October 26, 2009
When appropriate, BLS reviews key decisions during the playoffs to see if the right move was made.
The Turning Point: Baseball's media gave the ALCS MVP award to CC Sabathia(notes) and it's hard to argue with what the big man accomplished. He had two victories in two starts against the Angels — Games 1 and 4 — with a 1.13 ERA in 16 innings. He had nine hits and three walks allowed with 12 strikeouts. OK, here's your trophy, CC.
A-Rod's the Man: Alex Rodriguez had a heck of a series against the Angels. Mr. Kate Hudson batted .429 with three homers, six RBIs and a 1.519 OPS over six games. He kept the Yankees alive for an eventual victory with an 11th-inning home run in Game 2. Rodriguez came through, or was walked, or both, almost every time the Yankees needed him to do something in the series against the Angels.
He completely reversed his reputation for stinking up the postseason — one that was misleading at best and a lie at worst. But Rodriguez has never performed like this in the playoffs, and never before had gotten to a World Series. Instead of inspiring dread, he has become the one Yankees fans can't wait to get to the dish. Remember the guy Joe Torre dropped to eighth in the order in the '06 playoffs? That guy is long gone.
Sí Sí, CC: Sabathia, too, made his playoff reputation do a 180. His postseason record, before this season, was dreadful — much worse than A-Rod's, actually. If you believe that starting pitching sets the tone — and it seemed to in Sabathia's starts — then he's the choice. He was waiting in the wings for Game 7, so even if the Angels had forced it to happen, how confident would they be staring Sabathia down? Probably not all that confident.
"I never had any doubt about me being able to perform on this stage and to pitch well late in October." — CC Sabathia
"It all started with Alex with the home runs, the game-tying home runs. The home runs that he hit in the seventh, the ninth or the 11th. We've had big players do big things. And that's why we got a chance to go to the World Series." — Joe Girardi
"I will say that in other postseasons I failed, and sometimes failed miserably. It certainly feels good to come through for my team and help the team win." — Alex Rodriguez.
Stew Verdict: Both are well paid, so we cry for neither, but both deserve a share of the Lee MacPhail (Andy's father) Trophy. Tell Nick Swisher(notes) to make himself useful, get a chainsaw, and rip that thing in two. Because sharing is caring, let's hand one piece to A-Rod, the other to CC and then let's start the World Series.