The wrong team ended up celebrating tonight.
It was the perfect game plan. Forcing the opposition into making errors. Strong situational hitting. Forcing the starting pitcher to run up a high pitch count. Taking advantage of every misstep by the other team. You really couldn't have drawn it up any better. Except for one little detail, that is. The plan was being executed by the wrong team- the damn Yankees.
Things got off to a bad start real fast for the Angels who were apparently so cold tonight that they just plain forgot how to field. First Juan Rivera air-mailed a throw in from the outfield to set-up a Yankee run and then Chone Figgins and Erick Aybar experienced simultaneous brain freeze on what should have been an inning-ending pop-up to allow that run to score.
Two errors later, the Angels found themselves on the wrong end of a 4-1 result. As fun as it might be to blame the cold for the Halo struggles, the fact of the matter is that they just didn't play well. Cold had nothing to do with Figgins and Aybar failing to call for that pop-up, cold had nothing to do with Torii Hunter letting a grounder by eat him up and cold certainly had nothing to do with Angel hitters being unable to solve CC Sabathia.
CC Sabathia was the reason the Angels couldn't hit CC Sabathia. Not only did Sabathia prove why he was the most dominant pitcher of the second, but he also but the fear of God into Angel fans that they might have to face him two more times this series (he also proved that vertical stripes are not always slimming, but that is neither here nor there).
But fret not Angel fans, it is just one game after all. Frankly, this wasn't even a game they were "supposed" to win since it was against the Yankee ace in Yankee Stadium. The Angels only really need to win one of these two games in New York this weekend and Saturday has always been the game they have been targeting. Now they know that they are going to have to ratchet up the intensity level to pull it off, because their effort tonight just isn't ever going to be good enough.
Don't yell at the umpire, Mike. It wasn't his fault the Angels couldn't hit.
- It should have been a homer if not for the strong wind, but Vladdy finally got himself an extra-base hit. There is hope for him yet.
- They couldn't take advantage tonight, but the Yankee Stadium crowd was definitely quieted down by the cold and the same conditions are expected tomorrow, making it even more of a must-win game.
- I almost forgot just how awful Joe Buck and Tim McCarver are, especially when it comes to being Yankee honks. It took just two pitches for them to start gushing about how amazing Sabathia was and Fox even unveiled their "isn't Derek Jeter great!" montage BEFORE he even stepped into the batter's box. This is going to be a long series.
- Chone Figgins is still 0-for-the playoffs. They aren't going to win a damn thing if their main catalyst doesn't start producing really soon.