5. C.C. Sabathia Wins The AL Cy Young Award
2. Tribe Takes Out The YankeesOctober 8
It's one of baseball's time-tested truths: Good pitching beats good hitting.
Throughout the late 1990s, the Yankees were the team proving it with a pitching staff that consistently came up big in October. The Indians, with great hitting and just enough pitching to get by, were the perennial bridesmaids.
In 2007, the roles were reversed as an Indians club with some of the best pitching in baseball squared off with the mash-happy, pitching-poor Yankees in the American League Division Series.
In Game 1, C.C. Sabathia offered some foreshadowing to what would be a difficult October, needing 114 pitches to get through five innings. But his outing was a study in bend-but-don't-break, as he snuffed out a New York rally in the top of the fifth and handed the offense a 4-3 lead for the bottom half of the inning.
The offense paid C.C. back, touching up Yankee starter Chien-Ming Wang for five runs in the bottom of the fifth, turning a tight game into what ended as a 12-3 rout. LeBron James, who attended Game 1 to "represent for the Yankees," had disappeared from Jacobs Field by the later innings.
Game 2 will be remembered not just for the spectacular pitching duel between Fausto Carmona and Andy Pettitte, but for a swarm of so-called "Canadian Soldiers," the mosquito-like insects also known as "midges" and "muckleheads," descending upon Jacobs Field in the final innings. Like an Egyptian plague in the time of Moses, the bugs swarmed Yankee reliever Joba Chamberlain, leading to one of the more hysterical moments of the baseball season as New York trainers doused Chamberlain with bug spray on the mound.
The spray didn't help Chamberlain, who threw a pair of pitches past Yankee catcher Jorge Posada, the second of which allowed Grady Sizemore to scamper home with the tying run in the eighth inning. A bases-loaded RBI single by Travis Hafner in the 11th inning gave the Indians a 2-1 win.
In Game 3 at Yankee Stadium, New York gained the upper hand in the pitching department for one of the few times in the series when Phil Hughes relieved an ineffective Roger Clemens, allowing the Yankee offense time to break through against starter Jake Westbrook and the Indians bullpen for seven runs in the fifth and sixth innings. The Yankees won, 8-4.
In Game 4, Paul Byrd was at his mystifying best, using an array of his best off-speed stuff to hold the Yankees to two runs through five innings. New York chipped away with solo tallies in the sixth, seventh and ninth innings, but Joe Borowski managed to nail down a white-knuckle save for the 6-4 series clincher, and the Indians eliminated the Yankees for the second time in three postseason meetings.
The victory in Game 4 improved the Indians' all-time postseason record against the Yankees to 8-7.