Monday, November 2, 2009
27 For 27
I know, I know, Yogi said, "It ain't over 'til it's over." Cliff Lee goes tomorrow night. Citizens Bank Park is still a bandbox. Brad Lidge may have used up his chokes for the Series. And after October 2004, we can never again ASS/U/ME, can we?
But this thing may not get back to The Bronx. We may have seen the last game at Yankee Stadium – any Yankee Stadium – until next April.
Hard to believe: Alex Rodriguez has been hit by a pitch 3 times so far, and Pedro Martinez didn't do any of them.
To be fair, Joe Blanton pitched fairly well, but like CC Sabathia vs. Cliff Lee in Game 1, he got outpitched. Blanton's hitting of A-Rod in the 1st couldn't possibly have been on purpose, because you don't put men on 1st and 3rd with only 1 out, especially with someone like Jorge Posada coming up. No, Blanton couldn't have been that stupid.
Besides, why would you hit a guy on purpose after a big home run (big in importance of not especially long in distance) when he's already been hit after said homer? It doesn't make any sense.
But then, when has Philadelphia sports ever made sense? Even when it's been successful, it’s been pretty weird.
Ryan Howard did not touch the plate with that tying run in the 4th. If he did, then I'm Garry Maddox. I noticed that on Johnny Damon's dunker into right in the 5th, Melky Cabrera, who had to be cautious because he didn't know if it would be caught, then took off, through 3rd-base coach Robby Thompson's stop sign, ran across the plate, and remembered that Howard didn't touch it, realized that he didn't touch it either, and went right back.
Chase Utley tried to get cute with that backhand flip. Maybe he saved a base, Melky going to 3rd, but it turned out to be temporary as Melky ended up scoring in the inning anyway, and Utley looked ridiculous. That kind of play works maybe once a season.
What the hell is wrong with the National League? We get the 1st 2 guys on in the 5th, and who's up? The pitcher! I know, I know, Andy Pettitte got an RBI hit yesterday, but that hadn't happened for a Yankee pitcher since the Mickey Years. Put the DH into your goddamned League already! Join the 21st Century!
Don't give me any shit about "Baseball is played by 9 men, not 10 men!" It is played by 25 men! Or do you not want to use a substitute, ever? So Howard pitches Game 5? Utley pitches Game 6? If it goes to a Game 7, Rollins goes while Cliff Lee plays shortstop? No relievers, ever? Put in the DH, you moronic troglodytes!
Good thing Captain Clutch was up next, and anybody who says "Derek Jeter is not a good clutch hitter" or "There is no such thing as clutch hitting" is a fucking moron who doesn't know Jack Shit about baseball.
Yikes, that's the kind of language I reserve for a certain hockey team, which plays its home games in Madison Square Garden, and sucks.
Speaking of the use of the word "sucks" around New York sports teams… Despite the long-established nastiness of the Philly fans – they did do a "Yankee Suck" chant after the umps warned both benches about plunkings – I heard the Bleacher Creatures doing Roll Call.
Sorry, Philly fans, but you failed to intimidate us. I guess you'll have to be satisfied with the whuppin' you laid on the Giants. How the hell did the Eagles score 40 points on the G-Men, without Brian Westbrook? Not that I'm complaining: I still don't like the Giants.
Very gutsy move letting CC bat for himself in the 7th. Joe Girardi surely knows that CC came in with a lifetime batting average of .261. So he pitches a 7th inning on 3 days rest. Seemed like a good idea until Utley cranked one with 2 out – better than doing it with 2 on – for his 3rd homer off CC in the Series.
Utley owns CC in this Series: 4-for-6, 3 RBI. The rest of the Phils? Ownership goes the other way: 7-for-45, 1 RBI. That's .667 for Utley vs. Sabathia, .156 for the rest of the Phillies vs. Sabathia. (Overall: 11-for-51 is .216. Pretty strong.)
Lisa Swan of the Yankee blog Subway Squawkers is comparing Damaso Marte to Graeme Lloyd, who in 1996 followed a horrible regular season with postseason brilliance. (So did David Weathers.) As long as Marte gets outs like he got of Howard to end the 7th, I’m fine with it.
Joba Chamberlain pitching the bottom of the 8th, rocking the John Wetteland "Salt of the Earth" cap. Seriously chucking. Busting Jayson Werth high and inside with a 96 MPH heater (makes sense, with his '96-style cap), then doing the exact same thing, exact same spot, exact same speed, to Raul Ibanez (though in his case, as a lefty, it was outside).
But then he lets Pedro Feliz – Hi! My name is... WHAT? – tie it up with a homer. This after the Yanks left the 1st 2 men on base in the top of the 8th. Damn! Why didn't Joba do to Feliz what he did to Werth and Ibanez? Feliz ain't in their class as a hitter.
