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David Brown

CC Sabathia, A-Rod play as they're paid, dominate Angels

David Brown
Big League Stew

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Score and situation: Yankees 10, Angels 1 New York leads series, 3-1

Leading lads: Alex Rodriguez(notes) is locked in, hitting his fifth home run in seven playoff games, a two-run shot in the fifth to give the Yanks a 5-0 lead. Once known as a postseason dud, A-Rod has collected at least one RBI in eight straight playoff games — tying Lou Gehrig (the "Iron Horse") and Ryan Howard(notes) (the "Big Piece") for the major league record. He also ran the bases well, sprinting home on a grounder to second and tagging up from second base on a fly ball — which prompted a bad throw from the outfield, allowing him to score an insurance run in the ninth.

Also, thumbs up to manager Joe Girardi (who was tweaked for his many pitching decisions in Game 3) for using CC Sabathia(notes) on three days' rest. In a huge game (the Yankees did not want to let the Angels lock up the series 2-2) he went with his ace, who delivered. Eight IP, five H, ER, 2 BB, 5 K.

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Head hangers: These playoffs have been marked by more controversial umpires calls than any other in memory and Tim McClelland beat them all with the worst call in the history of bad calls. Mike Napoli(notes) tagged two Yankees runners who were off the third-base bag, but only one was called out because ... eh. Eh? And this came on the heels of two other horrendous calls, including another by McClelland on Nick Swisher's(notes) not-so-premature tag from third base on a sacrifice fly.

Oh, and Jorge Posada(notes) had a miserable time running the bases — failing to go halfway on a ball hit off the wall in left center — and only advancing 90 feet on a double. In a later inning on defense, he also forgot how many outs there were. It might have been because he was high on White Out fumes from painting his nails so Sabathia could see his fingers for the signs.

Key play: Melky Cabrera(notes) broke a team-wide 0-for-26 streak with runners in scoring position with a two-run single to put the Yanks up 3-0 in the fourth. The Melkman still delivers.

Key stat: Sabathia — 101 pitches in eight innings. Angels' lefty Scott Kazmir(notes) — 90 in four.

What they're talking about: Everyone would be talking about how A-Rod is the best postseason player since Reggie Jackson were it not for the very human (poor) umpiring going on. The heck with more replay. Bring on the robot umps!

What they're saying:

"I certainly feel free and liberated. It's the happiest I've felt in a long time. There’s no profound answer. This is just a great team." — A-Rod

What's next: The Rally Monkey hangs on the back of John Lackey(notes), who holds the whole Angels season in his hands against A.J. Burnett(notes) when the series resumes with Game 5 on Thursday.

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