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GAME RECAP: WORLD SERIES GAME 5

November 3, 2009 Leave a comment

AJ Burnett gets rocked early, Yankees unable to complete the comeback late

FINAL SCORE: YANKEES 6 PHILLIES 8 (F9th)

SCORING PLAYS

  • Top of the 1st: Johnny Damon singles to center field. Alex Rodriguez doubles to right field, Damon scores (NYY 1, PHI 0)
  • Bottom of the 1st: Jimmy Rollins singles to center field. Shane Victorino hit by pitch. Chase Utley homers to right field. Rollins, Victorino, & Utley scores (NYY 1, PHI 3)
  • Bottom of the 3rd: Chase Utley walks. Ryan Howard walks. Jayson Werth singles to center field. Utley scores, Howard to 2nd base (NYY 1, PHI 4)
  • Bottom of the 3rd: Raul Ibanez singles to right field. Howard scores, Werth to 3rd (NYY 1, PHI 5)
  • Bottom of the 3rd: Carlos Ruiz grounds into a force out, Werth scores (NYY 1, PHI 6)
  • Top of the 5th: Eric Hinske draws a 1-out walk. Derek Jeter singles to right field, Hinske to 3rd. Johnny Damon gounds out softly to first base, Hinske scores (NYY 2, PHI 6)
  • Bottom of the 7th: Chase Utley homers to right field (NYY 2, PHI 7)
  • Bottom of the 7th: Raul Ibanez homers to right field (NYY 2, PHI 8)
  • Top of the 8th: Johnny Damon gets an infield hit. Mark Teixeira doubles to left field, Damon to 3rd. Alex Rodriguez doubles to left field, Damon & Teixeira scores (NYY 4, PHI 8)
  • Top of the 8th: Nick Swisher moves the runner (ARod) to 3rd on a ground out to 1st. Robinson Cano out on a sacrifice out, Rodriguez scores (NYY 5, PHI 8)
  • Top of the 9th: Jorge Posada doubles. Hideki Matsui singles to left field, Posada to 3rd. Derek Jeter hits into a double play, Posada scores (NYY 6, PHI 8)

STARTING PITCHING (from Yahoo Sports)

  • AJ Burnett: 2 innings, 4 hits allowed, 6 earned runs, 4 BB, 1 HR, 2 SO, 7.00 ERA
  • Cliff Lee: 7 innings, 7 hits allowed, 5 earned runs, 3 BB, 3 SO, 2.81 ERA

KEY PERFORMERS: Chase Utley 2-for 3 with 2 HRs and 4 RBI

OBSERVATIONS: 10 down, 1 to go.

GAME RECAP: WORLD SERIES GAME 4

November 2, 2009 2 comments

Johnny Damon steals Philadelphia’s momentum and ARod delivers in the 9th

FINAL SCORE: YANKEES 7 PHILLIES 4 (F9th)

SCORING PLAYS

  • Top of the 1st: Derek Jeter singles, Johnny Damon doubles to right field, Jeter to 3rd. Mark Teixeira grounds out to first base. Jeter scores, Damon to 3rd (NYY 1, PHI 0)
  • Top of the 1st: Jorge Posada sacrifice to left field, Johnny Damon scores (NYY 2, PHI 0)
  • Bottom of the 1st: Shane Victorino doubles to enter field. Chase Utley doubles to right field, Victorino scores (NYY 2, PHI 1)
  • Bottom of the 4th: Ryan Howard singles to center field. Howard steals 2nd base. Pedro Feliz singles to left field, Howard scores (NYY 2, PHI 2)
  • Top of the 5th: Nick Swisher walks on 4 balls. Melky Cabrera singles on a ground ball to 2nd base. Derek Jeter singles, Swisher scores and Cabrera to 2nd (NYY 3, PHI 2)
  • Top of the 5th: Johnny Damon singles to right field, Cabrera scores (NYY 4, PHI 2)
  • Bottom of the 7th: Chase Utley homers to right field of Sabathia (NYY 4, PHI 3)
  • Bottom of the 8th: Pedro Feliz homers to left field of Chamberlain (NYY 4, PHI 4)
  • Top of the 9th: Johnny Damon works a 2 out single. Damon steals 2nd and 3rd base. Mark Teixeira is hit by pitch. Alex Rodriguez doubles to left field, Damon scores and Teixeira to 3rd (NYY 5, PHI 4)
  • Top of the 9th: Jorge Posada singles to left field. Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira scores (NYY 7, PHI 4)

