Back by popular demand is the Meet at the Bat live blog for a game five showdown between the Angels and Yankees. After a game three let down in which the Yankees had a chance to go up 3-0 in the series, it felt as if the momentum might shift back to the Angels in the series. However, CC Sabathia and the resurgence of the Yankees offense swung the pendulum back in the Bombers favor. Now up 3-1 in the series, the Yankees have an opportunity to do two things tonight; win the 40th American League Pennant in the history of the franchise and get back to the World Series since 2003. Many Yankees fans and the Yankees themselves can use this game to exorcise some deamons from a 2004 ALCS that they would like to forget.
Keep it here for the live blog starting at game time.
7:57 P.M. Another shock. First pitch and Derek Jeter leads off the game with a hit. It's the start of the game and the Yankees already getting someone on. Hopefully the offense can continue their roll from Game four.
7:59 P.M. Johnny Damon follows suit. Now it's time to get Tex going. He is a key component to this lineup.
8:03 P.M. With two on and no one out, it's now two on and two out after a Tex strikeout and A-Rod foul out. Tex still looks a little lost at the plate. I really thought he was going to snap out of the funk after having some good swings in the last game. Lackey can get out of a jam here against Matsui.
8:06 P.M. With that Matsui groundout, the crowd in Anaheim has some life. That's the worst case scenario. I think that might be worse than a 1-2-3 inning. Black Taco Commercial Count: 1
8:10 P.M. Chone "Shawn" Figgins gets on base via the walk. That's the last guy you want to walk to start a game. He's been a non factor in this series. Why let him gain confidence and start now? He is still 2-for-29 in the postseason. Don't get him going.
8:13 P.M. Wow 2-0 Angels. The last thing that you want to do was get the top of the order going. They have been so quiet all series. Now a walk, Abreu hit and Hunter hit makes this game 2-0.
8:15 P.M. Now it's 3-0 Angels with the Vlad ripped double into the left centerfield gap. A.J. Burnett does not look comfortable right now. His pitches are flat.
8:16 P.M. Another hit and another run. In this series the Yankees have been been the ones to set the table, score first and set the tone for the game. Tonight that is not the case. If the Angels had any chance to send this back to New York, they needed to come out guns a blazin' and they have.
8:19 P.M. Even that out was loud.
8:24 P.M. I was a big proponent of Jose Molina catching A.J. Burnett, but it's not working tonight. Sometime you just don't have it and that seems to be the case tonight. The good news is that the blonde behind home plate in those great seats hasn't seen anything that has gone on in this game. Who could she be texting?
8:30 P.M. John Lackey is good. That's kind of what I got from Tim McCarver.
8:35 P.M. Burnett is still getting hit hard. He did get out of that inning with the double play and the fly out, but I still don't feel comfortable with the way he's throwing tonight.
I just saw a commercial for the Olive Garden. Now being an Italian, I think their food is terrible, however you can't doubt the bread sticks and unlimited salad.
8:40 P.M. Tim McCarver Prematorely count: 1
8:41 P.M. Great play by Kendry Morales, but Johnny Damon was safe at first. Once again the awful umpires are out to play. What the heck happened with Major League umpires? It's a joke. I'm really nervous that in a big spot in the World Series, these clowns are going to cost someone a Championship.
8:48 P.M. Burnett loses Torii with the walk. Let's see what Ken Rosenthal has to say about the umpire situation. It's really a joke right now.
Burnett is really flustered tonight with men on base. He keeps throwing over to first and it seems like it's in his head.
8:55 P.M. Still getting hit hard, Burnett gets out of the inning on a hot flyout to center.
This movie The Box is intriguing to me. I don't know why. Wait there it is Black Taco commercial count: 2.
8:57 P.M. I love the John Hancock billboard leading into the game because it's not John Hancock, it's Herbie Hancock.
8:59 P.M. Mark Teixeira with a big hit right there. It will help his confidence. Not only that, but if he continues to struggle, who is ever going to pitch to Alex Rodriguez?
9:01 P.M. Great pitch by Lackey there. Set A-Rod up so nice. By the way stop with this Fox Trax thing. That's so dumb. Leaves his hand at 91 MPH and 85 MPH at the plate. STOP!
