Burnett comes up big, Yanks force Game Five

Yanks pound Tigers, force Game Five
The Biggest Game of the Season

If you’re going to win a championship, you’re going to need to get unexpected contributions from unexpected players, and that’s exactly what the Yankees got on Tuesday night. Facing elimination, the Yankees played an almost flawless game to extend the ALDS to a winner take all Game Five.

Huge. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

I Believed In A.J.

Okay, no I didn’t, and I don’t think many of you did either. I don’t blame you, A.J. Burnett has been decidedly awful for two years now, and nothing about having him start a win or go home game sounds appetizing. But then … this. Five-plus innings, one run. That’s all the Tigers got off him. Best case scenario? Absolutely the best case scenario. Funny thing is, it started rather ominously.

I’m going to talk more about this in a bit, but Curtis Granderson saved Burnett’s bacon with a great catch in the very first inning. A.J. walked the bases loaded (one was intentional) and gave up a rocket, but his center fielder bailed him out with a great catch. Like I said, this had to be a total team effort. Bad A.J. was in the building, but the TBS cameras showed Burnett and Larry Rothschild chatting on their way to clubhouse after the inning. Whatever they talked about, it worked. A.J. came out throwing grenades in a perfect, ten-pitch second inning, then tacked on a scoreless third inning on 13 pitches.

Victor Martinez led off the fourth inning with a homer, then two batters later Jhonny Peralta doubled. The bullpen was working, just like it was in the first inning, but Burnett got former Yankee Wilson Betemit to swing over top of a curveball at his shoes for strike three to end the inning. A scoreless seven-pitch fifth inning followed, then A.J. came out for the sixth. He got two quick outs before Don Kelly singled, and that was the end of his night. We spent all day talking about the need for a quick hook, and Joe Girardi obliged. After 81 effective pitches, Burnett’s day was done.

Like it always seems to be, the key to the game was A.J.’s curve. Nineteen of the 30 curves he threw went for strikes, four for swing-and-misses. Thirteen of his 14 non-strikeout outs came on the ground, so he had some movement on his fastball and kept the ball down. You can’t say enough about the job Burnett did in this game, facing elimination. He proved basically everyone wrong, keeping a very good lineup in check for far longer than anyone expected. Give that man a round of applause.

Safe. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

The Cap’n Capitalizes

While everyone focuses on the futility of Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and Nick Swisher, Derek Jeter went a very quiet 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in his last four at-bats with men on base in the series, stranding a total of eleven ducks on the pond. With Jorge Posada on first (hit-by-pitch) and Russell Martin on second (single), Jeter came to the plate with one out in the third after one of the dumbest sacrifice bunt attempts I can remember. Brett Gardner couldn’t get the thing down, not that he should have tried to in the first place (playing for two runs with Burnett on the bump? nope), fell behind in the count, then made an out without even advancing the runners. That brought Jeter to the plate with a chance for redemption.

Rick Porcello was getting the high strike all game long, so I don’t know if it was a conscious decision to go upstairs with the sinker to Derek, but that’s where it went. The Cap’n drove the 1-0 offering basically over Austin Jackson’s head in center for a double, scoring both Jorge and Martin. Russ had to slide around the tag at the plate, showing off some of his sneaky good baserunning skills. The Yankees were up two-zip in the third, but I think we all knew that the score was going to change at some point, and by a whole lot. At +.179 WPA, Jeter’s double was the biggest play of the game.

MVP. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Everything Clicks (Part One)

The Yankees held that 2-0 lead until V-Mart’s solo shot in the fourth, but they responded a half-inning later. Martin led the inning off with a single, then Gardner went the other way for a single. Another stupid bunt attempt followed, except this time Jeter bunted it back to the pitcher who got the force at third. It was truly awful, I have no idea why this team plays for one or two runs with a pair of ~5.00 ERA guys on the mound. And you know Derek did that on his own, he does that all the frickin’ time.

Anyway, up come the super amazing Curtis Granderson, who we’re going to talk about in the next section. Porcello jumped ahead of him 0-2, but the former Tiger hooked one of those upstairs sinkers into the right field corner for a run scoring double. Robinson Cano was intentionally walked to loaded the bases, and all the Yankees needed from A-Rod was a fly ball. He gave them that fly ball, another 0-2 pitch, deep enough to center to score another run and increase the lead to 4-1. That was much more comfortable than 2-1, but the game was hardly over.

