2011 NLDS/ALDS Diary – Day 2

Robinson Cano came up big for the Yankees with a grand slam home run and six RBIs, Yovani Gallardo was pretty much untouchable for the Brewers in their win over the Diamondbacks, Ryan Howard helped Roy Halladay find his groove again in Philadelphia while James Shields fell apart against the Rangers.

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It was always a matter of how good the Yankees rotation will be in the post season, and who does Girardi put after Sabathia. Well, not perfect, but Ivan Nova did well enough and better in the delayed game 1 New York Yankees 9-3 win over the Detroit Tigers, to take the lead in their series.

He pitched well into the ninth, and as long as the Yankees pitchers hold the fort, there’s enough batting power to beat anyone. Maybe even the Phillies, but we’ll get to them later. Robinson Cano was the designated Bronx bomber of the night, hitting a grand slam home run in the sixth and also two doubles, including the one that gave the Yankees the first score of the night, breaking away from the 1-1 leftovers. The MVP candidate (although I believe it’ll be Granderson’s eventually) finished with six RBIs, trying a club record for RBIs in a postseason game.

Next up are Freddy Garcia for the Yankees, who is 0-1 with a 5.14 ERA this season against the Tigers, dueling with Max Scherzer, winning both of his starts against New York this season. The Yankees should hope Garcia shows up the way he did in his last regular season appearance – six strong innings, not allowing any runs, in a 9-1 win over the Red Sox.

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In Milwaukee, you knew Ian Kennedy had to get past Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun. That’s pretty much the entire Brewers offense, while Kennedy, a 21 game winner this season in the NL, is the pitching hope for the Diamondbacks. Allowing that 2 run homer in the 7th to Fielder combined with Yovani Gallardo continuing his regular season form, too much for Arizona.

Kennedy didn’t get any help from his manager, Kirk Gibson, with a few odd decisions that probably cost him the game. Braun and Fielder combined for 5-8 with 2 RBIs.

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Everything went so well for James Shields against the Rangers this season and for the first three innings. Then it all fell apart in the fourth, and Shields, not living up to his ‘big game’ nickname. He gave up only one run in his 17 innings against Texas this season, extending it to 20. He left the game in the sixth, with 7 earned runs to his name, not managing any out in the sixth.

For the Rangers, it was Mike Napoli’s 4th inning with a two RBI single that tied up the game, paving the way to tie up the series. Mitch Moreland hit a home run in the eighth as the Rays made voices of coming back. Darren Oliver, Mike Adams and Neftali Feliz did a great job in closing out the game.

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Roy Halladay, unlike Shields, had a rough time his first three innings, but finished very strong, allowing 3 hits in 8 innings pitched, retiring 21 consecutive hitters before leaving the game.

He was buoyed, like the entire Phillies team, by Ryan Howard, who else, with a huge three run home run in the sixth, giving the Phillies their first lead of the game, never letting go. Kyle Lohse fell apart and the bullpen couldn’t stop the flood as the Phillies finished with a 11-6 win, softened by late scoring hits from Chambers and Schumaker.