This is my live journal of Game 5 between the Angels and the Yankees. What you are about to experience is the pure emotions of a fan watching a big game at home.
7:56 I’m so nervous, if the game doesn’t start now I might lose my dinner. What I hate about playoff baseball is that there is no pre-game show. Fox is showing a Simpsons rerun, ESPN is talking about MNF, and I’m biting my nails with no one to talk to. I keep telling myself that Colon is a gamer, the man will out-pitch whoever he’s up against, and that the Angels will learn from their mistakes against Mussina . . . but it doesn’t help, the game needs to start now.
8:15 Finally! I didn’t think I could take it anymore. I busied myself by trying to decide whether I should where the Angels hat while on the field, or while at bat. I decided on wearing the cap while the team is on the field . . . you know, since that’s when they’re wearing their caps. Okay, one serious prediction for this game, Vladimir is going to come up big. Remember that game-tying grand slam in last year’s ALDS? Something like that, but hopefully game-winning.
8:23 Another thing I hate about playoff baseball, the announcers don’t know the teams, but they continue to talk about them like they do. According to McCarver, Guerrero didn’t run hard after Sheffield’s grounder which is why Jeter was able to take third. Not true, Guerrero always runs like that, every time I see him leg out a grounder I swear he must’ve pulled a hammy. My cousin says if he grew up in the states he probably would’ve been strapped into leg braces Forrest Gump style.
8:26 End of the first half inning: That’s a big strikeout against Matsui, I like the way this one’s starting.
8:35 Cano is up. This kid is really impressive. You’ve got to be a gnarly athlete to make it through the Yankees’ farm system.
8:36 Uh oh, Scioscia is coming out to see Colon. I think I’m going to be sick. He takes the weakest warm up pitch I’ve ever seen. For some reason that made Scioscia feel better but it leaves me incredibly queasy. Bud Black just got Ervin Santana up in the bullpen, I like that idea, this kid’s gonna be a Yankee killer.
8:38 Colon is done, and not one pitch too soon, Cano would’ve bounced the next one off of the right field foul pole. Bring on Santana!!!
8:53 1-0 Yankees. Guerrero’s throw was so close, just a little more online and Bernie is toast. Santana needs to get out of this inning now or else he might never settle down.
9:02 Okay, down 2-0, going into the bottom of the second, I can handle this. The Yankees came back from 2-0 last night, we can do it tonight.
9:05 Almost forgot to take my hat off . . .
9:06 Garrett Anderson homerun – all because I took my hat off!!!
9:17 That’s Angel baseball! I have never been so happy about watching two men collide. A great hit by Kennedy, but credit that play to the Angels’ fans, making so much noise that Crosby and Sheffield couldn’t communicate. The Angels take the lead, Mussina had to throw twenty some pitches, and Santana’s settling down in the dugout. We’re flying high.
9:44 Sacrifice fly by GA makes it 4-2. I just realized I haven’t breathed deeply for a full inning.
10:03 Top of the 4th, quick inning by Santana featuring only a bunt hit by Crosby. We’re up 5-2 and on cruise control as long as I can remember to take on and off my hat every half inning.
10:16 Top of the fifth: two leadoff hitters aboard with no outs. Not surprisingly, the television announcers, (who will remain nameless) criticize the Angels’ management for not having someone up in the bullpen. This is so annoying to me. Part of the reason the Angels have such an amazing pitching staff is that their coaches know how to use them. Just because Santana plunks A-Rod and Giambi squeaks a grounder by Erstad is no reason to panic and waste your bullpen in the fifth.
10:21 Santana proves me right, but thanks to a sketchy call about Cano being out of the basepath. Is it just me or has Cano really gotten screwed by the umps this series? He gets called for taking his foot off of second base in game 2, one of those situations where it’s the right call, but who knows why the ump decided to call it then and not any other time for the whole season. Now he gets called out for running inside the line on his way to first base after a passed ball. He finally looked like a rookie, throwing a mini-tantrum on his way out to the field.
10:36 Darin Erstad gets the award for ugliest slide ever. The way he was clutching his knee, I was afraid he tore an ACL or something, but I guess he just had to adjust his brace.
10:52 Top of the 7th: Jeter hits a homer to make it 5-3. Why? Because I went to the bathroom and didn’t get back in time to put my hat on. I apologize.
11:00 Santana out, Escobar in. What is the deal with the Angels’ bullpen and that eyewear that reminds me of the safety goggles my eighth grade science teacher wore during labs? Escobar, K-Rod, and Donnelly all wear them. Sure they were cool back in the day compared to the big clunky ones us Jr. Highers had to wear, but I don’t see the attraction outside the context of a “Let’s find out what temperature water boils at” type experiment.
11:03 Those are two big outs from Escobar: getting Sheffield on a fly to right, and then Matsui to pop out with a man on second. Escobar might not be able to get out of the bullpen come next season.
11:21 Top of the eighth, two outs, Angels bring in Frankie Rodriguez. This makes me nervous; and predictably, my dad calls me from the game to tell me how nervous he is.
11:25 I never doubted him I swear. You have to understand, for whatever reason, my dad has this conflicted relationship with closers, (which has been passed on to me, unfortunately). He loved Troy Percival when he was a setup man for Lee Smith, then suddenly never trusted him when he took over the ninth inning duties. It’s the same story now with K-Rod. I can’t really explain why, except that he reminds me of the disenchanted fan in Major League 2, who heckles Charlie Sheen’s character, Rick “the Wild Thing” Vaughan, throughout the season. I guess when a closer blows a game, he really blows a game, it’s not like you’re asking him to hit a pinch hit homerun, you just want three outs from the guy. It’s tough to trust a guy again after he blows that.
11:37 Top 9: Lead off single by Jeter. (Gulp)
11:38 Tell me that’s a double play ball, tell me that’s a double play ball, YES!!! A-Rod has officially met K-Rod. (Okay that was cheesy but words cannot express this kind of joy.) All we need is to get Giambi . . .
11:40 Okay, we didn’t get Giambi, all we need is to get Sheffield . . . (My breathing now resembles Jodie Foster’s in that final scene of “Silence of the Lambs.”)
11:42 Ughhh, Sheffield’s chopper was pure luck! All we need is to get Matsui . . .
11:45 Too close, I’m not sure if my heart has started back up yet. BUT WE DID IT!!! That’s why you have a gold glove firstbaseman. Kevin Millar wouldn’t have made that play. Maybe we should just give Chicago game one of the ALCS so that we can get a full night’s sleep tonight.