Was yesterday the single greatest day of postseason baseball in the last twenty years? I have no idea, my team lost and I pouted most of the night. But still, let's not ignore the fact that we had two close games, two walkoff doubles, and eight solid hours of all the Tim McCarver and Chip Caray one could handle. There were six lead changes and four ties spread across the twenty innings of fun, eight whopping tater tots, and one big fat blown save to end the night. All in all, if you were lucky enough to watch the entirety of the day on TV, I salute your commitment to televised baseball.
Onto the three big dudes and/or duds:
- Overmanagin' Joe Girardi: Call it first-year-postseason-manager jitters or call it mere overmanaging, but Girardi was on the receiving end of some of the most intense second guessing this side of the Rubicon. Still, when nearly every analyst, beat writer, and casual fan knew that when Girardi took out David Robertson and replaced him with Alfredo "Sauce" Aceves in the bottom of the 11th it was a mistake before Aceves even threw a pitch, it's not second guessing. It's just foresight. After all, young David Roberston only led the AL in most strikeouts per nine innings pitched. Aceves only led the league in enchiladas consumed during rain delays. With nobody on and two out, Aceves gave up a single and the game-winning double.
- Jeff Mathis: The reason I never bet on sports? Jeff Mathis (.288 OBP, .308 SLG) has three doubles in three extra-inning at-bats in the past two games. That's a 3.000 OPS, and the dude had the walkoff RBI hit in the eleventh off the aforementioned Aceves to pull the Angels back from the brink. Jeff Freakin' Mathis, who every so-called analyst in the baseballblogosphere ridiculed as a poor substitute for big-boppin' Mike Napoli, was the unlikeliest of heroes.
- Jimmy Rollins: For a leadoff hitter to perform as badly as Rollins did during the regular season and still keep his job throughout the postseason, it's quite a mitzvah when that dude ends up with the biggest hit of the night. Jonathan Broxton blew the save, Matt Stairs drew a tidy walk to start the rally, and Carlos Ruiz hustled his Octubre buns around the bases to score the winning run, but Rollins deserves the big prize for grabbing the bull by the horns and swinging him deep into the gap for a double.