Big Ben Yankee Playoff Special – ALCS Game 3 Diary

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Bronx, NY: The New York Yankees vs the Houston Astros in Game 3, as it happened. With their backs against the wall, it’s a must-win for the Yanks. Let’s get to it.

7:15: The wife is out and but I somehow manage to get my twin ten month old girls down without much of a fight. And the Yankees think coming back from two games to none is hard.

7:30: I had a bowl of lentil soup with kale my wife made. It wasn’t bad, but I suggested next time she try meat and cheese instead of kale and lentils. I’ll be cooking tomorrow night.

Who you calling big bodied?

1st Inning

8:08: Right after being told the Astros’ outfield is zero for twenty one or something, George Springer grounds out on the first pitch. Let’s have 26 more of those.

8:10: Joe Buck lets us know C.C. Sabathia is “big bodied.” Thanks Joe, most insightful. C.C. strikes out the next two. I’d better refrain from bagging on Buck if I want to keep this to fewer than four million words. He probably won’t make any Harvey Weinstein jokes at least.

8:18: Astros’ pitcher Charlie Morton is a “knockaround guy” according to Buck.  I don’t know about that, but I’m glad he’s not named Verlander or Keuchel. Why do I feel like a steak?

8:21: We learn that Matt Holiday has to grow out his hair because he hit fewer home runs than Brett Gardner. Good luck with that Matt.

8:23: Gardner strikes out and then Judge K’s on three pitches. Shocking. Didi Gregorious drops a beautiful bunt but then immediately gets picked off. He got stuck in the mud and didn’t make it to first. If George were still alive the head groundskeeper would already be fired. Not an awesome inning.

2nd Inning

8:28: Remember when Randy Moss pantomimed mooning after a touchdown and Joe Buck reacted as if he’d whipped it out ? I hate that guy, did I mention that? C.C. strikes out two around a two out walk to Evan Gattis and looks sharp.

Joe Buck is still pissed

8:38: Gary Sanchez strikes out. We’re still in commercial, but I’m trying to get a head start. While we’re waiting, did you guys see that Austin Sefarian Jenkins touchdown reversal yesterday? Brutal. Note to NFL, a fumble is when you drop the ball.

8:40: Sanchez flies out, I was wrong. But Greg Bird strikes out in his place. The Yankees are swinging at the wrong pitches again. Starlin Castro follows with a swinging bunt hit. Please don’t get picked off. Aaron Hicks picks up the team’s third cheap hit with a blooper to center. Todd Frazier follows with an end-of-the bat, one handed, Yankee Stadium Special home run. Hard luck for Morton, 3-0 Yankees.

8:45: Chase Headley gets grazed in the pants but the ump misses it. Joe Girardi challenges the call. If he wins it will totally make up for that non-challenge in Cleveland. Girardi does not win, even though there was way more evidence to overturn than the Sefarian-Jenkins play. Headley lines out. The Yankees are getting nothing from the DH spot. They should just let C.C. hit.

3rd Inning

8:57: After a two out walk and single, the ‘Stros have two on with Jose Altuve up. I hate this little pr!ck. Which is to say I respect the hell out of him. Altuve walks, based loaded. Yikes. But Correa pops out and C.C. escapes.

9:11: Gardner flies out and Judge walks. The league sent a memo that Judge is six foot seven and the ump finally doesn’t call the low strike. Walks are Judge’s main contribution these days. Didi reaches on another infield single, Altuve makes a great diving stop but the throw to first pulls Gonzalez off the bag. AJ Hinch challenges, already the second challenge in the game. Hinch wins the challenge on a crap call and Didi is out. The Yankees attempt at starting another rally without hitting the ball hard is hampered. Sanchez grounds out and the inning is over.

Greatness awaits…

4th Inning

9:18: Buck interviews Justin Verlander. His ass kissing is interrupted as Judge makes a great catch smashing against the wall on a drive by Marwin Gonzalez. I take back what I said last inning. Several “they’d better check on the wall” jokes, including one by the ump, make no one laugh. I assume John Smoltz was supposed to ask Verlander a question or two but they don’t have time, thanks to a quick one two three inning by C.C.. Buck laments the fact that his ass kissing session is cut short. Verlander credits steroids mid-season adjustments for his resurgence. They were supposed to talk about Verlander’s hurricane relief efforts, but Buck sucks up all the time sucking up. He sucks.

9:22: Bird hits a bloop double down the line that Cameron Maybin probably could have caught. Another soft hit for the Yanks. Castro grounds out and Hicks hits a sacrifice fly that looked like a homer for sure. After Frazier walks, it’s up to Headley. He fouls off another inside curve ball early in the count, which has now happened 712 times this post season. It might be time for an adjustment. Headley grounds one slowly up the middle, no play for Altuve, 4-0 Yanks. The Yankees only hard hit ball in this game was Hicks’ sac fly knocked down by the wind. Even Frazier’s homer was an out in most parks. Gardner is hit by a pitch, no need for review on that one. Judge is up with the bases loaded. The fans are not the only thing rising. We’ll have to wait as Hinch goes to the pen. The knockaround guy deserved a better result.

