ALDS Game 3: Too Good And Not Good Enough

October 3rd, 2011 by Jane Heller

I’m depressed and, therefore, not in the mood to post pics. I hope words will do.

So. We lost.

There will be complaints about the tight strike zone. There will be talk about Girardi bringing in Soriano too late and even more talk about bringing him back for another inning instead of using Robertson. There will be a debate about not sending Montero up to pinch hit for Martin against Valverde. Blah blah blah.

This was about CC not having it and Verlander firing 100 mph fastballs through eight innings. Our guy wasn’t as good as their guy. End of story.

Still, the Yankees had their shining moments – from all those double plays that bailed out CC and A-Rod’s sure hand at third to Jorge’s tenacious at bats and Gardner’s huge game-tying double. If Soriano hadn’t coughed up that homer, we might have had extra innings and hung on a little longer.

But we had chances in the ninth and didn’t seize them, and the result was having to watch Valverde’s victory dance (although it was subdued, for him).

Did we ever imagine in our wildest dreams that our season would come down to AJ Burnett?

Of course not. But here we are, on the verge of elimination.

What needs to happen is this:

  1. The Good Great AJ has to show up.
  2. A-Rod has to be the 2009 model.
  3. Tex has to stop being Mr. April.
  4. Mo has to get into the game.

In other words, it’ll be all hands on deck so this baby doesn’t sink.

Photo: Mario Belluomo

(Okay, I had to post one pic.)

Let’s go Yankeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees!

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24 Responses to “ALDS Game 3: Too Good And Not Good Enough”

  1. Sean K says:

    That game could have gone either way.

    I know the doomsayers will be here soon saying “Well it’s come down to AJ Burnett, the Yankees may as well pack it in now.” I disagree. First off, NY needs to get some runs off Porcello. We see a repeat of Game 2 where the Yankees have 1 run on the board after 8 innings then it wouldn’t matter if they had Whitey Ford on the mound. Second, AJ has to limit damage. He doesn’t have to throw a shutout but can’t allow the 4, 5, 6-run inning.

    Do that and NY can win. Should be exciting to watch.

  2. YankeeCase says:

    Gardner came up clutch again tonight. And would you believe I saw that hit before it happened? I literally saw him do it before he stepped into the batter’s box. What I didn’t see was Delmon Young’s home run. But once I saw Soriano out there for a second inning, I got those bad vibes. And then one idiot TBS announcer said something along the lines of, “Be careful with the first pitch…” And boom.

    I really wish Jeter can make some sort of contact against Valverde, although I hope he doesn’t have to see him again (meaning that we’re on the winning end of the next two games, of course, and not that there’ll be a detroit blow out win.). It was great to see the Yankees get four runs off of Verlander, but this was another game we should’ve stolen. Hopefully it all becomes a series that we end up stealing, despite Mother Nature’s best attempts at undermining our championship hopes.

    I feel a good AJ outing to take us to game 5…

    ………………………………………and if not, then Girardi better pull his ass outta the game quick when there’s trouble a-brewing!! I’ve got a pair of ALCS tickets for game 2 at Yankee Stadium I fully intend on handing over to an attendant at Gate Six on Sunday!

    http://yankeecase.mlblogs.com/

  3. John says:

    Here’s a thought for tonight, Chavez on 3rd and A-BOOO-Rod on the far end of the bench. Posada on 1st, Montero at DH and Tex next to A-Rod. The o fors are killing us.

    If the 2 Boo Boys must play bat them 8 and 9 or give them the bunt sign every time up.

    Can you tell I am ticked? I feel better about Burnett then the 2 other heros.

    Ah, venting is good!

  4. Audrey says:

    On my bike yesterday, coming home, I passed a neighbor who was walking his little boy in his stroller. I don’t know this guy well but my son had him for Driver’s Ed at school and from him I learned that the guy is a huge Yankee fan. So while I was passing him the little boy was crying a little so I said “I know why he’s crying – it’s because AJ’s going to pitch the fourth game, right!” He laughed and was excited to discover another Yankee fan. We talked for a bit and I made him the same promise I am going to make now:

    AJ is going to bring it tonight. If we are to expect the unexpected in baseball, let’s expect that the pitcher who drove us crazy all season, the one we didn’t even expect to win, will do just that, just as the guy we always expected to win did not. Tonight another thrilling chapter in the Yankee’s 2011 season will be written.

    If you are a praying person, pray for AJ, and I mean that sincerely. Because I think AJ is a man who fights a lot of demons in his mind, heart and soul. In the end, he is a fellow human being who has struggled and is looking for redemption. I hope God will grant him the serenity to perform to the best of his abilities and talents. I hope he finds redemption tonight.

  5. Barbara says:

    my fear that i expressed the other day is coming true. the only thing between joining the sox and others in the off season is aj. i am nervous. i am bummed. i am almost resigned. yuck

  6. Ladyjane303 says:

    We’re in BIG trouble. But you gotta believe…..

  7. Melissa says:

    Jane, that post was much more cheerful than I expected.
    Verlander proved that he is as good as they say last night. Great pitching.

