Saturday, October 31, 2009

World Series Game 3: Yankees @ Phillies -- Live Game Chat @ 7:45 PM

*******Live chat at bottom of post*******

World Series Game 3
Yankees @ Phillies
Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA
Game Time: 7:57 p.m.
TV: FOX | Radio: WCBS 880

Here are the lineups:

Derek Jeter SS
Johnny Damon LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Jorge Posada C
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Melky Cabrera CF
Andy Pettitte P

Pitching: LHP Andy Pettitte (2-0, 2.37 ERA)

Jimmy Rollins SS
Shane Victorino CF
Chase Utley 2B
Ryan Howard 1B
Jayson Werth RF
Raul Ibanez LF
Pedro Feliz 3B
Carlos Ruiz C
Cole Hamels P

Pitching: LHP Cole Hamels (1-1, 6.75 ERA)

Yankees vs. Hamels

M. Teixeira 17 5 0 0 2 5 0 3 .294 .294 .647 .941
J. Hairston Jr. 10 2 1 0 1 1 0 1 .200 .200 .600 .800
D. Jeter 7 4 0 0 0 1 0 1 .571 .571 .571 1.143
M. Cabrera 6 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 .500 .500 .667 1.167
J. Damon 5 3 1 0 0 1 2 0 .600 .714 .800 1.514
A. Rodriguez 4 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 .000 .333 .000 .333
J. Posada 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000
H. Matsui 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000
R. Cano 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
B. Gardner 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000

Phillies vs. Pettitte

R. Ibanez 21 6 1 0 1 3 0 5 .286 .318 .476 .794
J. Rollins 18 4 0 0 1 1 0 2 .222 .222 .389 .611
J. Werth 13 1 0 0 1 2 0 5 .077 .077 .308 .385
M. Stairs 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000
R. Howard 9 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .111 .111 .111 .222
P. Feliz 7 2 0 0 0 2 3 1 .286 .500 .286 .786
C. Utley 7 1 0 0 0 0 1 3 .143 .250 .143 .393
S. Victorino 6 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 .500 .500 .500 1.000
B. Francisco 5 2 0 0 0 0 1 1 .400 .500 .400 .900
C. Ruiz 3 2 0 0 1 1 0 0 .667 .667 1.667 2.333
P. Bako 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000

News & Notes

- At 103-59 the Yankees had the best record in all of baseball. The Yankees finish the '09 season 46-35 on the road, the second best record in the American League.

- At 93-69 the Phillies had the second best record in the National League behind the Dodgers. The Phillies were not too great at home this season, posting a 46-35 record, good for 6th in the National League. But in their last 12 postseason games at home they're 11-1.

- Andy Pettitte has started seven games against the Phillies in his career, and is 2-2 with a 3.67 ERA. Four of those starts came in Philly, where he's 1-2, with a 2.52 ERA. In a no decision against them earlier this year he allowed 4 earned runs on 5 hits, walked 2, and struck out 5 in 7 innings.

In 38 career postseason starts, Pettitte is 16-9 with a 3.83 ERA. The 16 wins are an all-time record. This year he's 2-0, with a 2.37 ERA in three postseason starts. In 19 innings pitched Pettitte has allowed 5 earned runs on 17 hits, walked 3 and struck out 15.

Remember, pitchers hit in the NL so Andy will be getting some at-bats. Pettitte is a lifetime .134/.161/.183 hitter. This year he went 1-for-5 at the plate.

- In two starts against the Yankees Cole Hamels is 0-1, with a 2.77 ERA. In one start against them this year he pitched 6 innings, allowing 2 earned runs on 8 hits, did not walk a batter, and struck out 5. He did not get a decision.

After being lights-out last October, Hamels has struggled a bit this time around. In three starts he's 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA. In 14.2 innings he's allowed 11 earned runs on 22 hits, walked 2 and struck out 12. In his career in the playoffs he's 5-2 with a 3.36 ERA in nine starts.

- The Phillies took two of the three meetings with the Yankees in the Bronx during the regular season. Including the playoffs the Yankees are 2-3 against Philly.

- Joe Girardi announced before tonight's game that CC Sabathia will start game 4 tomorrow. He also said that both Andy Pettitte and A.J. Burnett could go on short rest too.

*******Live Chat*******

Halloween More Than A Treat For The Yankees

Today, as we all know, is Halloween. And although many people in New York and Philadelphia will be out trick or treating, most of them will be on their couches, or at the ballpark, watching Game 3 of the World Series between the Yankees and Phillies.

But before we talk about tonight, let's go back 8 years ago. October 31st, 2001. Just about 6 weeks after 9/11, and the Yankees were in the World Series against the Diamondbacks, trying to lift New York City and give their fans something to cheer about. And in Game 4 at the old Yankee Stadium with the Yanks down 2 games to 1, the Yankees were loosing 3-1 in the 9th inning. Byung-Hyun Kim was on the mound, and with a runner on 1st, Yankee great Tino Martinez launched a game-tying 2-run home run to right, to send Game 4 into extra innings.