He fans Ruiz to strike out the side, but... CC might be the best pitcher in the Series (depending on what Lee does tomorrow night), and still walk out without a win!
In the top of the 9th, Lidge struck the 1st 2 batters out, but after fouling off a few pitches, Damon got a hit. Mark Teixeira was up, and, to neutralize him as a lefthanded batter, the Phils put on the infield shift. Damon saw this, and realized he could steal 2nd base; and, if successful, he could also steal 3rd, because the overshifted infield would leave 3rd uncovered.
(UPDATE: On the official World Series highlight film, Girardi said he yelled at Damon, "No, Johnny, no!" before realizing what Damon was doing.)
With the winning run on 3rd base, Lidge was now unwilling to throw his slider for fear of a wild pitch. He must have been unnerved by this play, because he hit Teix. (Clearly, not intentional.) Then A-Rod, in what is by leaps and bounds the biggest, most momentous at-bat of his career – and if the Yankees wrap it up in anything less than 7, it will forever remain that – faced Lidge, and, thank God, it wasn't the Lidge of 2008, it was the Lidge of 2005, the one that Albert Pujols faced in the NLCS in Houston and drove one almost all the way to Arkansas. Double. Go-ahead run.
Once again, Lidge sees someone... drink... his... postseason... milkshake! Slurrrrp! A-Rod drank it up! With Jorge taking a pretty good gulp to drive in the 6th and 7th runs. (Which made Joba the winning pitcher once Mariano Rivera finished it off. How fair is that?)
A-Rod has only 2 hits in the Series thus far, and they have both been hee-yuge. The Loser, Choker, Unclutch, Great Sham-bino, Mr. Mock-tober, $275 Million Bum image he had before this postseason has been utterly vaporized. And I, as big and as frequent an A-Ripper as anyone, am glad of it!
(UPDATE: It would be re-established in 2010, '11, '12 and '15.)
If the Yankees do finish this off, then, when A-Rod gets his ring, Joba should kiss it, because Joba will owe his ring to A-Rod. Right, Lisa?
I like the Phillies. I do. Just because they're the opponent in this Series and they must go down, doesn't mean I can generate any ill feeling toward them.
I like them because they're close, because I love their new ballpark, and because they drive Met fans bananas. Though that's a considerably closer drive than is home to Philadelphia.
But Philly fans have to realize that just because their team won it all last year doesn't mean it's going to happen again this season. The 2008 Tampa Bay Rays were a fluke. The Yankees are the best team in baseball, and they're proving it by beating the defending World Champs in their own yard.
If you say the Yankees are buying their championship, well, so did the '08 Phillies. Or did Howard, Rollins, Utley, Hamels et al play for no pay last season? Phils fans should not be like the troglodytes who root for the Mets or the drunken chavs who root for the Red Sox: Citing payroll is sports' last refuge of a scoundrel.
I'm not going to ridicule the Phils, because they've earned everything they've gotten these last 3 years. But this time, it's just not to be.
And I hope those guys didn't seriously think the atmosphere at 3501 South Broad Street was going to intimidate the Bronx Bombers. Regardless of what Michael Irvin or Santa Claus could say – one of them is of questionable existence, the other spends too much time inhaling snow – Philadelphia fans are fine upstanding gentlemen compared to the Fenway animals, and they don't faze us. Sicken, yes; faze, no.
Tomorrow night, it'll be Cliff Lee on 4 days rest vs. A.J. Burnett on 3 days' rest. Cue Harrison Ford: "I've got a bad feeling about this!"
But as Yogi taught us, "In baseball, you don't know nothin'." Or, as Joaquin Andujar taught us, "Baseball can be summed up in one word: 'Youneverknow.'"
If Joba shakes off last night, and remembers that he blew away 3 of the 4 batters he faced, and Phil Hughes, who's fresh, is ready to go, and Mariano is Mariano again, then Title 27 just might happen tomorrow night.
After that, I'll never be able to say anything negative about A-Rod again.
Unless he turns into another Pete Rose. Or O.J. Or Kobe. (UPDATE: None of those, but close enough.)
But I don't think that’s going to happen. Girlfriend Kate Hudson and her mom Goldie Hawn will see to that. As Goldie might say, A-Rod's Laugh-In days are over. Does he have one more big October hit in him? I'm not going to bet my sweet bippy, but I sure hope he socks it to me! (UPDATE: Maybe Goldie's partner, Met fan Kurt Russell, got to him afterward.)
Twenty-seven more outs. And at least +1 in net runs. 27 for 27! Let’s do it! Tonight! Let's Go Yankees!