Un. Be. Lievable. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

Flyin’ Curtis

As I said a minute ago, Burnett does not last long enough to pitch as well as he did with some help from his defense. After loading the bases on those three walks in the first, Kelly smoked a fastball to dead center that appeared headed for some unoccupied piece of outfield. Granderson seemed to misread the ball hit right at him, first taking a step in before breaking back. Grandy ran for a few steps then lunged, snaring the line drive while in a full extension. He crashed to the ground with the ball in his glove, ending the threat and the inning. Remember how I said that 13 of the 14 non-strikeout outs Burnett record were on the ground? This was the one exception.

Five innings later, Granderson did it again. Burnett was out of the game at this point, having just given way to Rafael Soriano with a man on first and two outs in the sixth. Peralta, who doubled last time up, jumped all over a first pitch cutter and drove it out to left-center. It was ticketed for the gap and would have definitely scored Kelly from first with two outs, but Granderson was on his horse and ran the ball down. He dove, another full extension, and grabbed the ball about a foot off the ground. He seemed to knock the wind out of himself, but the catch was made and the inning was over. The combined WPA of the two catches is +.097 (.071 + .026), but they were far, far bigger in reality.

Everything Clicks (Part Two)

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

The score remained 4-1 into the eighth inning, when something weird happened. The 3-4-5 hitters started hitting. Crazy, I know. A-Rod opened the inning with a line drive single to second. Teixeira followed that up with a dinky little infield hit that hugged the third base line, but hey, I’m not complaining. Sometimes a little thing that like that can a guy going. Swisher loaded the bases with no outs on a ground ball single through the left side. Tex and Swish were taking their first right-handed at-bats of the series (off former Yankee Phil Coke), so perhaps that helped them out. Both guys are considerably better against lefty pitching.

Posada’s been the team’s most consistent hitter all postseason, but with the bases loaded and a lefty on the mound, Girardi went to the bench and called on Jesus Montero. Jim Leyland countered with the right-hander Al Alburquerque, but since Montero is the backup catcher, Eric Chavez did not replace him to get the platoon advantage. It didn’t matter though; Alburquerque balked in a run (Jesus works in mysterious ways) before Montero singled through the left side for another run. That made him the third youngest player in Yankees history to pick up a postseason hit, behind only a pair of guys named Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle. That’s pretty awesome.

Martin reloaded the bases with a walk, then Gardner singled in a run and loaded the bases yet again. Jeter and Granderson struck out, but Cano and A-Rod took care of business with a pair of run-scoring singles. It was Alex’s second hit of the inning, two more than he had the entire series up to that point. A 4-1 game was suddenly a 10-1 game, and pretty much all the pressure was gone. It was a comfortable lead, and we all (cautiously) starting making plans for Game Five on Thursday night.

I was smiling too after this one. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)


Big ups to the bullpen. Soriano recorded four outs on just nine pitches (one thanks to Granderson’s diving catch), Phil Hughes came in throwing darts in the eighth (very 2009-esque, no hyperbole), and Boone Logan wrapped things up by striking out the side in the ninth. Ten up, ten down, and six strikeouts. Great job by these three, especially Soriano, who didn’t have the safety net of a huge league.

A-Rod looked pretty good at the plate, and it wasn’t just the two late singles. He hit three moderate-to-deep fly balls in his first three trips to the plate, so his timing seems to be coming back a bit. Any positive signs, we have to take them. Everyone in the starting lineup had a hit except for Posada, who reached on the hit-by-pitch. A-Rod, Martin, and Gardner all had two hits, as did Montero off the bench. He’s just that damn good. Jeter, Cano, and Martin added walks. The entire team combined to go 6-for-14 with men in scoring position (.429), with most of the damage coming in that six-run eighth inning.

John Smoltz has been very anti-Yankees in this series, though I don’t know if it’s his Detroit roots or just some leftover bitterness from 1996 and 1999. Anyway, during that big eighth inning, he tried to play this game off as a “good loss” for the Tigers, because it allowed them to get ready and focus on Game Five. Yeah, it’s definitely a “good loss” when you put yourself on the brink of elimination. Give me a break.

Play-by-play guy Brian Anderson redeemed Smoltz a bit by talking about the Yankees’ catching depth during Montero’s first at-bat. He obviously mentioned Montero and Austin Romine, but he also dropped Gary Sanchez‘s name in there. That was pretty cool.

WPA Graph & Box Score

Those last two stress-free innings were big, my blood pressure needed that. MLB.com has the box score and video, FanGraphs some other neat stuff.

Up Next

Good pitching, good hitting, and good defense, so now the Yankees will play a Game Five. These two clubs have Wednesday off, then will regroup at Yankee Stadium on Thursday night for the right to play the Rangers in the ALDS. That game was supposed to start at 8:37pm ET, but apparently it’s been bumped up to regular old 8pm ET now that the other ALDS has been decided.

