Archive

Archive for October, 2009

WORLD SERIES GAME 3 PREVIEW

October 31, 2009 Leave a comment

TALE OF THE TAPE: GAME 3 STARTERS

YANKEES – Andy Pettitte

“I just try to simplify it, whether it’s a clincher, whether we’d been down, 2-0. I can’t do anything else except go out and make my pitches. I can’t really control anything other than that, so why worry about it?”

BREAKDOWN

  • 2009 Regular Season – 14-8, 32 GS, 4.16 ERA
  • Pettitte has gone 2-and-0 through 3 games in the postseason with a low ERA of 2.37.
  • Andy Pettitte is the winningest pitcher in postseason history, clinching the record number 16 win to clinch the ALCS, in his only 2 career starts in Citizens Bank Park he’s 1-and-0 with a 0.75 ERA.

KEY STAT: Allowed 193 H in 194 and two thirds innings pitched.

KEY MATCHUPS

  • Jayson Werth, 1-for-13 with 5 K
  • Carlos Ruiz, 2-for-3, HR

PHILLIES – Cole Hamels

“I actually feel great right now.”

BREAKDOW

  • A loosing 2009 Regular Season for Hamels – 10-11, 32 GS, 4.32 ERA
  • Hamels has 1 win and 1 loss through 3 games during the postseason with a high ERA of 6.75.
  • Cole Hamels recorded a no decision in his only start against the Yankees in 2009, but he had an ERA of 3.00, the biggest concern for Hamels is the fact that he’s allowed 6 HRs in 3 playoff starts.

KEY STAT: Opponents hit .273 off Hamels.

KEY MATCHUPS

  • Alex Rodriguez, 0-for-4
  • Johnny Damon, 3-for-5, 2B

TV: FOX 7:57 PM ET

COMMENTARY: Will it be Trick or Treat for Yankee batters on a cloudy Halloween night at Citizens Bank Park? Can Hamels keep it in the yard, or will Pettitte add to his postseason luster with win number 17? As almost a full moon peeks over the clouds, one thing is certain, tonight can be a wild one.

Advertisements

Comeback Wins and Confidence

October 31, 2009 Leave a comment

A month into the Yankee’s season it appeared as if the season was going to be a bust. Nick Swisher was the best player on the team; no offense to Swisher, I still support him despite his postseason woes. Alex Rodriguez was not even playing and Mark Teixeira was slumping. But, through a combined effort the Yankees shook off the early season slows and won the 103 games, the most in baseball. They were able to do so primarily because of two things; comeback wins and reliance on teammates. These same aspects of the regular season Yankee team are showing themselves in the playoffs and they are what will carry the Yankees to a victory in the World Series.

The Yankees have won 8 games this postseason, 6 have been comeback wins. Though not as dramatic as walk-off hits, these wins show that despite trailing by at least 1 run, this Yankee team never gives up. Who would have thought that Rodriguez would have been able to hit a game-tying homerun off of Joe Nathan?

Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with comeback wins. When the Yankees go down I don’t get too nervous because I know they still have the ability to win the game. But, I hate them because they have happened so often this postseason that there are periods during almost every game where I can barely stand to watch. Comebacks are a critical part of this Yankee team, albeit a nerve-wracking part, and have given the Yankees swagger and identity that has got them into the World Series.

The knowledge that teammates will get the job done even if you don’t have also given the Yankees confidence they have lacked in recent years. Before, Rodriguez especially would feel that he had to drive in a run every time he was up at the plate. Who would have thought that some of the key hits that have started rallies would have come from the bottom of the lineup? From top to bottom, despite the recent woes of Rodriguez or the earlier slumps of Swisher and Teixeira, the Yankees have found ways to win. Having confidence in your teammates is irreplaceable and crucial for a baseball team. The Yankees have that and they will keep winning because swagger is fundamental for postseason success.

Another Interview!

October 31, 2009 Leave a comment

We here at the Pinstriper are proud to announce that we have another 10 for 10 interview! This time it is with Rich of Fightin’ Phillies. Enjoy!

1. What is your prediction now that the Phils and the Yankees are tied 1-1 in the World Series so far who will win it?

I like the Phillies in 6 games now that they have two games under way in the series.

2. How will finish better batting now that they’ve both had two games into the Series : Ryan Howard or Alex Rodriguez?

Ryan Howard, because he’ll have his groove back at home in Philly.

