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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. ChicagoJ - Oct 23, 2009 at 3:08 PM

    WTF Cubs taking shrapnel here?

  2. Civil Yankee Fan - Oct 23, 2009 at 3:09 PM

    Well said, LadyFan. My local newspaper just spouted a bunch of hatred towards Yankees and Yankee fans. It was the most un-sportsman like thing I have seen in print yet. Being a fan of a team you get humbled when your team stumbles and you cheer when they do well. Some go overboard (as you see in some of the above posts), but most people are just following a sport they love and all of these players give that to us, regardless of the team they play for.
    So if you feel the need to badmouth a team or its fans, it really says a lot more about you as a person than anything else. Get a life.

  3. Ava - Oct 23, 2009 at 3:27 PM

    Your entire post here is unintelligible, so I label your argument invalid.
    I am a good ol’ Southern girl/Yankee fan, who lived in NY from the age of 8 untill I left home for a job in Atlanta, where I reside to this day. I have been to more MLB games than I can count and there are arrogant, taunting, and rude fans for each team. Yankee, Red Sox, Cub fans…..whichever. Ignorance is all around, obviously.

  4. Ladyfan - Oct 23, 2009 at 3:38 PM

    Thank you Civil. It’s nice to hear from one of the MAJORITY of Yankee fans, who are courteous, knowledgeable, loyal people, much like the majority of us Red Sox fans, and unlike many of the people blogging here today. My team couldn’t make the cut this year, so I wish you and your fellow fans luck. You have a great team this year, no doubt about it, and so does LA. Perhaps next year it will once again be your team and my team in the final battle, who knows. But this year, one thing is certain . . .whoever wins, we are going to see some great baseball!

  5. ANGELFAN - Oct 23, 2009 at 3:39 PM

    MIKE SCIOSCIA MADE BIG MISTAKES AND THE ANGELS STILL WON.NEW YORK
    DIDN’T TAKE ADVANTAGE AND IT WILL COST THEM THE SERIES. I DON’T
    UNDERSTAND WHY IF YOU LIKE ONE TEAM YO HAVE TO HATE THE OTHER. BOTH TEAMS ARE GOOD AND THE BEST TEAM WILL WIN IN THE END.

  6. WallaceN - Oct 23, 2009 at 4:06 PM

    Jeff, thank you. Really like Scioscia, his team brand of BB, but he’s been marginal at best in this series, and if I wanted to be hard on him I could easily make the argument for a 3-2 Angels lead going back to NY (Fuentes giving up HR to A Rod in game 2(?). Yes, Angels were VERY lucky but the plus side is they blew a 4-0 lead, came back and took the lead again, and the win. Would have expected Angels to fold the tent in bottom of 7th inning but they didn’t. They’re passed the NY mystique and hopefully the bad weather. Want Scioscia to stay aggressive next two games and if necessary keep the umps on their toes and “invade their space” if necessary. Can’t remember seeing such ridiculous calls this series, even when they (umps) had a good look. Nothing compares though to the 3rd strike called/no 3rd strike called against Angels 3-4 years back Angels vs. Cleveland playoff series. Does anyone remember details? Cost them the series. Pitcher was so devastated he gave up HR to next batter and Angels never made it to Boston. Good luck Mike and Angels. Yanks, FU.

  7. Jimmy Moreno - Oct 23, 2009 at 4:27 PM

    Fuentes is a melt down waiting to happen and I’m an Angel fan! I have no idea how he got so many saves with his girly delivery.
    I think he would only be ok to put in if the Angels had a 8 run lead at the time!

  8. Drock - Oct 23, 2009 at 7:10 PM

    Mark my Words, I appreciate your undying support for your team. But you are an idiot.

  9. Drock - Oct 23, 2009 at 7:10 PM

    Mark my Words, I appreciate your undying support for your team. But you are an idiot.

  10. John Bonifacio - Oct 23, 2009 at 7:44 PM

    You gays cant talk all you want it turnsed out to be a smart move.

  11. Hutchie - Oct 23, 2009 at 9:10 PM

    I’ve wondered the same thing myself… why let A-Rod have these monster games at the plate without giving him something else to think about, like, what if the next one comes at my head? He’s way too comfortable up there and they’re not doing anything about it. Make him hit the deck and get his uni dirty.

  12. John - Oct 24, 2009 at 5:50 AM

    “pontificating the same ill-informed talking points…” Look at the big brain on Sammy. ;-)
    And Fecteau other than Tex, Jeter & CC how are the Yankees better than in ’04?
    They have two average starters behind CC, one a pitcher who is in the twilight of his career in Pettite (who will be lucky if he can hold LA to four runs or less in game six) and the other a head case who throws seemingly every other pitch in the dirt, especially in key moments of a game (and who didn’t record a single out before giving up four runs the other night).
    The Yankee bullpen, other than Mo, is far worse than it was in ’04.
    A-Rod has been hitting but he’s so fragile that all it takes is one game for him to go hitless and he’ll be right back in the postseason funk he is famous for… or should I say infamous for. ;-)
    Tex was great all season but hasn’t lived up to his billing in the playoffs.
    Matsui is five years older and is playing on knees held together with Ben Gay.
    Swisher is a total piece of crapola who couldn’t come through with his bat in a key spot if his life depended on it.
    ANGELS IN SEVEN!!! MARK MY WORDS!!!

  13. hop - Oct 26, 2009 at 10:35 AM

    Ok john we marked your words! hahahahahhahahaaha
    ANGELS IN SEVEN!!! MARK MY WORDS!!!

  14. Six Pack Abs - Feb 25, 2010 at 9:57 PM

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