Posted By Jeff Fletcher on October 23, 2009 1:33 pm
Woke up in LA this morning and flew home. I was reminded again why LAX is the worst airport in America. Worst that I’ve been in anyway. The security line stretched about 100 yards out the door onto the sidewalk, although it moved relatively quickly. The good news is I was home in time to have lunch with my wife, who then left town to go away for the weekend with her college friends. It stinks that we will hardly see each other during my little break from the playoffs, but it’s good for her to have a break from being a single parent for much of the month.
So I’ll be kicking back with the kids this weekend. I’m sure we’ll watch a lot of TV and eat a lot of junk food and make a big mess of the house. Might go find some nice big pumpkins, too.
Otherwise, I’ll just be watching the Angels and Yankees on Saturday (and Sunday?) to see where I’m going for the World Series. I’ll be leaving Monday morning if it’s New York, either Monday night or Tuesday morning if it’s Anaheim.
By the way, here’s my story from Game 5. I sort of blew it with this story. The story itself is fine, but it would have been much more interesting to write about all of the intriguing managerial moves from the game, both good and bad. That’s what people are talking about. I felt obligated to write something about the fact that the Angels, you know, won the game, but I probably shouldn’t do that anymore. The best story is the best story. Period.
A quick rundown on my take on moves that were most in question:
- Scioscia pulls Lackey: Bad. At first I thought this was OK, but the more I think about it, the less I like it. Lackey is the ace. He had two outs and a four-run lead. Give him a chance to get out of the jam. He really hadn’t pitched badly.
- Girardi lets Burnett start the 7th: Good. It’s easy to second-guess this one because it didn’t work, but Burnett had just pitched five consecutive scoreless innings pretty easily. He was on a roll. Plus, the Angels had the bottom of the order due.
- Scioscia brings in Fuentes to start the 9th: Tough one. Jered Weaver had been dealing in the eighth, but the Yankees had a lefty, a switch-hitter who is better from the left side, a righty (ARod) and then a lefty. Fuentes, despite his mistake allowing the homer to ARod in Game 2, had pitched well in Game 3. I think you can make a case for sticking with Weaver or going with Fuentes, but I’d lean toward Fuentes, reluctantly.
- Scioscia walks A-Rod intentionally with the bases empty: Good. A-Rod is in scoring position when he steps in the box. Plus, he’d hit two homers in three at-bats against Brian Fuentes, including one that certainly was going to be weighing on Fuentes mind because it was in Game 2. You saw what happened when Jonathan Broxton confronted Matt Stairs a whole year after giving up a big homer. He ended up walking him anyway. If the options are to make a mistake to A-Rod that ends up on the scoreboard, or pitch around him and walk him anyway, just take Fuentes out of the equation by putting up four fingers. Besides, a lefty was on deck.
- Girardi pinch-runs for A-Rod: Bad. Girardi made a similar move in Game 3 when he lifted Johnny Damon to put Jerry Hairston Jr. in left, so he could have a better arm in the outfield. That’s not a huge difference, to be worth losing your DH, as Girardi did in Game 3. Same thing here. With two outs, the difference between ARod scoring and Guzman scoring is not that much, and the cost is that you lose ARod if the game goes extra innings. Plus, if you’re gonna run for A-Rod, you’d better try to steal second with Guzman. Girardi didn’t do that, because if the game ends with a guy getting caught stealing, you really look like a dope.
By the way, there were also two horrible decisions that didn’t come from the managers. Phil Hughes should never have thrown a fastball to Vladimir Guerrero when he looked so bad on the breaking ball. Also, Angels third base coach Dino Ebel should have sent Reggie Willits on the fly ball to right in the eighth. The flyout was the second out, and Mariano Rivera was on the mound. I don’t care how shallow the fly was, the chances are better of scoring on that than of getting a hit against Rivera. Make ‘em throw you out.
As you can see, it was a great ballgame.