Big guy little guy MVP race

9:47: Will Harris comes in to face Judge and his wild pitch brings in Frazier, 5-0 Yanks. Gattis’s attempt to catch it was Sanchezian. Judge connects with a liner to left that just clears the wall, 8-0 Yankees.  Two back-of-the-wall scraping, three run homers for the Yanks. Line drives are the way to get it out tonight, not up in the wind. Smoltz questions the choice to go with a fast ball over the curve with a base open and Judge’s propensity to chase. Harris hasn’t been watching this series, apparently. A ridiculous play by Atluve on Didi ends the inning. The Yanks will go for the mercy rule in the fifth.

5th Inning

9:57: Can Sabathia get through five? This is probably his last inning. Just as I’m wondering if the Yankees will get greedy and try to save some of their big bullpen arms with an eight run lead, C.C. walks the leadoff guy. A 3-2 slider with an eight run lead makes perfect sense. Judge makes a diving catch coming in on a sinking liner by Maybin. The AL MVP candidates are showing off the leather. The play looms larger after a single by Springer. CC’s pitches are all up right now, he might be getting tired. Alex Bregman flies out and Altuve grounds out. Great job by Sabathia.

10:06: We’re halfway through and I’m already passing 1,100 words. Sorry Matts. A quick check on the Titans Colts – oh wait I don’t care at all. But Jon Gruden refers to Marcus Mariota’s hamstring six times in the 30 seconds before I change it back.

10:08: Collin McHugh comes in and gets the Yanks in order. I’m pretty sure Buck called Castro “Starling.” I’m not sure who’s coming out to pitch the sixth, but it better not be Dellin Betances.

10:13: In the break we see a highlight of Justin Turner’s walk off. Is he part lion? Didn’t the Mets used to have him?

6th Inning

10:14: C.C. is still in the game and gives up a leadoff single to Correa. There was a cool story of Evan Gattis’s perseverance mixed in this inning. Google it, I’m at 1,200 words. C.C. gets the next two but Didi slips on a grounder and throws it over Bird’s head. Chad Greene is ready, but Girardi let’s C.C. finish the inning on a J.J. Reddick comebacker. At 99 pitches, that’s gotta be it for C.C.. The big body is crushing it this post season and Yankees’ management can’t wait to overpay him this winter.

10:28: The Yanks go quietly. Smoltz and Buck debate tomorrow’s starting pitcher for the Astros. None of the names are the least bit intimidating, I think one was Peacock. Sonny Gray needs to come up big.

7th Inning

10:36: Adam Warren comes in. The Yanks are trying to save the big bullpen guns, but Warren will have a short leash. Maybin walks to start the frame. The spike in Girardi’s blood pressure signals Chad Green to get back up. But Warren recovers and gets the next three batters.

10:49: Top of the order for the Yankees. Brett Gardner’s grandmother, Ms. Punky Russell, is celebrating a birthday today. Happy Birthday Punky! This must be a blowout. Yanks go down in order.

The Toddfather likes the short porch

8th Inning

10:58: Anyone mind if I wrap this up here? It’s 11 pm and I’m at 1,400 words. I guess I’ve got to finish now.  Yankee fans treat us to the thirtieth “M.V.P.” chant, presumably for Judge, not Altuve. Warren is still in and he gives up two long outs, which might have been homers on another night, and a foul out. Betances is warming because… I don’t know, Girardi is bored?

11:08: Yankees get a Bird walk and nothing else. McHugh is pitching well, maybe they should have had him start Game 4.

9th Inning

11:18: Dellin is in for a tune up inning. There’s a 50 percent chance the Yanks will need to bring someone else in to finish. Four pitch walk. Why Joe why? Yankee fans erupt as Betances gets a strike call. Joe Bucks says “literally a Bronx cheer.” Are there people out there who like this guy? Betances threatens to not walk Derek Fisher, but comes through on a 3-2 pitch. Two on, no outs. Girardi kicks Larry Rothschild in the shin and then brings in Tommy Kahnle. I should be watching the thrilling finish of the Colts game by now. I gotta know how Mariota’s hamstring is holding up.

11:24: A-Rod, Big Papi, Keith Hernandez, and Frank Thomas are ready to go! I’d rather watch Holliday’s hair grow.

Houston’s Game 4 starter?

11:26: I sure hope this is my last entry. Base hit, and the bases are loaded for the top of the order. How long until Aroldis Chapman gets up? Good call Joe. Kahnle gets an out then walks in a run. Altuve could pull the ‘Stros within three with one swing. Instead he grounds into a double play to end it.

A very nice win for the Yanks. The offense got going and the biggest bullpen guns are locked and loaded. Aaron Judge rose and Sabathia is 10-0 this season after a Yankee loss. They were both huge tonight.

Come back tomorrow for Angry Ward, who promised to top my word count. Happy Birthday again to Punky! Follow us on Twitter at @benwhit, @MeetTheMatts, @Matt_McCarthy00, Instagram @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook page, Meet The Matts.

 

 

 

 

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About the Author ()

Ben Whitney comes from journalistic stock. Aside from his brothers, rumor has that his great-great grandfather was the youngest brother of Eli Whitney and covered the earliest “rounders” games. Big Ben is also another New York Rugby Club player/pal of Different Matt, Short Matt and Junoir Blaber. He likes film noir discussions, has twin girls and took up ice hockey after retiring from rugby.

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