Live-Blogging Game 5 of the ALCS
5:12: The Yankees begin the game with two hits and Joe Buck begins the game by saying, ominously, "And here comes New York!" And then there went New York. Out out out. Question: Is Mark Teixeira going to be the new Alex Rodriguez? The guy the press says folds in the clutch on a small sample size? A-Rod was the new Randy Johnson (remember before 2001?) who was the new... Willie Mays? Ted Williams? Take your pick. It's a tired storyline. I'm actually glad A-Rod's doing well this post-season so I don't have to hear that crap anymore. By the way: Nice to see sun. But what's with the empty seats down the right-field line before gametime? C'mon southern Cal: Represent!
5:17: Walk and double and now my man Torii Hunter comes through for two! Off his bat I thought Jeter had it, but I guess Jeter had him played wrong. Wow, and now Vlad with a double in the gap! 3-0. Was Torii limping around the bases? Did I see that? Hope not. This is fun! Yanks get the first two guys on and 10 minutes later, it's 3-0, Angels.
5:18: 4-0, Angels. One wonders when New York is going to warm somebody up.
5:25: The Spanish for "liner" is ligne? Thanks, Tim McCarver. And the Angels have been waiting for an inning like this, Joe Buck? I've been waiting for an inning like this. Doesn't matter, though. The Angels could be up 10-0 and I'd still be worried. The Yankees are Freddy Kreuger to me. They're Michael Myers. Just when you think they're dead, they rise up. They're their own horror movie.
5: 35: Cano not doing well in the post-season. Swisher. Teixeira. One wonders how the Yankees have won anything. And now they're giving us the John Hancock question of the day: Who are the only three LCS MVPs to come from losing teams? Wasn't one of them George Brett back in the '70s? And doesn't this go against the usual nomenclatural argument against the regular-season MVP? That you can't be "valuable" on a team that doesn't win? Surprised McCarver doesn't mention that. I never buy that argument, by the way. You can be valuable, even most valuable, on a team that doesn't go to the post-season. Three definitions of valuable: 1) Having considerable monetary or material value for use or exchange; 2) Of great importance, use, or service; 3) Having admirable or esteemed qualities or characteristics. Nothing in there about winning.
5:47: Uck, that tomato alfredo in the Olive Garden commercial looks awful. And what's with the Chris Farley Direct-TV ad? Isn't that a little creepy? He's been dead for 12 years now and they're trotting him out to... What? Are they saying you should get Direct TV so you don't have to watch Chris Farley? That would be pretty gross. On the other hand, at least it's not that damn Viagra ad with the guy talking to himself or the Black Eyed Peas commercial where the girl is remaking "A Midsummer Night's Dream" while the dude is walking on the moon with a camel.
6:00: Torii Hunter's stolen base in the bottom of the third was pretty funny. Don't know if I've ever seen that before—where a baserunner was halfway down to second before the pitcher even threw the ball to homeplate. And now he's at third with only one down. Ah, but then nabbed in a rundown. McCarver: "That's why you bring the infield in." No shit, Sherlock. You could almost see Torii calculating, to see how long he could run back-and-forth before Vlad got to second base. And he almost got back to third anyway. But the Angels gotta get some more runs here. Freddy Krueger ain't gonna play dead forever. Those eyes are gonna pop open.
6:19: Here's the answer to that John Hancock question: Fred Lynn in '83, Mike Scott in '86 (of course!) and Jeff Leonard n '87. All within a five-year period. Wonder why? Also: John Hancock signs his name big and over 230 years later we're asking trivia questions in his name. Cue Yakov Smirnoff.
6:27: Melky Cabrera gets on base with one out in the top of the 5th. There goes Molina back in the dugout and here comes Posada out of the dugout...and he goes down on strikes. Does this mean A.J. Burnett is gone, too, since Molina catches Burnett? Angels need runs. They haven't scored since the 1st. BTW: I like how Mathis, the Angels catcher, pounces after that ball when he's behind the plate. He really moves. C'mon, Lackey, strike Jeter out already. Yes! Made him look ba-yad, too.
6:37: "That's outside!" Gotta love an ump you can hear. I also like this guy's strike zone so far. Seems on. A solid base-knock from Torii. Let's see if he tries to steal again. And yet another throw over to first base. You embarass me and I will bore everyone to make sure you don't embarass me again. Joe Buck: "Hunter's getting worn out over there." CUT TO: Hunter, smiling.
6:48: Two-out double from A-Rod. Did he think it was a homerun? It took him awhile to get to second, but then Torii played it well off the wall, too. Again, I'm happy for A-Rod as long as it doesn't lead to any runs here. And...? A walk. Joe Buck: "And with Cano coming up, with one swing of the bat he could change the complexion of the game." Oh, shut up! Nope, force at second. Yanks have 9 outs left.
7:00: Some doofus dunks himelf in the fake pond in centerfield and for some reason FOX shows it. For a long while, too. I thought the networks weren't supposed to show this crap, so they don't encourage the doofuses of the world. Then again, FOX is used to broadcasting, and encouraging, the doofuses of the world.
7:17: It's a good feeling when a ball, that might be trouble, is hit to a guy, and you're not even worried. That's how I feel when a ball is hit to Torii Hunter. But overall I still don't like this. It's top of the 7th and the Angels are just sitting on this lead. And now a third strike to Posada is called a ball? Joe Buck: "What will that lead to?" Oh, shut up. And now Jeter walks to load the bases. The tying run, Johnny Damon, comes to the plate for the Yankees. Joe Buck: "Damon has homered in two straight games... One memorable Damon grand slam in LCS play..." Oh, shut up! But Damon flies out. So... two outs. But the tying run is still at the plate: Mark Teixeira. And there goes Lackey with 7 outs still to go. And here comes Darren Oliver. And there goes the mothercreepingfreakingflugging ball! CRAP! One pitch from Oliver, three runs score. How big is that missed called third strike by the ump? The Yankees always seem to capitalize on bad calls. Now a Matsui basehit. Tie game. This is not a good feeling.