And when the scoreboard clock in Yankee Stadium passed midnight, World Series play in November began, with the message on the scoreboard "Welcome to November Baseball". Derek Jeter hit an opposite field walk-off home run on a 3–2 pitch count from Kim. This walk-off home run gave the Yankees a 4–3 victory and tied the Series at two, making Jeter the first player to hit a November home run and earning him the tongue-in-cheek nickname of "Mr. November.", to end one of the most memorable games at the old Stadium ever.

Now although it doesn't look like tonight's game will top what happened back in 2001, it sure is great to look back on a memorable Halloween night for the Yankees.

Steinbrenner: Let's Win It For The Fans

Steve Serby was able to land an exclusive interview with George Steinbrenner, via his spokesman Howard Rubenstein. It's nice to hear from the man even if it was through Rubenstein. He talks about how thrilled he was to see Mariano close out the Angels, how happy he is with the job his sons have done since handing power over to them, the new stadium, and how frustrated he's been these past nine years without a championship. I suggest going over to the Post and checking out the whole thing, but here are three questions and answers I wanted to share with you.
Q: The players want to win the Yankees’ 27th world championship for you — how does that make you feel?

A: It’s a nice sentiment, and I appreciate it. But as far as I’m concerned, we always want to win it for the fans. If we win it, I’ll dedicate it to them. And that’s the main motivation I want for our entire organization.

Q: How badly do you burn to win that 27th championship?

A: It’s a fire that’s always there, and it burns hotter the closer you get. I know our fans are consumed with it and that makes me want even more.

Q: If you were to give these Yankees a pregame pep talk — what would you tell them?

A: You had a great year, now finish like Yankees. Think of those 50,000 people in the stands and everybody watching on TV. They are the most loyal and dedicated fans in sports. We built you guys a beautiful new stadium. We are counting on you to break it in the right way — by making it the home of the 2009 world champions. It’s a long off season, so leave it all on the field and give it your best.
He may not be the same old George, but he's still got it.

Breaking Down The Game 3 Matchup

Well, after a boring off-day, the World Series is back and will resume tonight as the Yanks and Phillies will play Game 3 at Citizens Bank Park, to make for an extra special Halloween.

For the Yankees, they're coming off that Game 2 win back at Yankee Stadium in which they beat Pedro Martinez, and A.J. Burnett threw a gem as the Yanks won 3-1. It tied the series up at 1 game a piece, and now they will send Andy Pettitte out to the hill trying to take a 2 games to 1 lead in the Fall Classic. This postseason, Andy has been great, allowing just 5 runs in 19 innings while striking out 15. He pitched Game 6 of the ALCS and allowed only 1 run against the Angels. The Yanks, as you know, went on to win the game to send them to the World Series.

As for the Phillies, they're very confident going into Game 3 as the Series is back in Philly, where the Phillies have had an overpowerng home-field advantage against their opponents, just like the Yanks in the new Stadium. Citizens Bank Park will be rocking, and the Yanks will really need to focus. But with a struggling lefty in Cole Hamels starting for the Phillies, the Yanks may actually have the edge even though they're playing at the Bank. Hamels, the hero for the Phillies last October, has had a horrid postseason, sporting a 6.75 ERA in 2 starts. He actually nearly blew the lead for the Phillies in Game 5 of the NLCS, but Charlie Manuel took him out before the Dodgers could tee-off him any longer. So the Phillies will really need to cross their fingers here if they want to win this game.

All in all, I really think the Yankees have the edge here. Pettitte has been great all year, while Hamels has been very inconsistent and very well may get bombed tonight in Philadelphia. I see Pettitte going 6 plus of 2 or 3-run ball, and I think the Yankees will come away with the Game 3 win.

Manuel: "We can hit Rivera"

The more I get to know the Phillies the less I like about them. Sure, they're a very good team, but boy to they like to talk, and talk, and talk, and talk. Today it's once again Charlie Manuel's turn and the target of his words just happens to be the greatest closer of all-time.
“We can hit Rivera,” Charlie Manuel said after Game 2. “We can hit any closer.”

On one level, Manuel wasn’t saying anything profound. He’d watched his defending champs throw some good swings and some good at-bats at Rivera over those two scoreless innings and, as Girardi said, “I wouldn’t expect any manager to say, ‘Well, I don’t think we can hit him and the game is over when he comes in.’ I mean, that wouldn’t be a very good message to send to your club.”
While his second point may be true, I can't remember any manager in recent years coming out and saying "We can hit Rivera", can you?

When asked about Manuel's comments here's what The Captain had to say:
“They had good at-bats and they took a lot of borderline pitches,” Jeter said, “but Mo still got the job done. At this point I don’t care how anything looks. The bottom line is to win or lose, and he came in and pitched two scoreless innings against one of the best teams in baseball. It doesn’t make any difference what kind of swings they had if he got the outs.

“He’s a once-in-a-lifetime player. There’s no one that’s done what he’s done, and there will probably be no one that will come out and do what he’s done.”
Well said Jeet.