Yanks pound Tigers, force Game Five
The Biggest Game of the Season
  • swishers fauxhawk

    Big ups to AJ.

  • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

    That smile by Cano is priceless.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cecala Joseph Cecala

    Funniest part of the game was when Miggy asked A-Rod if he wants the ball back

    • Kibbitty

      I was literally rolling on the floor laughing.

    • first time lawng time

      Wait. What happened? I must have missed that.

      • Monteroisdinero

        After ARod’s first hit of the series he got to 1B and cabrera jokingly asked for the ball to give to ARod as if it was his first career hit.

        When Alex got his next hit he mocked and teased Cabrera about it.

        /last laugh

        • MannyGeee

          I know, that cracked me up. But I guess you have to have a tough skin when you make $27M as a Defensive 3rd Baseman (c)…

        • https://twitter.com/johnsc2000 JohnnyC

          As good as Cabrera is, he’d have to go some to equal ARod’s career…even at the same age. And I have a feeling the second half of his career will be a race between his diminishing stats and his growing girth.

  • Mike HC

    Great game to watch. Those Granderson plays in the outfield and the Martin slide at home really stuck out as some amazing plays.

    And the obvious, AJ’s great start and the hitters absolutely mashing towards the end. was fun to watch. Definitely needed a game like this.

  • I Collect Brett Gardner Cards

    there’s no way Smoltz called it a ‘good loss’.

    no way.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      You didn’t watch? I swear to Mo he did. No joke.

      • ItsATarp

        Lets hope for another good loss on Thursday so Detroit can start focusing on next season.

      • Pat D

        He was, what I call, passively rooting for both the Twins and the Rangers last year, so I’m not surprised it’s more of the same this year.

        One way or the other, we’re done with him after Thursday. Which means that hopefully we’ll get to have to listen to Tim McCarver again.

      • Jonathan

        He totally did. My take on the announcing is that Smoltz is obviously a much bigger name in the game of baseball than Darling and Anderson and he’s been EXTREMELY anti-Yankee all series and they seem to just be following his lead..like looking up to the cool kid.

        Anderson has been really uneven with his play by play calling and seems destitute, like Joe Buck, whenever anything goes well for the Yankees but creams his pants for any deep fly ball or called strike 3 or pretty much anything the Tigers do well. It’s become extremely enjoyable to hear him sound like his dog just died right after a huge hit or pitch or play by us. It could be worse though…we could have a booth of Chip Caray/Rick Sutcliffe/Joe Morgan/Buck/McCarver. I still can’t figure out how the biggest games of the year are always called by some of the worst announcers in the history of the game. Oh well….it’ll be even more satisfying when we win on Thursday.

        • Bryan

          Smoltz’s hatred of the Yankees stems from them ending his tenure with the Red Sox after his atrocious start against them.

          Aug 6 @ NYY L 13-6 3.1 9 8 8 2 4 3 4 11 92 22 9 L(2-5) – 8.33

          • Kevin

            I’d say it goes back to the two World Series (especially 96 where they were up 2-0) where the supposed team of the 90’s got taken out by the Yankee Dynasty.

      • Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat

        I’m glad there’s no Ernie Johnson, though best wishes go out to his son.

        Anderson is meh, he sounds bored except when the Tigers do something, and even with that said, he sounded pretty excited for Cano’s slam.

        Darling is OK, easily the most neutral of the 3.

        Smoltz is terrible and is obviously rooting for Detroit.

        • forensic

          Though Smoltz is terrible, he does have his moments. Called the at’em ball in the first settling AJ down, called the Betemit K later throwing the same pitch…

          Not exactly the most difficult predictions ever, but he did nail them.

          • fire levine

            So that’s what an atom ball is

            • MannyGeee

              John Jay’s hit was hardly an at’em ball, Granderson straight robbed him

              • forensic

                I assume you’re talking about Don Kelly, and it was much more of an at’em ball then it looked because Granderson took 2-3 steps in before going back like he should’ve.

          • MannyGeee

            if memroy serves correctly he did say ‘Watch that first pitch….’ right before Delmon Young tattoo’d Soriano’s offering on Monday Night…

            And he also said ‘Bet he see’s a 1st pitch curve…’ last night about Delmon right before AJ threw him one.

            Despite Smoltz’ NESN-caliber Anit-Yankkee bias, he kinda knows his shit.

        • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

          Anderson is a lot like other announcers where they announce like they’re part of the crowd. I’ve noticed that with some other announcers in the past, and when the home team does something exciting he raises his voice more when the home team does it.

          • Bill

            Yea he was pretty loud when Cano hit the grandslam in Game 1A. I still miss Michael Kay though.

