Jered Weaver started Game 3 of the ALCS and is scheduled to pitch Game 7 if the series goes that far, but with all hands on deck Thursday night, the lanky right-hander responded with a dominant 1-2-3 eighth inning out of the bullpen.
10/23/2009 10:19 AM ET
Jered Weaver to the rescue
Angels starter pitches in for Game 5 relief outing
Weaver struck out Melky Cabrera, got Jorge Posada on a come-backer to the mound and struck out Derek Jeter. Eleven pitches, two strikeouts.
"He was pretty fired up," starting pitcher John Lackey told the Los Angeles Times. "It's kind of fun for starters. We don't get to cut it loose very often. When you're out there for one inning, you find a little more velocity than normal."
"I'm so happy for him," Fuentes said. "He lived for that moment. His stuff was unbelievable."
Hunter ready for snow, hail, wet and soggy: Facing elimination in Game 5 of the ALCS, the Angels jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning, allowed six runs in the seventh inning then rallied for three in the bottom of the inning to escape with a 7-6 win.
"Man, that was intense," Torii Hunter told the Los Angeles Times. "My heart was pounding -- it was going Lamborghini fast. This game is driving me crazy. I've got a headache, but I know the fans are getting their money's worth."
This brings the series back to New York for Game 6 on Saturday night, where the forecast called for a 90 percent chance of rain, although forecasters said temperatures weren't expected to be as cold as they were for Games 1 and 2 on the East Coast.
"Man, it could be two degrees, snowing and hailing, and we'll play," said Hunter, who had two hits, two RBIs and two runs scored, including the game-winner. "It's going to be wet. It's going to be soggy. I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be exciting."
Guerrero continues to shine in postseason: Vladimir Guerrero's productive postseason continued on Thursday night with a two-out RBI single in the seventh inning, which scored the tying run. Guerrero, who has a team-leading 11 hits in the postseason, is batting .333 (11 for 33) with six RBIs.
"The main thing is to see the ball and hit the ball hard," Guerrero, through an interpreter, told the Orange County Register. "I don't know how far back [this postseason], but I stopped thinking about the home run. I think I've gone to cutting my swing down more.
"I've learned contact is also good, especially in those situations [like the seventh inning Thursday]. ... I was pulling off the ball earlier in the playoffs. The first few games, I was swinging too much for the home run. Now, if the situations call for me to get a base hit -- that's good for me and even better for the team."
Lidge's postseason doesn't surprise Madson: Ryan Madson knew all along that Brad Lidge would be fine come the playoffs. So far, he's been right. Lidge is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in the postseason.
"He's a guy you can trust when the game is on the line, and that's what our team wants, and that's what our team needs in the ninth inning," Madson told MLB.com. "We're all happy to have him back and put everybody back in our slots where they're comfortable. We're very fortunate to have him back throwing the ball well at this time."
Sabathia not ready for a repeat: CC Sabathia has experienced firsthand how hard it is to hold a lead in the ALCS. In 2007, his Cleveland Indians built a 3-1 lead against Boston before the Red Sox stormed back to win the final three games of the series to advance to the World Series.
"You can't take anything for granted," Sabathia told the New York Daily News. "We were feeling pretty good at that point and we couldn't get it done. We have to try to wrap it up as soon as possible. You can get comfortable, and you can get complacent. There's no room for that at this point in the year."
Lee will see familiar faces in World Series: After spending the first seven-plus years of his career in Cleveland, Cliff Lee will be familiar with his World Series opponents whether they're Angels or Yankees.
"I don't know if that gives me an advantage or not," Lee told MLB.com. "I do have some experience against those teams, but they also have some experience facing me, too. You've still got to make pitches. If you miss over the plate, you'll get hit whether you've faced the team or not. You've still got to locate and mix speeds and make them earn their way."
Jeter able to overcome sickness: Despite temperatures close to 80 degrees, Derek Jeter was wearing a hooded sweatshirt during batting practice on Wednesday. Jeter did so because he is ill. He didn't feel well on Monday and hasn't quite kicked whatever bug he has.
"He has been [sick]," manager Joe Girardi told Newsday. "I noticed it on Monday. And he was pretty sick. He was still pretty sick [Tuesday]. I'm hoping that he feels better, but it didn't seem to affect him Monday. That's just the type of player that Derek is. He's tough."
Jeter was on the field Thursday night for Game 5, had one hit, and didn't seem hampered by the illness.
Werth likes being part of new tradition in Philly: Jayson Werth likes being a part of the new tradition of baseball success in Philadelphia.
"I was in a unique situation coming here to really see a transformation on both ends -- not only the organization, but the fans and the city," Werth told MLB.com. "I feel like I was here for the old Philly and the old Phillies, and I'm here for the new Philly and the new Phillies."
Damon turns the corner in ALCS: Johnny Damon is having a lot more fun in the ALCS than he did in the Division Series. Damon started the ALCS 6-for-21 with two home runs and three RBIs before going 1-for-5 on Thursday night in Game 5.
"I understand the slumps," Damon told the New York Daily News. "The thing is, it didn't cost us, fortunately. I understand what kind of player I am. I know I'm pretty good, and I can't doubt that. You have to go in with that positive attitude saying that you could get the job done."
Pujols provides update to fans on elbow: After having undergone a procedure to remove bone spurs from his right elbow, Albert Pujols issued a statement, which was reprinted in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, updating his fan base.
"I want to thank all of my fans who reached out to the Pujols Family Foundation wishing me well. I have said throughout my whole career the best fans in the world are right here in St. Louis, and your support means a great deal to me and my family," he wrote.
"Yesterday, I flew down to Alabama accompanied by our team physician, Dr. Paletta, to meet with Dr. Andrews for a checkup on my elbow. After their evaluation, they determined that my ligament was completely healthy and there were a few bone spurs that were causing my discomfort during the season. Can't wait to see you all in Jupiter, and God bless."
DeJesus sees confidence pay off: After a slow start top 2009, David DeJesus batted .309 and had 50 of his 71 RBIs across 91 games after June 9.
"All those little things that me and [hitting coach Kevin Seitzer] were working on were coming about -- at the plate and just my overall game," DeJesus told MLB.com. "It's one of those things: When you feel confident, you play better, and I think that's what happened for me."
Braves find a second baseman in Prado: The Braves have moved Martin Prado to the top of the depth chart at second base.
"I think we watched Martin Prado become our everyday second baseman in the second half," general manager Frank Wren told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "and I think that going into Spring Training, there's no reason to think anything's changed.
"He earned the playing time he got," Wren said, "and right now I don't think anything in that regard is going to change."
Players find Dodgers' loss tough to swallow: It will take some time for the Dodgers players to get past losing to the Phillies in the NLCS in two consecutive seasons.
"It's more disappointing this year than last year in that we felt we were more prepared this year," Andre Ethier told the Los Angeles Times.
"Two years in a row, getting beat by the same team," Matt Kemp said, shaking his head. "We're all heartbroken right now. Not to make it all the way, we're definitely teasing ourselves."
-- Red Line Editorial