Being the new guy at Walkoff Walk is no fun, let me tell you. As part of my rookie hazing, Rob has already made me read aloud to him his selection of favorite WoW posts from the past year. If my voice doesn't have just the right inflection to suit his needs, he makes me start over from the beginning. This is a real bitch because he really likes all the interviews. Oh, and last night, I had to relieve Intern Darren for a few hours and guard the supply closet where they're holding Drew. I suppose the close confines have really gotten to our resident Canadian because he kept alternating between screaming the names of advanced baseball statistics and asking me if I could "spare him a scrap of Excel". I don't even want to know what comes next.
Anyway, enough about me, there was important playoff baseball on last night! In the earlier game, the apparently not so "road-ready" Phillies bullpen became the latest example of reliever ineffectiveness during Playoffs 2009 and handed the Dodgers a win to level the series 1-1. Shockingly enough, Brad Lidge was nowhere near the scene of the crime this time! In the nightcap, the Yankees sent their hefty ace to the mound on a freezing cold night in the Bronx and promptly took a 1-0 series lead from the Angels. So here are the three most important people from last night's games, as voted by me, your new weekend editor / hungover college student.
KnoblauchUtley: The bottom of the 8th was a half inning I'm sure the Phillies wish they could forget. There were many, many culprits in the implosion and I could just as easily have put newly-unsuitable LOOGY / object of Philadelphia scorn JA Happ in this spot. Happ was, after all, the guy who walked Andre Either with the bases loaded to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead that they would never relinquish. However, to sound totally like those horrendous Chase banking commercials (irony!), it was Utley's throw that nearly hit the fourth row in the stands that kept the Dodgers in the inning. Chutley's fielding gaffe, his second abysmal throwing error in as many nights nonetheless, gave the Dodgers the extra out they needed to eventually load the bases and set up Happ's moment in the KRILL spotlight.
- The Angels defense: Oof. It was a bad day to be a man of the leather last night. The Angels made three errors in their opener with the Yankees that were undoubtedly integral to the Pinstripes claiming victory. First there was a miscommunication over a routine infield popup in the first that allowed the Yankees to score their second run of the game. Then Juan Rivera made a throwing error for good measure. Starter John Lackey, not content to just watch the antics, decided to take part in the festivities himself and chucked a pickoff attempt that bounced off Kendry Morales' glove into foul territory allowing Melky Cabrera to move into scoring position. Jeter would drive Cabrera home on a ball that the normally suave Torii Hunter badly misplayed allowing Cabrera to score and Jeter to move to second. At that point the Yankees had their 4-1 lead that they would never return. Apparently the Yankees are great at making teams that are allegedly great at fundamentals look fundamentally bad.
- All the starters from last night: This is more indicative of my own indecisiveness than my inability to count to three. Plus, it allows me to hide my obvious rooting biases by spreading around the love a bit. CC Sabathia pitched like the ace the Yankees thought they were getting when they paid him 850 billion dollars (Note: I'll have to check this figure.) The fella went 8 innings, striking out seven and walking only 1,limiting an Angels lineup that has consistently tormented the Yankees to only 4 hits and 1 run on the evening. John Lackey was only partly to blame for his team's failure as described above as and he managed to keep the Yankees in the park the whole game. The real pitching performances came in the Senior Circuit game though. Pedro Martinez was nothing short of dominant against the potent Dodger lineup and economically worked through 7 innings of two-hit baseball, allowing zero runs and walking no one before getting a potentially early hook from manager Charlie Manuel. His counterpart Vincente Padilla was also pitching phenomenally and made only one bad pitch to Ryan Howard that ended up way in the seats to give the Phillies their only run. Party like it's the early 2000s!