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Archive for August 10th, 2011

(In addition to appearing at The Captain’s Blog, this post is also being syndicated atTheYankeeAnalysts.)

Bobby Abreu’s game winning home run off Mariano Rivera was shocking for two reasons. Not only has the great Rivera been seldomly beaten by the long ball (64 surrendered since 1995), but Abreu entered the game with only four round trippers all season. As John Sterling would say, you can’t predict baseball.

Granderson looks dejectedly after his caught stealing thwarted a potential Yankees' comeback (Photo: AP).

If the events in the top of the ninth were surprising, only a gaping mouth could describe what happened in the bottom half. With Mark Teixeira at the plate as the winning run, Curtis Granderson was picked off first by Jordan Walden. Adding insult to injury, Granderson was fooled by one of the oldest tricks in the book: the much maligned fake-to-third/throw-to-first. After two failed attempts to catch Granderson, Walden’s third try proved to be a charm as the Yankees’ centerfielder guessed wrong and left on the right hander’s first move. The result was a caught stealing and the Yankees left to wonder what might have been.

Although Joe Girardi tried to defend the move as an aggressive attempt to tie the game, there was no justification for Granderson’s blunder. Considering the risk, as well as Teixeira’s propensity for extra base hits (50 of 107 hits have been for extra bases), the advantage of Granderson advancing to second, particularly with two strikes already on the batter, was minimal. Nonetheless, because it was just a regular season game (although, should the Yankees lose the wild card to the Angels, the play will take on added infamy), and, more importantly, Granderson has played so well all season, the lapse in judgment was relatively overlooked after the game. Just imagine, however, if the error was committed in a much more important game…like game seven of the World Series?

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