STARTING PITCHING (from Yahoo Sports)

  • CC Sabathia: 6 2/3 innings, 7 hits allowed, 3 earned runs, 3 BB, 1 HR, 6 SO, 3.29 ERA
  • Joe Blanton: 6 innings, 5 hits allowed, 4 earned runs, 2 BB, 7 SO, 6.00 ERA

KEY PERFORMERS: Johnny Damon went 3-for-5 with 1 RBI. He had the best at-bat of the night in the top of the 8th with 2-outs and behind 1-and-2 on the count, and topped it off with 2 stolen bases. Alex Rodriguez working on an 0-fer came through in the 9th with a 2-out double that scored Damon and the Yankees regained their lead.

OBSERVATIONS:

  • For the second time in this World Series Sabathia did not look as dominant as he was in the ALCS. The Yankees gave CC a 2 run cushion to start the game, and he gave 1 right back to the Phillies on two consecutive doubles in the bottom of the 1st where he threw 24 pitches. Sabathia was getting behind on the count and had to work for every precious out. Having said that CC’s ability to grind it out, limiting the Phillies’ opportunities with men in scoring position, may make this outing more impressive than his dominance against the Angels. The bottom of the 5th was as impressive a performance by a pitcher as you will see in the World Series stage. Sabathia put men on 1st and 2nd without recording an out and he’d yet to face Utley, Howard and Werth. CC, and let’s give credit to Posada in this situation, gets Utley and Howard to pop-up before striking out Jayson Werth. Inning over.
  • Alex Rodriguez got hit by a pitch at the top of the 1st. It is his 3rd HBP in this series. A-Rod could not hide his displeasure at being hit again, and one can make the argument that it affected his at-bats throughout the night. He went 0-for-3 with 1 strikeout before a huge clutch hit in the bottom of the 9th propelled the Yankees to victory.
  • Damaso Marte was solid once again. Joba Chamberlain was dealing, but he made a mistake to Feliz (who was hot last night) and he made him pay for it. This may be a great learning experience for Joba and may only make him better next time around.
  • Come on chant with me: Jooohnny Daaamon tap tap, tap tap tap, Jooohnny Daaamon tap tap, tap tap tap. There is nothing more gratifying to a baseball purist, a fan of the fundamentals of the game, than a heads up play that shows a player’s awareness on the field and his keen instinct. Damon’s base running exploits in the bottom of the 9th has to be in your highlight reel for years to come.
  • The “Comeback Kids” did it again. 3 down…1 to go.

GAME RECAP: WORLD SERIES GAME 3

November 1, 2009 Leave a comment

After a ghoulish start Andy Pettitte & the Yankees’ bats come alive…it’s aliiiive, it’s aliiiiive!!!

FINAL SCORE: YANKEES 8 PHILLIES 4 (F9th)