      • Bean Tooth

        The thing is, no matter Darling has been so awful I haven’t minded Smoltz’s leanings. At least when he speaks he sounds sentient.

      • Josh S.

        I just don’t get why TBS has someone so clearly anti-yankees broadcasting yankee games. Smoltz is such a douchebag. Let him call a Red Sox or Braves game – oh wait they didn’t even make the playoffs. He must be bitter. And there is no such thing as a good loss in the playoffs.

        • goterpsgo

          Dear John Smoltz – suck it.

          And f*** Michigan State.

    • CBean

      He totally did.

      • Mickey Scheister

        Smoltz also was saying the pitch at the letters, that Porcello was getting all night, was “at the belt”. I call bullshit. If they’re gonna have the strike zone in the bottom right corner of the broadcast, at least acknowledge the ump was being generous to Porcello with those high strike calls.

  • Karl Krawfid


    look at that pic of the grandy man.


    • Jonathan

      You know in this day and age of the Top Ten and Sportscenter a lot of people dive for balls they really don’t need to….this one…i have no idea how he even got that far. He seemed to go go gadget his arms another foot or so. AMAZING. Maybe Granderson should start diving into first base instead of Gardner haha.

  • http://twitter.com/rebeccapbp Asha Greyjoy
    • pat

      Another question… is there a hi-res version of that? I need a new desktop background.

    • David N

      I know it’s weird with the angle and all, but I’m looking at that photo and thinking “no way he can get that ball”. Even though I know he did. What an amazing catch. You’re not going to see many better than that one.

      That photo should become the default response to anyone who questions Grandy’s defense again (at least range-wise – I know he doesn’t have an exceptional arm).

  • MattG

    Peralta, who doubled last time up, jumped all over a first pitch cutter and drove it out to left-center. It was ticketed for the gap and would have definitely scored Kelly from first with two outs

    Peralta, who doubled last time up, was out in front of a first pitch cutter and lofted it off the end of the bat towards left-center. It wouldn’t have gotten into the gap as Gardner was backing up, and probably wouldn’t have scored Kelly, but Granderson erased all doubt.

    • MattG

      Also, I didn’t really have a problem with Jeter’s bunt, as he has been strikeout prone, is always double-play prone, and Porcello has that big platoon split.

      One nitpick and one difference of opinion in an otherwise excellent write-up.

      • David N

        I didn’t have a problem with the bunt either. Considering the way the offense had been going at that point, I would feel a lot better about scoring both of them from 2nd and 3rd than from 1st and 2nd, especially with Grandy and Cano up. And Jeter normally is a pretty good bunter – he just didn’t get the job done then. Fortunately Grandy was there to bail him out.

        • dalelama

          One point about Jeter’s bunt no one has mentioned is that Comerica is a stadium that has a strip of dirt connecting home and the mound. Jeter’s bunt stayed on the dirt strip all the way back to the pitcher. It is my opinion Jeter’s bunt in most stadiums with grass would have gotten to the pitcher slower and the runner going to third gets there safely.

        • JT

          I agree. Jeter is an extremely smart baseball player and being in the game situation, I trust his judgement to lay down the bunt despite all of the sometimes unwarranted hatred it generates. Bunts serve their purpose, especially in playoff baseball where 1 or 2 more runs go a long way.

    • CUYanks

      If it goes off Granderson’s glove it likely does score Kelly.

  • Rey22

    Next photo: I believe in Nova.

  • Oscar Gamble’s Fro

    Is all forgiven for AJ’s 2011 regular season?

    • David N

      In my mind, yes. Not for his whole body of regular season suckage while with the Yanks, but certainly for this year. That’s dependent on what he does in the LCS if we get there, though – a stinker there would sour the taste somewhat. But even if that did happen, I’d hate to see him get booed after the effort he gave tonight. In a non-elimination game, I would have wanted Joe to let him try and get out of the 6th. And I bet he would have done it, too. There really aren’t words to describe it other than that he was awesome tonight, and it would be great if he could use this to turn the page and start kicking ass again next year (and for the rest of this year, if he gets an other opportunity).

      • dalelama

        No, thank God for Granderson.

    • PaulF

      Well AJ’s bad season didn’t hurt the team at all. They finished with the best record in the league. So I’d say yes.

      • Oscar Gamble’s Fro

        Completely agree.

    • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

      Although it’s difficult to forget the Burnett suckage in the regular season, I’d still have to say yes.

    • MannyGeee

      For real for real? NONE of his starts REALLY counted all season, and we did finish with 97 wins.

      But dude came to play last night. so yeah, We’re cool AJ…

  • Kevin D.