3. Phillies or Yankees who has the better food at the stadium?

Speaking as a Sunday season ticket holder with the Phillies, I would have to say Philly has some nice barbeque items and of course cheesesteaks and crab fries which are french fries with crab seasoning on it and cheese dip on the side, but everything is way overpriced. I haven’t been to new Yankee Stadium yet, but I like that they have a Hard Rock Cafe on site.

4. What team will finish the series with more home runs?

It’s even at this point, I am going to say it will stay that way about even through out the series.

5. Who will get MVP of the Series?

I am thinking Cliff Lee for the Phillies as I have them winning it, if not maybe Utley for his great start already.

6. “New York, New York” or “Philadelphia Freedom” what is the better song?

Two different styles of music, I remember when Philadelphia Freedom came out as a kid, but I would call it a tie with an edge to Sinatra cause he had class.

7. Who’s better Jorge Posada or Carlos Ruiz in this World Series?

Posada is slightly better, more experience and better overall BA, Ruiz has been clutch though.

8. Lee or Sabathia who’s better, who’s best?

I have seen Lee great so far on the Phillies team, I think C.C. is overrated though he did have a great season this year. Can C.C. come through in the World Series? I think Lee betters him and gets MVP in the Series. I also think Lee should have C.C.’s agent, he got a ton of money from the Yankees.

9. Should the Yankees and the Phillies play more interleague games?

I was at the games in the late 90’s when interleague started with the Yankees, I like the local matchups better than say the Phillies playing the White Sox. I think every other year the Yankees should end up playing the Phillies at least for the next 6 years.

10. Who is your favorite Phillies player of all time and why?

Mike Schmidt, he was ‘the man’ in Philly for 18 seasons. The fans often criticized him too much, he was such an awesome player and really my choice as the best Phillies player ever.

Rich came up with the questions and you can check out his blog for my answers to the same questions!

Heart of the Yankees

October 30, 2009 1 comment

From the time the Yankees stepped on the field last night to when they stepped off of it victorious, there was one particular question running through my head. Have there ever been four players who have stuck together as long as the Yankee’s core group has? Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, and Derek Jeter have been together since 1996, disregarding Pettitte’s vacation in Houston, and they have had unparalleled success together. I cannot think of any group of four or more players who have played together for the same team for such a long time, have had so much success, and all became integral parts of the team in the same year (1996)!

Jeter plays shortstop as well as any player in the league today, giving the Yankees consistency at a position that many teams struggle to find. Posada is the Yankee’s rock at catcher giving the team consistency at another position that is difficult to fill. Pettitte has had unprecedented and record-setting postseason success; being a dominant left-hander has given the rotation someone to rely on for over a decade. And, of course, Rivera has been the game-over guy who has been instrumental in the success the Yankees have enjoyed since 1996. For those who say the Yankees buy all their talent, these four men disprove that point. They play four critical positions and the Yankees management has done its job by putting in good talent around this core group.

Pettitte did leave the Yankees in 2003 but was quick to come back in 2007. Other than that it does not seem that any of the other three have ever considered leaving New York for some other place. This speaks to their loyalty, ability, and love of being Yankees. We as fans are blessed to have been able to see these players grow and succeed.

I was six years old when they won the championship in 1996 so I have grown up with these players. Though I do not remember much from the Yankee dynasty of 1996 to 2000, I do remember seeing the same four faces over and over while others left or retired or were traded away. I remember Derek, Jorge, Andy, and Mariano. Let’s hope that these brilliant players will lead the Yankees to their 27th championship and restore the Yankees to glory because this time around, I will be able to remember everything.

*About Me*

Born in New York City and raised in Connecticut, I have been a Yankees fan my whole life in a place where 50% of the people root for the Yankees and 50% of the people root for the Red Sox. My allegiances with New York sports teams runs as far back as my grandfather rooting for the Brooklyn Dodgers, a team he actually liked more than the Yankees. I have grown up in a time when Boston was the dominant team and have not had the opportunity to truly cherish and appreciate a Yankees World Series win. This had made me frustrated and like the Boss himself playoff appearances alone are not enough to satiate my need for Yankees dominance. I have not ever tried posting on a blog like this but I saw the opportunity to do so and took it. I hope to contribute to this site on a regular basis.