When this series started besides wanting to beat them to get #27 I really had no bad feelings towards the Phillies, after all they've made Mets fans miserable for years which is always fine in my book. But now, after a week of their nonsense I'm growing to hate them. Hopefully, so are the Yankees.

The Rain Follows Yanks To Philly

From Bryan Hoch:
As of 1 p.m. ET on Saturday, was forecasting showers at the scheduled 7:57 p.m. first pitch. Their call was for a 40 percent chance of precipitation and temperatures around 61 degrees under cloudy skies. The chances of precipitation were to jump to 70 percent before midnight.

The National Weather Service called for showers on Saturday, mainly before midnight, with a low around 47 degrees and a west wind around nine mph. The chance of precipitation is 80 percent, with new rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible. was reporting that there would be a 52 percent probability of precipitation between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. in Philadelphia, with temperatures around 62 degrees for the scheduled first pitch. Showers could continue off and on through the middle innings.

"The best chance of heavier rain won't begin until the late innings or until after the game ends. If the teams go into extra innings, there is a good chance that steadier rain could impact the game," wrote's Eric Reese.
Hoch also said that they expect to be able to get the game in, and based on those reports I do too. The rainout prior to game 6 of the ALCS was a pain in the butt, but didn't really hurt the Yankees unless they had lost to force a game 7.

A rain out tonight would probably erase the off day between games 5 and 6 and seriously screw up the Yankees pitching plans while simultaneously helping the Phillies and their pitching plans. So please, no freaking rain.

Live Game Chat Tonight @ 7:45 PM

There will be a live game chat for tonight's game 3. Like always, the chat will be at the bottom of the game thread and will run from 7:45 p.m. through the end of the game. Hope to see you there.

Rosenthal: Starting Gaudin Isn't A Bad Idea

Ken Rosenthal had another interesting article this morning, this time about whether CC Sabathia or Chad Gaudin should start game 4. If the Yankees lose game 3 he says that CC starts, end of story. I agree.

But if the Yankees win game 3 he argues that starting Gaudin wouldn't be a bad idea. He mentions that "since 1999, teams using a starter on three days' rest against a fully rested counterpart in the postseason are 8-27". Although he did also point out that Sabathia proved to be an exception to that in Game 4 of the ALCS.

Another point he brings up is that if they were to start CC in game 4 that would mean that both A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte would have to pitch on short rest in games 5 and 6, meaning that the Yankees would go with a starter on short rest for five straight games.
If Gaudin started, it would be in Game 4, enabling Girardi to start Sabathia, Burnett and Pettitte on normal rest in the final three games. Sabathia then would be available in relief for Game 7, the way Lee will be for the Phillies.

Not so awful, is it?
My biggest problem with this is losing CC for game 7, which would become a much bigger worry if the Yanks were to lose game 4 and then have to face Cliff Lee in game 5.

If the Yankees win tonight, having a pitching matchup of CC vs. Joe Blanton strongly favors the Yanks and puts them in a great spot to go up 3-1 on Sunday. Cliff Lee could throw a perfect game in game 5 and it wouldn't matter because the Yanks would still have two shots at home to close it out. With that said, the time you'd want to throw a guy like Guadin would be against Blanton, so I'll give Rosenthal that.

As far as the short rest thing goes, this is the World Series; these guys should be able to pitch with one less day of rest. CC and Burnett have each had success in their careers on short rest, and while I do worry a little about Pettitte on short rest, he'd probably be fine. Once again, this is the World Series.

If it were up to me I'd probably do my best to avoid starting Gaudin. What about you?

Friday, October 30, 2009

10/30 Winter Ball Report

The Surprise Rafters lost to the Peoria Saguaros 6-5. The loss drops the Rafters' record to 8-8: Box Score - Recap

Ian Kennedy: 4 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, pitches-strikes: 69-43, 4.11 ERA
Grant Duff (BS, 1): 0.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 0 K, pitches-strikes: 23-11, 5.06 ERA
Mike Dunn (L, 0-2): 1.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, pitches-strikes: 39-24, 2.70 ERA

The Hardball Times came out with their list of top 10 Yankees prospects. Jesus Montero topped the list, followed by Manuel Banuelos, Jario Heredia, Austin Romine, and Kelvin De Leon. If you're wondering where Austin Jackson is on that list, he came in 9th. The rest of the top ten can be found here.

Now for an update from the Dominican, Mexican, and Venezuelan Winter leagues.

Dominican League

Aguilas Cibaenas:

RHP Wilkins Arias: 5 games, 2-0, 7.71 ERA, 4.2 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 5 K

Toros del Este:
RHP Humberto Sanchez: Has not played
SS Eduardo Nunez: Has not played
RHP Josue Calzado: Has not played

Tigres del Licey:
1B Juan Miranda: Has not played.
RHP Jairo Heredia: Has not played.
RHP Hector Noesi: Has not played.

Gigantes del Cibao:
RHP Gabriel Tatis: Has not played.

Estrellas de Oriente:
RHP Noel Castillo: Has not played.
INF Wady Rufino: Has not played.

