Angels Send the Series Back to New York
Unfortunately Rich's Dodgers are out of it, but they had a solid season and reached the NLCS for a second year in a row. His Angels, on the other hand, won two of three in Anaheim and the series heads back to New York. The series resumes this weekend on Saturday and potentially Sunday, with the Angles needing to win both. Rich was treated to quite the game on Monday from the first row, as he watched the Angels beat the Yankees in extra innings in a bullpen extravaganza. The two teams used fourteen pitchers, the kind of game you get when there are so many extra rest days between games and so much rides on every out. I am sure Rich enjoyed the game thoroughly.
The Yankees dominated Tuesday's Game 4, but the Angels won last night. The seventh inning was key. In the top half, the Yankee bats came alive after being shut down by John Lackey all night. They scored six to take the lead. A.J. Burnett started the bottom of the seventh giving up a hit and walk, and was relieved by Damaso Marte who gave up a sacrifice bunt and then a ground out that scored a run. That left one out, the Yankees up by one and Erick Aybar on third. So the Yankees turned to Phil Hughes, who has been a dominating reliever for them, posting a FIP of 1.83 on the strength of amazing strikeout (11.4 per 9) and walk (2.28 per 9) rates. Unfortunately he was not at his best last night
He walked Torii Hunter, throwing all fastballs and cutters. Since he got behind early he could not go to his very good curve. He then gave up a single to Vladimir Guerrero on a fastball in a four pitch at-bat. Then another single to Kendry Morales also on a fastball in a five pitch at-bat. Finally he struck out Maicer Izturis, throwing three curves in a four pitch at-bat.
Hughes usually has great command on his fastball, but last night because of nerves or just randomly he did not. Here are the fastballs:
In gray are all his fastballs over the season, in black his from last night with the two hits in red. You can see how he usually gets a high percentage in the zone, but last night only three out of eight. The single to Guerrero was on a pitch right down the middle of the plate and the pitch to Morales (a switch hitter who was batting lefty) was up-and-away, a good but not great location for a fastball to a LHB.
The Angels capitalized on a rare off-night for Hughes and send the series back to New York.