Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Cliff Lee Show: How Worried Should We Be?

Game 1 of the World Series: Phillies 6, Yankees 1. CC Sabathia pitched well for 7 innings, making only 2 mistakes. Both of them were home runs by Chase Utley. It was only 2-0 Phils after 7. The Yankee bullpen did not do well, and the Philly defense messed up the shutout.

This was The Cliff Lee Show. It was as dominating a performance as the Yankees have faced in World Series play in my lifetime. I know Josh Beckett pitched a complete-game shutout to close 2003, but he wasn't this dominant. The last time the Yankees faced something this frustrating on the mound, you have to go back to 1963 and Sandy Koufax.

In his 1st World Series game, Alex Rodriguez went 0-for-4, the horse collar, with 3 strikeouts. So... Will the real A-Rod please stand up? Or... has he just done so?

No, there's no one to blame. Credit Lee for one of the most masterful pitching performances in World Series history.

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So how worried should Yankee Fans be? After all, we just got dominated in our own yard, and "the best player in baseball," A-Rod, got embarrassed.

Well, check out this info, keeping in mind that there have been 3 tie games in World Series play, all called due to darkness, and all well before most parks put up lights; and that 4 Series -- 1903, 1919, 1920 and 1921 -- were best-5-out-of-9, not best-4-out-of-7, so now you know how it is possible for a team to lose Game 7 and still win the Series, though it hasn't happened since 1919.

The team that wins Game 1 has won the Series 63 times, lost it 39, and there's been 1 tie. Cancelling out the ties, the winning percentage of the team that wins Game 1 is .618.

The team that wins Game 2 is 66-36, with 2 ties, for .647.

The team that wins Game 3 is 70-34, for .673.

The team that wins Game 4 is 77-27, for .740.

The team that wins Game 5 is 61-27, for .693.

The team that wins Game 6 is 42-15, for .737.

The team that wins Game 7 is 35-2 -- 32-0 since the last 5-of-9 Series.

Based on this, Game 1 is actually the least critical game in the Series.

A team losing Game 1 but winning Game 2 is 28-24, or .538. That doesn't sound bad at all.

So maybe it doesn't make that much of a difference.

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But it sure puts a lot of pressure on 2 guys tomorrow night: A.J. Burnett and Alex Rodriguez. If A.J. doesn't pitch well, this Series might just be over in 5 as Jimmy Rollins predicted. And if A-Rod doesn't get his first of several Series hits and his first of several Series RBIs, the rest of the lineup won't fall into place and the runs won't score.

So there it is: Game 2, A.J. Burnett against... Pedro Martinez.

I'd say, "Let's get ready to rumble," but Pedro the Punk might take that literally.

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After that game, those of us who are Yankee Fans could use a good laugh. The other day, the Daily News published "mashup movie posters," combining 2 very different ideas for one never-to-be-actually made movie. Check out these titles:

When Harry Potter Met Sally.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Truth, starring Clint Eastwood, Gerard Butler and Katherine Heigl.

District 9½ Weeks. As if Kim Basinger wasn't bugged enough by Alec Baldwin.

Cloverfield of Dreams. The fake poster they have for it says, "All his life, Ray Kinsella was searching for his dreams. Then one day, his dreams came and ate him."

Charlie's Angels & Demons. "Based on the best-selling novel by the author of The Da Vinci Co-Ed.”

Cast Away We Go. Away We Go was a better movie than Cast Away, or either of the Charlie's Angels movies, but I think Tom Hanks gets better luck with Drew and Lucy. (I've long since stopped being a Cameron Diaz fan.)

Beat the Devil Wears Prada.

The Funny People Under the Stairs. Why stop there? Bring in Jeff Foxworthy and his "You Might Be a Redneck" jokes, and make it "The Funny People Under the Porch."

Cheaper By the Dirty Dozen. Jim Brown should chop-block Steve Martin. Remember when Martin made the movie The Man With Two Brains? My mother said, "It makes up for all the movies where he had none."

Freaky Friday the 13th. Especially funny since Jamie Lee Curtis starred (with Lindsay Lohan) in the 3rd and most recent version of Freaky Friday, but also starred in the original Halloween. And I'll see anything she's in, no matter what she's wearing. Or not wearing. Jamie Lee, that is, not Lindsay. And I don't care that Jamie Lee is 50.

I Know Who Killed Marley & Me. Another Lindsay Lohan film. A prequel to Cujo, perhaps?

Forgetting U.S. Marshals. That's what Tommy Lee Jones and Wesley Snipes have been trying to do since 1998. Especially Snipes, after his tax troubles.

Fast and Furious Times at Ridgemont High. Politics aside, where he and I mostly agree, I can't stand Sean Penn. And I can't stand Vin Diesel. I smell a Celebrity Deathmatch in the making!

A Dark Knight at the Opera. Groucho Marx: "This morning, I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I'll never know." Heath Ledger: "And I thought my jokes were bad."

Jennifer's Body of Lies. This time, I don't think Elvis would say, "I'd rather go on hearing your lies than go on living without you."

The Beverly Hillbillies Have Eyes.

Kate Winslet and Mel Gibson in Revolutionary Road Warrior. This movie will be more like the Titanic. The ship, not the film.

Nightmare On 34th Street. Freddy Krueger vs. Maureen O'Hara? Even though she's 89 years old, my money's on Maureen.

The Twilight Saga: New Moonstruck. Cher vs. vampires? Even though she's 63 years old, my money' on Cher. Come to think of it, I've seen her looking pale and dressed in black like a vampire. And she has been known to sink her teeth into very young men. She should have done a movie like that years ago. She and Sonny Bono would have made a good Morticia and Gomez Addams. "Dark Lady laughed and danced and lit the candles one by one... "

Sex and the Lost City of Gold. Allan Quatermain meets Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and... I can never remember the name of Kristin Davis' character! (I looked it up: Her name was Charlotte York.) But then, being neither a chick nor a gay guy, I never watched Sex and the City. Of course, we now know Richard Chamberlain, who starred in the 1980s Quatermain films, is gay, so Kim Cattrall doesn't have a chance.

And the piece de resistance, A Star Trek Is Born, with a shirtless Zachary Quinto (the new Trek film's Spock) taking Kris Kristofferson's place with Barbra Streisand. Like Vulcan butter. Highly illogical... but fascinating.

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