Do I really need to say anything or can I just SMILE!
I'll touch on a couple things:
Yankee “Home Runs”
In the second inning—easy one first—Berkman’s was not a home run, no doubt about that. Not sure what the umpire was watching there, but whatever. It was a foul, and instant replay clearly showed it. However, two batters before, Robby Cano hit a deep fly ball that Yankee “bleacher creatures” assisted out for the home run.
Here’s my problem—and I can quote the MLB Official Rulebook, if necessary—that play should have been reviewed. Not a doubt in my mind on that. And had the umpires reviewed it and still decided to call it a home run, I would not have been happy, but I would have been “cool with it.”
My opinion is that the fans obviously interfered with it, but I have watched it too many times. From my vantage point, if you completely remove the fans, the ball might have just been out of Cruz’s reach. However, we will never know, and if that’s what New York needs to keep “home-field advantage,” so be it…because I know for a fact had that been Arlington and a Rangers home run, it would have been reviewed.
Unsung Hero of the Game
Derek Holland!!! Hello, 3.2 innings pitched in relief of Hunter. He allowed one hit, three Ks, zero runs and only the one inherited runner scored. Very impressive with the young man, even with the TBS announcers telling us he had a “nervous smile,” obviously y’all were wrong…again!
So happy that Dutch was in the game for all the run-pounding and able to maintain long enough to be the winning pitcher. Before the game there was talk of starting Holland over Hunter in Game 4. If Texas moves on to the World Series, we may very well see that now.
Apparently the Yankees are slow learners. In Game 3 on Monday they intentionally walked David Murphy to face Bengie Molina—righty vs. righty. Bengie thanked them for that with an RBI single amidst the six-run ninth inning. Last night, they did the same thing in the sixth with two outs. And almost as though on cue coming back from the TBS highlights of his HRs in Games 1, 2 and 3 in the 2005 ALDS against the Yankees, BENGIE goes yard.
To wrap up another offensive explosion we got to witness DOUBLE BOOMSTICK (not Double Rainbow) from the soon-to-be 2010 AL MVP Josh Hamilton and then a shot from NC-17, none of which were fan-assisted.
In the end the bullpen pulled their weight in a game that we all knew they would have to be strong in for Texas to have a chance. In his 3.1 innings Hunter allowed three runs, in the remaining 5.2 innings the bullpen threw zero after zero after zero. Though the eighth inning got a little nerve-racking, no runs came across. The Rangers slammed the door for good by adding three runs in the ninth behind home runs from Hamilton and Cruz.
I will say that I am getting quite annoyed with the constant attempts by the TBS announcers to justify the pitching performances by Andy Pettitte and A.J. Burnett. I have heard quite enough comments about Pettitte and that he was one pitch away (Hamilton two-run home run) from matching Cliff Lee’s performance.
NO HE WASN’T!!!
Look, Pettitte pitched a very good game and more times than not his performance would have been good enough to get a win. But his final line was seven IP, five hits, two runs (both earned), zero walks and five Ks on 110 pitches—again solid numbers.
Cliff Lee: eight IP, two hits, zero runs, one walk and 13 Ks on 122 pitches. Sorry, that is not one pitch away from matching performances.
And then in Game 4 the announcers tried to justify that Burnett pitched a good game except for one mistake. Through five innings he did pitch well and kept the Ranger bats at bay, but this is a nine-inning game, not five. And in the sixth he didn’t make the pitch he had to make and Bengie blasted a three-run homer.
New Yorkers and a bulk of the East Coast media may not want to admit it, but face facts: the Rangers are one game away from moving on, and the Rangers have outscored the Yankees 30-11 (30-6 if you take out the eighth inning of Game 1). If it weren’t for that eighth inning, this series would now be over in a four-game sweep. Right now the Rangers are flat-out pummeling the Yanks in every aspect of the game, no ifs, ands or buts about that.
Enjoy it, love it and now store it in your memory because the party ain’t over and the excitement we feel right now is all for not if the Rangers don’t finish the job. Yes, we are up three games to one, we have C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis and then Cliff Lee all going on regular or extra rest. But the Yankees are still the defending champs and until we polish them completely off, I will not allow myself to celebrate even the slightest. Finish the job!
The mindset is right so far, and the players are still saying the right things, so we need to go into today’s game expecting to close it out. We need to act like the series is tied. And we need to continue to play like this Yankees team can come back. Because if the eighth inning of Game 1 taught us anything, it’s that if you give this Yanks team the opportunity, they will come back.
I’ll leave you now, not too far away from Game 5, with the quotes that have been constantly on my mind throughout this entire postseason run:
“It’s amazing how much can be accomplished if no one cares about who gets credit.”—Blanton Collier
“When a team outgrows individual performance and learns team confidence, excellence becomes a reality.”—Joe Paterno
“Even when I went to the playground, I never picked the best players. I picked the guys with less talent, but who were willing to work hard, who had the desire to be great.”—Earvin “Magic” Johnson
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