By Jon Lane
Disclaimer: The ALCS is not over. Someone this morning asked me if I’m feeling good with the Yankees ahead three games to one. My answer: “No.”
It takes four games to win the LCS, the Yankees have won three. The last two ALCS have had teams with 3-1 leads and both went to Game 7. Two years ago, the Red Sox rallied to defeat the Indians en route to winning the World Series. Last year, Boston came back again, but fell short in Game 7 against the Rays.
Furthermore, Suzyn Waldman had a good line during Tuesday night’s broadcast on the Yankees Radio Network: “We’ve seen plenty of (Angels) rallies here. We saw rallies before the Rally Monkey existed.” I also don’t need to remind you what happened in 2004.
That said, the Yankees bashed the Angels, 10-1, and kept the monkey grounded in Game 4 led by outrageous performances by both Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia. If the series had ended last night, writers would have had to make a snap decision on an ALCS MVP. It’s very close between A-Rod and Sabathia. Here’s the breakdown:
A-Rod’s five home runs have him tied with Reggie Jackson (1977, all in the World Series) for the second-most by a Yankee in a single postseason (Bernie Williams clubbed six in 1996). He’s batting .375 with three homers, five RBIs and five runs scored in the ALCS, and .407-5-11, nine runs scored in the postseason. His slugging percentage in the DS and CS, respectively are both 1.000. Absolutely remarkable.
Sabathia, pitching on three days’ rest, neutralized a good Angels lineup over eight innings for the second time in the series, this time allowing only a run on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts. He’s 3-0 with a 1.19 ERA and took another big step towards completely erasing his prior October track record (4-3, 5.45).
It’s a tough call, but Mike Lupica makes his case for Sabathia, of whom he writes “continued to be the kind of star ace pitcher in games such as these that he was
hired to be, that he was paid a fortune to be. And clearly relishes
In addition, Sabathia has matured to where he is now a polished pitcher, says John Flaherty during a Podcast after Game 4.
If the Phillies close out the Dodgers tonight, and the Yankees eliminate the Angels tomorrow or Saturday, it’ll likely be Sabathia against Cliff Lee in Game 1 of the World Series. How’s that for a pitching matchup? But until then, there’s a lot more work to do for the Yankees to win their 40th pennant. Figure on the choice for MVP to be either Sabathia or A-Rod. Who’s yours?