From either side.
I have mixed feelings about last night’s outcome. On the one hand, the Yanks have always hit Colon well (A-Rod teed off against him in his 3-HR game in April), so I wasn’t entirely surprised to lose a game that he started. On the other hand, he did settle down and keep the game to four runs, and the Angels couldn’t come up with much.
I think Mussina deserves a fair bit of the credit for that; he looked sharp and poised. There’s something about him that never seems to inspire deep admiration in me — I find him to be a solid pitcher, though unexciting. But that was what the Yanks needed last night. In particular, he tamed Figgins and Guerrero, which is key.
There were a couple of moments during the game that were pure Angels, most notably the ninth-inning steal by Vlad, which resulted in a run when Darin Erstad drove him in. I don’t know how that guy moves — he’s got to have the most awkward gait of any base stealer I’ve ever seen. And then there was his sixth inning caught stealing, which looked to me like a blown hit-and-run — since Erstad swung and Vlad was out by a mile. A friend watching the game with me commented that it was probably a bad play with Leiter pitching, seeing as Leiter can miss by a foot on any given pitch. Oh well, that’s the Angels.
Anyway, I’m not fretting about tonight. I’m a little concerned by the lack of scoring last night, since that’s been a problem for the Halos all year. But I was pleased that a) the pitching was mostly solid, as it should be (Shields looked great to me once again, though Sheffield’s shot scared me), and that they got a run off Mariano. That’s good for morale, as there’s going to be at least one one-run game in this series.
And remember, the Angels lost the first game of all three series in their 2002 postseason. (Then again, they also lost game one of the ALDS last year, followed by games two and three.) But I’d expect a win tonight, and for this to go down to five.
Oh yeah, and what was Scioscia thinking putting Erstad in the five-spot behind Vlad? Granted, that spot’s been a rotating dead zone all year, but it made a lot more sense to put Molina there as has been the case for the latter part of the season. Erstad may have drove in Vlad in the 9th, but the dude strikes out way more than his output justifies.