How Curtis Granderson failed before he succeeded


There is a new postseason hero for the Yankees. Curtis Granderson‘s two-run triple might not have been Scotty Brosius or Tino Martinez big, but it was definitely Alex Rodriguez big. Bigger, maybe, since Granderson gave his team the lead. It capped a four-run sixth inning that would restore faith in the Yankees and ultimately drive a Game 1 win. But it didn’t come very easily.

Granderson actually had a chance to do some damage in the first inning. He came up in the exact same situation as he did in the sixth: men on first and second with two outs. Liriano must have had plenty of confidence when facing Granderson — he had allowed just four hits, including one home run, in the 25 times he faced him — because he opened with a fastball right down Broadway.

Granderson rightly took a hack, but just couldn’t get the fat part of the bat anywhere near the pitch.

It wasn’t poorly struck, but it did go right to Michael Cuddyer at first for an easy inning-ender.

Granderson’s second at-bat was a bit more interesting. This time it appeared as though Liriano had a plan. He started with a fastball away for ball one, but then came back with a slider that, according to the home plate ump, nicked the outside corner for strike one. He went back to the slider on the third pitch, putting it a bit lower than the last. Curtis held up. Again the slider came on pitch four, and again it was away. This gave Granderson a 3-1 advantage, but then Liriano came inside with a fastball. Granderson just managed to foul it away. On the 3-2 pitch Liriano again turned to the slider. It ended up right where the previous fastball did, and while it appeared as though it missed Mauer’s glove, it didn’t miss by much. Granderson had no chance.

When Granderson came to bat in the next inning the Yankees had just scored two runs. Given Liriano’s history against Granderson, Ron Gardenhire left him in rather than going to lefty reliever Jose Mijares. He started repeating his plan from the previous at-bat by working Granderson away. A slider nipped the outside corner for strike one, but then Liriano missed with two fastballs away. In the previous at-bat it wasn’t until the fifth pitch that Liriano came inside. I’m not sure if Granderson recognized that, but it did appear as thought he was ready to jump on that outside fastball. It didn’t hurt that Liriano missed his spot.

This time Granderson was able to center the ball on the barrel, and what resulted was a home run in 28, maybe 29 ballparks. Thankfully, the ball hung up long enough for even Jorge to make it around from first base. That gave the Yankees a lead not more than a few minute after the game seemed hopeless. Even though they gave one back the next inning, Granderson’s hit changed the tone of the game.

Fun fact: The last time Granderson hit a triple in the postseason came in 2006 in the ALDS…against the Yankees. That one also gave his team the lead. The Yanks and Tigers were tied at three heading into the seventh, but Mike Mussina allowed the go-ahead run on that Granderson triple. The man who scored the run: Marcus Thames.

Categories : Playoffs


  1. It’s kind of funny, the number of people that expected Granderson to be this year’s playoff hero. Good to see he’s off to such a great start.

  2. lardin says:

    Watching Curtis in the first series at Fenway, I knew he wouldn’t be afraid of the limelight. He did not have a great season, but he did have a few big hits here and there. Thats what made me optimistic. Some guys have a knack for getting the job done in a big spot.

    • steve (different one) says:

      actually he did have a great season, it just had a funny shape.

      he finished with a 109 OPS+ and played a plus CF. he was a 4 win player, same as A-Rod, and better than Teixeira.

      he just did it by sucking for 2 months and laying waste to the AL for 2 months instead of playing consistently for 4 months.

  3. Dream of Electric Sheep/ still haven't register /too lazy says:

    Da Grandyman has lightning fast wrist and easy power… Though, due to the terrible TBS angle and how high purportedly the ball went , I thought only in retrospect that either CF or RF (kubel?) has a chance to catch that ball.

    • Thomas says:

      I thought only in retrospect that either CF or RF (kubel?) has a chance to catch that ball.

      Yeah, my friend and I thought the same. It looked like a high warning track pop up.

  4. Sayid J. says:

    The man who scored the run: Marcus Thames.

    Small world, Stanley Milgram would be proud.

  5. CBean says:

    I kept yelling at Curtis that I voted for him in the RAB poll and to do me proud. He did. <3

  6. steve (different one) says:

    if i recall correctly, Thames was on base b/c Matsui pulled up on a very catchable ball in LF. ahh, Matsui in LF. good times.

  7. How Curtis Granderson failed before he succeeded
    By John Kerry

  8. B-Rando says:

    Great hit by a great player on and off the field.

  9. dan genovese says:

    nice to have pop with the number 8 guy.

  10. Guest says:

    Curtis Granderson is just one of those guys that it feels good to root for. Seems like such a class act and he is a ton of fun to watch.

    Actually, a lot of class acts on this Yankee squad.

    Hopefully, they will get 10 more wins and be the first team to repeat since…the Yankees.

    • chris c. says:

      You’re right about that! Especially now that Johnny “I’ll badmouth you after I leave town” Damon is gone.

    • pete says:

      other than damon’s defense, I didn’t have any problem with him while he was here

      • Guest says:

        Oh, I agree. I really liked Damon as a Yankee and still like him now. My praise of Grandy was by no means meant to be a diss of Damon.

        Both good guys. At this stage of their careers, Grandy is the better player, which is why I’m glad we have Grandy and no Johnny D.

        • chris c. says:

          Damon had a big mouth. He bashed Boston from the Yankee clubhouse, and bashed the Yankees from the Tiger clubhouse.
          He’s one of these guys who tells the people in the room what they want to hear, whatever makes him popular. And that, “I hope they take care of Jeter” comment was a slap in the face to Cashman, who offered him way more than he was worth before getting turned down.

          But aside from that, he was okay I guess. Not a bad guy, and well liked by his teammates. But he lacks a little class, and is a bit of a phony.

  11. Not bad for an 8th place hitter, huh? It’s almost like the Yankees can win if they don’t get amazing starting pitching.

  12. larryf says:

    Grandy shouldn’t bat eighth next year. I like him second after Gardy but probably not happening.

    /good problems to have

    • Him and Swish aren’t your typical #2 hitters, but they both do a pretty good job. Eighth for him is fine against a tough lefty.

      • Mister Delaware says:

        The problem is that typical #2 hitters (bunty/hit behind the runner/put the ball/make outs but atleast they’re not strikeouts guys) often shouldn’t be hitting #2. I love Swisher there, good OBP, few GBs. If Curtis could get back up around .360, I guess he’d be even better but we’re 2 years removed at this point.

  13. pat says:

    IMO the biggest pitch of the AB was the 1-1 slider he checked his swing on. Difference between 1-2 and 2-1 is extraordinary. As soon as I saw him lay off the pitch I knew he was gonna do something awesome.

  14. Jonah Falcon says:

    It doesn’t hurt that Ron Gardenhire pulled a Grady Little and left a clearly gassed Liriano in to face Grandrson – or that Liriano decided to challenge Granderson with four flat fastballs.

    • It was too early in the game to call it a Grady Little moment. Liriano has to get a guy he’s dominated in the past there. If Gardenhire had to burn Fuentes in that spot it just would have delayed the inevitable.

    • chris c. says:

      Oh, give me a break. You’ve been watching the Twins all year to know that was a bad move?

      The way Sabathia was pitching before being removed, we’re damn lucky all he gave up was that walk! And I’m not blaming Girardi for keeping him in that long.

      The point is, when you get to the playoffs, you ride your ace as long as you can!

  15. pete says:

    That gave the Yankees a lead not more than a few minute after the game seemed hopeless much less likely to end up in the yankees’ favor.


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