    So, to give you all a little something different to think about, I offer you Merriam-Webster’s word of the day. I never knew why a walk was called an Annie Oakley and now I know!

    Annie Oakley\an-ee-OH-klee\
    noun: a free ticket

    Phoebe Anne Oakley Moses (1860-1926) starred in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, where she astonished the crowds with feats of marksmanship such as shooting the spots out of playing cards. It wasn’t long until her audience noticed that the shot-out card looked like a ticket that had been punched by a train conductor. By 1910, the name “Annie Oakley” was not only synonymous with sharp-shooting but with the ticket-playing card connection, and complimentary tickets have been “Annie Oakleys” ever since.

  8. Jeff says:

    Great perspective. And as a baseball fan, one would have a hard time finding a more ironic set up to a must-win game four for the Yankees. Who knows, could be the beginning of something great.

  9. Leo says:

    Our backs are against the wall now but I’m confident that we will keep fighting. I don’t know why but I have faith in AJ. I think he’ll come up big for us and maybe even pitch as good as he did in Game 2 in the 09 World Series. He will need some support from the offense though and the time is now for A-Rod and Teixeira to step up to help Cano and protect him. Our bullpen needs to also be lights out and ready for whenever we need them.

  10. Jane Heller says:

    Sean, you’re right. It does matter how Porcello pitches. If he’s the Porcello who threw a perfect game (umpire aside), then it’ll be tough. If he’s the Porcello who’s come after that, the Yankees offense needs to pounce – early and often. It won’t matter what AJ does if we don’t hit.

    It was Smoltz who made that pronouncement about Delmon Young, YankeeCase. The second he said it, I think we all knew what was next. What a jinx. Also, just because I can’t help saying it, didn’t it sound like the guys in the TBS were bummed when Gardner hit that double? It was like somebody died. I think Girardi will pull AJ fast if there’s trouble. There’s a reason they have Phil Hughes in the pen.

    I’m frustrated by A-Rod and Tex at the plate too, John, but would I put Posada at first in a must-win game? No way. Tex saves runs at first and A-Rod’s been playing a terrific third. I do think Girardi should move them down in the order though. They’re killing us. And yes, venting is good, but you promised us all would be well in Mudville!

    It’s so true that the unexpected happens in baseball, Audrey, and maybe AJ will turn out to be our savior tonight. But as Sean said above, if we don’t hit it won’t matter how good he is. We need a great performance from him and some thunderous offense.

    Don’t give up yet, Barbara. There’s still a game to be played and you know that anything can happen. The odds aren’t in our favor but we haven’t won all those championships for nothing. So keep the faith.

    Exactly, ladyjane. I was hoping it wouldn’t come down to this but it has. Gulp. Elimination games are so nerve wracking.

    Thank you for the word of the day, Melissa. I didn’t know “Annie Oakley” meant a free ticket. I would have liked some Annie Oakleys to Yankee Stadium for the playoffs. :)

    Who knows is right, Jeff. No clue what will happen tonight except that it’s win or go home.

    All those variables you mentioned need to come true, Leo, and it’s possible that they will. Or maybe the hitting will come from the least expected sources – something dramatic like a pinch hit homer by Montero. How’s that for a prediction.

  11. John says:

    Mudville seems to be suffering a drought!

  12. Bob Cerv says:

    Another posting gone to hell. Just as well…
    Wanted to thank Audrey for such well-chosen words, and thank Barbara for sharing what I feel deep down. Love to think otherwise, but no.
    Jane, you’re so polite & diplomatic about the plate ump. He was AWFUL. The worst moment? For me — after CC’s letter-hi fastballs were a “ball” all night — Cano is up with men on base, late in the game, and Verlander throws a letter-hi fastball: STRIKE 3. Nothing worse than an inconsistent plate ump in a playoff game. I will remember you, Davis…
    Tonite may be a formality (it SURELY would be if DAVIS was behind the plate). Or is A.J. somehow up to the task? Wasn’t Porcello a Yankee farmhand? Doesn’t matter anymore. Yanks have rallied from down 2-1 on the road in a 5-game playoff…but that was in the ’70s. Still…it can be done…

  13. Jane Heller says:

    I wasn’t polite or diplomatic about the ump on twitter last night, Dave, but after an hour of reflection I calmed down and came to the conclusion that Verlander was just too good and CC was just…not. I read an interview a few minutes ago that Joel Sherman did with Cashman and the subject of CC’s weight was raised. I think it was Melissa who pointed out that CC had gained it all back this year and she was right. The Yankees are concerned and want him to lose the pounds. Yes, Porcello was a farmhand and is from NJ. Maybe he’ll help us out and let us score 10 runs.

  14. Babs O-H says:

    I know it’s too late now, & not that anybody would listen to me, anyway, but Burnett should have pitched Game 3 leaving CC for Game 4. If AJ would have pitched well it would have been a bonus & if he didn’t, we’d be in the same position we are now, only we’d have CC in the next game to keep us alive. Now, look what we’re stuck with –a shaky AJ & what’s left???? We had a better chance of sticking around longer if we had CC going tonight. My observation, anyway. I hope AJ pitches the game of his career!