Mexican League

Naranjeros de Hermosillo:

INF Walter Ibarra: .500/.533/.571 (7-for-14), 2B, 2 RBI, 7 R, BB
RHP Danny Gil: Has not played

Venezuelan Winter League

Aguilas de Zulia:

RP Pat Venditte: 2 games, 1-0, 5.40 ERA, 3.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
INF Luis Nunez: .258/.281/.290 (8-for-31), 2B, 6 RBI, BB
RHP Josh Schmidt: 4 games, 1-2, 4.50 ERA, 16 IP, 15 H, 8 ER, 5 BB, 13 K

Cardenales de Lara:
INF Carlos Mendoza: 0-for-3
OF Edwar Gonzalez: .216/.320/.413 (12-for-46), 2 3B, HR, 7 RBI, 6 R, BB, 3 SB

Caribes de Anzoategui:
C Jose Gil: Has not played.
INF Emerson Landoni: Has not played.
OF Eduardo Sosa: Has not played.
LHP Juan Marcano: Has not played.

Leones del Caracas:
RHP Romulo Sanchez: 7 games, 0-1, 8.53 ERA, 6.1 IP, 9 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 6 BB, 8 K

Navegantes del Magallanes:
INF Marcos Vechionacci: .429/.467/.571 (6-for-14), 2 2B, 2 RBI, BB
C Jesus Montero: .130/.231/.130 (3-for-23), 3 BB, 2 R
IF Reegie Corona: .320/.370/.400 (8-for-25), 2 2B, 5 R, 2 BB

Some Decisions Made, Some Not

According to Bryan Hoch, Joe Girardi confirmed today that Johnny Damon will start game three in left, so no Matsui in the field. Didn't think that would happen anyway. Though as Hoch said "Girardi made it sound a lot like he is considering telling Matsui to dust off his glove as a potential defensive replacement on a double-switch or in an emergency." Girardi also had this quote:
"I'm going to look at some things today, watch a little bit, see how he moves around and see if we think that it's physically possible for him to do it," Girardi said. "It's something that we have to look at, and if we can't do it, we'll use him in a role to pinch hit when we feel that he can be most valuable to us. It might be a situation where you might think about a double switch at high time, but you don't want to lose his bat. As productive as he's been for us this year, you don't want to lose his bat."
You also don't want to give up a double on what should be a routine out, especially late in a game. It's not an easy decision for Girardi to make.

One thing that's still up in the air is games three's right fielder. That will either be Nick Swisher, Jerry Hairston, or Eric Hinske. The favorite would seem to be Swisher.

Joe Girardi also has not yet decided who will start game four, but he did tell the large lefty to prepare as if he was going to start. The Yankees could also go with Chad Gaudin.

Also in the pitching department, A.J. Burnett apparently loves the idea of pitching on short-rest in game five. And why not? In his career Burnett is 4-0 with a 2.33 ERA in four starts on three-days rest.

Good Job Yankee Fans

Something I'd like to touch on really quick is that I like that Yankee fans have not booed Alex Rodriguez yet despite going 0 for 8 with 6 strikeouts in the first 2 games of the World Series. He's really been the reason we are in the Fall Classic, so even if he doesn't contribute in the final games of the Series, he's still a very big part of our quest for a 27th World Championship.

Pedro and Pettitte

While I was looking at the new projected pitching matchups for the rest of the World Series, I noticed one intriguing matchup that stood out from all the rest. The two pitchers have faced each other in big games before and they're no stranger to the spotlight of the postseason. They both jumped onto the map with an impressive rookie season and both of them have rings. Perhaps most significantly, this could be the two pitcher's last chance for another World Series ring.

If we see a game six, it won't be the first time we've seen Pedro Martinez and Andy Pettitte standing in the way of the other's chance at glory. However, with the two of them in the twilight of their careers, it may be the last time we get to watch the two once great hurlers go at each other in the bright lights of October. However, interestingly enough its the first time that we will see these two pitted directly against each other in the postseason.

Despite the many series that the Yankees and Red Sox played together when Pedro and Pettitte where both in the Bronx and Beantown, the two have never faced each other in the playoffs. Not once. When you consider the history the two players have both borne witness to at the hands of the other, it's kind of shocking.

It may be a little premature to preview a potential game six matchup when the Phillies have a chance to end it at home in the next three games. However, the possibility of this has me salivating. The possibility of watching these two fading stars go at it one last time is enough for any baseball fan with a sense of their history to pull for New York to take at least one of these next three games in Phily. Andy Pettitte and Pedro Martinez in the World Series together at Yankee Stadium? It doesn't get any better than that.

New Projected Pitching Matchups

Well Charlie Manuel threw us all a curveball by announcing his plans to start Joe Blanton in Game Four rather than going with Cliff Lee on three days rest. Barring a similarly stupid decision from Girardi, this is what we're looking at for pitching matchups for the rest of the series. I'll throw in games one and two as well just for the hell of it.

