So now what?

Game 2 features the return of an old friend in Pedro Martinez. Talk about storylines, eh? From his days with the RedSox, to his rapid decline on the Mets, to the mango tree, to his resurrection on the Phillies… it’s quite a story. And I can’t wait.

As Will noted in our Starters Preview:

Pedro Martinez had an alarmingly high LD% in his limited time this season, without an accompanying disastrous BABIP. He also had a tremendous LOB%. He’s probably not done as a pitcher yet, as evidenced by his K/BB, but he shouldn’t be in the rotation in the World Series. He’s not good enough. Luckily for the Yankees, it appears Charlie Manuel has been fooled by his recent performances, and will run him out against the Yankees, who are probably drooling at the prospect. Joe Blanton doesn’t like particularly good in this comparison either, with his AL-sized ERA in spite of a 79% LOB rate.

Will relies on data to drive to a conclusion.… Click here to read the rest

The Prodigal Son Returns

Yes, Yankees fans, tonight is the night that Public Enemy #1 returns to the Bronx as a shell of his former self. Let’s hear from the man himself:

I don’t know if you realize this, but because of you guys in some ways, I might be at times the most influential player that ever stepped in Yankee Stadium. I can honestly say that. I mean, I have been a big fan of baseball for a long time, since I was a kid. My first ball I ever got from a Big League player I actually got to purchase in Dodger Stadium in a silent auction, was Reggie Jackson. I was actually a big fan of the Yankees, too.
For some reason with all the hype and different players that have passed by, maybe because I played for the Red Sox is probably why you guys made it such a big deal every time I came in, but you know, I have a good bond with the people.

Click here to read the rest

Game 2 Preview | World Series 2009 | Phillies at Yankees, Thursday, October 29, 2009

Are you ready to put Game 1 behind you? Good, me too. Moving on to tonight’s Game 2, we have a matchup between Pedro Martinez (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 3Ks) and Allan James Burnett (0-0, 4.42 ERA, 13Ks). I feel good about the Yankee offense breaking out against Pedro tonight, unless the bats continue to pull a “Yankees in their last two trips to the World Series” encore.

I’m reluctant to call tonight a must-win, although trailing 0-2 going into Philly won’t exactly be an ideal situation. Unfortunately Philadelphia taking Game 1 tipped the odds of winning the series significantly in their favor. Prior to last night the Yankees were 60/40 favorites, and now that’s been reversed. However, I’m not going to push the panic button, because I do still feel the Yankees are a better team.

I think it’s also easy for Yankee fans to occasionally lose perspective, myself included. It seems like anytime the Yankee bats scuffle or they take a tough loss, it was the Yankees’ fault, and not, say, the pitcher actually executing and doing a great job.… Click here to read the rest

Stunned silence

  • I can’t fault Girardi’s move to have Hughes start the 7th inning; it just didn’t work as Hughes was once again unable to do anything. Hughes walked the first two, who eventually came around to score.
  • Whowouldathunkit: Hughes remarkably ineffective and booed upon leaving; Marte effective and cheered upon leaving.
  • D-Rob, the hope Yanks fans had in the rebuilding of the bridge to Mo, failed.
  • Speaking of Mo, Girardi probably should have gone to Mo instead of D-Rob. I know Girardi wants to keep Mo fresh in case he needs him tomorrow, but that spot was custom-made for Mo.
  • Bruney, um no thanks. Can we recall Freddy Guzman?
  • That whole thing about the Yanks having the advantage in the BP…nevermind.
  • I can’t say enough good things about the job Cliff Lee did tonite. Utterly stunning. Roy who?
  • I know why Manuel left Lee out there (to get the shutout, being utterly dominant, etc.), but once the shutout is gone, pull him.
Click here to read the rest

Cliff Lee utterly brilliant as Phils take Game 1 of the World Series 6-1

For 8 innings tonight, Cliff Lee looked poised to throw the second straight World Series shutout at Yankee Stadium. As it was, the utterly dominant Lee (complete game, 1R, 0ER, 6H, 0BB, 10K) extended the Yankees’ World Series scoreless streak to 17 straight innings until the home nine broke through in the bottom of the 9th on an unearned run. Lee was so good that the Yankees were unable to put multiple runners on base or advance a runner to third until the 9th inning, as the Phillies won Game 1 of the 2009 World Series 6-1.