9:03 P.M. Matsui and his blazing speed still can't beat that out. Anyone else other than Jorge Posada and that would have been an infield hit.
9:05 P.M. Does Scott Boras even have a seat? All that guys does is stand up. I think he's just sneaking in there with no ticket.
Oh boy, what are you swinging at Robbie? Lackey is just continuing to gain confidence. Not a good sign for the Yankees. They aren't even really working the count. If they have a chance tonight, they have to get to the Angels bullpen. He has only thrown 52 pitches through four innings. That's the Uh Oh stat of the night.
9:08 P.M. I didn't realize that there was going to be no Black Eyed Peas DirecTV commercials up to this point. However, it looks like the Fat Guy in a Little Coat, Chris Farley commercial has taken over as the most overplayed ad of the night. You know I can't even argue with it. I'm a big Farley fan. He died way too young. All I can say is, "HOUSEKEEPING!"
9:10 P.M. Just got a text from Yankees in-game font coordinator Josh Isaac, "Alert the media, Scott Boras is sitting down." Thanks for the text. Good stuff! However, I'm really sad to see no Sajak in the crowd.
9:11 P.M. JEFF MATHIS. JEFF BLANKIN MATHIS! ARE YOU KIDDING ME. This guy is a .200 CAREER HITTER! However, he's Joe DiMaggio when he plays the Yankees.
9:15 P.M. I think Jeter needs to do a new Ford Commercial. I've seen the same one since they were last in the World Series. I can understand Ford's budgetary problems right now, but come on.
9:18 P.M. Joe Buck, "If there is a game on Saturday night, it will be Game Six." I thought it was going to be Game seven thanks for the clarification Joe.
9:19 P.M. Good Move putting Posada in this game. They need offense at this point.
9:22 P.M. Molina could have done that. He just looked at that. Maybe that wasn't a great move.
9:26 P.M. John Lackey pitching like an ace. Derek Jeter can't even hit this guy right now...people must have complained about the Black Eyed Peas commercial....FAT GUY IN A LITTLE COAT!
9:38 P.M. Sorry about the delay everyone. I had to check a feature that I produced that was going out tonight. I still watched the bottom of the 5th, but couldn't keep you updated. On a good note, Dan Cruz, a YES employee that started with me just gave me a canoli. He's the man!
9:43 P.M. A-Rod with the big double in the gap. He had to bust it to get to second. He is a-mazing right now. Matsui has to get something going here.
By the way is it me or does A.J. Burnett always have one shaky to bad inning per outing and then the rest of the way he's good. Having it come in the first inning was the worst case scenario, but without fail he has one bad inning everytime.
Ball four. Here comes Cano. One swing makes this a one run game.
9:47 P.M. John Lackey gets the groundout. Even when he gets into trouble, he gets out of it. Lackey's on fire.
9:55 P.M. OH BABY! I love when people run on the field. That guy is the fan of the night. He took a dip in the water on the rocks. James Stuart, a fellow YES employee, pulled a Major League with his quote, "Look at this ****** Guy." He just got a huge ovation from the crowd and he should have.
10:00 P.M. The Melk Man delivers. Let's see if the Yanks can cash in here.
10:07 P.M. ONE SWING. Lackey seems to have lost it a little bit. Couldn't find the plate after that non-strike call in the Jeter at-bat. One swing and it's all tied.
10:08 P.M. Teixeira can make a lot of people stop talking about his terrible offensive postseason with this at-bat. Darren Oliver vs. Big Tex. Lackey with an amazing performance, but it can all go away after this commercial break. I swear baseball sometimes is like watching American Idol. I can't believe I'm saying this, but just when I'm getting into the show, it's like Ryan Seacrest saying....we'll get the results....AFTER THIS COMMERCIAL BREAK.
10:12 P.M. It's a game. Research Director Jeff Quagliata looked at me and said all he needs is a double and then he hit a double. Good call. Back to Dan Cruz though...alright I'm going to eat crow here....the comeback kids are never out of a game. Christa Robinson now in the conference room eating Chic-Fil-A...that's right we got some Chic-Fil-A. John Lackey was right when he said don't take me out of this game. The Angels bullpen is suspect.