7:20: Is there a more obnoxious commercial than that Dos Equis "Most Interesting Man in the World" ad? It's the Yankees of ads. It also feels slightly racist. "Don't worry, Punjab, I'm here."
7:25: 6-4, Yankees. I hate life. But the inning finally ends, thanks to Nick Swisher. The Angels still have nine outs, but if this is the end of their season, if we're done with the LCS, the Yankees and Phillies have to wait a whole freakin' week while the earth moves further and further away from the warmth of the sun. Nice schedule, Bud. Of course, if there's one team that deserves to play in the cold and awful of November, it's the Yankees.
7:32: McCarver's talking as if the pitching change (Oliver for Lackey) happened when there was one out. There were two outs. There, he corrects himself.
Seventh inning, Angels! This is your inning! The eighth means the only pitcher with VETO power in the Majors, Mariano Rivera, can come in, and we don't want that. Jesus, I just realized the Yankees got their half-dozen runs without a homerun. In fact, no one's hit a homerun in this game. 10 runs, no homeruns. A walk to Eybar, the man with cheekbones you can cut yourself on, and there goes Burnett. And here comes the top of the Angels order. Time for a homerun, Angels! But Chone Figgins...drops a bunt? I don't know. I'm not a fan of the sacrifice. You just gave up one of the nine outs you have left in the season.
McCarver calls Yankees reliever Damaso Marte the most "volatile" of the Yankee relievers. In terms of temperament? In terms of performance? What does he mean? Ground-out from Abreu scores a run. 6-5, Yankees. And here comes a new reliever. Phil Hughes vs. Torii Hunter. 1-0 count. Tying run at third. 2-0. Hitter's pitch. 3-0. Do you greenlight him? Why not? See if he can send it deep and put the Angels ahead. He walks anyway, so it's time for Big Bad Vlad.
Wow, after that second strike I was ready to give up on Vlad, but thankfully Jeter can't go to his left, and it's a basehit and a tie game! Now 12 runs without a homerun. Time for a homer, Kendry! 3-1 count. And the ball's ripped into right field! "And here comes Torii Hunter! And the Angels are back on top!" Izturis is up but McCarver's still questioning the 1-2 fastball to Vlad.
7:58: Top of the 8th, 7-6, Angels, and Jared Weaver's knocking 'em down. If he keeps doing it, they should let him stay in. Love the Angels' fans booing Jeter every time he comes up. Yanks got four outs left. Yes! Fastball down the pike and Jeter coudn't catch up! Three outs left. LEAVE WEAVER IN!
8:09: So nice to see Joba the Hutt. And it's a lead-off double! Hope the Yanks don't bring in VETO power. Might not matter since the Angels continue to bunt away outs. If they can get the bunts down. And now Eric Eybar sends one up the middle but Cano gets to it. Can't get Eybar at first but it prevents a run from scoring. And, uh-oh, VETO power is up and throwing. So the Yankees stall...and stall... and stall... and then bring him in. The last no. 42 in Major League Baseball. Let's see if the Angels can at least get that one big run in.
8:14: "10 earned runs in 125 1/3 innings pitched in the post-season." If Rivera isn't the real reason for the Yankees' success these past 13 years... OK, Rivera and $$$$$$$$. Hey, good move by Eybar, stealing second with the infield in. And McCarver just mentioned what I just thought: Luis Gonzalez in '01 hitting that bloop single off Rivera to win the World Series with the infield in. McCarver called it correctly then, hope he's called it correctly here. Nope, fly ball...and the guy on third doesn't even score! Crap. That was about as solid a hit as you can get off of Rivera. Pop fly ends the inning. So now it's 10 earned runs in 126 innings pitched in the post-season. And here comes Fuentes. He's going to have to face A-Rod again, isn't he?
8:34: "Johnny Damon...how I hate him.. now that he's with New York..." A rocket to first but out. And an easy fly out from Teixeira. Two gone. And now... A-Rod. Do you walk him? No. Pitch to him! But they don't. They intentionally walk him. I know it worked before but that's a little too much respect for a guy who makes an out 2 every 3 times. Poor A-Rod. First they walk him, now they pinch-run for him. Won't anyone let him play?
And now it's 3-1 to Matsui. And now it's 3-2 to Matsui. And now Matsui walks. Runners at first and second, and two out, and Robinson Cano at the plate. And Fuentes hits him. Bases juiced. Joe Buck: "And Nick Swisher, who does not have an RBI this entire series, will be the hitter." Shut up! But a quick 0-2 to Swisher. Now 1-2. Now foul. Now 2-2. Joe Buck: "It's a situation like this that makes this game great." Sure, but only if the Angels win. Otherwise it's like Goliath beating David and that's hardly news. Now it's 3-2. With the bases juiced and a one-run lead. But Swisher swings and it's a high popup!...And Eybar's got it!... And we're going to New York for Game Six.
Interesting experiment but doubt I'll repeat it anytime soon. Too difficult to say anything interesting in the time-span allowed. It's vaguely interesting, because you get to see what you thought an inning or two or three earlier, but overall... It's typing, not writing, as Truman Capote once said of Kerouac.
Look Bronxward, Angels.
ADDENDUM: Turns out that after his 3-RBI double in the seventh, Mark Teixeira isn't the next A-Rod; Nick Swisher is. Rob Neyer sensibly asks everyone to shut up already about this crap.