Angels refuse to give up
After the Yankees won the first two games against the Angels in the American League Championship Series, the final outcome began to look inevitable, but after returning home to Anaheim, the Angels managed to bounce back. Game Three on Monday evening went to extra innings, just like Game Two, except that this time the Angels won, 5-4. All four of the Yankee runs came on solo home runs, and the one by Jorge Posada in the eighth inning tied the game at four apiece. But the hero of the game was Angels second-string catcher Jeff Mathis, who doubled in the winning run in the 11th inning. It was the fifth game in a row in which the Yankees had scored exactly four runs, which may be a postseason record. (I'll have to check.)
Game Four on Tuesday evening was a total onslaught by the Bronx Bombers, who won by a score of 10 to 1. C.C. Sabathia pitched nearly flawlessly for eight innings, and for the third straight game, Alex Rodriguez -- the new "Mr. October" -- hit a home run, as well as a double and a single. Johnny Damon, who has been in a slump, hit a homer as well, clearing the high wall in right field. Center fielder Melky Cabrera led the Yanks with four RBIs.
After a pointless non-travel "day of rest," Game Five on Thursday started off disastrously for the Yankees, as A.J. Burnett gave up four runs to the Angels before the first out was made. To his credit, he settled down and pitched into the seventh inning without giving up any more runs. By that time, the Yanks had regained the lead thanks to a sudden outburst of slugging in the seventh inning started by Mark Teixera, who cleared the bases with a very timely double. Alex Rodriguez was given an intentional walk, but then Hideki Matsui knocked in a run, and Robinson Cano batted in two more, making six total. It looked like the aura of Yankee invincibility had returned, but then the Angels took back the lead with three runs in the bottom of the inning, and won the game, 7-6. See MLB.com. Well, you gotta give credit to Jeff Mathis, Vladimir Guerrero, Kendry Morales, and Torii Hunter for their consistent hitting. Oddly, there were no home runs in Game Five.
As the ALCS returns to the Bronx tomorrow, expectations from New York fans will be high. Andy Pettitte will be the starting pitcher, but rain is in the forecast and could force a postponement.
The mail bag
Thanks to Scott Hollmeyer, Mark Komp, and of course Mike Zurawski and Bruce Orser for recent tips on ballparks, past and present. And my apologies to those others whose messages I haven't had time to digest and reply to as of yet...