  15. Jane Heller says:

    Interesting observation, Babs, but can you imagine the outcry if Girardi had named AJ as his Game 3 starter? Ahead of CC? We all would have jumped on him. You’re right that it would be a lot more comforting to have CC going tonight with our backs up against the wall and that if Verlander had matched up against AJ last night we would have felt it wasn’t that big a deal to lose the game. But Game 3 is traditionally a pivotal one in a 5-game series and I think Joe was right to go with our ace (as un-ace-ish as he turned out to be). Let’s just hope AJ does pitch the game of his career tonight!

  16. Ruth says:

    It’s all been said, but I must pile on and vent too. You can’t blame the Ump for the loss, but I think he was totally stingy early and then inconsistent later. If I hadn’t watched the game and saw all the ‘walks’ CC had, I would have agreed he was off. But all those ‘balls’ were actually borderline stikes. He was painting the lines! And then later, all those same pitches were suddenly strikes for Verlander. Again, you can’t blame the Ump, but I think CC got a raw deal. I, too, think he needs to lose weight (for his own health!), but I just can’t be mad at him…I always feel like he is fighting for us and doing his absolute best. He is a workhorse and I love him!

    This is just too good a team to be going home tonight, so I feel positive vibes that AJ will pitch well enough for us to win and our bats will come alive. I am even sensing it might possibly be a big win….I don’t care what kind of ‘W’ it is…just get us back to NYC! Who is the Game 5 starter….Nova?

  17. Melissa says:

    Yes, it was me who said CC had put on weight.I have knee problems and know your knees feel every ounce of weight. CC has his two-boxes-of-cap’n-crunch-at-snack-time belly back, though I’m thinking maybe he’s eating three boxes.

  18. Jane Heller says:

    Yes, pile on, Ruth! I agree about the ump, of course. I saw his “strike zone” and on twitter last night there were many who were watching the game on MLB’s Gameday, which has an entirely different little box for balls and strikes than TBS has, and from that vantage point a lot of CC’s balls were, indeed, strikes. But as he was the first to say, “That game was on me.” He just didn’t look like the dominating CC we know and love. (Nobody’s mad at him.) I hope your positive vibes reach the Yankees and that they act on them. Yes, Nova would be the Game 5 starter.

    I don’t know what he’s eating, Melissa, but apparently the Yankees want him to stop it. If he opts out of his contract, as expected, and the Yankees pay him even more money, as expected, they’re going to want him in tip top shape and rightly so. As you point out, it’s harder to carry that extra weight on the knees and legs, and he’s not getting any younger.

  19. Sean K says:

    It comes down to Tex and A-Rod. Right now they’ve combined to go 1-for-21 in the series. That MUST change today or Detroit will advance.

    I think they’re both due for a breakout game at the plate. But I thought that before yesterday’s game too…

    Well I will be watching on TV. I might have the mute button on and be listening to the radio commentary though! When you don’t like the TV announcers and the game is on both TV and radio you can do that, a trick my dad taught me many years ago.

  20. Ruth says:

    Another thought: I wonder how difficult it is for our big hitters to change their approach (or it’s even necessary) when you’re in a ‘Pitcher’s Ballpark?’ I’m just scared that our team relies too much on the long ball, and it seems very difficult to hit anything out of Comerica. (Although Delmon Young did it pretty easily). If A-Rod, Tex and Grandy are swinging for the fences, they’re going to come up short. We need lots of line drive hits….probably a lot harder than we think. I HATE THIS STRESS! (But grateful that a baseball game tops my list of worries….at least the worries I’m willing to acknowledge..LOL!)

  21. Jane Heller says:

    I stopped doing the muting of the TV to listen to John/Suzyn a while ago, Sean. The delay between audio and video became too distracting for me, as much as I’d prefer our own broadcasters.

    True about Comerica, Ruth, but our guys know how to hit gappers and there’s plenty of “gap” in that outfield. They just have to DO it.

  22. Ruth says:

    Here I am again….no need to respond, Jane, if I’m driving you crazy. I, too, wished I had the option of switching announcers last night. Although I don’t dislike ‘other announcers’ as much as others seem to, last night they were driving me crazy repeatedly talking about CC’s ‘lack of control,’ when I thought he was right on, with the right Ump. Okay, maybe they were borderline balls/strikes, but I don’t think he had a lack of control. I do like John Smoltz…he seemed to anticipate every play and pitch…like the Delmon Young home run. It annoys me that he knows that Young is a first strike hitter, but Soriano was not careful…perhaps HE had lack of control. But the trio of Anderson/Smoltz/Darling just doesn’t work for me…no chemistry. Okay…I’ll try to shut up now…I think I’m just nervous and distracted, thinking about tonight….how LAME is that?? Although I’m probably not alone in this group….which definitely makes me feel a lot less like a freak. :)))

  23. Jane Heller says:

    You’re not a freak! LOL. You have plenty of nervous company here.

  24. Sean K says:

    Okay, almost game time. Everyone strap on your seat belts and prepare for the ride! Bring plenty of alcoholic beverages… either drink them to celebrate the win or to console yourself after the loss.

    Everyone think happy thoughts… we’ll know in a few hours.