1. The Yankees are still in command of the ALCS. They give the ball on Tuesday night to a red-hot
Girardi seemed manic in the way he ran that game, not just in his quizzical pitching changes, but in his many sprints to the mound to confer with his pitchers. Girardi spent more time on the mound in ALCS Game 3 than Dodgers starting pitcher
Girardi replaced a left-hander with a left-hander to face a left-hander,
Of course, the decision to pull right-hander
We can only assume that Girardi wanted Aceves because Kendrick is a great fastball hitter and Robertson throws far more fastballs than does Aceves, who likes to mix in cutters. But the image that remains, caught by the Fox cameras, is of Girardi, with his back to the field, consulting a binder full of statistics and scouting reports, then running to the mound to get Aceves into the game. This time the binder didn't have the right answer. Kendrick singled, then came running home with the winning run on a ringing double by
2. Less obvious, but curious nonetheless, was the decision by Girardi to sprint to the mound in the middle of a key
"We just told him how we wanted to attack Vlad in that situation, and what we wanted to do," Girardi said. "And Andy missed his spot, and ended up being a two-run homer."
After the visit from Girardi, Pettitte made yet another pickoff attempt at first base, his 17th of the game. His next pitch was smacked over the left-field wall by Guerrero for a tie game.
If nothing else, the timing of the visit appeared odd. Here was Pettitte, making the 37th postseason start of his career (more than anyone in history), working with catcher
3. That was fascinating dugout baseball in ALCS Game 3. I was particularly taken with the Angels' turn at bat in the 10th inning, when I thought manager
With no outs against Rivera, the Angels had Jeff Mathis on third and
I would have sent Aybar on the first pitch to Figgins. Why? With runners at second and third, you can put the "contact" play on for Mathis at third base. Mathis takes off running on any grounder instead of waiting to see if it passes through the infield. Even if Mathis gets thrown out at the plate, you still have the same situation in hand: the winning run, in this case Aybar, at third base with fewer than two outs.
By keeping Aybar at first, Scioscia could not run the contact play, because if Mathis gets thrown out, the lead runner is only at second base, not third. Sure enough, Figgins hits a grounder that first baseman
So why didn't Scioscia let Aybar take second? Rivera.
"He jams so many guys and gets those weak little pop-ups, I can't risk what I have," Scioscia said. He meant he could not risk a double play, which would take away the advantage of a runner at third and fewer than two outs.
"But why not just let Figgins take the first pitch and let Aybar take second?" I asked.
The answer again was the same: Rivera.
Rivera is so good, Scioscia said, that he couldn't afford to tell Figgins to take one pitch. It might be the only decent pitch Figgins got to hit in the at-bat.
Wow. Now that's respect. Scioscia wasn't willing to trade one pitch from Rivera for a more advantageous base-running scenario.
Rivera, of course, continued to show why he gets so much respect. After an intentional walk to
4. And then there were two.
For closers, the postseason is a version of
Of the eight closers who began this postseason, six have blown saves with their team three outs or fewer from a win -- with each of those blown saves leading to a loss.
Broxton blew the save on Monday night by failing to come close to throwing a strike to
5. It may be a brutal postseason for closers, but it's a boon for fans. Of the 20 postseason games so far, 10 have been decided by one run -- nine in the last at-bat, including five by walk-offs.