We know all about his clutch homer to save Game Two on Saturday, but the Yankees might not even be here if not for his blasts in Games Two and Three against the Twins.
New York has been sleepwalking on offense all postseason. A-Rod has outperformed the entire team in terms of run production. The guy needs help.
Where have you gone Al Aceves? A bullpen turns its lonely eyes to you
You can't get on Ace for nearly coughing up Game Two on Saturday. The poor guy has barely pitched the last two weeks, in what has to be the most unfair exile to the dog house in pro sports history.
Think about it: Aceves spent the entire season as the Yankees' most dependable reliever not named Rivera, amassing 84 innings with a 3.54 ERA that doesn't even properly indicate how good he was. He was the seventh-inning guy, a presumed key to playoff success.
But on the last day of the season, Joba Chamberlain, golden boy that he is, changed everything. Officially a failed starter in '09, Joba looked good in a brief bullpen appearance in the season finale against the Rays, and three days later, Joe Girardi gave Ace's job to Joba.
I'm not saying it was the wrong move by Girardi. He's got a pennant to win, and Joba has rewarded his manager's faith thus far. It's just kind of cold, you know?
I love this new version of Chone Figgins
I almost hesitate writing about this because I fear the Figgins in the same way I fear prostate cancer or America Ferrara. But, 11th inning single aside on Saturday, Figgins has not been the same player who has killed the Yankees for years now.
He seems extremely tentative at the plate, and his inability to hit his way on base has severely hampered what the Angles like to do against their opponent.
The same can be said about Vlad Guerrero, who runs around the bases like my 89-year-old grandfather at this point. Do I still fear him? Of course. But the cracks are definitely showing.
Whether the Angels get back into the series or not, I'll say this: Without 2003-07 Vlad or K-Rod, this team is significantly less scary. It's as simple as that.
Hey Mark, care to join us now?
Robot that he is, Mark Teixeira is probably the last guy I'd ever expect to go into a postseason tailspin.
But that's exactly where we are right now. Teixeira took a brutal 0-for-5 on Saturday night and is now hitting just .136 (3-for-22) with one RBI in the playoffs. He did make one of those hits count, a line drive walk off homer in ALDS Game Two, but overall he's mostly been an albatross in the lineup.
(This is the time where we must again bow at the feet of A-Rod. He has saved this team).
I worry that Tex will be pressing in Game Three, with his slump being compounded by a return to the home of the team he spurned in the offseason. We definitely need May-Sept. Tex to replace April Tex. A-Rod cannot do it all by himself.
He can't, can he?
Dan Hanzus can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Dan on Twitter at danhanzus.