Game One- Sabathia/Lee

Game Two- Burnett/Martinez

Game Three- Pettitte/Hamels

Game Four- Sabathia/Blanton

Game Five- Burnett/Lee

Game Six- Pettitte/Martinez (!)

Game Seven- Sabathia/Hamels

I understand why Manuel made this move with Lee's lack of experience on three days rest. However, it makes me much more confident about the Yankees chances when I know that Lee only has one game left in the series, rather than two. With Lee going on three days rest, I was having a tough time seeing the Yanks wrangle this series back from Philly. However, now I see the Yanks having the pitching advantage. I still think this is going to go the distance with the Yankees finally coming out on top

World Series Ratings Way Up

First, the report on game one from The AP:
The Phillies’ 6-1 victory over the Yankees in Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday earned an 11.9 fast national rating and 19 share. That’s up 29 percent from the opener last year, when the Phillies-Rays Series drew record-low ratings.
It was the second best game one since the Red Sox and Cardinals in 2004, and "the best rating for a non-decisive World Series matchup since Game 3 that year."

And now for game two, via
In all, 18.9 million viewers watched the Yankees edge the Phillies, 3-1, at Yankee Stadium to even the World Series at a game apiece.

FOX's overall numbers marked a 48 percent increase over the 2008 Game 2 between the Phillies and Rays.

The 11.7 rating, according to Nielsen Media Research, is a 44 percent gain over a year ago, when Game 2 drew an 8.1 rating. It's the biggest year-to-year gain for any World Series game since Game 4 in 1990 between the Reds and A's.
For anyone that says the Yankees are bad for baseball this was just some more proof that you're wrong.

Blanton Will Start Game 4

Instead of Cliff Lee going on short rest, Charlie Manuel has decided to go with former Athletic Joe Blanton in game four. Blanton was 12-8 with a 4.05 ERA this season for Philly.

If the Yankees start CC Sabathia in game four you have to give a huge edge to the Yankees in that matchup. While Blanton has had some success in the postseason, going 2-0 with a 3.45 ERA in 7 games, in his career against the Yankees he's 0-3 with an 8.18 ERA in four starts. In 22 innings against the Yanks he's allowed 20 ER on 22 hits, walked 12 and struck out 10.

Selig Says No Additional Replays

From Jim Caple:
MLB commissioner Bud Selig said he has been soliciting outside opinion from managers and general managers the past few weeks and said no one offered a good explanation why the umpiring was so bad in the first rounds of the postseason.

"The more baseball people I talk to, there is a lot of trepidation about it and I think their trepidation is fair," Selig told reporters before Game 2 of the World Series on Thursday. "I've spent a lot of time [on this] over the past month and will spend a lot of time in the ensuing months as well. I don't want to overreact. You can make light of that but when you start to think you're going to have more intrusions -- and even if they're good intrusions -- it's something that you have to be very careful about. Affecting the game on the field is not something I really want to do."

Selig has not been quick to embrace new technology over baseball tradition, in part due to worries about the pace of games.

"Life is changing and I understand that," he said. "I do like the human element and I think the human element for the last 130 years has worked pretty well. There have been controversies but there are controversies in every sport."
Umpiring in baseball has been bad for years, this isn't anything new. Amazingly, things actually seem to be getting worse. The fact that Selig is too stubborn to do anything more about it just reinforces how bad for baseball Selig is.

There are several other types of plays that I think could easily be added to the current replay rules. Plays such as trap plays like the one with Howard last night, whether the ball is in the infield or outfield, and fair/foul calls like the ball Joe Mauer hit in game 2 of the ALDS could also be reviewed quickly and easily.

Also, why not have a group of people in a room somewhere in the stadium watching the game and calling down to the field when they think something should be reviewed like the NFL does in the final two minutes of a half?

I know people don't want to slow down the games anymore than they already are, but what's an extra few minutes if it means the game is being umpired correctly? To me it's worth it. Umpires already are wasting a ton of time meeting together, and even then they usually don't get the call right.

What do you guys think about this?

Rosenthal: The New Place Isn't The Same

Ken Rosenthal wrote an article over on FOX Sports about how different the atmosphere in the new stadium is from the old. He even goes so far as saying "Thank goodness the World Series is leaving New York so we can get a little atmosphere."

He then had these quotes from Jimmy Rollins:
"Our ballpark is so loud and rowdy, I was really expecting some of that here," Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins said. "It was very tame and civil."


"Expensive tickets running loud people out," Rollins said, referring to the high prices at the new Yankee Stadium.

OK, Jimmy, but does it feel like more of a World Series than last year, when the Phillies faced the Rays?

"When we get to Philly it will,"
Rosenthal goes on:
Pedro Martinez was in the house Thursday night — Pedro Martinez, the old Boston devil. The crowd of 50,181 mustered a few spontaneous, "Who's your daddy?" chants. But more often than not, the fans needed a prompt from the stadium organ to get going.


Yankees right-hander A.J. Burnett pitched the game of his life, striking out nine, allowing only one run. The old stadium would have been rocking each time he reached two strikes. The new stadium barely registered acknowledgment.


