NEW YORK — I just arrived here at Yankee Stadium for tonight’s ALDS game three between Baltimore and the Yankees with the series tied at one game apiece.
At 6 p.m., I’ll be doing a live chat at www.recordonline.com. We’re looking for your thoughts, predictions, etc. Here is the direct link for the chat page: http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20121010/SPORTS/121019992/-1/SPORTS06
Once the game starts, I’ll probably be shifting over to Twitter: @THR_Montgomery.
Some postgame thoughts…
Wow, what a game for the Yankees.
Both Miguel Gonzalez and Hiroki Kuroda gave great starts…the Yankees certainly can’t complain about what they’ve received from their starters so far this series. Sabathia pitched into the ninth, as did Kuroda. Andy Pettitte delivered a solid seven innings in game two.
Regarding Kuroda, as Nick Swisher put it, “If I could say awesome in Japanese, I would. There were just some gutsy efforts all around.”
Then the ninth inning happened. The Yankees trailed by one run with Ichiro, A-Rod and Cano due up against Jim Johnson, who was the best closer in baseball during the regular season.
Ichiro flies out to right…meanwhile…Raul Ibanez has taken A-Rod’s place in the on-deck circle. And Girardi was just crazy enough to make A-Rod sit down with the game on the line.
Ibanez, of course, hit a laser to right field for the game-tying home run. In the 12th inning, he did it again, hitting the first pitch he saw from Baltimore lefty Brian Matusz into the right field stands for a walk-off home run.
It will be really interesting to see what happens with the lineup tomorrow. Joe Saunders is getting the start for Baltimore. He’s a crafty lefty, as they say. Still, I can’t see Girardi keeping Ibanez out of the lineup. I’d imagine A-Rod’s back in the lineup at third base, hitting third. Then again, Girardi finally proved he’s crazy enough to do something not by the book…so all bets are off, I suppose.
Derek Jeter was removed in the ninth inning after injuring his left foot with a foul ball in the third inning. Girardi said it’s more of a day-to-day thing and he’d reevaluate everything on Thursday, but Jeter was a little more adamant that he’d be right back at shortstop, batting leadoff. It might be nice to DH Jeter for game four, but, I mean, Ibanez has to play. For Jeter to DH and Ibanez to play, that means one of the outfielders would have to sit…and maybe, just maybe, Granderson is on the bench with Ichiro in center tomorrow and Swisher/Ibanez manning the corners. Still, it’s probably Jeter at short and Ibanez at DH tomorrow.
The Yankees’ reactions to Ibanez’s home runs after the game were pretty incredible.
“Wow, that was just…you dream about stuff like that,” said Nick Swisher. “I didn’t even get a hit and I’m jumping up and down like crazy.”
“Then he comes up in the 12th inning and goes jack city again,” Swisher, again.
“It was lefty on lefty and Matusz had really been working his offspeed stuff against lefties. He threw a first pitch fastball right down the middle of the plate and Raul crushed it,” Swisher.
“Everybody just turned into 12-year-olds,” Swisher.
When asked what was the first thing he said to Ibanez after the second home run, Swisher said, “I’m so (expletive) proud of you.”
“Damn, that was awesome,” Swisher.
(Wow…Swisher was on his game tonight, at least in the clubhouse)
“He’s my guy from Miami,” said Alex Rodriguez. “Raul was just phenomenal.”
“Raul has been that guy for us all year,” Rodriguez.
“There’s still hope in baseball,” said Mark Teixeira. “There’s no clock. If there’s still a few more outs left, something magical can happen.”
“It was great,” Mariano Rivera said. “It feels good. There were a lot of emotions. What a great night.”
“That is probably one of my favorite moments in baseball so far in my career,” Russell Martin said.
“It seemed like it was something out of a cartoon. It was unbelievable,” said Hiroki Kuroda.
“Well, Raul had to come through,” said manager Joe Girardi. “Raul had some kind of day for us today and you have to make some decisions sometimes that are tough decisions. But I just had a gut feeling. We talked about it in the pregame about being a great pinch-hitter and you;ve got a left-handed hitter who’s a low-ball hitter in a sense and you’ve got a low-ball pitcher. I just kind of had a gut feeling.”
And from reliable sources on the Twitter machine…
Orioles OF Adam Jones: “That part caught me off-guard. Pinch-hitting for a guy who’s half a billionaire.”
Lakers SG Kobe Bryant: “I don’t like that. That’s not good for team chemistry. I’m going to have to call A-Rod.”
We’ve got all sorts of Yankees coverage in the Times Herald-Record tomorrow, so check that out in the paper and online at www.recordonline.com.
See y’all tomorrow night…looking like a 8:37 start tomorrow as long as Detroit holds off Oakland. If Oakland wins, it’ll be at 7:37 again.