SCORING PLAYS

  • Bottom of the 2nd: Jayson Werth homers to left field (NYY 0, PHI 1)
  • Bottom of the 2nd: Pedro Feliz hits a 1-out double to right field. Carlos Ruiz walks. Cole Hamels singles on a bunt to load the bases. Jimmy Rollins walks, Pedro Feliz scores (NYY 0, PHI 2)
  • Bottom of the 2nd: Bases Loaded. Shane Victorino out on a sacrifice fly to left field, Carlos Ruiz scores (NYY 0, PHI 3)
  • Top of the 4th: Mark Teixeira works a 1-out walk, Alex Rodriguez homes to right field. Mark Teixeira scores (NYY 2, PHI 3)
  • Top of the 5th: Nick Swisher doubles to left field to begin the inning. After Melky Cabrera strikes out, Andy Pettitte singles to center field, Nick Swisher scores (NYY 3, PHI 3)
  • Top of the 5th: Derek Jeter singles to left field, Andy Pettitte to 2nd. Johnny Damon doubles to center field, Pettitte and Jeter scores (NYY 5, PHI 3)
  • Top of the 6th: Nick Swisher homers to left field (NYY 6, PHI 3)
  • Bottom of the 6th: Jayson Werth homers to left field (NYY 6, PHI 4)
  • Top of the 7th: Johnny Damon is issued a 1-out walk. Mark Teixeira strikes out, Johnny Damon steals 2nd base. Alex Rodriguez hit by pitch. Jorge Posada singles to left field, Damon scores (NYY 7, PHI 4)
  • Top of the 8th: Hideki Matsui homers on a fly ball to left field (NYY 8, PHI 4)

STARTING PITCHING (from Yahoo Sports)

  • Andy Pettitte: 6 innings, 4 hits allowed, 4 earned runs, 3 BB, 7 SO, 6.00 ERA
  • Cole Hamels: 4 & 1/3 innings, 5 hits allowed, 5 earned runs, 2 BB, 3 SO, 10.38 ERA

KEY PERFORMERS: After giving up 3 runs in the first 2 innings of work, Andy Pettitte settled down striking out 7 hitters in 6 innings. Alex Rodriguez put the Yankees on the board with a 2-run HR that seem to ignite the Yankee offense, he was on base 4 times including a walk. Nick Swisher had the breakout game he’d been waiting for, he went 2-for-4 including a double and a HR.

COMMENTARY: Halloween’s origins can be traced to an ancient Celtic festival known at Samhain. The Celts celebrated new years on November 1st and it was believed that the night before the new year the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. Aside from causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts believed that these spirits made it easier for the Celtic priests to predict the future. Over 2,000 years later can the Yankees performance on Halloween night be a predictor of what’s to come in this series?

It was a harrowing start for the pinstripes, the hour and twenty minute rain delay seemed to have quite an effect on Andy Pettitte. The Phillies were able to strike early and throw Pettitte off his game, even giving up a walk with the bases loaded. Cole Hamels was sharp and for the first 3 innings seemed to be a reincarnation of the 2008 World Series MVP. A zombie-like version of the Yankees made an early appearance in game 3, they were sloppy on pitching, hitting, and on defense.

But in the dawn of the 4th inning, after a 1-out walk to Mark Teixeira the man they call A-Rod hit on opposite field HR that would have to be reviewed, and the Yankees lineup got a much needed shot of electricity that seem to carry to the pitching as well. In a 7 game series not every win or loss can be a defining one. After they even out the series in Game 2 there were very large questions remaining for the Yankees to answer. A-Rod was 0-for-8 with 6 strikeouts, there was no consistent contribution from the bottom of the lineup, and the bridge to Mariano was non-existent.Winning the first game in Philadelphia to go up 2-to-1 in the series was big, no doubt about it. But the way the Yankees secured this victory may be an indication of how they will fare the rest of the series.

Alex Rodriguez ends his 0-fer with a 2-run HR. Rodriguez was on base 4 times, did not strike out and drew a walk in his last at-bat. He looked like someone breathed life into him, his demeanor and approach at the plate was more relaxed and deliberate and it looked like the ALCS version of A-Rod had resurfaced. Nick Swisher who has been struggling all postseason long, took his benching like a man, and returned to make big contributions with his bat hitting a double and a home run in 2 of his 4 at bats and scoring the tieing run. Chamberlain and Marte were solid, I don’t know if the bridge is complete but these two may be the pillars on which the highway to Mariano are built.

