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Bumbling Scioscia can't blow Game 5

Oct 23, 2009, 12:06 AM EDT

The ALCS victory was theirs for the taking even after an awful first inning, but the Yankees couldn’t reach out and grab it. Instead, the series will head back to New York for a Game 6 on Saturday. The end result came in spite of the efforts of one Mike Scioscia, the AL’s likely Manager of the Year for 2009.
Let’s run down the mistakes:
– He sat down his hottest hitter, Howie Kendrick, to go to Maicer Izturis, just as he had done during the regular season. Izturis did make one notable defensive play, snaring a grounder that had deflected off Kendry Morales’ glove, but he went 0-for-4 while batting sixth in the lineup. Kendrick is 4-for-11 with a homer and a triple in the series.
– In the seventh, he made the bizarre choice to let John Lackey face Johnny Damon with the bases loaded, only to pull him in favor of Darren Oliver once Damon was retired. Removing Lackey prior to Damon’s at-bat would have been defensible. Letting Lackey face Teixeira after retiring Damon would have been defensible. Instead, Scioscia went the one route that made no sense at all. It’s not like he even had history on his side, as Teixeira went 2-for-3 with a walk lifetime against Oliver. Teixeira delivered a three-run double, and Oliver never got an out in what ended up being a six-run inning.
– Scioscia twice played small-ball in bad situations. In the seventh, he had Chone Figgins put down a sacrifice with two on and none out, even though Figgins has grounded into a double play once every 91 plate appearances in his career. The Angels went on to score three times in the inning, and perhaps they would have broken the game open if not for giving up an out. In the eighth, the red-hot Jeff Mathis was asked to bunt against Joba Chamberlain with a man on second and two outs. He failed to get it down in two attempts and ended up striking out.
– Scioscia actually made a great call in the eighth, turning to probably Game 7 starter Jered Weaver in reliever. Weaver was dominant in retiring Melky Cabrera, Jorge Posada and Derek Jeter on two strikeouts and a comebacker. Scioscia, though, couldn’t resist going to closer Brian Fuentes in the ninth. In the end, it worked out. Fuentes loaded the bases on two walks — one intentional — and a HBP, but he got out of it by retiring the ice-cold Nick Swisher to end the game.
So, now we’ll see a Game 6. Joe Saunders vs. Andy Pettitte. It means both teams will resume using their best lineups, with Jorge Posada catching for New York and Kendrick playing second for the Angels. The only thing in doubt is whether Mathis or Mike Napoli will catch. Napoli caught Saunders in Game 2, but Mathis is too hot to be benched now.

  1. Yankee Fan - Oct 23, 2009 at 10:15 AM

    Been a Yankee fan for 50 years. I realize certain fans don’t appreciate the team, but the hatred displayed in the comments above by Billie Bob goes beyond baseball and any baseball team. Very shocking, disturbing stuff.

  2. John - Oct 23, 2009 at 10:20 AM

    So Pettite was an Astro, semantics for as I said before everyone is fully aware of the colossal collapse the Yankees pulled off in 2004 including Andy. Last night was indeed “one game” and I’m sure that is what you and every other Yankee fan said with each Red Sox win five years ago, no? So deny it all you want but you know the doubt has crept into your mind as well, “Oh no not again!!!” 😉 ANGELS IN SEVEN!!! MARK MY WORDS!!!

  3. hateyankeebandwagon - Oct 23, 2009 at 10:47 AM

    You people have to be kidding. Scioscia knew Lackey’s temper. The ump got into Kazmir’s head the other night and he overthrew into trouble, Lackey does the same thing. I’m more interested in calling out the ump and stopping one sided yankee calls at key moments. Angels called out ump in Boston and now to yankees, is that what it takes to make the ump stop givin the Yanks every ounce of the plate. Last night was an example of making the umps stop favoring the yankees. Scioscia made his moves and they worked like walking a-fraud. Seems like only Angel fans want the Angels to win and everyone else wants on the bandwagon.

  4. Talex - Oct 23, 2009 at 10:50 AM

    The Angels will have one of there usual post-season collapses this weekend, because no one has choked more in the playoffs than the Angels. 2004-CHOKE! 2005 CHOKE AGAINST THE White Sox! 2007 CHOKE against the Red Sox! 2008 CHOKE against the Red Sox. 2009 giant CHOKE this weekend against the Yankees. Face it, the only reason the Angels are still in this series is because of Giardi’s bullpen mismanagment in both losses. So here comes the beat down. Say goodnight. They shouldn’t even bother to play the game!

  5. Ward - Oct 23, 2009 at 11:18 AM

    “2009 giant CHOKE this weekend against the Yankees” – How, exactly, is it choking when they are down 3-2 and will be playing the next 2 in New York?
    “They shouldn’t even bother to play the game!” – Most people were saying that before last night’s game, and we saw how that turned out….

  6. mike - Oct 23, 2009 at 11:29 AM

    dcfan – wasn’t grady little the manager of the red sox playoff team in 2003? I could be wrong, but I think it was him…

  7. mike - Oct 23, 2009 at 11:36 AM

    John, will you be back on this thread to make some more brilliant comments are the Yankees win one game this weekend and move on to the World Series? NO, YOU WON’T!!!! MARK MY WORDS!!!!

