Hang Ten!: Yanks Eye 40th Pennant

Michael GwizdalaContributor IOctober 21, 2009

ANAHEIM, CA - OCTOBER 20:  Johnny Damon #18 (R) of the New York Yankees celebrates with teammate Melky Cabrera #53 after Damon hit a two run home run during the eight inning in Game Four of the ALCS against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the 2009 MLB Playoffs at Angel Stadium on October 20, 2009 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Good news the sky is no longer falling, though there was a giant sized tsunami at the "Big-A" Tuesday night.  The waves came crashing down on the left from "The Dude" out of Vallejo, California CC Sabathia and rising up on the right from Kate Hudson's "dude" one Alex Rodriguez.  In a 10-1 thrashing that may have all but decided the 2009 ALCS, Los Angeles Angels fans can't help but wonder if this series was decided the last two off-season's.

For the Angels were viewed as the primary alternative competition for Sabathia until offering him a 24 hour ultimatum and A-Rod after opting out of his contract two years back.  In fact had the New York Yankees listened to the NY Daily News' Bill Madden this spring and cut him outright, they could've had him for next to nothing.

Yet in another odd twist this game was decided by a player in a deal the Yankees didn't make.  Centerfielder Melky Cabrera busted out for a big four RBI night and if he is traded along with Phil Hughes for Johan Santana and incidentally the Yankees don't go after Sabathia, who knows where this club is right now?

And it was Cabrera who gave the Yanks a big cushion in the top of the fourth with a two-run single to left off Scott Kazmir, plating Jorge Posada and Robinson Cano who'd knocked in A-Rod for the Yanks first run and now the Yanks were up 3-0.

The fourth was also the beginning of the most shameful display of umpiring this side of Detective Lieutenant Frank Drebin. 

Nick Swisher who'd walked, moved to second on Cabrera's hit.  With Derek Jeter at the plate Kazmir (as the replay clearly showed with the umpire looking right at the bag) picked Swisher off second yet Swisher was ruled safe.  But it didn't end there, after Jeter walked Swisher moved to third with one out and the bases packed.  Johnny Damon came to the plate and lifted one to center and as the replay clearly tells it Swisher tagged up and scored the Yankees fourth run.  Except that umpire Tim McClelland obviously not looking at the bag blew the call by ruling Swisher had left too early on appeal from the Angels. 

As we'd see later I wonder if it was a make-up call for the blown call at second or if he really didn't see what happened at third base on that play.  In any event, no harm, no foul for either team that inning.

In the fifth Mark Teixeira finally woke up offensively with a knock to left.  A-Rod then swatted the Yanks first non-solo homer since Game Two of the ALDS off Jason Bulger putting the Yanks up 5-0.  The homer was A-Rod's fifth of the playoffs putting him one behind tying Bernie Williams for the Yanks single post-season record.

Then more of the bizarre umpiring ensued.  With Jorge Posada on third and Robinson Cano on second, Nick Swisher chopped one back to Darren Oliver.  Oliver fired home to catcher Mike Napoli.  Posada broke for home and was caught up in a run-down.  Leaving time for Cano to advance, Posada ran back past third and Cano was also at the bag but inexplicably never touched it.  Napoli applied the tag to both Posada and Cano, inning ending double-play right?  Except McClelland only called out Posada and must've assumed for some reason that both runners were occupying the bag as is the case most times but on this occasion neither were.

The Angels came away un-scathed once again but one couldn't blame Mike Scoscia for wanting to go out there like the fictional Angels Manager from "The Naked Gun" and say, "hey look even the guy running the scoreboard says there's three outs and he's way up in the mezzanine!"

Sabathia who seemed to only get stronger as the game progressed, rendered his lone blemish in the bottom frame, a one out blast to Kendry Morales making it 5-1.

In the seventh on the anniversary of his 2004 Game Seven Grand Slam, Johnny Damon smacked a two-run shot off Matt Palmer, boosting the Yankees lead to 7-1.

After Sabathia dusted off the Angels for his final frame going eight strong for the second time this series, the Yanks would tack on three more in the ninth capped off by a Cabrera two-run double.  The pitcher who some thought might be starting this contest, Chad Gaudin recorded the final three outs as the Yankees romped the Angels 10-1.

So as things stand, the Angels are eyeing elimination the Yankees eyeing their 40th World Series appearance and Tim McClelland and co. possibly eyeing an optometrist sometime in the near future.