    I was confident in AJ right until the minute before game time. That is when panic set in. I am so happy for AJ that he was able to contribute in the way that he did. This team seems to be really pulling for each other and it seems like they have a ton of swag. Yes, swag is important. Lets hope for a game 5 win by the New York Yankees!

    • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

      Yup I was really psyched for him the way the team gathered on the mound when Joe G removed him from the game and gave him extremely emphatic pats, slaps, and atta boys. Good stuff.

  • Grit Storage

    It’s probably 96 & 99 why Smoltz isn’t Yankee fan, but he was also briefly a Red Sox in 2009. And the Yankees were the proximate cause of him getting DFA’d by the Red Sox midseason.

    Aug 6, 2009 Smoltz’s line against the Yankees: 3.1 IP, 8 ER on 9 hits, 4 BB, 3 SO, 2 HR (including one to Melky). Aug 7, Smoltz Designated for Assignment. Aug 17, Smoltz released.

  • forensic

    I was strongly confident in AJ for the last two days, and posted it numerous times. He already had two good starts against them this season and had good numbers against all of them individually. I really felt that if Girardi didn’t have too quick a hook (which he almost did twice), and if he broke off the rust in that first inning, he would certainly outpitch CC (at the point of his 5 IP, 2 R line) and Garcia.

    My question was if he would bring in Hughes to blow it up and if the offense would show up. Hughes actually looked like a real pitcher in his inning (though the big lead sure could’ve changed things) and it was certainly nice to see the offense show up after the somewhat concerning first couple of innings.

    • forensic

      I’ll stop patting myself on the back now before I break my arm though… :-)

    • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

      I remember also saying he’d have a representative start, but not like this.

  • BigDavey88

    A.J. Burnett: SECRET WEAPON.

    • BigDavey88

      Or he can be referred to as The Secret Weapon™ with his penchant to be terrible more often than not, but once in a while (preferably in odd numbered years and in big must-win games) he can throw a gem.

  • I Collect Brett Gardner Cards

    ok, speculation time.
    If the yanks make it to the ALCS, do you start AJ in game two over freddy? did he earn it?
    Obviously Nova gets game 3.

    • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

      Game 1: CC
      Game 2: Freddy
      Game 3: Nova
      Game 4: Burnett
      Game 5: CC
      Game 6: Freddy
      Game 7: Nova

      Of course this is all IF the Yankees make the ALCS. Can’t take anything for granted in the Postseason.

    • forensic

      Are you putting Nova in 3 for 7? He actually has the worst numbers against them of the three, though he’s certainly earned himself two starts. Though I never have much faith in his stuff, I would have to put Garcia 2 since he has better numbers against them than Burnett.

      • Chen Meng Wang

        Yes. Because He has to pitch on Thursday, if we win Friday’s an off day, CC is on regular rest on Saturday, Freddy is on extra rest on Sunday, Nova on regular rest in game 3 on Tuesday.

        • forensic

          Oh yeah, good point, I didn’t even get to the point of thinking about when they would line up after this series, just kind of assumed he was giving him 7 theoretically being the best of the three.

    • David N

      Tonight, I say yes. But I’m still giddy off of this one. Tomorrow I might have a different answer.

  • Jimmy McNulty

    Man of my word, AJ gets a pass next year from me.

  • Timmy Hands

    Excellent write-up. The reason I come here is because despite the pro-Yankee direction of the site, it is done with a love and appreciation for the game and its players.

    I figured that with AJ going in Game 4, Game 3 was the “real” elimination game. While it wasn’t nutty to think the Yanks couldn’t find a way to plate some runs against Porcello, the thought of AJ going in an elimination game in Detroit brought back shades of Jared Wright.

    It should be noted that Rothchild needs to be in AJ’s ear more often. When he has had these “corrections” made to his mechanics, they work. Maybe AJ gets frazzled and comes out of his mechanics when an inning appears to be going the other way and just needs to be reminded. Who knows? And even though he was bailed out on one of the most big-time defensive plays of the postseason, the guy pitched with guts and fire, even barking at Iosona after what I believe was the 4th inning. Good to see him into it, and not indifferent.

    Granderson’s night was one to remember. Postseasons, as Mike Axisa pointed out, take contributions from unexpected sources to achieve success. While Granderson is a star, he rose to the occasion and made two catches that will be remembered for a long time. That they came in an elimination game make them even more memorable.

    As for A-Rod, if he just hits a little bit, it makes Cano hitting 3rd even more of a conundrum for Tiger pitchers. You could see from the past game or two he was starting to see the ball a little bit.

  • forensic

    Sure was nice to see A-Rod finally get a hit in his last AB (twice) before heading back home in front of the idiots who only boo him.

