Hey, I thought this thing was supposed to get Yankees out?
Hi, Tampa Bay? Yeah, this is Tony Reagins calling. Umm, this is kind of awkward but can we have Sean Rodriguez back? When we made this Scott Kazmir deal several weeks ago, we were told that he was supposed to be Red Sox and Yankee killer. That has not been the case, especially tonight. So we would like to return him because the Kazmir you sent us is defective.
The Angels had all kinds of problems tonight but the biggest one of them all was Kazmir's ineffectiveness. With CC Sabathia on his game from the very start of the game, the Halos needed Kazmir's absolute best but instead got a guy with a 58-foot slider and no fastball command. He battled hard the first three innings but the Yankee line-up is simply too good to be held down for long by a pitcher who clearly didn't have his best stuff. Almost from his first pitch of the game on he was struggling to find the zone or even establish a rhythm with his own catcher. No pitcher can win in that situation, especially not in the playoffs. The wheels finally came off for Kaz in the fourth inning and that was pretty much all they wrote for the Angels' hope of evening the series. Yankee killer my ass.
But Kazmir is not the only one to blame for the loss. The Angels got shut down by CC Sabathia in Game 1 and were supposed to have a new plan of attack for the Yankees' rotund ace. For some inexplicable reason trying to run the pitch count up on a fatass pitcher working on short rest wasn't part of that new plan. With the exception of one pitch to Kendry Morales, Sabathia dominated the Angels, not throwing his 100th pitch until two outs in the eighth inning. Then again maybe the Halos wouldn't have had to be so aggressive at the plate if Kazmir hadn't put them in such a deep hole in the game and now they are in a massive hole in the series.
Not exactly what you expected when you acquired Kazmir, eh, Sosh?
- Well, at least Kendry Morales looked better at the plate. He had a home run and generally hit the ball hard in his at-bats. It might end up being too little too late though.
- Juan Rivera has really had a great year, but Mickey Hatcher has to do something with him to get him to stop grounding into double plays. The Angels had an actual shot at getting back in the game in the sixth inning before he grounded into a double play. Counting the regular season (19 GIDPs) that is now 22 GIDPs for Rivera on the year. Just brutal.
- The umpiring crew had their head way up their asses tonight, especially crew chief Tim McClelland. I don't mind messing up the Swisher tag up call since the second base umpire clearly missed Swisher getting picked off earlier in the inning, but how in the world did McClelland not see that both Cano and Posada were not touching the base on that play in the fifth. None of the plays really affected the outcome of the game, but I don't see how so many blatantly bad calls could be made at this stage of the season.
- Alex Rodriguez is officially in "screw it, just walk him" territory now. I never would condone such cowardly managing, but he is absolutely murdering the Angels and if they are going to go down, they should at least make more than one player beat them.