Friday, October 23, 2009

Yankees must shake off disappointing loss

I can't even imagine what that plane ride back to New York was like after the Yankees failed to close out the American League Championship Series last night. Obviously, they are disappointed, but you have to wonder how high the level of frustration is. The Yanks could have ended the series against the Angels in Anaheim if they won either Monday or Thursday, with both games within their grasp. Now, they have to spend the next two days listening to people invoke the memory of the 2004 ALCS versus Boston.

Joe Girardi has been under intense criticism for several days about his questionable handling of the bullpen and I wonder if he felt skittish about going to his bullpen last night because of it. But I doubt many people would have taken him to task for taking AJ Burnett out after six innings and a long wait on the bench while the Yankee offense came back to life in the 7th inning.
If it's CC Sabathia or Andy Pettitte you're taking out of the game with only 80-odd pitches, then it's a bad move. But no one would have faulted him for taking AJ out of the game, knowing how erratic he is and how prone he is to putting people on base via walks and HBPs.

But the Yankees should look on the bright side. They are coming home to Yankee Stadium, where they have played extraordinarily well, winning all four playoff games this year and posting a 57-24 record during the regular season. They also have a big-game pitcher in Andy Pettitte on the mound for them, followed by their horse Sabathia if it gets that far. But I don't think it will get that far. I think Andy's going to give them a strong performance and I expect the offense to show up, led by Mark Teixeira, who looked like he was getting closer to getting out of his hitting funk. The Yankees will finish the job tomorrow, have a quick celebration and prepare to meet the Phillies in the World Series.

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