  • DannyC

    A-rod is going to have a monster game 5 and hopefully rest of postseason if yanks win tomorrow night. Texiera makes me sick, I can’t take him anymore.

    • Brian S.

      I like how Teixeira’s hit was a little dribbler towards Wilson Betemit.

    • Riddering

      A-Rod is going to be amazing but Tex will continue to suck?

      Was that written in the stars a million miles away?

      • forensic

        It’s not like it that hard to support. A-Rod hit a solid SF, then a low liner dropping into center, then a ripped liner into left. Tex dinked a swinging bunt down the 3rd base line.

        Not exactly equivalent nights they’re coming off of, especially given that Game 5’s starter has a nice changeup (even though Tex has fine #’s against him in his career).

  • Kevin

    John Smoltz is still bitter about the fact both times the Braves came up against the Yanks in the World Series,they lost,thus ruining their team of the 90’s theme.
    Furthermore..we helped point out in 09 the fact he was no longer the Smoltz of the 90’s but a past his prime player who should have retired when his buddies Maddox and GLavine did.
    IMO, he is one of the worst out there.

    • forensic

      I liked when Darling took a not so subtle jab at Smoltz and his rotation-mates with the crack about taking their golf clubs to playoff series with them.

  • Tyler

    It’s funny listening to the conversation about the announcers because I live in the Milwaukee area (where Anderson does his regular season play by play) and I have absolutely hated listening to Brewer games…but I actually don’t think Anderson is that bad individually, it’s more Bill Schroeder (his partner) who is terrible. For me it’s actually been nice just listening to him as I think he’s actually a decent play by play guy getting the chance to hear him in the playoffs.

    • ArchStanton

      No Bob Uecker?

      • MannyGeee

        Bob Uecker is a god amongst men in the announcers booth. I think Anderson does the TV while Uecker is radio.

  • well you know

    Yanks have never lost a Game 5 decider at the Stadium. There have been three:

    The Chambliss game-winner against the Royals in the ’76 ALCS.

    The wrap up to the comeback from 0-2 against the A’s in “the flip” ALDS in ’01.

    And, in between, and less famously, a 7-3 G5 win over the Brewers in ’81. That was the first ALDS, a feature of the makeshift playoff format that year because of a strike.

    One note about that ’81 game: the Yankees’ innings were covered by three guys named Guidry, Righetti and Gossage.

    Here’s to Nova to Robertson to Rivera for Thursday.

    • BigBlueAL

      I believe Reggie Jackson hit an absolute bomb that game too.

      • Jimmy

        Reggie went 3 for 4 that game. If I remember right, Oscar Gamble had a big game as well.

    • forensic

      With them having gotten a total of 4 of the 108 outs in the 4 games so far, I think it’s safe to expect 3 innings from the two of them, and depending on how it’s going, maybe even 4.

  • Bavarian Yankee

    wow, look who gets the job done. That AJ Burnett is one crazy dude. He started a bit shaky in the 1st but then he showed that he is still a good pitcher if he gets everything together.

    I thought Granderson’s catch in the 1st was nothing special. He just didn’t read the ball well. It was an easy out imo but he made it tough himself. The catch in the 6th was as good as a catch can get, no doubt about that. I never thought Grandy or Gardner had a chance to catch that one.

    Montero was also a surprise. He just keeps on hitting like it’s no big deal.

    Now lets fist Fister again and win the series.

  • Mike

    good job AJ !

  • nycsportzfan

    Shout out to Russ martin! He had a complete game A awesome slide that scored us a big run and he collects a couple hits and calls a great game to boot Stupdendous production from Russ last night! He really stuck out to me!

  • Monteroisdinero

    Lots of encouraging things for me and I did predict a CC loss and an AJ win.

    AJ had the right umpire: far more generous strike zone last night than Monday.

    If AJ can throw his curve for strikes in hitter’s counts he will dominate. If he can throw it for strikes at all, he will keep us in any game.

    Martin had a great game stopping lots of pitches that Posada would never have last year.

    Montero with a single to left off an inside 3-2 fb as a pinch hitter and another to left off a curve. Put that man in with DiMaggio and Mantle where he belongs! He can hit righties-after not playing for a week!

    Hughes looked great-very encouraging.

    Swish and Tex are terrible at the plate but at least Tex is awesome on D and we need that just about every game as evidenced by Jeter’s poor throw on the double play grounder.

  • LarryM.,Fl.

    I won’t get into the announcers because I put the volume on low and enjoy the game with minimal absorbing of verbal content. Its my defense mechanism for anti Yankee announcers.

