Sunday, October 7, 2007
Is That a Rocket in Your Pocket?
Well, I guess now we know Phil Hughes can handle playoff pressure. That was an extremely impressive outing from the rookie under those circumstances -- 2 hits, 4 strike outs, no walks in 3.2 innings. Meanwhile, someone reminded the Yankees that the guy standing on the mound in the Indians hat was Jake Westbrook, and they finally managed to string some hits together, highlighted by Johnny Damon's three-run homer, and a Robinson Cano single that, thanks to a Trot Nixon error, became a three-run hit (Trot Nixon giveth, and Trot Nixon taketh away).
Chip Caray: "And what was the point I made earlier, the metaphor of the shaken soda bottle, with the Yankees?"
In the seventh inning Joba Chamberlain set out to prove that the hype is real, as long as you leave entymology out of it. After Ronan Tynan finished singing the slowest version of "God Bless America" I've ever heard in my life, though, Chamberlain went back out for the 8th and struggled, allowing a run and getting his pitch count up to 38 before it was over.
And so, for the "What Will We Be Second-Guessing Joe Torre About Tomorrow?" segment of our program, I can't say I really understand the thinking behind leaving Chamberlain in for two innings with a five-run lead -- not that I blame Torre for not trusting the rest of the bullpen, but now Chamberlain's questionable for tomorrow, and who knows if there'll be a four- or five-run lead to work with then? If the Yankee bullpen blows a lead in Game 4, you will be hearing a lot more about this.
However, they had to get to Game 4 for that to become an issue, and give Torre credit for some good moves tonight: he didn't wait too long to yank Clemens; he made the right but risky call in going to Hughes. And I like that he's starting "the Wanger" tomorrow, too.
Speaking of which: like Paul O'Neill, who was talking to Michael Kay on YES, I still can't believe the Indians are really going to start Paul Byrd tomorrow, instead of Sabathia on three days' rest. This is all part of an elaborate fake-out, right? Unless there are health concerns with Sabathia that I'm not aware of, which is possible, I don't get this at all. And Sabathia would have set up Fausto Carmona, who totally dominated the Yanks on Friday, for a possible Game 5 on normal rest -- wouldn't that be ideal?
Who knows, though: maybe Paul Byrd pitches the game of his life and there is no Game 5... or maybe O'Neill is right, and Eric Wedge will change his mind after getting a good night's sleep.
Finally, after the game Johnny Damon said they were "playing for Joe". Hmmm. Is George Steinbrenner just a loudmouthed autocrat with lucky timing, or does he actually know what he's doing with these ultimatums? I don't really believe there's a connection, but if the Yankees make it out of this series alive, we'll certainly be hearing about The Boss's motivational tactics throughout the ALCS.