Sorry, Scott Kazmir, but your ineffectiveness and lack of control just weren't enough to put you on the list with these three chaps:
- CC Sabathia: Check your box score, and it says that Sabathia dominated the Angels last night with eight innings pitched, five hits, two walks, and just one run allowed. But watch a replay of each of the Angels at-bats early in the game and you'll see a bevy of hard-hit balls, including several line drives that just happened to find their way into the Yankees' gloves. It's a testament to the proper placement of infielders and outfielders alike, and a big fat testament to luck. Still, Sabathia became more dominant as the game went on, recording three of his five K's in his last two innings pitched. Three days rest? Hell, CC eats three days rest for breakfast.
- Alex Rodriguez: What kind of world are we living in where Alex Rodriguez is performing so darn well that it's not even funny to make clutch jokes about the dude anymore? Just let me sneer in derision for one game, man. A-Rod clubbed his fifth homer of the postseason last night, his third straight game with a dong, and added a single and double to complete the lazy man's cycle. Add in his eighth straight game with an RBI (which ties not only Ryan Howard's active streak but also Lou Gehrig) and you've got the offensive team leader.
- The Umpiring Crew: Sheesh, where to begin? Was it home plate ump Jerry Layne who, after a bit of prodding from Mike Scioscia's face, decided to finally start calling low strikes for Scott Kazmir? Was it second base ump Dale Scott who missed the call on Kazmir's successful pickoff of Nick Swisher? Or was it crew chief Tim McClelland who had the single worst performance by an umpire in the history of playoff baseball without actually making any calls that affected the outcome of the game? On the play in question, Mike Napoli tagged both Jorge Posada and Robbie Cano as both were within five feet of third base but neither was on the bag, yet McClelland ruled Cano safe.
In the end, A-Rod, Sabathia, and Melky Cabrera's whopping four RBI made any umpiring snafus seem pointless, but let us not stumble over the fallacy of the predetermined outcome. We strive to have every umpiring call correct to remove any sense of impropriety. Otherwise, we'd end up looking as stupid as the NBA and we don't want that.