Still, the new stadium just isn't as lively as the old — or for that matter, as lively as Citizens Bank Park, which opened in 2004 but is the rare new stadium that is more electric than the one it replaced.
I also thought yesterday's game was quiet, but I chalked that up to being down 0-1 and losing early in the game. The place seemed to wake up after the Yanks took the lead, but you can only tell so much on TV anyway. So to anyone who was there last night, what was the crowd like? Was it as tame as Rosenthal and Rollins are making it seem?

Kernan: Matsui Must Remain In Lineup

From Kevin Kernan:
Hideki Matsui showed just how important he is to the Yankees last night. His sixth inning home run off Pedro Martinez after Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez had struck out proved to be the go-ahead run in the 3-1 victory over the Phillies at Yankees Stadium to tie the World Series at 1-1.

Now Girardi probably will have to bench Matsui because he will lose his designated hitter in the NL ballpark.

"We have all day to think about that," Girardi said.

Girardi needs to be bold here. Yes, Matsui's knees are an issue, but with one swing Matsui can turn into Godzilla again. How many hitters can do that?

As difficult as it is, the Yankees are going to need Godzilla in the outfield. They cannot afford to let that big bat sit on the bench for three games, especially with the way Nick Swisher is struggling. During the workout day Tuesday, Matsui took some fly balls in right field.
Kernan goes on to mention that with Swisher and Damon struggling the Yankees cannot afford to keep Matsui's bat out of the lineup. He says that even though Matsui would likely hurt the Yankees defensively that it's "a chance that Girardi has to take," and it's an "easy decision".

I don't know about you, but to me it's not an easy decision at all.

As for Saturday, starting Matsui makes little sense. He's 0-for-3 against Hamels and you could really use his bat when the Phils go to a right-handed reliever. Plus, Johnny Damon is 3-for-5 against Hamels, so he's not going to sit. I know these are small sample sizes, but I'd still rather have Damon in that lineup over Matsui.

But what about sitting Swisher? Offensively that might make sense, even against the lefty, but do you really want an outfield of Melky, Matsui, and Damon? I don't think I have to tell you how bad a defensive outfield that would be. And yes, if you're wondering, it's much worse than if Swisher was out there. At this point he's better defensively than both Matsui and Damon. With Damon and Matsui in the corners balls that should be caught will be hitting grass all night.

I'm not sure who the game four starter will be, but if it's Joe Blanton it's worth noting that Matsui is just 1-for-7 against him so once again it might not be worth starting him. In game five they face Cliff Lee, now that's a game you might want to try to get him in. He's had some success of Lee in the past, and did pick up one of the Yankees six hits on Wednesday. You can sit Damon (2-for-22 against Lee) and not hurt your defense too much because Damon and Matsui both can't play the field.

But that brings up the other major problem with this idea; Matsui's rickety knees. Just one game in the outfield could be enough to put Matsui on the shelf for the rest of the playoffs, and that would really hurt.

Also, having a bat like Matsui's to come off the bench late in a game can be extremely valuable under NL rules. There will likely be points in each of these games where the Phillies go to a right-handed reliever and the Yankees can bring in Matsui in a big spot, and more importantly a spot of their choosing.

But what do you guys think, should Girardi start keep Matsui in the lineup and start him in the outfield.

Hughes Regrets Yelling At Ump

After Hughes' rough outing on Wednesday he yelled at home plate umpire Gerry Davis from the dugout because he felt he was being squeezed. A day later he wasn't too proud of himself.
With a day to reflect and watch video, Hughes said the pitches were not as close to strikes as he thought and "I definitely regret [the outburst]."

But he also said that he surrendered to "the emotions of the moment" and that he did not believe he had ever before erupted like that on the field.
Hughes also had this, uh, excuse for his poor performance:
"You fall in love with the scouting reports too much," Hughes said. "I have thought too much about their weaknesses rather than my strengths. I need to be aggressive like I have been all year."
Apparently the scouting reports told him to throw balls and walk each batter he faced.

A.J. Brilliant As Yanks Tie It Up

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
PHI 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1 6 0
NYY 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 X
3 8 0

WP - A.J. Burnett (1-0)
LP - Pedro Martinez (0-1)
SV - Mariano Rivera (1)

On a night where the Yankees needed him the most A.J. Burnett delivered a brilliant performance and the Yanks will now head to Philly all tied up at a game apiece. Considering the circumstances (World Series, Phillies, must-win) you would have to consider this Burnett's best game of the season. In his first World Series start Allan James threw seven strong innings, allowed just one earned run on four hits, walked two, and struck out nine. Besides all that, the most important thing he did tonight was hand the ball to Mariano Rivera.

The run shouldn't have even scored, and at the very least should have been unearned. With two out in the second Raul Ibanez hit a ground-rule double. Matt Stairs was the next batter and hit a hard grounder to third. Alex Rodriguez, who should have at least knocked the ball down, allowed it to sneak under his glove and Ibanez scored. It was a play most third baseman would make. Either way, that was Burnett's only blemish on the night.

