I covered the NLCS in my last column, so as not to draw the ire of those that follow the AL game, today’s piece is dedicated completely to Game 3 of the ALCS.
I know that Andy Pettitte has a great move to first, but what in the hell were the Angels doing in Game 3 of the ALCS? I know they love to run and pride themselves on being aggressive on the base paths, but situations like Torii Hunter getting picked off with Vlad Guerrero at the dish is simply inexcusable. Period.
Speaking of inexcusable, what the hell was Bobby Abreu thinking on that double in the eighth inning? All the talk will be about how Derek Jeter made some spectacular play to cut off the throw from the outfield to nab Abreu as he rounded second, but the truth is that the play had little to do with Jeter who caught the throw from the outfield and then threw the ball to second. The real play was made by first baseman Mar Teixeira who followed Abreu down to second from his first base position (Robinson Cano was in the outfield as the cutoff man, while Jeter was functioning as the second cutoff man leaving no one left to cover second base). So give kudos to Teixeira while at the same time deriding Abreu who had about a two percent chance of making third on the hit and should have just stayed at second base. This was another prime example of the Angels running themselves out of an inning.
Why I Dislike the AL
Am I the only one who detests the American League game? Something about the DH has always stuck in my craw – just don’t like it. The game was meant to be a 9-on-9 affair, not a 10-on-10 effort. If you want that go join your local beer league.
So much for Alex Rodriguez being a chocker in the playoffs. Now it’s all anyone can do to avoid falling all over themselves to voice the view that he is all of a sudden clutch. I said it before the playoffs began, and I’ll say it again: I know it’s where reputations are made, but don’t overestimate anecdotal evidence in the playoffs. Also, don’t make the mistake of taking a tiny group of games and thinking that you can extrapolate out some reasonably accurate assessment of a player’s ability to produce in the clutch. A-Rod entered these playoffs, with 147 career post-season at-bats, hardly enough work to think you can accurate describe A-Rod as a “chocker.” Remember back when Barry Bonds was awful in the playoffs only to go out and put a whopping on the Angels in the 2002 World Series (four homers, six RBI, .471 average and a .700 OBP in 30 plate appearances)? As with A-Rod, that’s simply too small a sample size to draw any reasonable conclusions. However, when you turn to Derek Jeter we are talking about well over 500 at-bats – he has appeared in 129 post-season games (a record) with more hits (161) than anyone ever – that is more than enough to draw some conclusions. Not surprisingly, Jeter comes through as you would expect with a batting line (.309/.378/.480) that is a near identical match for his work in the regular season (.317/.388/.459). That man is the definition of clutch.
Oh, and it’s only eight games, but Ryan Howard has an RBI in 8-straight post-season contests, an all-time record (tied with Lou Gehrig). Still, it’s just eight games.
Why I Dislike the AL Part II
Speaking of disliking the AL game, is it me or can you time these games with a sundial? Besides having less in-game strategy as clubs sit back and wait for the long ball, somehow the games always seen to take at least four hours. I found myself drooling down my chin a couple of times and once I almost smashed my head full on into my keyboard before I caught myself during Game 3.
Why I Dislike the AL Part III
The Yankees are in the AL. Oh, and Tim McCarver is announcing the series.
By Ray Flowers