Friday, October 23, 2009

History Repeating?

This series is over. It's 2004 all over again. Congratulations to the Angels." - tweet by John O'Connell aka JackO made famous by his regular appearances on the BS Report with Bill Simmons.

Now it might be a little early to be saying the series is lost for the Yankees, especially since they have a 3-2 series lead and are head back to New York, but Yankees fans have seen this all before.

Who can forget 2004 when the Yankees were up 3-0 to the Red Sox and thought they had the series in the bag only to have the rug swept from under the feet and lose in four straight? For this reason Yankees fans have a reason to be pessimistic.

Whenever you have an opponent down you need to finish them off. The more you let teams hang around the more they start to believe that they can win and the more hope they have and in the world of sports there is nothing more dangerous than belief and hope.

The Yankees had the Angels down and out. They had chased John Lackey from the game and had proceeded to score 6 runs off of reliever Darren Oliver. A 6-4 lead heading into the bottom of the 7th inning seemed like enough to hold out and win but in sports, especially with the Yankees, nothing is over until its over.

AJ Burnett, one of the Yankees big off-season acquisitions, could not get out of the 7th. Burnett proceeded to give up a single to Jeff Mathis and then walked the #9 hitter Erick Aybar after getting ahead 0-2 . Walking the #9 hitter is bad enough but doing it after getting ahead 0-2 is unforgivable. Burnett was pulled for Damaso Marte who would go on to get 2 outs in exchange for 1 run.

So the Yankees were up 6-5 and were 4 outs away from winning the American League Pennant and going to the World Series. Seem familiar? Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS only 3 outs away from the World Series and Mariano Rivera on the mound holding onto a 4-3 lead. Yankees fans everywhere must have been feeling sick as what they saw next had to remind them of the worst moment in the history of their franchise.

Phil Hughes was brought in from the bullpen. The highly touted 8th inning stopper. A pitcher that had been moved from the starting rotation to the bullpen who had turned into one of the most dominant set up men in baseball. Hughes starts by walking Torii Hunter which means he will pitch to Vladimir Guerrero. Hughes tries to elevate a fastball but Vlad is all over it and singles bringing home the tying run.

The next batter Kendry Morales would single home the go ahead, and eventually winning, run and force a Game 6 back in New York.

The loss last night means that since Game 4 of the fateful 2004 ALCS, the Yankees have lost four of the 12 games in which they were nine outs or fewer from a postseason win -- including three of the four times they were that close to winning the series. Not a good stat if you're a Yankees fan.

So how are the 2004 series and the 2009 series similar?

Well there is the obvious similarity between both the Red Sox and the Angels coming from behind to win crucial games.

It must also be noted that both the Sox and the Angels were/are considered teams of destiny.

In the case of the Red Sox they were a scrappy bunch of guys who no one really believed in but were determined to break the 'Curse of the Bambino' and end the woes of Red Sox nation. They succeeded and won a championship for a fan base that can be called die hard and did it by beating the hated Yankees.

In the case of the Angels it was all about fallen teammate Nick Adenhart who was tragically killed in a car accident after being struck by a drunk driver. The Angles have used his loss as a motivational tool as they want to win for Adenhart in their attempt to honor his memory.

Having said that I still think the Yankees take the series (I hate myself so much right no after writing that). The Yankees have the better team and will play the final 2 games at home where they went 57-24 during the regular season.

Also if the series goes to Game 7 then the Angels will have to face Carbs and Calories Sabathia who has been lights out the entire playoffs posting a 3-0 record with a 1.19 ERA.

So as much as I would love to see another Yankees collapse (and I will be rooting for that) I don’t think the Angels have it in them. They just aren’t the 2004 Red Sox.

Random YouTube Video

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