    I was hoping for good AJ to make it to the mound which I was surprised did even with the wild first inning. We all know about his talent but between the ears must be a real challenge for Girardi and staff to control. But last nignt AJ stayed focused no matter the circumstances in the game. I for one was waiting for the walls to crumble. It did not occur. AJ threw pitches and got some outs. He looked in control which appeared wierd to me but hey I’ll take it.

    The team as a whole played well. The guy that impresses me the most is Martin. He makes great athletic plays on practically every pitch. His confidence, some call it attitude is beautiful to watch as a Yankee fan. He’s been making solid contact which some of those drives to RF might have been out in Yankee stadium. I’m sure the Yankees pick up his option provide more rest for him with Montero available. This will accomplish two things Martin a more productive, rested player and Montero’s development behind the plate.

    Thursday is another day and Girardi has a great bullpen to support Nova except some guy named Ayala who needs to stay home. If the bats show up we should be good to go. How about Teix. with a bomb into the Yankee bullpen to ice it for us. It sounds good to me.

    • http://twitter.com/JimIsBored JimIsBored (Jim S)

      “I put the volume on low and enjoy the game with minimal absorbing of verbal content”

      I wish I would do that more often, I enjoy the atmosphere of the game too much though, so I have to tolerate the announcers.

      • LarryM.,Fl.

        Its not so low that I don’t hear the crowd noise which is exciting. I find most announcers anti Yankee and annoying but heck its better than our team not being in the playoffs.

      • bennyprofane

        That’s actually a great thing about thev mlb.tv package. If you select the home audio feed from the menu options, you can choose “NAT SOUND” which is just the ambient noise of the crowd and the game from the stadium mics. The atmosphere of the game without the incessant chatter of the announcers. I have watched the games that way more often than not this year.

        Of course that’s not available for the playoffs. Still an awesome option during the regular season.

  • http://Christophermchale.com chris mchale

    The mention of the weird balk followed by (Jesus works in mysterious ways) cracked me up for five minutes!

  • MannyGeee

    my favorite part of the AJ start was wehen Girardi came to get him and took the ball, the infield all came in and gave him an exagertated atta boy. Almost ‘too’ congratulatory…. it literally reminded me of a little leaguer getting his first start.

    He was a hair tussle and a weggie away from starting for the middle school team…

    • Erica

      I completely teared up when I saw that. SO MANY EMOTIONS.

      • CBean

        did you see the hug that AJ gave Grandy after his second awesome catch? So freakin adorable.

        • Erica


          I hope AJ also thanked Grandy with a nice ol’ steak dinner.

  • matthaggs

    Random – Brandon Inge is lousy but he is a million times less lousy than Betemit, especially with the glove, and against all odds Inge has hurt the Yanks this series with his bat. Every time the Tigers had some guys on I was trying to figure out when Wilson was due up.

    Most third basemen turn Montero’s first “hit” into at least one out, maybe even two.

    • https://twitter.com/johnsc2000 JohnnyC

      You underestimate how hard Montero hit that. There was serious over-spin on that ball.

  • I Collect Brett Gardner Cards

    quote from Russell Martin about his rocky first inning.

    “That’s A.J.,” Russell Martin said. “He wasn’t that erratic. That’s just how A.J. is, really. I didn’t have to say anything to him. I gave him a little neck message, and he went back to work … Gave him a little rubdown, sort of like a boxer in his corner”.

    well Martin is quickly becoming a quotable NYY, and one of my favorites.

    1] the ‘ I hate Boston’ quote.

    2] the ‘did you stretch today’? umpire incident.

    3] and this one.

    yeah, i dig Russ.

    • Erica

      You have an amazing username.

      And yeah, Russ is awesome. In terms of quotes, he’s reached True Yankee status.

  • JohnC

    Told you guys AJ would deliver. He definitely had something to prove. As for the announcers, I did not sense any bias one way or the other from any of them. I think they have been pretty good in this series. Some of you think every announcer or commentator is against the yanks. There is no satisfying some of you, Ridiculous!

    • I Collect Brett Gardner Cards

      i do believe that people hear what they want to hear, yes.
      but Smoltz is a tool.

    • Supernova

      Smoltz was on Detroit before the game even started. He’s said some decent things. Ron Darling is much better than Smoltz and better than most color analysts. Booth would be better if they could get someone like Leiter and pair him with Darling.

      • I Collect Brett Gardner Cards

        I like Darling. Even more so after i read his book.
        FOr me anyway,, it’d be awesome to hear Singleton do a national Yankee game.

  • TLVP

    Is AJ now gritty?

    If the Yankees win the WS this year and AJ starts a game that the Yankees win (so not necessarily a win for AJ), will he then be a True Yankee For Life?

