Photo courtesy New York Yankees
New York needs a win tonight at Yankee Stadium to avoid falling in a 3-1 series hole.
With Burnett on the mound, Jorge Posada is on the bench. Francisco Cervelli is Burnett's personal catcher, so the backup will be behind the plate for the first time this postseason. Also not an ideal situation for New York.
How will this all play out? Stay tuned...
AMERICAN LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES — GAME 4
TEXAS RANGERS at NEW YORK YANKEES
Gametime: 8:07 p.m.
TV: TBS Radio: WTNT-570 AM
Weather: Mostly clear, 55 degrees
RANGERS8:28 p.m. -- So far, so good for A.J. Burnett, who has retired all six batters faced through two innings. Burnett certainly has the Yankee Stadium crowd behind him. They've been on their feet every time he gets two strikes. Much different environment than last night, when the place emptied out in the later innings with the Rangers out in front.
SS Elvis Andrus
3B Michael Young
CF Josh Hamilton
DH Vladimir Guerrero
RF Nelson Cruz
2B Ian Kinsler
LF David Murphy
C Bengie Molina
1B Mitch Moreland
(P Tommy Hunter)
SS Derek Jeter
CF Curtis Granderson
1B Mark Teixeira
3B Alex Rodriguez
2B Robinson Cano
RF Nick Swisher
DH Lance Berkman
LF Brett Gardner
C Francisco Cervelli
(P A.J. Burnett)
8:44 p.m. -- Holy home run controversies, Batman! We just had two of them in a span of three batters! Robinson Cano belted one just off the top of the right-field fence, but a Yankee fan who looked mysteriously like a 20-something Jeffrey Maier interfered with Nelson Cruz attempting to catch the ball. At least, it looked close enough to interference to me that the play should have been reviewed. (MLB rules allow for instant replay to be used in exactly that type of situation.) Yet right field ump Jim Reynolds wouldn't allow it. Bizarre. I do think the homer would have stood up on review, because even though Cruz had a shot to catch it, the fan didn't appear to reach onto the field of play. Still, how can they not review that? It's exactly what the system was created for. Before anyone could get too upset over that call, though, Reynolds botched another one on Lance Berkman's drive down the right-field line. Reynolds called it fair and thus a home run. Replay clearly showed the ball was foul. Thankfully, the umps convened this time and looked at the replay, ultimately reversing the call. Whew, quite the bottom of the second there. At the end of all that, the Yankees lead 1-0.
9:11 p.m. -- No pitchers' duel here. This one has all the makings of a wild slugfest. It's 2-2 after three, and both starters have been shaky.
10:20 p.m. -- Yankees lead 3-2 after five incredibly loooooong innings (the NLCS game was almost over at this point) but they just suffered a big blow when Mark Teixeira pulled up lame running down the first base line. Looks like a significant right hamstring pull, the kind that typically lands a player on the DL. Which means Teixeira could be done for the rest of the postseason, a major blow. Yes, he was hitless in this series. But he's still New York's No. 3 hitter and a fantastic fielding first baseman. You don't just replace that, even with a $200 million payroll.
10:34 p.m. -- Never doubt Bengie Molina's ability to come up with a big home run against the Yankees in the postseason. Right after TBS showed a montage of previous Molina postseason homers vs. New York, the big guy struck again, tattooing a three-run shot down the left-field line. This came moments after Joe Girardi intentionally walked David Murphy, a move that backfired about as bad as any move can ever backfire. Just like that, Texas takes a 5-3 lead in the sixth.
11:02 p.m. -- You know all that talk about how much better the Yankees bullpen was than the Rangers' relief corps? Certainly hasn't been that way the last two nights. David Robertson, Boone Logan and Joba Chamberlain just slogged their way through the seventh inning, allowing two more Texas runs. Derek Holland, meanwhile, very quietly tossed 2 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of Tommy Hunter and now is in line to earn the win. Rangers lead 7-3 and are nine outs from taking a commanding (and stunning) 3-1 lead in this series.
11:50 p.m. -- The Texas bullpen sure wants to make this interesting, doesn't it? Three walks issued in the bottom of the eighth by Holland, O'Day and Rapada, loading the bases with one out and bringing the tying run to the plate. So who saved the day? Why, none other than 40-year-old Darren Oliver, who got Nick Swisher (after appearing to graze his pants with a pitch) to fly out and Lance Berkman to ground out. After a torturous inning, it's still 7-3 and now the Yankees are down to three outs.
12:12 a.m. -- That'll do it. The Rangers tack on three more runs, win 10-3 and incredibly will play tomorrow afternoon for the American League pennant. On another topic, this nine-inning game was completed in a breeze four hours and five minutes. Today's NLCS game, also nine innings, was completed in two hours and 39 minutes. Sorry, folks, but the senior circuit is so far superior to the junior circuit.