An enormous ice chest, full of beer, was alongside a concrete wall just outside the visiting clubhouse at Angel Stadium tonight. It wasn't hard to imagine that any champagne bottles, intended to go on ice with that beer, never made it inside.
But it was close. Nine outs away close.
"Well, we've got another game Saturday,'' Joe Girardi said more than once after the Angels' 7-6 victory, one ore of those stunning, edge-of-your-seat October games. But let's get to the decisions.
At the time, we wondered why Scioscia had more faith in Darren Oliver (though fully understanding why you'd want to turn Tex around) over Lackey with the season on the line.
And we also wondered why Joba wasn't coming into the game in the 7th, after the long six-run inning where Burnett cooled down.
First, Joba. It's reasonable to think Girardi has lost confidence in him, or else why not attempt to use the Chamberlain-Hughes-Rivera for the 7th, 8th and 9th?
Joba was warmed and ready. But, "because (A.J.'s) pitch count was low (80), (and) he felt great, we stuck with him,'' Girardi said.
As for Lackey, Scioscia said his heart said to leave him in. "My head said, 'Let's try to turn Tex around,' '' Scioscia said. "(Lackey) might have had enough to get Tex out...Obviously it didn't work.''
Phil Hughes said he wasn't down on himself for the big hits he gave up, blaming location over stuff. Jorge Posada backed him up, talking about Vlad Guerrero's game-tying, "seeing eye'' hit that bounced through the middle.
And maybe the Burnett-Molina experiment ended tonight, even though Burnett righted himself after giving up four runs in the span of five batters in the first. It's plainly obvious that the Yanks need all the offense they can get, and Molina has only batted three times in two ALCS starts.
Well, the Yankees are headed to the airport as we speak, with Girardi mulling an optional workout. The Angels will work here at 9 a.m., and fly to New York immediately afterward.
See you at Game 6, in the Bronx.