Saturday, October 17, 2009

Yankees, Sabathia Dominate for Game 1 Win; Phillies Hand Dodgers Game 2 Gift

Players of the Day for Friday, October 16, 2009 NY Yankees 4 LA Angels 1 C.C. Sabathia was brilliant in the opening game of the ALCS, working over the Angels' batters in less-than-ideal chilly temperatures at Yankee Stadium Friday night. Limiting the punchless and error-prone Angels to 4 hits and 1 measly earned run over 8 spectacular innings, Sabathia was everything a money pitcher could want to be: cool, confident, in control, dominant, and nearly impossible to figure out. The big man had everything working his way, especially having the lead, which the Yankees got when Alex Rodriguez drove in Derek Jeter with one out in the first inning on a sac fly, and the Angels infielders botched a sure third out when Chome Figgins and Erick Aybar played "you got, no, I got it," allowing Hideki Matsui's high pop up to fall harmlessly between them as Johnny Damon scampered home from second base with run number two. Sabathia, who struck out 7 and issued just one free pass, had the Angels in his pocket all night. Only two Angels reached second base, and just one, Vlaidimir Guerrero, made it to third. He scored after doubling with one out in the 4th inning, moving to third on Juan Rivera's ground out and trotted home on Kendry Morales' two-out single, but that was all the offense the Angels could muster. As Sabathia was cruising, the Yankees added single runs in the 5th and 6th innings. After setting down the side in order in the 8th, Sabathia, who looked as though he could have easily finished the game, relinquished the mound to Mr. Sandman, Mariano Rivera, who issued one walk, but otherwise recorded the final three outs without much fuss. The Angels committed three errors in the game, which was unusual for them, a very solid fielding team, but the Yankees looked every bit as good as they had all season, taking a 1-0 lead in the series into Saturday, when A.J. Burnett will go up the hill against the Angels' Joe Saunders. Game time is set for 7:57 pm in the Bronx, but the weather is supposed to deteriorate with cold winds and rain in the forecast. LA Dodgers 2 Philadelphia Phillies 1 The Dodgers got a gift in game 2 of their NLDS series with the Cardinals and were handed another one in game 2 of the NLCS. After Pedro Martinez dazzled the Dodgers on 2 hits over 7 innings, leaving with a 1-0 lead, the Phillie bullpen could not get out of the 8th inning before surrendering 2 runs, the lead and the game. The 8th frame debacle was highlighted by a Chase Utley throwing error to first on a sure double-play ball that would have left Juan Pierre on third base with two outs and the lead still intact. Instead, Pierre trotted home with the game-tying run and Russell Martin, who had grounded to short and forced out Ronnie Belliard, stood at first with just one out. After Jim Thome singled Martin over to third, Rafael Furcal walked, loading the bases, but Matt kemp struck out swinging at a 3-2 pitch. J.A. Happ, the 4th Phillies pitcher of the inning, walked Andre Ethier, forcing in Russell with the game winner. Chad Durbin, the 5th pitcher of the inning, got Manny Ramirez to pop out on one pitch with the bases still loaded to end the threat, but by then, the Dodgers had done enough damage and their relievers mopped up the final 3 outs in the Phillies' half of the 9th. Overlooked in all of the 8th inning frenzy, was the fact that the Dodgers were only in a position to win thanks to Vicente Padilla, who nearly matched Martinez pitch-for-pitch, giving up a solo homer to - who else - Ryan Howard, and limiting Philadelphia to just the one run on 4 hits over seven superb innings. It was Padilla's second straight strong outing, fanning 7 and walking just one. Padilla pitched the NLDS clincher on Sunday in St. Louis, beating the Cardinals with 7 innings of scoreless ball. Padilla was acquired from the Texas Rangers off waivers in August and is now 5-0 with the Dodgers. He did not get a decision, though he certainly earned one, as did Martinez. Game 3 is set for 8:07 pm Sunday night in Philadelphia, Hideki Kuroda starts for the Dodgers against Philly's ace, Cliff Lee.

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