GAME RECAP: WORLD SERIES GAME 2

October 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Burnett & the long ball help even out the series for the Yanks

FINAL SCORE: YANKEES 3 PHILLIES 1 (F9th)

SCORING PLAYS

  • Top of the 2nd: Raul Ibanez hits a 2-out double to left field. Matt Stairs singles on a sharp ground ball to left field, Ibanez scores (NYY 0, PHI 1)
  • Bottom of the 4th: Mark Teixeira homers to right center field (NYY 1, PHI 1)
  • Bottom of the 6th: Hideki Matsui homers on a golf shot to right field (NYY 2, PHI 1)
  • Bottom of the 7th: Jerry Hairston and Melky Cabrera begin the inning with back to back singles. Brett Garner comes in to pinch run for Hairston. Jorge Posada pinch hitting for Molina hits a single to center field. Brett Gardner scores (NYY 3, PHI 1)

STARTING PITCHING (from Yahoo Sports)

  • AJ Burnett: 7 innings, 4 hits allowed, 1 earned run, 2 BB, 9 SO, 1.29 ERA
  • Pedro Martinez: 6 innings, 6 hits allowed, 3 earned runs, 2 BB, 8 SO, 4.50 ERA

KEY PERFORMERS: AJ Burnett pitched a gem through 7 innings of work, Teixeira and Matsui provided the bulk of the offense with 2 homeruns, Mariano closed out the game with a 6 out save.

COMMENTARY: During his pregame conference AJ Burnett talked about not being so careless “just throwing balls over the middle to get strike one”. You have to give it up to AJ because that is exactly what he did, throwing 1st pitch strikes to 21 of the 26 batters he faced. It was a coming out party for Burnett who had yet to record a win, or a loss for that matter, in the postseason. Prior to this start there were a lot of questions about Burnett’s ability to handle the big stage, specially given his rocky start in the close-out game of the ALCS series and the pressure of securing a win after a Sabathia loss. No doubt, AJ answered his critics.

He was dealing throughout the night, ringing up 9 batters and out-pitching Pedro to rack up a win in his first World Series start. The Yankees offense was subdued to start the night until Teixeira hit a long shot to right center field to tie the game at the bottom of the 4th inning and later in the 6th Matsui hit a golf shot to right field to give the team a lead they would not relinquish. Burnett’s 7 innings of solid work also allowed Girardi to set aside the nowhere bridge to Mariano Rivera and get Mo to close out the game with a 6-out save.

AJ’s performance in game 2 of the World Series is another reminder that everyone in this team contributes to its success and you may not now who will provide the next stellar performance of the series.

WORLD SERIES GAME 2 PREVIEW

October 30, 2009 Leave a comment

TALE OF THE TAPE: GAME 1 STARTERS

YANKEES – A.J. Burnett

“I won’t change anything as far as my plan or my attack, just maybe not be so careless from the get go — just throwing balls over the middle to get strike one.”

BREAKDOWN

  • 2009 Regular Season – 13-9, 33 GS, 4.04 ERA
  • Burnett is yet to win or loose through 3 games in the postseason, while posting a 4.42 ERA.
  • He has pitched better at home than on the road this season with a 5-3 win/loss record and a 3.51 ERA, but he’s had no success against Philadelphia the only time he faced them this year taking a loss with a sky high ERA of 7.50 and allowing 3 HR.

KEY STAT: Led league with 97 walks and 17 wild pitches.

KEY MATCHUPS

  • Pedro Feliz, 2-for-15
  • Carlos Ruiz, 3-for-3, HR

PHILLIES – Pedro Martinez

“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 [on to the field] at Yankee Stadium.”

BREAKDOWN

  • 2009 Regular Season – 5-1, 9 GS, 3.63 ERA
  • Pedro Martinez has a win/loss record of 6-and-2 in his postseason career with a 3.13 ERA through 12 games.
  • Martinez has been here before, facing the Yankees at Yankee Stadium during the post season. Throughout his career he has played well in Yankee Stadium with an 8-and-4 record through 16 games and an ERA of 2.95. But he’s fared very poorly in the postseason against the Yankees.

KEY STAT: Allowed 7 HRs in 44 2/3 IP

KEY MATCHUPS

  • Hideki Matsui, 4-for-28
  • Alex Rodriguez, 16-for-55, HR

TV: FOX 7:57 PM ET

COMMENTARY: A.J. Burnett has yet to secure a win in postseason play. In his last outing to closeout the ALCS, Burnett had a rocky first inning to start the game and later in the 6th, playing with a lead, gave up lead-off hit and a walk to start the inning. Pedro Martinez is 0-for-2 with a 5.93 ERA in his past five postseason appearances against the Yankees, along with some terrible playoff memories in Yankee Stadium. Something’s got to give.

