The New York Yankees are now one win away from their 40th trip to the World Series (26-13 overall). CC Sabathia, pitching on three days rest, silenced the Angels bats, allowing 5 hits and one run over 8 masterful innings. The most you have to know about Sabathia on this night is that he struck out Bobby Abreu with a 95 MPH fastball in the eighth inning. Sabathia, who carried a postseason 7.92 ERA into this year’s playoffs, is now 3-0 with a 1.19 ERA during this postseason.
“You know, we’ve still got a ways to go, but I’ve been feeling good,” Sabathia said. “I never had any doubt about me being able to perform on this stage and to pitch well late in October. But it seems like people did…Hopefully I can keep it going” There would seem to be little doubt that Sabathia has proven his critics wrong.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim must now face the daunting task of coming back from a 3-1, and they’ll start that trek against A.J. Burnett on Thursday. The Angels were once victimized by some shoddy umpire work, and this offseason could certainly a revitalization of the replay discussion during winter meetings. “I haven’t seen it as bad as it was tonight,” said Yankees Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson, now a senior adviser with the team. In his postgame interview, umpire Tim McLelland actually admitted his multiple screw-ups. The Yankees were actually victimized by bad calls as well, witness the non-pickoff of Nick Swisher at second base, where replay clearly showed that Angels SS Erick Aybar tagged him out. Later in that inning, Swisher was ruled out for leaving 3rd base early on a sacrifice fly, when replay once again clearly showed that not to be the case.
The umpiring situation is an argument for another day. This was undoubtedly Sabathia’s night. Keeping the Angels’ hitters off balance with an array of fastballs and change-ups, Sabathia showed why the Yankees spent 161 million to sign him. And can we now say that A-Rod is no longer Mr. Choke? Rodriguez drilled his 3rd homer in as many games, and now has 5 this postseason, good for 2nd best all time (tied with Reggie Jackson, 1977). Johnny Damon, who may be enjoying his last season with the Yankees, also drilled his 2nd homer of the ALCS.
Both teams will now enjoy an off day, as the Angels try to regroup and turn their World Series hopes around. Daunting task, considering they’ll have to face Burnett and Andy Pettitte back to back.
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