When Burnett has good command of his curve he's very tough to beat, and tonight was no different. It was probably the best curve he's had all year, at times dropping it on the corners for strikes with ease. Another key to Burnett's success was getting ahead with strike one on 22 of 26 of the batters he faced. When Burnett, or any good pitcher, is consistently getting ahead early in the count they're very tough to beat.

He only got himself into one serious jam and that came in the second when the Phillies put runners on first and second with two out and Ryan Howard at the dish. But Burnett, who had Howard looking foolish all night, struck out Howard with one of many nasty curveballs. Howard would end up striking out four times on the night for a golden sombrero.

Over in the other dugout Pedro Martinez was also impressive. He may not throw as hard as he used to, but the man knows how to pitch. He threw his array of pitches at any and every speed between 78 MPH and 91 MPH. And he still has his pinpoint command. In 6+ innings the crafty vet allowed three runs on six hits, walked two and struck out 8.

That said, it was another typical Yankees vs. Pedro type of game. Pedro pitches well, the Yankees starter does too, the Yanks put a couple runs on the board, and they wear him out by the seventh. The reason he's 11-11 lifetime against the Yankees with a 3.20 ERA is because of these kinds of games.

Both of the first two runs against Pedro came on solo homers; Mark Teixeira's bomb into the Yankees bullpen in the fourth, and Hideki Matsui shot in the sixth to give the Yankees their first lead of the series.

They added their third run in the seventh on a Jorge Posada RBI single off Phillies' reliever Chan Ho Park. The run was charged to Pedro because he had started the inning and allowed back-to-back singles to Jerry Hairston Jr. and Melky Cabrera.

This leads me to yet another disastrous game by the MLB umpires. Following a failed bunt attempt with two strikes by Derek Jeter -- after the game Jeter called his bunt attempt with two strikes "stupid" -- Johnny Damon lined a ball to first. Howard, knowing he didn't catch the ball on a fly threw to second to try to start a double play. The throw was wide and pulled Jimmy Rollins off the base, everyone was safe and the Yankees had bases loaded with one out. At least that's how it should have worked out. However, first base umpire Brian Gorman said that Howard caught the ball on the fly and therefore it was a double play, inning over. Howard basically told everyone that he didn't catch the ball by throwing to second -- had he caught the ball on the fly wouldn't he have just thrown to first to double up Posada? Also, where the hell is the home plate umpire on this play? I can understand the first base ump missing this call, he was behind Howard and couldn't see what was going on. But what is Jeff Nelson looking at on that play? The umpires had a meeting and apparently nobody was actually looking at the ball. The umps were not done yet, but at least their next screw up helped the Yankees.

In the top of the eighth inning, with Mariano Rivera now on the mound, the Phils had runners on first and second with one out and Chase Utley batting. Mo got Utley to ground a ball to Robinson Cano and the Yankees, thanks to a great turn by Jeter, were able to turn a huge inning-ending double play. The only problem was that replays showed that Utley was safe. It was a bang bang play, so I guess normally you could give the ump a pass, but when you've been as bad as these umps have been this October every mistake looks that much worse. Major League Baseball should be embarrassed by this bunch of pinheads they call umpires.

Like game six of the ALCS, Mo followed up a rough eighth with a much less stressful ninth. He did allowed a two-out double, but that was it as Mo struck out Matt Stairs on a cutter diving down and in to end the game and send this series back to Philly tied at one. Just another six-out save for the greatest ever.

The Yankees will now look to the all-time postseason wins leader when Andy Pettitte takes the mound in game three. He will be facing another southpaw, the struggling Cole Hamels. First pitch on Saturday will be 7:57 p.m. and as always the game can be seen on FOX.

Jeter, SS4010033.500
Damon, LF4000014.125
Teixeira, 1B3111010.143
Rodriguez, A, 3B4000031.000
Matsui, H, DH3121111.500
Cano, 2B4010002.143
Hairston, J, RF3010012.333
1-Gardner, PR-CF1100012.000
Cabrera, Me, CF-RF3010010.167
Molina, J, C1000100.000
a-Posada, PH-C1011000.400

a-Singled for Molina, J in the 7th.
1-Ran for Hairston, J in the 7th.

2B: Jeter (2, Martinez, P).
HR: Teixeira (1, 4th inning off Martinez, P, 0 on, 0 out), Matsui, H (1, 6th inning off Martinez, P, 0 on, 2 out).
TB: Jeter 2; Teixeira 4; Matsui, H 5; Cano; Hairston, J; Cabrera, Me; Posada.
RBI: Teixeira (1), Matsui, H (1), Posada (1).
2-out RBI: Matsui, H.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Damon; Gardner.
Team RISP: 1-for-5.
Team LOB: 7.

DP: (Cano-Jeter-Teixeira).
Pickoffs: Molina, J (Werth at 1st base).

Burnett, A (W, 1-0)7.04112901.29
Rivera, Ma (S, 1)2.02001200.00

Pitches-strikes: Burnett, A 108-68, Rivera, Ma 39-26.