On the other side of the ball, CC Sabathia pitched well (7IP, 4H, 2ER, 3BB, 6K), although labored through a good portion of his seven innings. The Phillies looked like they might break things open right away against Sabathia in the top of the 1st, but CC was able to wriggle out of trouble. The only two runs Sabathia yielded were two solo home runs by Chase Utley.… Click here to read the rest

Yankees drop game one of series as Lee dominates

To have beaten Cliff Lee tonight, the Yankees would have had to pitch perfectly.

Sabathia didn’t even pitch poorly–he’s been so dominant lately that a little bit of rust looked akin to a collapse–but he wasn’t a match for Lee tonight.

Lee’s performance tonight sparked memories of Koufax and Ford–that’s how good it was.

Until the ninth inning, the Yankees had just one batter reach second base, and none reach third.

There’s not much else to day–it wasn’t a bad managerial move that cost the Yankees the game; the other team simply pitched better.

Okay, so perhaps Brian Bruney should not be anywhere near a postseason roster, but this isn’t really the point here.

You can debate how you would have pitched the top of the eighth–my faith in Robertson didn’t work out the way I’d hope, but it happens–but it wasn’t a bullpen that blew the game.

With the way that Lee pitched, even if the score had remained 2-0, the Yankees’ chances were still slim–he was that good.… Click here to read the rest

Jim Bouton's just another cranky old former ballplayer

Mr. Bouton’s explanation for pieing had to do with money and the burdens it imposes: The players have to justify their salaries, he said, and the fans have to justify their high-priced tickets.

Therefore, the events on the field have to be more momentous than they’ve ever been,” he said. “So celebrations are vastly more elaborate than in my day. In my day, a guy hit a home run, it was a home run: You put your head down, you ran around the bases, you went in and you shut up. Now it’s a reason for raising your arms to the skies, pirouetting, a curtain call.

Ahhh, so it’s about the money, eh Jimmy? Where have I heard that before?

Seriously though, if you start your argument with “In my day…“, please kindly shut up. It’s not that we don’t want to be regaled with great stories of yore; it’s that your utter disdain with today’s game sickens me.… Click here to read the rest

WS G1: Phillies @ Yankees

If you were hoping to see Jay-Z perform today, that performance has been moved to Game 2 (rain).

Lineups via LoHud:

YANKEES
Derek Jeter SS
Johnny Damon LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Jorge Posada C
Hideki Matsui DH
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Melky Cabrera CF

Pitching: LHP CC Sabathia (3-0, 1.19 ERA in postseason)

PHILLIES
Jimmy Rollins SS
Shane Victorino CF
Chase Utley 2B
Ryan Howard 1B
Jayson Werth RF
Raul Ibanez DH
Ben Francisco LF
Pedro Feliz 3B
Carlos Ruiz C

Pitching: LHP Cliff Lee (2-0, 0.74 ERA in postseason)

TIME/TV: 7:57 p.m., FOX

Here are CC’s numbers against the Phillies (via Baseball-Reference):

Here are Lee’s numbers against the Yankees (via Baseball-Reference):

A-Rod has hit .333/.450/.733 against Lee with 2 HR and 6 RBI. I bet he knocks one out tonight.… Click here to read the rest

RAB’s pitching preview

Due to practical time constraints, I’ve been unable to complete a thorough pitching analysis (those infield and outfield comparisons took longer than expected). Rather than offer a diluted version, I encourage you to check out Mike’s pitching breakdowns over at River Ave Blues. He’s done a very nice job evaluating the Phillies starting staff as well as their bullpen. In the end, I think it’s fair to say that the Yankees have better pitching, which is why they’ll ultimately win the World Series (in 5, as per my prediction).… Click here to read the rest