October 9, 2009
As the MLB postseason 2009 begins, it is interesting to note that the home teams have won in six of the first seven games, a much higher proportion than last year.
But the really BIG news tonight comes from the Bronx. Move over Reggie Jackson, a new postseason Yankee hero has arrived! He's a bit late perhaps, having established a reputation for choking in the postseason ever since his arrival in 2004, but Alex Rodriguez sure came through in the clutch tonight! With two outs in the sixth inning, he singled in a run to tie the game 1-1, and in the bottom of the ninth (with no outs) he hit a two-run homer to tie the game again, 3-3. He single-handedly carried the Yankees, with all three RBIs in the first nine innings. Otherwise, the Twins would have tied the series 1-1 and enjoyed a big psychological advantage heading back home to the Metrodome. The Yankees had a golden opportunity to win it in the tenth inning, getting a runner to third with one out, but Johnny Damon lined into a double play. In the bottom of the eleventh inning, leadoff batter Mark Teixera hit a walk-off home run. Just like the good old days: the Yankees win!!!
It must feel good for A-Rod to be redeemed, at long last. Maybe his confessional about past steroid use (see Feb. 11) cleared his conscious enough to be able to fulfill the role of hero.
There was a good omen for A-Rod in the final game of the regular season, on October 4. In the sixth inning on Sunday, he hit a three-run homer and then a grand slam, as the Yankees scored all ten of their runs, beating the Rays, 10-2. In the process, A-Rod added seven RBIs to his yearly total, thereby reaching the 100 mark at the last possible moment.
All Matt Holliday had to do was catch a routine fly ball to left field yesterday, and the Cardinals would have evened the series against the Dodgers, 1-1. Instead, he muffed it, the runner reached second base, after which Ronnie Belliard (former National!) batted him home to tie the game, setting the stage for the Dodgers to win later that inning. As Homer Simpson would say, "D'oh!"
Some people blame the Mets' lousy season on the overly spacious new stadium they moved into this year. Citi Field is one of the least slugger-friendly venues in the majors, negating the Mets' offensive advantage. Apparently they are considering ways to shorten the outfield dimensions next year, but probably not by rebuilding the outfield walls, but rather by moving the diamond forward by ten feet or so. Since foul territory is so tight as it is, that probably makes sense. As reported bu the New York Times (hat tip to John Zajc of SABR),
While Shea, despite its reputation, gave up the ninth-most home runs of any park in the major leagues in 2008, Citi Field has given up the sixth fewest in 2009. The Mets have the fewest home runs at home of any team in the majors this season, with 47, and also have the fewest home runs over all, with 93.
Adam Dunn fell two short of his goal of hitting at least 40 home runs for the sixth year in a row. Until early September, it looked like he would make it with ease, but then he abruptly stalled, getting only one home run after Sept. 11. To his credit, he drove in the game-tying run in the final game of the season, helping the Nationals to beat the Braves in extra innings, completing a sweep. Here are his monthly home run totals, taken from MLB.com:
|Home runs||Cumulative Home runs|