Two more close and exciting games to add to our little collection of 2009 playoff games went down last night. Let's look at the three folks who best (or worst) contributed to the outcomes of the games.
- Phil Cuzzi, Umpires: Because Joe Nathan and the Twins fans have someone to blame for their abject failure to score runs. The Twins got on base twice as much as the Yankees did; in fact, the Yankees pitchers put 21 Twins on base via hit, walk, or hit batsman. You'd think the Twins would be able to plate more than just three of 'em, but alas, when a team's number two hitter plays like number two, it throws quite the monkey wrench into the situation. Orlando Cabrera went 0-for-5 and stranded five runners, two of 'em in scoring position late in the game. Delmon Young also went oh-fer and stranded five runners. And oh yeah, in that fateful inning when Cuzzi made a HORRENDOUSLY WRONG call on Joe Mauer's would-be double, the Twins wasted a keen bases-loaded, nobody-out situation.
- Alex Rodriguez, Yankees: A-Rod led the day in WPA by swinging the game wildly in favor of the Yankees with his two-run tying tater tot in the ninth. Fella also added a run-scoring single in the sixth to tie up the game after the Twins drew first blood in the top half of the inning. I still don't think there any such thing as "clutch" as a measurable stat. To say that such-and-such is more clutch than so-and-so is merely observational bias and not truly reflective on the talents of poor Mr. So-and-So. But damn, A-Rod has been clutch in two straight playoff games. It needs to be noted.
- Jered Weaver, Angels: How is it that the mighty Red Sox have been held to but one run in two games out in Anaheim? No disrespect to John Lackey and Jered Weaver or the Angels defensive unit, but this is a Boston team that finished 3rd in scoring in all the land. Weaver, like Lackey the night before, pitched into the eighth inning and held the Sox at check. Just two hits, two walks, seven strikeouts and one measly run. The only Sock to produce, Jacoby Ellsbury and his two hits and run scored, still struck out twice in the game. With a batting average of .131 (8-for-61) so far in this series, our next "Most Important People" may well be Sunday's starter Scott Kazmir.
Who did I miss?