10:16 P.M. Jepsen, who has been good this series is now in this ballgame. Lackey with three earned runs that he didn't deserve. How can anyone ever count this team out of a game? They are ridiculous. It's now tied at four and the momentum is all in the Yankees favor. They are so close to their 40th pennant they can taste it.
10:19 P.M. Everyone knows the Yankees have a six run inning with them at any time. WOW the Angels crowd has just turned to Yankees cheers. Cano with a great rip to the gap. I wonder if Matsui has a headache after that getting beaned in the head at home.
It's so close now they are smelling Cheesesteaks. A-Rod is Geno's, Jeter is Pat's and CC is Jim's. I know, I know, Game one is in the Bronx, but you get what I'm saying. Let's not forget Tony Lukes...oh baby!
10:25 P.M. This is the latest comment from my guy sharabc123: are you watching this game from the Stamford studio as well? Where do you get Chick-Fil-A? I live in Stamford and have never seen one anywhere in this vicinity? How about this game? 6-4 now!!!!! Enjoying your blog and the seemingly billions of tweets people are posting.
I am at the Stamford studio tonight. Someone, I won't mention who from YES, drove to Paramus, NJ, after the pregame show, listened to the game on the radio and went to Chick-Fil-A and got some nuggets and sandwiches for the crew. Is it any coincidence that they were losing and as soon as he came back with the chickeny goodness, they started winning. I think not.
I'm loving this right now as well.
10:27 P.M. I don't like how A.J. gave up another hit to career Medoza-liner Jeff Mathis, who has been a Yankees killer this series. My god.
10:30 P.M. A.J. has to come out of this game now. Runners on first and second after he walks Aybar. No outs. Figgins now up. It's amazing how Burnett really has that one bad inning and when he's done, he's done. I'm kind of cringing at the thought of Marte coming in this game right now, but we'll see. Maybe he will surprise me.
10:33 P.M. I'm a little shocked it's not Phil Coke in there right now. Now second and third with one out and Bobby Abreu up. We'll see what happens here.
10:36 P.M. cc878 I agree, I don't know where the Marte move came from. He did get Abreu out. A run did score, but that was a questionable move if you ask me. Maybe the Girardi book told him it was a good matchup. I'll say this, if they get out of this inning, you have to like the Yankees chances in the 8th and 9th inning with the backend of the bullpen holding the lead.
Another Fat Guy in a little coat commercial followed by Shankapotomus...very funny.
10:38 P.M. Phil Hughes has gotten out of this jam all season. Just do it one more time Phil.
10:41 P.M. cc878 Again, I can't argue with your point. The only thing Marte has going for him is that he throws lefty and he is breathing.
Stop getting behind in counts Phil Hughes!
10:43 P.M. ARE YOU KIDDING ME! After taking the lead, they gave it right back to this team. Vlad was all over that pitch....it's like he knew it was coming. That first pitch to Morales, should have been the strikeout pitch to Vlad. AHHHHH! Just keep the game tied at this point.
10:46 P.M. I can not believe that the Yankees gave this lead up. I think it's time to go get him. Hughes is completely off his game tonight. He has been hittable this postseason. He's not as dominant as he was in the regular season. He keeps getting behind in counts. Geez, his fastballs are flat. His curveball is still a good pitch, but right now it's not his night.
10:49 P.M. Girardi is going to get questioned after the game if they ultimately lose about Burnett starting that inning and he should. That's just playing with fire. He was lucky a lot tonight after that awful first inning. He finally got the lead and was in-line for the win, but it's like playing russian roulette. Seeing him out on that mound was like watching the end of Deer Hunter. It just made my eyes squint.
10:57 P.M. Jeter blown away by that Jered Weaver fastball. He was not kidding around on that pitch.
By the way, after that first commercial, just a note, Cialis may cause blindness....are you kidding me? LOL gotta feel bad for that guy.
11:00 P.M. You hang'em, we bang'em!
11:01 P.M. You shouldn't have the right to have a non changed sweaty hat, a la John Wetteland, unless you have been good since you started wearing it.
