I was not surprised to hear Girardi killed on the airwaves today for using AJ on short rest, that’s an easy criticism to make. (Though I am not making it) What did surprise me was the fact that so many Yankees’ fans seem down in the dumps. Now there is a fine line between confidence and over-confidence, but last I checked the Yankees are the ones up 3-2 and they are the ones heading back home. They are the ones who went to Philly and took two-of-three Here are some other reasons to feel good:
Being back in the Bronx means Matsui gets back in the game and he is 5-for-10 in the series.
The Yankees didn’t use Mariano, Joba or Marte last night. That means they are all well rested for tomorrow.
The Phillies are giving the ball to Pedro. Now he did look good last Thursday, but is anyone expecting him to be able to do that again? Maybe for a couple of innings, but I think the Yankees get to him. And if they don’t remember that after 100 pitches…
he turns the ball over to the bullpen. Look at the Phillies pen and tell me who scares you coming out of it. I’ll tell you who scares me, Cliff Lee getting called to close Game 7 out for them. (And if the Phillies got to that point, I would bet they go that way) Short of that, the Yankees have hit and should continue to hit that bullpen.
And finally, if the Yankees have to play a Game 7 they would give the ball to CC Sabathia. The Phillies would give the ball to either Hamels, Blanton or Happ.
So, don’t get too down. There is a ballgame tomorrow and the Yankees need 1 more win to get to 27.
Just in case you were on the fence, rooting for the Yankees to win could help your pocket book next year. At least that’s the conclusion of this study.
Now, I am not sure how much stock I would put in this. But, I will point out that this post from last year came true.
No, it’s not because of the game (more on that later) but because of Girardi’s postgame press conference. In it he was asked who would get the start Wednesday night and he said he would have to check and see how Andy felt tomorrow before deciding.
Now Girardi is going to take a beating in some corners for starting Burnett, but I still think it was a worthy gamble, provided you knew you had Andy ready to go for Wednesday. Maybe Girardi is playing some stupid game with the media here, but if he put Burnett on the mound without being 99.9% sure Pettitte would be ready to take the ball Wednesday he should be fired. If there was any doubt in his mind he had to start Gaudin tonight and then bring back AJ on full rest Wednesday. If Gaudin has to take the mound on Wednesday in that start, Girardi has severely jeopardized the Yankees’ playoff chances.
As for the game, I actually walked away from it with a pretty good feeling. Sure Burnett got bombed, but you probably won’t see him again in this series and you certainly won’t see Coke. Other than that the pitchers looked good, with Hughes also looking better than he has. The Yankees almost stole the win because the Philadelphia bullpen is an absolute travesty. They are coming home and facing 2009 version of Pedro Martinez and probably Cole Hamels with the lineup looking a lot better than it did earlier in the Series. Yes, they could certainly still lose this series and the Game 6 starter being a question mark really bothers me, but you have to like their chances, especially when you consider the Philadelphia bullpen.
5-6-7-8-9 in the Yankees’ lineup tonight consists of Swisher-Cano-Gardner-Molina and AJ.
That’s a mistake against someone of Lee’s caliber and the Yankees have to emphasize to Cano, Molina and AJ to take some pitches and make him work.
This is the downside of starting AJ in Philly, Molina is the catcher. But, expect Posada in early if AJ gives up some runs.
The Yankees are also waiting to hear from MLB about replacing Melky on the roster. The Yankees could replace him with any position player on the 40-man so that means Cervelli, Guzman and Pena could all get the nod. Considering where we are in the series, I think Guzman makes the most sense. You could also argue that Cervelli would be helpful tonight, but do you really need three catchers in Games 6 or 7?
UPDATE: Tyler Kepner of the Times is reporting that Pena is taking Melky’s place on the roster. That kind of surprises me because they haven’t used him in either of the first two rounds and while he is faster than Posada, he certainly doesn’t have the speed of a Guzman.
The closest I have ever come to a Yankees World Series Game is when my then girlfriend/now wife went to Game 6 in 1996 and took a picture of the celebrations on the field. She gave me that as a birthday present and somehow we have managed to forge a happy life together despite the obvious tension that exists over the fact that she went to the game and I didn’t. (I actually have been to the World Series. Game 2 in 1986, Gooden vs. Clemens)
Well, I now have a chance to see the Yankees in the Series because I have tickets to both Game 6 and Game 7. But as cool as it would be to see them win in person, I am more than happy to forgo that pleasure and watch it on TV. Besides, I can go to a pretty neat parade later this week if they win. So wrap it up tonight guys, I won’t mind a bit.
So here’s a picture of an ad that is running in the Philadelphia papers today.
It’s a nice looking shirt though.
It may sound overly dramatic, but I think the Yankees would have lost this series if they had lost tonight. They may still lose it, but think about it, they were up 2-0, 4-2 and then they were tied 4-4 with two outs in the ninth. The Phillies were going to bring up Rollins and Victorino in the ninth and things looked bleak. But, they pulled it out thanks to A-Rod, Damon, Posada and Mo.
Start with Damon. What a great AB to reach base and then that was an absolutely brilliant play to take the extra base off the steal. With the shift on, Damon knew third was open and when the throw went to the right of second, he took off. Great play and one that may have changed the whole inning. With a runner on third Lidge has to be careful with things in the dirt. Is that why he hit Teixeira or left a fastball over the plate to A-Rod? I can’t prove it, but I imagine it helped.
A-Rod, can’t say enough about his 2009 postseason and that hit was just a continuation of the trend. He won’t ever have to worry about being called a choker again and you can tell that for the first time since he joined the Yankees he fits in.
Posada- that double made things academic.
Mo- If Ernest Hemingway was alive today, he would write about Rivera and not DiMaggio. Lidge’s failure tonight just shows you once again how great he is.
Now we head to Game 5 with a chance for 27. Lee is going to be very tough, but the Yankees may have caught an odd break already today. Melky left the game limping, which probably means Gardner starts in center tomorrow. His game is much more suited to grinding out a run and I think that could benefit New York.
And yes, this makes up for the Eagles destroying the Giants earlier today. It makes up for it ten-fold.
Joe Girardi just announced that AJ Burnett is going in Game 5.
This is a real gamble by Girardi in some ways, but it makes a ton of sense in others. It is a gamble because Burnett may get rattled by the crowd, the surroundings, etc.. Also, it means you have two huge holes in the bottom of the lineup if he starts Molina. And finally it almost assures that Pettitte is going in Game 6 on short rest, something that he may not be up to do.
But, it makes sense because Girardi is basically telling you that he believes Burnett on short rest is better than Gaudin. I don’t think you can argue that. Gaudin has been used for a total of one inning over the past month. The Yankees stated that Gaudin can probably go 75 pitches or so in a start and how far does that get you? So what Girardi is doing is giving the Yankees the best chance to win Game 5. It’s hard to argue with that.
They survived last night and they survived thanks to their offense. Andy Pettitte wasn’t good, but he avoided disaster. And, I think it is fair to say that Marte has justified every penny of that $12-million deal right now. Very nice to see Swisher bounce back from his benching and deliver.
The big guy goes tonight and the Yankees’ offense has finally emerged. It’s a good position to be in, but two moire wins are needed.