In the top of the eighth, the Yankees sent Phil Hughes to the mound. He gave up a lead off walk to Jimmy Rollins who stole second while Shane Victorino was batting. Hughes walked Victorino and the Yankees quickly brought out Damaso Marte. Marte managed to freeze Utley with a curve to strike him out looking, for the first out of the inning. Howard flew out to right, letting Rollins advance to third and Marte’s night was over as Girardi signaled for David Robertson. Robertson walked Werth to load the bases for Ibanez, who poked a RBI single through the infield and into right field. Robertson got Ben Francisco to ground out to Alex Rodriguez, but the damage was done and Philadelphia held a 4-0 lead over the Yankees.
Brian Bruney, recently added to the World Series roster, started the top of the ninth. He gave up a double to Carlos Ruiz and a single to Rollins. Victorino singled to right, scoring Ruiz and Rollins scored on a Ryan Howard double. Cliff Lee returned to close out the game in the bottom of the ninth. Jeter singled to center and Damon followed with a single to right. Teixeira grounded into a force out at second, but a throwing error by Rollins put him safely on second while Jeter scored the Yankees first and only run of the game. Strike outs by A-Rod and Posada ended the Yankees chances of a comeback and the Phillies took the 1-0 lead in the World Series.
The Bullpen: Lots of people have given the Yankees bullpen the edge over Philadelphia’s, however, with the exception of Marte and Coke, it was hard to believe after this game. Phil Hughes was disastrous, unable to get a single out, walking both batters he faced and being credited with two earned runs. Robertson was less than stellar as well, going .1 inning and giving up a walk and the hit that scored Hughes’ two walked batters. Bruney was terrible in the ninth, going .1 inning and giving up three hits and two runs.
A-Rod: The hero of the ALDS and ALCS seemed to have misplaced his bat Wednesday night. He went 0-4 and struck out three times.
Teixeira: Mark also went 0-4 and struck out twice, stranding two base runners.
CC: Sabathia got saddled with the loss, but he pitched a good game, going seven innings and holding the Phillies’ lineup to two runs on four hits. He got out of a worrisome first inning and his only real mistakes were the two solo shots to Chase Utley. He had six strike outs and three walks.
Jeter: The captain accounted for most of the Yankee offense. He went 3-4 with a run scored and a double. But yeah, he’s overrated.
- Chase Utley’s two homers make him the second lefty to hit two home runs in one game off a lefty in the World Series. The other is Babe Ruth.
- The Yankees offense was terrible, but you have to give credit to Cliff Lee who was so good and made it look easy. Ruth and Gehrig would have been shut down if they were around to hit last night. Lee was that good.
- Utley’s first homer was the first homer the Yankees have given up this postseason (at home). It was the first CC has given up to a lefty at Yankee Stadium all year.
- History may be on the Yankees’ side: Andruw Jones hit two homers in Game 1 of the 1996 World Series, but the Yankees battled back to win the Series.
- Not only do the Yankees tend to make the World Series in their first seasons in new/renovated stadiums, but they seem to drop the first home game. In 1923, however, the Yankees came back to beat the Giants in six. 1976, however, saw them swept by the Reds.
- Congrats to Suzyn Waldman who became the first woman to call a World Series game on the radio. My first job out of college required me to sit at a computer from 3:30pm until 11:30pm and listening to John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman (in her first year with WCBS) kept me from going absolutely insane. I know there are plenty of people who do not like Sterling or Waldman, but I will always have a soft spot for both of them. Regardless, what Waldman has done in her career, particularly for other women in the field, is certainly commendable.
The Big Questions:
Posada/Molina: Until we get the lineups everyone will be wondering who will be catching for Burnett tonight. It is hard to determine whether pitching to Molina really has made a difference for Burnett (particularly after his last outing). Posada hasn’t exactly owned Pedro (15-72, 4 HR, 34 K) but he has more experience against the former Red Sox/Mets hurler. Molina is 2-10 with one K. Matsui has not been great against Pedro, going 4-28. Perhaps Joe will have Posada DH? Personally, I have a feeling Joe will stick with what he has done this postseason (Matsui DH, Molina catching). At times he reminds me of my old softball coach, who had a hard time breaking her habits. Also, with Cervelli off the World Series roster it is hard to believe Girardi wouldn’t want a catcher on the bench in case of injury.
Hughes: The kid just hasn’t shown up to the postseason. He has gone 4.2 innings and given up five earned runs on nine hits and four walks. Girardi finally gave him a chance with no base runners, yet Hughes walked the first two batters and ended up with two earned runs. I agree with Jason, you cannot blame Girardi for putting Hughes out there. They needed to give him a chance to prove himself in a less stressful situation and they pulled him out pretty quickly when they saw Hughes was struggling. Still, it does cause me a little concern for the state of the bullpen in these remaining games.
In the On Deck Circle:
Tonight the Yankees will attempt another great comeback for the 2009 season. In another intriguing pitching matchup AJ Burnett will hurl for the Bombers while former foe Pedro Martinez will take the mound for Philadelphia. Pedro had a fantastic outing in the NLCS, going seven strong against the Dodgers and only giving up two hits while striking out three. The experience of returning to the Bronx, albeit it being his first time at the new stadium, seems to be fully apparent to Pedro who recounted the Yankees being his daddy and the terrible brawl where he pushed Don Zimmer to the ground. No doubt, he is ready for plenty of abuse at the hands of Yankee fans. Burnett had two good outings to start the playoffs, but struggled in Game 5 of the ALCS. He gave up four runs early in the game, putting the Yankees in a hole they couldn’t get out of, before proceeding to pitch five shut out innings. Tonight he looks to rebound and put the Pinstripes back on track for their 27th World Series title. First pitch starts at 7:57pm.