PLAYER OF THE GAME: A.J. Burnett (W, 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 9 K)

(S, 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K)

Game 3

Yankees vs. Phillies
Game Time: 7:57 p.m. | TV/Radio: FOX, WCBS
LHP Andy Pettitte (2-0, 2.37) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (1-1, 6.75)

10/29 Winter Ball Report

The Surprise Rafters defeated the Scottsdale Scorpions 3-0 to improve their record to 8-7: Box Score - Recap

Colin Curtis: 1-for-4, 2B
Brandon Laird: 0-for-4

I'll have an update on the Mexican, Dominican, and Venezuelan Winter Leagues tomorrow night.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

World Series Game 2: Yankees vs. Phillies -- Live Game Chat @ 7:45 PM

*******Live game chat starts at 7:45 PM*******

World Series Game 2
Yankees vs. Phillies
Yankee Stadium - Bronx, NY
Game Time: 7:57 p.m.
TV: FOX | Radio: WCBS 880

Here are the lineups:

Derek Jeter SS
Johnny Damon LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Hideki Matsui DH
Robinson Cano 2B
Jerry Hairston RF
Melky Cabrera CF
Jose Molina C

Pitching: RHP A.J. Burnett (0-0, 4.42 ERA)

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

Pitching: RHP Pedro Martinez (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Yankees vs. Martinez

D. Jeter 86 22 3 0 3 6 11 22 .256 .347 .395 .742
J. Posada 60 11 2 1 4 10 8 33 .183 .290 .450 .740
A. Rodriguez 55 16 2 0 1 4 5 19 .291 .350 .382 .732
E. Hinske 30 8 0 0 1 7 1 10 .267 .303 .367 .670
H. Matsui 28 4 0 0 1 1 2 6 .143 .200 .250 .450
J. Hairston Jr. 27 10 2 1 0 0 3 6 .370 .433 .519 .952
J. Damon 25 5 0 0 0 0 2 4 .200 .259 .200 .459
R. Cano 12 0 0 0 0 2 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000
J. Molina 8 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 .125 .222 .125 .347
M. Teixeira 6 1 1 0 0 0 0 3 .167 .167 .333 .500
M. Cabrera 5 1 0 0 0 0 1 2 .200 .333 .200 .533
N. Swisher 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000

Phillies vs. Burnett

J. Rollins 43 11 3 0 1 4 6 12 .256 .340 .395 .735
C. Utley 21 6 0 1 1 5 1 7 .286 .348 .524 .872
R. Ibanez 15 4 1 0 0 3 1 4 .267 .294 .333 .627
P. Feliz 15 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 .133 .133 .200 .333
P. Bako 14 4 0 0 0 0 1 3 .286 .333 .286 .619
R. Howard 12 2 0 0 2 2 0 6 .167 .167 .667 .833
M. Stairs 11 3 0 0 2 3 1 4 .273 .333 .818 1.152
J. Werth 7 1 0 0 1 2 2 3 .143 .333 .571 .905
S. Victorino 6 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 .167 .167 .500 .667
G. Dobbs 6 4 1 0 0 2 0 1 .667 .714 .833 1.548
C. Ruiz 3 3 0 0 1 2 0 0 1.000 1.000 2.000 3.000
B. Francisco 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .000 .250 .000 .250

News & Notes

- At 103-59 the Yankees had the best record in all of baseball. And at 57-24 they had the best home record in the majors.

- At 93-69 the Phillies had the second best record in the National League behind the Dodgers. They also went 48-33 on the road, tying them with the Angels for the best road record in baseball.

- A.J. Burnett has faced the Phillies 17 times (16 as a starter), and is 5-8, with a 4.75 ERA. He faced them one time this season, losing on May 22nd at the stadium. In 6 innings he allowed 5 earned runs on 8 hits, walked 2, and struck out 7. He also allowed three home runs.

- In 32 starts against the Yankees, Pedro Martinez is 11-11, with a 3.20 ERA. The last time he faced the Yankees was back on 6/27/08 as a member of the Mets. In 5.2 innings that night he allowed 6 ER on 6 hits, walked 5, and struck out 4 in a loss.

In 14 games (12 starts) in the postseason Martinez is 6-2, with a 3.13 ERA. The last time he defeated the Yankees in the postseason was game 3 of the 1999 ALCS.

- The Phillies took two of the three meetings with the Yankees this season in Bronx.

- Jerry Hairston Jr. starts in place of Nick Swisher. Swisher had been 11 for his last 77, and Hairston is 10-for-27 lifetime agianst Pedro Martinez. I'll say this now; I have no problem with this lineup at all.

- Congrat to Derek Jeter for winning the Roberto Clemente Award for community service. He's the first Yankee to do so since Don Baylor in 1985.

- After having their performance postponed yesterday, Jay-Z and Alicia Keys will perform "Empire State of Mind" prior to tonight's game 2.

- In honor of A.J. Burnett's huge start tonight here's a little Fever Dream for the movie "300". This is the song they play when Burnett takes the mound at the stadium:

*******LIVE CHAT*******