It's a bird! It's a plane! No, its SUPER VLAD!!!!
They were down and out early, but the Angels rallied to finally defeat the New York Yankees and get themselves back into the American League Championship Series. All they needed was a little help from some unlikely heroes.
Things were looking bleak for the Halos as they headed into the bottom of the fifth inning, down by 3-0, their bats silent yet again. The Angels looked practically dead, but Howie Kendrick, the man who had been banished to the minor leagues for sucking so bad earlier in the season, grabbed the defibrillators and restored a pulse in the Angel season by way of a solo home run to get the Angels on the board and back within striking distance.
Of course that seemed but a minor annoyance to the Yankees who probably thought they were going to escape the very next inning unscathed when Vladimir Guerrero stepped to the plate with two outs and a runner on. In other words, it was the exact kind of situation that he had never come through in during previous post-seasons... until this year. Clearly New York forgot what Vlad did in Game 3 against Boston and weren't careful enough with the sleeping giant who awoke with a mighty two-run blast to tie the game. That homer had to be particularly sweet for Vlad who was lambasted for his failures the night before.
But with the game only tied, the Angels needed more heroics and got them by going back to the Howie Kendrick well as he laced a one out triple to put himself in position to score the go-ahead run on a Maicer Izturis sacrifice fly. The Angels had done it! The Yankees were slayed!
OK, maybe not. Once again, the Yankees did in the Angel bullpen with a timely solo home run to tie the game, this time it was Jorge Posada off of Kevin Jepsen. This could have been a devastating blow to their confidence, but the Angels were bloodied but unbowed for they knew they had the most unlikely hero left in their arsenal.
Extra innings rolled around and that is when the Angel unleashed their secret weapon: Jeff Mathis. Despite being arguably one of the worst hitters in the entire American League, Mathis nearly won the game after getting on board with a lead-off double in the tenth only to be stranded on third base thanks to the amazing efforts of Mariano Rivera. But Mathis wasn't just a one shot wonder. Thanks to Joe Girardi inexplicably pulling the very effective David Robertson for the very hittable Alfredo Aceves with two outs in the eleventh, the Angels kept their winning chances alive with a two-out single from Howie Kendrick (there he is again). The rest was just academic as Mathis did exactly what absolutely nobody expected him to do by roping another double into the gap to plate Mathis and win the game.
Howie Kendrick jumps for joy.
- There was actually one more unlikely hero in this game: Pat Sajak! I don't know how he got those tickets, but he was sitting right behind the plate the whole game. Forget the Rally Monkey, I want the Rally Sajak!
- After how on the ball Howie Kendrick and Jeff Mathis were in all of their at-bats tonight, I think Mike Scioscia almost has to just keep them both in the line-up until they cool down, no matter who it pitching for either team.
- I loved hearing Tim McCarver eat some crow after he took Mike Scioscia to task throughout the entire tenth inning for not pinch-running for Jeff Mathis and then having to watch Mathis win the game with his double the very next inning.
Halo Hero of the Game:
- Someone really needs to wake up Juan Rivera and Kendry Morales. The rest of the Angel bats seem to be slowly waking up but those two continue to do absolutely nothing and neither of them even looks close to breaking out. Having those two both ice cold and hitting fifth and sixth creates a big hole in the line-up that is really killing any offensive momentum they might build.
- After three games of listening to Joe Buck and Tim McCarver, I am actually starting to mix Rex and Phys. My favorite McCarver moment from the game was when he was talking about how Maicer Izturis failed to get a suicide squeeze bunt down in Game 4 of last year's ALDS. That, as we all know, was actually Erick Aybar. McCarver realized this (and by realized I mean a producer told him in his ear piece) a batter later, McCarver corrected himself by saying it wasn't Izturis who missed the bunt but actually Danny Aybar. Quickly realizing he had the wrong name, he corrected himself again and got Erick's name right but said that he was confused because his brother Danny played for the Tampa Bay Rays. Actually, his name is Willy, Mr. McCarver, but thanks for trying.
You want pie, New York Yankees? Jeff Mathis has your pie right here!