This series is far from over and there is no indication that the defending World Champions will make it easy for the Yankees to win their 27th World Series. Every game has it’s own nuance, tempo and flow, but beyond the win Yankee fans should feel optimistic about the contributions that were made up and down the lineup and the performance of this much maligned bullpen.

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.

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.

No Stopping Cliff Lee

October 29, 2009 Leave a comment

GAME RECAP: ALCS GAME 6

October 26, 2009 Leave a comment

Solid pitching and defense help secure the Yankees’ 40th trip to the big show

FINAL SCORE: YANKEES 5 ANGELS 2 (F9th)

SCORING PLAYS

  • Top of the 3rd: Jeff Mathis doubles to center field with 1 out. Bobby Abreu singles to right field, Jeff Mathis scores (NYY 0, LAA 1)
  • Bottom of the 4th: Robinson Cano Walks. Nick Swisher singles to left field. Melky Cabrera out on a sacrifice bunt that moves runners to 2nd and 3rd base respectively. After Derek Jeter is issued a 1-out walk, Johnny Damon comes to the plate with bases loaded for the second time in the game. Damon hits a line drive to center field, Cano and Swisher scores (NYY 2, LAA 1)
  • Bottom of the 4th: After a Mark Teixeira infield single to load the bases, Alex Rodriguez draws a walk. Derek Jeter scores (NYY 3, LAA 1)
  • Top of the 8th: Mariano Rivera comes in for an 6 out save. Chone Figgins singles on a bloop to left field. Bobby Abreu grounds out to first base, Figgins advances to 2nd base. After Torii Hunter grounds out to 2nd base, Vladimir Guerrero singles on a ground ball to right field. Chone Figgins scores (NYY 3, LAA 2)
  • Bottom of the 8th: Lead-off walk for Robinson Cano. Nick Swisher puts down the sacrifice bunt and a missed catch error by second baseman Howard Kendrick puts man on 1st and 2nd with no outs. Brett Gardner comes in to run for Swisher. Melky Cabrera puts down another perfect sacrifice bunt but an error throw by pitcher Scott Kazmir moves Cabrera to 2nd and Garder to 3rd. Robinson Cano scores (NYY 4, LAA 2).
  • Bottom of the 8th: Mark Teixeira out on sacrifice fly to deep center field. Brett Garner scores. (NYY 5, LAA 2)

STARTING PITCHING (from Yahoo Sports)

  • Andy Pettitte: 6 1/3 innings, 7 hits allowed, 1 earned run, 3 BB, 6 SO, 2.84 ERA
  • Joe Saunders: 3 1/3 innings, 7 hits allowed, 3 earned runs, 5 BB, 0 SO, 5.84 ERA

KEY PERFORMERS: Andy Pettitte gives another solid postseason performance, in the process becoming the winningest pitcher in postseason history. A solid 6 1/3 innings with only 1 earned run. Damon, Teixeira, and Rodriguez each had 2 hits and at least 1 rbi, none bigger than Damon’s 1 out hit to center field which gave the Yankees a lead they would not relinquish. Mariano Rivera was…well Mariano Rivera.

COMMENTARY: The New York Yankees have won the 2009 American League Championship. This is the most beautiful sentence I’ve written for The Pinstriper yet. What else is there to say folks? This team with its infectious attitude, steely resolve and clear focus has secured itself an opportunity to win another World Championship. There is a lot to be said about this closeout game, the pitching, the defense, the contributions up and down the lineup, and it will all surely be dissected numerous times before the first pitch of the World Series.

I just want to pay homage to a group of athletes that never lost sight of their goal, they played within themselves, they were patient and showed everyone that their confidence in each other is not mere bravado. The Yankees looked comfortable in every aspect of this game, inning after inning they never wavered and if there were any nerves it must have come from the bleachers because this team never showed a hint of worry. After a 6 year hiatus the Yankees are headed to their 40th World Series. They arrive to the October/November classic with a combination of youth, talent and experience unlike any team I can remember, along with the confidence that they finally have the right mix that can get it done. Let’s go get it! Congratulations to the 2009 AL Champions New York Yankees!