11:06 P.M. It looks like this bullpen is back to being just Mo. What happened to that rock solid bridge? London bridge is falling down.
11:09 P.M. Anyone else hate Flo from the Progressive Insurance commercials?
11:13 P.M. Good throw by Swish keeps this game at 7-6. Abreu up with 2 outs.
11:15 P.M. I'll say it again...Ray...if someone asks you if Mo is a God....YOU SAY YES!
11:18 P.M. Nice to see you Brian Fuentes. Does he even pitch to A-Rod in this inning? God do you remember the days that the Angels had Percival and K-Rod? Unhittable. Damon just lined out. We'll see what Tex can do here.
11:32 P.M. Sorry about the lack of updates, but the drama got to me. That's why baseball is the best sport. It's just unfortunate that the Yankees couldn't close this thing out tonight. They have to come back to New York for Game Six with the 3-2 lead. I think they are going to close it out on Saturday. I predicted Yankees in six.
I can't believe how bad Swisher looks at the plate right now. Maybe Gardner should get the start for the next game. He did work the count, but that's a bad spot for Swish. He just looks like he's pressing.
One other thought....Why does A.J. Burnett start that inning. I wasn't high on the Marte move either. Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain are extremely hittable and Mo is Mo. Should make for a very entertaining postgame show on YES and interesting Game Six.
I'll be at the Stadium on Saturday. Check out the site for all Yankees coverage, all the time. Chris Shearn and I will have it locked down. Pettitte vs. Joe Saunders. I think the Yankees will close it out.
12:21 A.M. I had to come back. I got a couple of comments that I just had to post:
This one comes from ajagolf:
Can Joe PLEASE put someone other than SWISHER (RK) in ? The man made the first out in the 7th and then the last out in the same inning with a man on third.
Oh and don't let me forget the 9th with bases loaded!!!! CMON JOE WAKE UP
Where is Hinske or anybody that can come through. Try Gardner he might at the very least go 2 for 5..
1 more thing what was Posada thinking, Hughes had 1 & 2 on HUNTER and he calls for a fastball to give up the tying run?
His off speed pitch was awesome, they were swating at flys.. Frustrating!!!
ajagolf, I have been saying that since the beginning of the series. Eric Hinske is not on the ALCS roster, which I think was a bad move. It always helps if you have someone who can get a hit with a lot of postseason experience to come off the bench in a big spot. I just don't think he needed to put two speed guys on the roster. He also has right field experience, which really could have helped this team being that Swisher is really pressing right now.
Swisher just can't get anything going right now. Maybe Girardi should shake things up and start Gardner in center and Melky in Right on Saturday.
It's a very frustrating loss, but the good thing about this team is their penchant to put losses behind them and come back to win. It also helps that they are going to be in the friendly confines of Yankee Stadium.
By the way, is it me does Phil Hughes look like he's tired? His stuff seems flat. His curveball was his best pitch tonight and I don't know why they threw Vladdy that fastball. It just had no life to it.
nerdzel had two comments. Here they are:
Girardi was not keeping abreast of situation, he also fails to motivate players at key moments, everything is drama-less and goes unsaid. A little animation could have won that game!
taking Burnett out after two hitters? MO not even warming up, Girardi is a step behind. No communications in dugout, arms folded and not a word to motivate players? It works in all levels of sports, yankees were almost emotionless at the plate!
nerdzel, while I agree Joe Girardi has made some questionable moves this postseason, tonight was not a total Girardi "loss" like I thought Game three was. Could he motivate his players a little more? Maybe. He managed like this all season and the team won 103 games and they are 6-2 in the postseason. I certainly don't like Burnett staying in that game facing a second batter. I question putting Marte in the game, but that didn't come back to bite them and he's gone with Phil Hughes all season who just didn't have his best stuff tonight. Acutally, he hasn't had his best stuff all postseason.
I just think that there is a lot of blame to go around for this loss tonight. Spotting the Angels a 4-0 lead doesn't help. Coming back and fighting to take the lead is amazing, especially after Lackey's performance. They also had the bases loaded in the 9th down one run, so the Yankees had their chances. I don't know how more emotion would have made Swisher not pop that ball up, but I can understand the frustration.