Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Triple the pleasure, triple the fun

[I will do a separate post detailing the umpiring or lack thereof in the morning. For the moment, let the Yankees' win in spite of the umpires speak for itself.]

For mere humans, starting a Major League baseball game on three days' rest is asking for disaster.

For one Carsten Charles Sabathia, starting on three days' rest is just another way to earn his paycheck.

We, lesser men and women, can only marvel as Sabathia is pictured in the dugout, yawning during the Yankees' at-bats.

This, of course, would be the best spot to mention how Scott Kazmir took forever between pitches, never looked quite comfortable and flirted with disaster the entire night. We'll get to the Yankee offense in a moment.

For now, Sabathia.

The Yankees' ace--and if he has not yet earned that moniker, he never will--was so good that he was still throwing mid nineties when his pitch count was roughly equal to that.

Sabathia was so good that his line is deceptive. He struck out five, but this has more to do with the fact that Sabathia was consistently getting outs early in the count--he walked just two through eight innings.

The last time the Yankees asked a starter to go on three days' rest in the postseason was Chien Ming Wang in 2007 and it didn't work out so well--the Yankees were eliminated that game.

That, in my mind, is all you need to know. In 2007, pre-foot-that-led-to-shoulder injury, Wang was a very good pitcher.

Sabathia, however, is an ace.

Aces do heroic things.

In the grand scheme of things, pitching a baseball game is hardly worthy of comment, but for us Yankee fans, tonight was heroism. Pure and simple.

Of course, if one starts talking heroes, one will have to bring Alex Rodriguez into the discussion.

Rodriguez hasn't just shattered the notion of postseason demons; he's gone way past obliterating them into ridiculous, other-worldly, and now...well, profound.

Rodriguez keeps asserting that nothing profound has happened, and that he's just in a good place, but, really, what he's done this October is, itself, profound.

There's no other way to describe it than that. Profound.

If the ALCS was over today, and you had a vote for the MVP, do you give it to Sabathia or Rodriguez, who has not only exceeded this round, but is perhaps the reason the Yankees made it this far in the first place?

It's a tough call.

While you're busy oggling Sabathia's and Rodriguez's performances (and oggle you should), don't forget the production the Yankees received tonight from one Melky Cabrera.

Cabrera had two RBI early that put the Yankees up 3-0, and then two more late, after the game had reached the 'pouring-it-on' stage.

Many have remarked that the Yankees' bottom of the order is not producing, but Cabrera is batting .353 in the postseason.

If we expect an all star, Cabrera will disappoint, but if we expect a number nine hitter who stands a reasonable shot of getting on base as anyone, we ought to be well satisfied.

There are rumors that Cabrera repeated a certain phrase that he uttered after hitting for the cycle, but these are thus far unsubstantiated and I do not have DVR.

The Yankees now have a 3-1 series lead and will have their chance to close it out on Thursday. They needed to take at least one game in Anaheim and they've done that; now they're out for Angel blood.