Yankees-Angels ALCS: Andy Pettitte Pitches New York into 2009 World Series

October 26, 2009   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

A rain delay forced Game Six from Saturday to Sunday night. There was no rain in the Bronx on Sunday, only a cold chill that absolutely nobody in New York was feeling.

The Yankees and Angels came into Sunday night playing in Game Six of the ALCS, both teams with different agendas.

For the Angels, a win would guarantee a Game Seven on Monday night and a chance to pull off an upset. For the Yankees, a win would guarantee a trip to the 2009 World Series, the first trip for the team since 2003.

The Yankees were putting up their most reliable pitcher in postseason history in Andy Pettitte, while the Angels were countering with Joe Saunders. Both pitchers pitched well in each of their first games in the ALCS, but each had no decisions.

Both Pettitte and Saunders came out firing good pitches through the first two innings and looked sharp.

In the top of the third, the Angels struck first. With two outs and Jeff Mathis on third base after a lead-off double, Bobby Abreu singled to right to drive in Mathis and the Angels were up 1-0.

Saunders kept the Yankees off the board until the fourth inning, which is where they started getting to the Los Angeles lefty.

Robinson Cano walked to start off the inning and Nick Swisher singled to center to put runners on first and second with nobody out. Melky Cabrera sacrificed both runners over to second and third and one out, and Saunders walked Derek Jeter to load the bases for a hitter who has a history of coming up with big hits in the ALCS, Johnny Damon.

Damon took a Saunders pitch and drove it to left center field to drive in Cano and Swisher and the Yankees took the lead 2-1 and the momentum swung drastically in the direction of the Yankees.

After Mark Teixeira reached on an infield single, Saunders wanted no part of Alex Rodriguez and walked A-Rod to bring in Jeter and the Yankees were up now 3-1.

Following the walk to A-Rod, Angels manager Mike Scioscia saw enough and pulled Saunders from the game.

Saunders only went three-and-one-third innings, allowed seven hits, three runs, walked five and struck out none. Saunders was ineffective on Sunday night and didn’t have any command in the game, especially with the five walks.

Pettitte, however, continued to be a bulldog on the mound for the Yankees and continued to keep the Angels hitters off-balanced all night. In the top of the sixth with two outs, Torii Hunter hit an infield single and Vladimir Guerrero hit a double to right to put runners on second and third, but Kendry Morales hit the ball back to Pettitte to end the Angels threat and the inning. That out of Morales was so huge.

In the top of the seventh, Pettitte got Howie Kendrick to line out, but allowed a single to Juan Rivera, which was the final batter Pettitte would face as Joe Girardi took out his lefty and gave the Bronx crowd a chance to show their appreciation to him for a fine job.

Pettitte went six-and-one-third innings, allowed seven hits, one run, walked one and struck out six in an outstanding performance for the 37-year-old pitcher.

Following Pettitte was Joba Chamberlain, who came in to get Maicer Izturis to hit into a fielder’s choice for the second out and Erick Aybar to ground out to short to end the seventh.

In the top of the eighth, Girardi decided to go to closer Mariano Rivera for the final six outs, and the eighth inning was a tough one.

Chone Figgins lead off with a bloop single and Bobby Abreu grounded out to move Figgins over to second and Hunter grounded out for the second out, but Guerrero doubled to drive in Figgins and the game was now 3-2. Rivera got Morales to ground out to second to keep the game at 3-2.

Scioscia brought in Game Four starter Scott Kazmir after Cano was walked by Ervin Santana. Nick Swisher hit a grounder that was bobbled by Kendrick and the Yankees had runners on again looking to increase their lead.

Cabrera dropped down another sacrifice bunt, but Kazmir lobbed the ball over Kendrick’s head, which allowed Cano to score and the Yankees took a 4-2 lead.

With the bases loaded and only one out, Teixeira drove a pitch to dead center for the second out, but Brett Gardner came around to score and the Yankees now had a 5-2 lead.

In the top of the ninth, the Yankees and Rivera needed three simple outs to end this game.

Rivera got Kendrick to ground out to first for the first out of the inning. Rivera got Juan Rivera to fly out to fight for the second out. And in a pinch-hitting situation, Rivera got Gary Matthews, Jr. to strike out for the final out and the Yankees won Game Six 5-2.

Following the game, the team celebrated on the field and then in the locker room with a ton of champagne, bright blue goggles, and lots of smiles and hugs all around as the crowd at Yankee Stadium was ecstatic.

The Yankees won the American League Championship Series and the pennant for the 40th time in team history and will now advance to the 2009 World Series to take on the National League Champions and defending World Series Champions Philadelphia Phillies.

Following the trophy presentation of the American League Championship Trophy, it was announced that CC Sabathia was named the 2009 ALCS MVP after going 2-0 with an ERA around 1.20 in the series.

Pettitte picked up the victory in the game, his 16th career postseason win, which sets an all-time record for most postseason wins ever for a starting pitcher, a tremendous accomplishment for Pettitte, who has been so reliable and durable in the postseason. In the 2009 postseason, Pettitte is 2-0 with an ERA of 2.37.

After two failed attempts to beat the Angels in the postseason in 2002 and 2005, the Yankees finally defeated the Angels for the first time ever in a playoff series.

In the end, the Yankees got better starting pitching out of Sabathia, Pettitte, and A.J. Burnett than the Angels did with John Lackey, Saunders, Kazmir and Jered Weaver. The Yankees also got more durability and clutch outs of their closer Rivera than the Angels did in Brian Fuentes, who blew the save in Game Two and nearly blew the save in Game Five.

The biggest reason why the Yankees are going to the World Series is because of the amazing play of A-Rod. In Game Six, he went 2-for-2 to improve his 2009 playoff average to .438 with five home runs. So far in one magical postseason, A-Rod has gone from playoff goat to playoff hero with clutch hits and memorable home runs.

The Yankees will have two days off to relax and prepare for the defending champions as the Yankees will send their ALCS MVP in Sabathia up for Game One of the World Series while the Phillies will send up Cliff Lee, who has been just as dominant in the playoffs for the Phillies with a record of 2-0 and a 0.74 ERA. Game One at Yankee Stadium is scheduled for Wednesday night at 7:57 PM.

For Yankees Universe, seven games down, four games to go until World Series Championship No. 27.

Read more New York Yankees news on BleacherReport.com

readers comments

Yankee Tickets

Yankee Tickets

Shop Yankee

Shop Yankee