Reflections on Game 6

So they head to a game 6 Saturday evening at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.  These Yankees and Angels are making the Phillies wait to see who they will get come Wednesday.  For the time being we continue to enjoy the drama, expectations and unexpected of this American League Championship Series.

Perhaps the managers, Joe Girardi and Mike Scioscia could have had better judgment as to who belonged on the mound, in particular the questions about the way Girardi continues to use his bullpen, and as to how Scioscia let the Yankees briefly take control again in game 6 after lifting his starter John Lackey.

If Nick Swisher drives in a run or two Thursday night, with the bases loaded in the ninth, the Phillies would be preparing for a trip to the Bronx instead of the Angels continuing the drama.  We have had it all in the ALCS and if the weather cooperates, there certainly is more to come Saturday night in the Bronx.

And then there is the factor of these umpires, now under considerable scrutiny with their horrible decision making process.  Perhaps one or two calls go to the advantage of the Yankees and it is Phillies against the Yankees.  The controversy surrounding the umpires left no impact on the final outcome that has led us to this point.

What we are left with is opening more questions to expand the instant replay rule for post season baseball games. It certainly is worth consideration based on the events of the last few days. And give or take a few more minutes, more replay rulings wont delay the game any more than what it is now.

The guys who review and evaluate these umpires sit in a press box or behind home plate at various stadiums during the course of a 162 game season.  They, too watch the replays like we do at home.  Some evaluations are accurate, and others try not to be so critical because of friendships formed over the years.

But that is an issue that the silent commissioner of baseball, Bud Selig must review. A merit and evaluation system of umpires obviously can’t be acceptable to the managers, players, and those with a rooting interest. They all deserve better this time of year with so much on the line.

You watch this Yankees-Angels battle with fans of the Yankees. They also scrutinize every move that Girardi makes. More so after game 3 when Girardi removed David Robertson for Alfredo Aceves with two outs, which ultimately put the Angeles back in the series

They, the Yankee fans says Swisher is an abomination and should not be in the lineup  with one run batted through eight games this postseason, 3-for-29 with 10 strikeouts  Yet they forget. Girardi has faith in his player that drove in 82 runs and hit 29 homers during the season.

And tthe drama of how the Yankees have become so dependable on their ace, CC Sabathia and the revival of Alex Rodriguez and his postseason bat. They are two viable candidates for ALCS Most Valuable Player honors, if indeed these Yankees wrap this up the next few days.

Yes this has been an interesting and complex ALCS, as was expected. And sure there is every right to critique the managers and umpires from events of the past week.  But we don’t play the game like they do. We don’t make the calls on the field, and we certainly have no experience making hasty and crucial decisions from a dugout like Girardi and Scioscia.

Game 6 and possibly a game 7 on the horizon, and if there is a final and decisive game, how many Yankee fans will talk more about the 2004 Yankees 3-0 advantage that was lost to the Red Sox?

e-mail Rich Mancuso: [email protected]

About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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