ALCS Game 4: Bengie Molina, Josh Hamilton Power Texas Rangers To 3-1 Series Lead

Adam BernacchioAnalyst IIIOctober 20, 2010

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 19:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers hits a solo homerun in the ninth inning against the New York Yankees in Game Four of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium on October 19, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Last night was a night New York Yankee manager Joe Girardi would like to forget.

Every single move Girardi made and didn’t make last night backfired. It was a rough night for Girardi and the rest of the Yankees as the Texas Rangers pounded the Bronx Bombers 10-3 to take a commanding 3-1 series lead in their best-of-seven ALCS.

This game and potentially the series turned in the bottom of the fifth and then in the top of the sixth.

The Yankees had a 3-2 lead going into the bottom of the fifth and Derek Jeter started off the inning with a double and then Curtis Granderson walked. With Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, and Robinson Cano coming up, this was the opportunity for the Yankees to put the hammer down in this game.

Instead, Teixeira hit a weak groundball to third in which Michael Young stepped on third and tossed to first to try to turn the double play. As Teixeira was running to first, he came up lame and went down for the count.

When Teixeira was helped off the field, the air came out of the Yankees’ balloon. You could hear a pin drop at Yankee Stadium. Then to really kill the rally, ARod grounded into a 6-4-3 double play and just like that, the Yankees chance to blow this game open came to an end.

You could start to feel the worm start to turn a little bit in that half of the fifth and then in the sixth, the worm really started to turn.

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I didn’t have a problem with Girardi letting AJ Burnett start the inning. That’s fine. I also didn’t have a problem with Girardi leaving Burnett in there after he gave up a single to Vladimir Guerrero.

Burnett then proceeded to get Nelson Cruz to ground into a fielder’s choice and Ian Kinsler to fly out to center. Then things got interesting.

Girardi decided to intentionally walk apparently the Babe Ruth of the Rangers’ lineup, David Murphy so they could get to Bengie Molina. When this happened, I said to my friend I think they are walking him so Joba Chamberlain can pitch to Molina.

Chamberlain was warming up and if you remember, he made Molina look foolish in Game 2. When Girardi decided to stick with Burnett, I almost fell off my couch.

If Chamberlain isn’t warming up to face Molina, then why the heck is he warming up in the first place? That made zero sense to me.

Burnett stayed in and on the first pitch to Molina, Big Bengie put the ball in the leftfield bleachers to give the Rangers a 5-3 lead. That was game over and maybe series over.

The Rangers tacked on five more runs as the night went on thanks to two HR’s by Josh Hamilton and another HR by Cruz.

Here are some other observations from Game 4…

Teixiera, who came up lame on that grounder in the fifth is done for the playoffs. He has a strained hamstring.

When the Yankees put Nick Swisher at first, their defense at first from a 12 out of 10 to a minus-2 out of 10.

The Ranger bullpen is an adventure right now. That eighth inning was a mess. How do you walk three batters with a four run lead? Just throw the ball over the middle of the plate.

If I see Clay Rapada face Cano one more time, my head is going to explode.

The star of this game for the Rangers was Derek Holland, who threw 3.2 innings of one-hit baseball. He gave the Rangers a chance to win the game.

The story of this game will be Molina’s home run, but the reality of this game was the Yankees only scored three runs off of Tommy Hunter and four other Ranger pitchers.

I thought the pitch sequence to Lance Berkman in the eighth for horrific. Berkman didn’t come close to hitting two outside fastballs by Darren Oliver. And so what does Molina do? He calls for an inside curve. What?

The Rangers were lucky Young came up with that ball to end the inning. It could have led to two runs.

If Hamilton played at Yankee Stadium and stayed healthy, he would hit 60 home runs in that ballpark. His second homer was a glorified popup to right.

I said before that it was only a matter of time before Vlad started to get hot. Four hits last night.

I thought Girardi should have pinch-hit Jorge Posada for Francisco Cervelli in the bottom of the fourth. Cervelli is a glorified cheerleader and is an automatic out at the plate.

The Boone Logan vs. Hamilton experiment is really not working out to well for the Yankees. Top of the seventh, runners on 1st and 2nd, who out of the pen pitches to Hamilton in that spot? Yankees don’t have an answer right now.

Game 5 will be a rematch of Game 1 and will pit CC Sabathia trying to save the Yankees' season against CJ Wilson.


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