© Chuck Duboff
“Ball game over, Yankees win, theeeeeeee Yankees, Win!!” Those are some sweet words from the great Yankees broadcaster, John Sterling, as he shared in the excitement of a drama filled Yankees 5-2 win over the Cleveland Indians.
As I watched and listened to Game 5, I kept saying to myself…it doesn’t really matter how this game turns out, this is one hell of a ballgame. As my good friend Mickey Steen said yesterday afternoon: “there is just something different about playoff baseball”. Every pitch matters, every at bat can change the game…think about Brett Gardner last night and his two epic, 12 pitch at bats. Fouling pitch after pitch after pitch and the excitement just kept ratcheting up; and the top of the 9th inning Gardner comes through with a HUGE 2 run single to give the Yankees the needed insurance runs!! One of the all time great at bats for a New York Yankee!!
How about Sir Didi Gregorius, crushing two home runs off of Cleveland Ace and likely Cy Young Award winner, Corey Kluber; you want excitement? WOW!!!
Then there is the pitching…it always comes down to the pitching. I said to my grandson Ben yesterday afternoon, whichever team gets the better starting pitching will win the game. Well, Yankees veteran workhorse CC Sabathia out duelled Corey Kluber, striking out 9 in just 4 1/3 innings of work and that left the Indians scratching and clawing their way back the whole game. Sabathia may not have a lot left in the tank, but that was one hell of a performance for the old man!!
You want to talk about pitching, David Robertson came in to relieve CC and to me, saved the game for the Yankees with another outstanding job of middle relief; 2 2/3 innings of sparkling pitching against the heavy hitters he faced. Years ago, and I’m dating myself, middle relief was left for the guys who weren’t very good pitchers…but, it’s a different story today. You’ve got your 9th inning closer, your 8th inning set up man and the 7th inning guy who is the bridge to the closer; the Yankees still had Kainlee, Betansis, Green, Warren waiting in the bullpen, but David Robertson did one hell of a job of shutting down the Indians.
Joe Girardi rolled the dice and brought in his closer Aroldis Chapman to start the 8th and to try and get a two inning save. Chapman had struggled at times this season, at one point even losing his closer’s job to Robertson, but he found himself the last month of the season and last night shut the door on the Cleveland Indians. He was throwing smoke, hitting 104MPH and then mixing that in with an 85MPH slider/change up. He did what he was called on to do…silence the Indian’s bats for two innings and lead the Yankees to an historic comeback from 2 games to 0 down!! Pitching, pitching, pitching…if you’ve get it, you’ve got a chance, without it, you’re watching the games on TV in October!!
I’ve just got to throw in a quick word for Yankees 3rd baseman Todd Frazier, who grew up in Jersey a Yankees fan. He played in the Little League World Series and is living out his dream right now playing for the Bronx Bombers. He is a great 3rd baseman and brings so much energy to the team…he’s a free agent at the end of the season and has said many times he’d love to keep playing for his boyhood team!! You’re my kind of Yankee Todd, enjoy!!
Now it’s on to the ALCS and a seven game series with the Houston Astros; the Yankees are playing with house money right now. Nobody expected them to get this far, so, since you are there anyways: Judge, Bird, Sanchez, Sevarino and gang…a trip to the World Series goes with beating the Astros.
LET’S GO YANKEES!!!