Girardi has orchestrated a way for Burnett to pitch only at home during the World Series, where he is most comfortable. The Yankees are hoping that Burnett limits his walks and wild pitches, settles down and gives them a solid outing to even out the series. Charlie Manuel is following a similar line of thought, saving Jaime Moyer for game 1 at Citizens Park where he’s racked up a better record. The Phillies send an experience Pedro Martinez to the mound in the hopes that he can give them enough solid innings before the well rested bullpen is called into action.

GAME RECAP: WORLD SERIES GAME 1

October 29, 2009 1 comment

The Cliff Lee & Chase Utley show derails the Yanks in Game 1

FINAL SCORE: YANKEES 1 PHILLIES 6 (F9th)

SCORING PLAYS

  • Top of the 3rd: Chase Utley homers to right field (NYY 0, PHI 1)
  • Top of the 6th: Chase Utley homers to right field (NYY 0, PHI 2)
  • Top of the 8th: Phil Hughes walks Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino to begin the inning. Damaso Marte in for Hughes. Affter striking out Chase Utley, Ryan Howard flies out to right field moving Jimmy Rollins to 3rd base. David Robertson replaces Damaso Marte. Jayson Werth walks to load the bases and a ground ball to right field by Raul Ibanez brings Rollins and Victorino to the plate (NYY 0, PHI 4)
  • Top of the 9th: Brian Bruney starts the inning on the mound. Carlos Ruiz hits a 1-out double to center field. Jimmy Rollins gets an infield single moving Ruiz to 3rd. Shane Victorino singles to right field, Carlos Ruiz scores (NYY 0, PHI 5)
  • Top of the 9th: Philo Coke in for Brian Bruney. Chase Utley flies out to center field, Rollins moves to 3rd base. Ryan Howard doubles to right field, Jimmy Rollins score, Victorino out at home. (NYY 0, PHI 6)
  • Bottom of the 9th: Back to back singles by Jeter and Damon begins the bottom half of the inning. Mark Teixeira gounds into a force out, Derek Jeter scores (NYY 1, PHI 6)

STARTING PITCHING (from Yahoo Sports)

  • CC Sabathia: 7 innings, 4 hits allowed, 2 earned run, 3 BB, 6 SO, 2 HR, 2.57 ERA
  • Cliff Lee: 9 innings, 6 hits allowed, 0 earned runs, 0 BB, 10 SO, 0.00 ERA

KEY PERFORMERS: Cliff Lee became the first pitcher in major league baseball history to record double digit strikeouts without issuing a walk, and no earned runs. Chase Utley hit 2 HRs off CC Sabathia both on a 2 strike count.

COMMENTARY: If Cliff Lee’s historic performance last night is any indication of the toughness of this Philadelphia team, then the Yankees are in for a monumental fight. Cliff Lee was dealing last night, mowing through the Yankee lineup with apparent ease. He becomes the only pitcher in MLB postseason history to strikeout at least 10 batters, issue no walks, and have zero earned runs. Lee’s fast pace on the mound and his ability to locate any pitch he wanted had the Yankees off balance the entire night, add to that equation the fact that he did not hesitate to go after the big bats in this lineup and you have a nightmare situation for the Yankees. Teixeira and Rodriguez went 0-for-8 for the night, accounting for half of Lee’s strikeouts. It was a miserable night.

There are other side stories of note in this game. CC Sabathia and the nowhere bridge to Mariano Rivera. Sabathia had a tough night by his standards, he was behind the count on batters all night and did what he hadn’t done all year at home: give up a home-run to a left handed batter, and he did it twice, and to the same batter Chase Utley. But he got through 7 innings of work, and it was work, allowing only 2 runs which for this team is not a deficit that can’t be overcome. Sometimes when a pitcher is locked in like Lee was last night, there is little the opposing team can do. It happens, even in the World Series. Give him credit, move on, this series truly begins tonight. What should be most concerning to Yankee fans is the fact that the bullpen gave up 4 runs in just 2 innings of work and made a 6 run deficit a tall order.

Many had speculated that the Yankees had the advantage when it came to the bullpen, but outside of Rivera this bullpen may prove to be our Achilles’ Heel. Girardi has the unenviable task of figuering this bullpen out. Certainly pitching Brian Bruney who hadn’t pitched since October 2nd may not be the answer, someone in that pen must step up and fast because the Phillies have every intention of defending their Championship and they have the talent, the confidence, and the experience to do it.