Monday, November 2, 2009

Yankees Jump on Phils; Take 3-1 Lead

If the Phillies feared any scenario after they split in New York it has to be this one. The match ups favored the Yankees and while the Phillies had their chances to swing momentum in their favor they could not capitalize.

On Sunday night the Phillies decided it would be wise to throw Joe Blanton instead of Cliff Lee. Their logic? Lee has never had to throw on three days rest. Well, while there is an unknown factor as to what you can expect from Lee doing something he had never done there is also the fact that this is the World Series and your team is in a 2-1 hole. If there ever was a time to start on three days rest Sunday night would have been the night to find out if Lee could handle it or not. I would rather have Lee at 80 percent against the Yanks than a 100 percent Joe Blanton any day of the week.

But Charlie Manuel went with Blanton with the hope he could stifle the Yankees as he had the Rays in 2008. The plan didn't quite work out that way. Blanton pitched well enough, but not well enough to match CC Sabathia on three days rest. Sabathia struggled through the Phillie lineup for the second straight start. He had trouble with his command and each inning seemed like a battle for him, but if it wasn't for Chase Utley he might have walked away with an easy victory.

After the Yankees jumped out to a quick two-run lead in the top of the first, Shane Victorino blooped a double to shallow left and the Utley ripped a bullet off of the right centerfield wall. Sabathia would give up the tying run in the fourth when Ryan Howard singled and stole second with no throw. Pedro Feliz would tie the game for the first time when he ripped a bullet at Johnny Damon. Initially it looked as though Howard touched the plate, but further replays showed that all 6'4" 203 lbs. of him missed the plate.

The Yankees responded the next inning. Swisher worked a four pitch walk and when Melky Cabrera grounded a ball up the middle Chase Utley attempted a highlight reel double play by flipping the ball to Jimmy Rollins with his glove. He could have easily got the force out at second, cutting of a potential big inning for the Yankees, but instead he flipped the ball ten feet in the air and the Yankees had first and second and nobody out.

Jeter and Damon followed with RBI singles and the Yankees were again in control. The game stayed stable until Chase Utley went to work on Sabathia again. It looked as though Sabathia would work his way through an easy seventh until Utley strode to the plate again. Again Sabathia got ahead of Utley and again Utley crushed a ball to deep right. That was the end of Sabathia and in came Damaso Marte who's postseason resurgence continued as he retired Howard for the second consecutive night.

In the eighth Joba Chamberlain looked good in relief for the first time since early 2008. He struck out Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez in convincing fashion and had Pedro Feliz set up before leaving a 3-2 fastball down the middle. Feliz crushed it to tie the game and while he made Carlos Ruiz look foolish on a slider to end the inning, the game was tied and things did not look good for the Yankees.

Brad Lidge came on and for the first two batters he looked like vintage Brad Lidge. He had Johnny Damon down 1-2. Damon worked the count full then slapped a 3-2 fastball to left. Damon took off for second on the first pitch and when Feliz stepped in front of the bag to field the throw Damon took advantage and stole an unattended third base. From that point on Brad Lidge circa 2005 showed up. Scared to throw his slider he plunked Mark Teixeira before A-Rod ripped a double to give the Yankees the lead. Jorge tacked on two more with a single and Mo slammed the door with eight pitches.

Now with a 3-1 lead the Yankees will face Cliff Lee who will battle with A.J. Burnett. Burnett has always been solid on three days rest. In four starts he is 4-0 with a 2.33 ERA. He was also dominant in his Game 2 start with seven solid innings. Lee will be on full rest and is still in the midst of one of the most dominating starting performances in postseason history. The Yankees go for the series, and they will need just 27 outs for their 27th title. This is what the season is all about.

1 comment:

Dennis said...

Too bad Molina will be catching Burnett tonight, I hear Posada is only two mound visits away from setting the all-time world series record...