    • forensic

      He’d only be gritty if he figured out a way to hop before throwing each pitch…

      • YanksFanInSawxLand

        I spit out my coffee on this one…any dig on gritty smurf is +1

    • Supernova

      Yes, he would be a true Yankee for life because he would have saved two seasons. All that matters to Yankee fans is championships so if AJ has another big game in a WS like he did two years ago, all will be forgiven by the fans.

  • Supernova

    AJ Burnett was phenomenal. He was a legitimate MLB starting pitcher last night and gave us a great chance to win. Now it’s all up to Nova. I don’t want to get overly confident as Tiger fans probably did before Game 4. Anything can happen in 1 game but I feel good with Nova on the bump and this offense in Yankee Stadium. Fister wilted in Game 1 and he’ll wilt again under the bright lights of NY.

  • Batman

    If we do win game 5 is there any chance CC can pitch games 1 4 and 7?

    • Supernova

      That’s what I would go with. We won’t have our ideal 7 game rotation as Nova will not be able to start Game 2. Ideally we’d like CC to start 3 times and Nova 2 times limiting AJ and Freddy to one start each. But if we are fortunate enough to win game 5 then either Freddy or AJ would need to start game 2 and probably game 6 as well. Nova starts game 3.

    • forensic

      Theoretically he could do them on 3 days rest, but I can’t imagine them having Garcia and Nova also on 3 days, so you’ll still need a 4th starter.

      What’s better? 2 for Sabathia, Garcia, and Nova, plus one for Burnett, on regular or extra rest or 3 for Sabathia on short rest, plus 2 for Garcia and one for Nova and Burnett on regular or extra rest? I might just lean towards him having regular rest, possibly depending on what happens in the first couple games.

      But, they still need to win one more, without using him out of the bullpen, for any of it to matter.

  • David, Jr.

    Don’t bet against Detroit collapsing completely in New York. They do not look like a team that belongs on the big stage.

    Delmon Young, for example, hits third for Detroit. I have a good Minnesota source that told me that he was such a fat, dumb, lazy, pathetic pile that the mighty Minnesota Twins would have done anything to get rid of him up to paying another team.

    • LarryM.,Fl.

      David, I won’t call it collapsing but just the way it should be, a Yankee win. I’m not one to predict a win especially in a final game to determine the winner of a series. I look at the full body of work. Detroit has played in the AL Central. They were the only club to play above .500 baseball. Yes, they had 20-6 record which is fabulous in any league. The Yankees, AL East Champions, should be built over the long haul to beat the Tigers based on their body of work against a division that produced 4 teams.500 or better. You would think but their all big league players who individually match the standard of a big league player to varying degrees. It just what degree will show up on Thursday for both sides. The playoffs make heroes of certain players who you would never suspect.

      • David, Jr.

        All good points, Larry. In a fifth game on a big national stage in Yankee Stadium, Detroit is going to need players that are going to step up and do it. I doubt that they can, and therefore I am very confident. We have a much better team, plus the toughness that can only come from this type of experience. Our players have been in these situations many times. Players like Jackson, Santiago, Kelly, Avila, etal. are going to be lucky if they don’t need new underwear.

  • Vermontyankee

    I didn’t notice Smoltz’s anti-Yankeeness, but I did notce that at times he seems to have ESP. “Don’t throw Young a first pitch fastball.” First pitch fastball, HR. “He’s going to bounce one and Bettamit will swing over it”. Yep. You can see why he was so good on the mound.

  • Mickey Scheister

    If anyone wants to know where AJ got his cool stainless steel necklace, the same one he donned in the 2009 playoffs, it’s part of the Russell Simmions collection, you can find them at Kay Jewelers. Just an FYI. I bought one after the 2009 WS win.

  • Ryan G

    @Mike Axisa,

    How could 13 of 14 Burnett’s non-strikout outs be on the ground when Curtis made two fly-ball outs himself? 12 of 14? 13 of 15?

    • finstor

      Granderson’s second catch was with Soriano pitching.

    • EB

      The second Grandy catch was for Soriano’s first out!

    • Timmy Hands

      Soriano threw the cutter that Peralhta lined to the gap, not AJ.

  • aluis

    Did anyone’s heart stop after Granderson’s second catch and he was wincing in pain for a few seconds? I know mine did.

    Also, for all the credit that K-long gets, what about Rothschild? I really liked he approach he used with AJ in the bottom of the first. He seemed to be saying a whole lot and it didn’t seem like he was coddling AJ either. Rothschild also followed him into the dugout after that and after that his pitches seemed to be much more effortless. I did be real interested in knowing exactly what was the adjustment (Axisa you hearing me?)