Not only did we win the division but we ended up with the best record in the AL!!! That is a nice accomplishment. Of course, it means very little unless we leverage it into at the minimum a 1st round victory.
I want to go back to last night’s game (Tuesday). It is very easy to get on Girardi for all the inconsistent and sometimes head scratching decisions, but I thought he made the right move in starting Phelps over Nova and I liked the lineup with Nunez in there. I would have batted Tex after the hot Cano, but I agree with batting Ichiro down against the lefty. Further, I thought Girardi timed his move to take out Phelps at the right time and I thought he used all his pitchers well with one exception and that is I would have let Robertson go another batter or 2 in the 9th knowing that the game was probably in extra innings. This in turn made him stick with Soriano for more pitches than I was comfortable with. But, I would let him throw a lot in the postseason and in many ways it was a postseason game. I also said to my son in the 9th that this was the perfect spot for Ibanez to come in as we needed a HR. Bailey obliged by grooving a pitch and Ibanez did the rest with a clutch line drive 2 run HR. That was an enormous hit. I wanted us to end the game in that 9th but it was not to be. I also thought ARod ended when he crushed the ball to LC but the heavy air and rain kept the ball in the park and Ellsbury made a terrific catch covering a ton of ground.
Going back to 1st inning, Jeter was very heads up on a fly ball to RF where he tagged up and went to 2nd, but unfortunately got left there after Tex started his horrific game by hitting into his 1st of two double play grounders with 1st and 3rd and 1 out. Later on with bases loaded and one out he popped up to shallow center on a broken bat where he actually got jammed on a pitch over the plate (Cone and Singleton called that wrong)
Say what you want, but Girardi had a good game Tuesday.
Wednesday had Granderson hit a towering fly ball that had underspin and carried for a 3 run HR to give us an early lead and Cano and the yanks never looked back. Cano had a monster game adding to a great finish that saw him end the year with a .929 OPS!
Kuroda also did a nice job against a fairly weak lineup.
OK, we now wait until Texas and the O’s play and then we travel to one of their places for 2 games and then come home for 3. A lot of people are making a big deal out of this but I would always want the extra home game and I am fine going on the road twice too come home for 3. It isn’t as much an advantage as 2-2-1, but they have to play another game and I am fine with it. I would rather play Baltimore as the travel is easier and I feel we can beat them. I was worried about Detroit and they still scare me and I think they are the favorite to win the AL pennant so I will be rooting against them. We finished up in a good spot!
I will post on our rosters next, but the key questions are who is our 4th starter, Phelps or Hughes and who do we keep on the PS roster out of Lowe, Garcia, Nova or Eppley? It may depend on the team we play and I want to look at this. I actually think the answer is Eppley or Lowe. I would absolutely keep Gardner as our best lineup may be Gardner in LF and Ichiro in RF with Swish DHing and ARod playing 3rd (Maybe Chavez with a very tough righty?) I love the OF of Gardner, Granderson and Ichiro defensively. Again, who we play matters and I will look up what I would go with.
Enjoy the moment folks! I am not that confident in our team, but I feel much better after Texas lost all those games and even Baltimore lost their last two…at least in the first round. The playoffs are a bit of a crapshoot so we have a shot!