  8. andy - Oct 23, 2009 at 11:46 AM

    Monday morning quarterbacks are a dime a dozen!…and worth less!

  9. jaydee - Oct 23, 2009 at 11:47 AM

    The bullpen has been the Angels downfall all season long. If not for Weaver coming in and shutting them down in the 8th the Angels would have lost for sure. Sciosca made the “statistically” correct decision to bring Lackey out but the “gut-instinct” decision would have been to keep him in. I doubt it that Lackey would have given up 6 runs like Oliver and Jepsen did.
    Anyway, the Angels live to play another game!

  10. Mike - Oct 23, 2009 at 11:53 AM

    Do you like the Angels in 7?

  11. Big Mike - Oct 23, 2009 at 11:59 AM

    All this talk about choking, This is not the Angels or the Yankees of the past welcome to 2009. As far as I can tell the fans are the only ones living in the past. So sit back enjoy the game.

  12. joe - Oct 23, 2009 at 12:08 PM

    I hate to correct all this intelligent babble….but JOHN,……
    Andy Petitte was on the Astros in 2004…not the Yankees.

  13. Big Mike - Oct 23, 2009 at 12:14 PM

    All this talk about choking, This is not the Angels or the Yankees of the past welcome to 2009. As far as I can tell the fans are the only ones living in the past. So sit back enjoy the game.

  14. John - Oct 23, 2009 at 12:18 PM

    Really Joe, for if you would’ve read a little further down you would’ve seen where RickyB already “schooled” me on that fact. And as I said it matters not for Pettite, whether he was with the team or not in ’04, is well aware of the choke job laid down by the Yankees that year and he is going to be reminded of it non-stop by the media for the next two days. As for Mike, I will be back here in a few days rubbing your nose (and every other Yankee fans nose) in it when NY chokes away another insurmountable lead in the ALCS. ANGELS IN SEVEN!!! MARK MY WORDS!!!

  15. hateyankeebandwagon - Oct 23, 2009 at 12:24 PM

    One reason fans hate the yankees so much is the arrogance of their fans same with red sox. I was at Mon and Tues games and in both cases wank fans taunted until they lost Mon then Tues kept saying it’s over don’t show up. We all ask if they’ve ever been to Yankee stadium most live local never been to New York. It’s easy to follow a team with a bunch of titles but it doesn’t make you a fan.
    wankee fans are two things bad losers and worse winners though they act just like the team they hate the most, red sux.

  16. Ladyfan - Oct 23, 2009 at 1:09 PM

    Ah. So which team, if I may ask, are YOU a fan of, Hateyankeebandwagon? any particular team, or do you just enjoy ranting? do you, in fact, even know anything about baseball? What may apply to one Yankee fan does not necessarily apply to ALL Yankee fans. Same for Red Sox Nation. Some may be arrogant. Most are not. But YOU certainly are . . .

  17. raider - Oct 23, 2009 at 1:42 PM

    actually john, petitte was playing for the astros in 2004. which is part of the reason the yanks blew a 3 game lead.

  18. Sammy - Oct 23, 2009 at 1:50 PM

    John, for someone so critical of Yankee egos, you seem to have a terrible need to have your words marked. To see yourself in print OVER & OVER & OVER again, pontificating the same ill-informed talking points… Perhaps you should take a cue from the pundits who announced the Angel obituary too early, and not set yourself up for a huge crow-eating session on Sunday.

  19. Cindy - Oct 23, 2009 at 2:11 PM

    The Yankees were confident that they could beat the Sox – but when the Angels swept the Sox – the Yankees were concerned…and well they should be! The Angels are a force to be reckoned with! Yesterday, I made the comment “Yes Virginia – there is a Rally Monkey!” (which was not well received in the Blog). I am not into “I told you so’s!” however it may be time to put your faith and (might I add) respect into The Power of the Rally Monkey!(one case in point – last nights game!)

  20. Robin - Oct 23, 2009 at 2:37 PM

    And the Phillies will take advantage of the chink. GO PHILLIES!

  21. Fecteau - Oct 23, 2009 at 2:39 PM

    Yes… The Yankees did choke, John, against the BoSox in 2004. What you’re missing, however, is that the YAnkees are a LOT better than they were in 2004, and the 2009 Angels are no 2004 Red Sox. I know they beat the Sox this year, but between the blown save by Paps and the terrible officiating, who knows what would have happened otherwise…
    I hope you’re right! I hate the Yankees and 99% of their stupid fans

  22. Fecteau - Oct 23, 2009 at 2:43 PM

    Its not a choke if you’re behind by two games and lose the ALCS. Its a choke when you’re AHEAD by two games and lose.
    So if the Angels lose, its borderline inevitability, (which I’m rooting AGAINST!) but if the Yankees lose, its a choke, and it’s also proof of the curse of the bambino reversed!

  23. comeonman - Oct 23, 2009 at 2:51 PM


  24. comeonman - Oct 23, 2009 at 2:54 PM

    The rally monkey will be slapped back to

  25. Rob M - Oct 23, 2009 at 2:55 PM

    Me thinks John is worried about the Angels. The gentleman doth protest too much!

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