Tagged: Phillies

27?

With a solid performance from Andy Pettitte in game 4 the Yankees are in superb position for a 27th World Champoionship. Both offenses were good last night, each having their ups and downs but the Yankees had more ups than the Phils and took a 3-1 lead in the series.

It was obviously set to go in favor of the Yankees with Pettitte going against Joe Blanton who statistically had no chance against the Yankee lineup.  He held his own and didn’t totally blow it but it definitely wasn’t enough for the Phillies as Pettitte was phenominal.

Game 2 of the series seemed to be dominated by AJ Burnett and his curveball… not to mention his fastball and his other dominating pitches.  Burnett was able to keep the Yankees in the series with a key victory in game 2 and sent the series to Philly even.  If Burnett can come up with another huge performance like in game 2, the Yankees will walk away with this series.  And who though the Yankees had no chance when they lost a game at home.  They are also a very good road team and it proved the last to games as they took their second and third straight wins in the series on the road in Citizens Bank Park.

How about A-Rod?  He’s come up huge these past couple games.  Despite the being hit by pitch twenty gazillion times (I hope you realize I am exaggerating) he has played a very big role in the offense the past two games.  He hit a key homer in the game 3 off the camera in right field that had to be reviewed before being called a homer.  He also came up with some other key at bats.  He has seemed to be getting back into the form he was in earlier in the playoffs.

Derek Jeter… can he get any better?  He hasn’t done anything spectacular this World Series but honestly, you can’t get away with him.  He’s just that good.  His presence alone has helped the Yankees win games.  He has consistently gotten on base and has scored runs.  Speaking of getting on base and scoring runs, Johnny Damon had a great game last night including two steals on the same play.  He stole second and took advantage of his speed by gettign to third which was uncovered.  Great heads up baserunning which really cost the Phillies a run later in the game.  The Yankees have seemed to be getting back into the swing of things all around as the whole team has been rolling smoothly.

Now, since the end of the series is  coming up soon, you have to be thinking MVP.  Well, if the Yankees win it, I’m going to have to give it to AJ Burnett.  Now, the series is not over yet and tonight’s start could change my whole mindset about this choice, but if he is as good as he was in game 2 and the Yankees win, Burnett would be my choice.  Two phenominal starts with dominating stuff.  Two wins.  How can you go by that when choosing an MVP?

Now, I don’t like to have to think this but if the Phillies win, I would probably choose between Chase Utley, who has been killing the ball lately, or Jayson Werth who has equally destroyed the ball this series.  Both have had a major power surge and Jayson Werth has made some plays in the outfield to keep runners from moving forward with his strong arm.

This series is finally getting to the point where both offenses have broken out with a fair share of good pitching.  It is what I expected it to be and hopefully the Yankees can come out on top quickly tonight.  It wouldn’t be the worst thing if we lost tonight but to win it soon would be fantastic.  It would be nice to win in New York but the sooner the better is the way I see it.  No chances.

The one key to tonight’s game is Cliff Lee.  Can he shut down the Yankees streaking offense or will he get run over as Blanton and Hamels have the past two games?

I spy a 27th championship for the Yankees right around the corner.

-Dillon

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Burnett Burns Phils

AJ Burnett was sensational as he kept the Phillies to one run in game 2 of the World Series last night in the Bronx.  Pedro Martinez pitched well but was unable to hold the Yankees offense silent to a second night in a row.  The Bombers took a while to score some runs but they got there eventually and came out with an important game 2 victory.

The “Who’s your daddy” chants throughout the stadium did not seem to take any effect on Pedro as he had the Yankees guessing early on.  He and AJ Burnett seemed to match each other inning after inning.  It was in the fourth inning when Mark Teixeira finally got to Pedro and took one for a ride to left field.  In the sixth inning, Hideki Matsui took another Martinez pitch out to right field with a gold-like swing.  Jorge Posada also pitched in with an RBI in the seventh after pinch hitting for Jose Molina.  Last night did not show much offense, but the way Burnett pitched last night, it was enough.

The commentators for Fox’s World Series coverage continue to say that AJ Burnett’s curveball is the best in the game… if it is right.  That’s the whole key.  We have seen Burnett struggle a lot this season when he had a tough time getting his curveball and other key pitches to work.  But last night his curveball truly was the best in the game as he made Phillies batters look in awe of the movement.  And when they decided to try and hit it… they missed.  Simple as that.  Burnett also provided a solid 95 mph fastball that kept hitters honest.  His two seemer seemed to be getting the best of the Phillies batters as well.  It proved this early in the game when he got Shane Victorino to strike out looking at a two seemer that came right back over the inside part of the plate.  Burnett’s sensational performance last night has kept the Yankees in this series. 

These next three games on the road will be crucial for both teams.  The Phillies have a great home record but the Yankees can’t be counted out for anything.  The Yankees NEED to win a game on the road and hope to bring the series back to New York.  If they can get the series back to New York and keep the Phillies at bay, then the Yankees will take this World Series and add the trophy to the other 26.

Game 3’s starters are Andy Pettitte, who was huge in the ALDS and ALCS for the Yankees, and Cole Hamels, last years NLCS MVP.  This matchup, to me, is the most intriguing of the three big pitching matchups for this series.  Pettitte has been pitching in the postseason since he put on his pinstripes it seems and has had a lot of success.  Cole Hamels has only seen on playoff and has succeeded in it as well.  Both are excellent pitchers with good stuff that can be tricky for opposing hitters to get to.  They both have great minds for the game and can really help their respective teams.  This game will hopefully have some more offense in an even friendlier offensive park than Yankee STadium (Citizen’s Bank Park) but the pitchers will both still have solid performances.

-Dillon

Where’s the Offense

Chase Utley hit two home runs.  Big whoop! These two teams are the two most powerful offenses in the MLB and all that really happened was one guy hit a couple homers.  Very disappointing.

The Phils took game one simply because of the lack of offensive production from the Yankees offense.  The Phils got their two runs from Chase Utley who took CC Sabathia out of the park on a few bad pitches by CC.  It is a tough game one loss for Yankees fans because who knows if we will be able to take a game in Philly. The home field advantage will be very important in this series and the fact that we already lost a game at home might come back to bite us in the butt.

Honestly, I was very disappointed at the lack of excitement in this series so far.  CC really didn’t pitch all that badly but the couple mistakes he made hurt him.  Other than that, he and Cliff Lee were phenominal and I’m not taking anything away from them.  The offenses in this series are really what is making this series really exciting.  Hopefully it gets a little more exciting.

Game two is going to be Pedro Martinez’s return to Yankee STadium.  Will we here the “Who’s your daddy” chant or will we get a lot of boos in Pedro’s direction? who knows but it will be really interesting to see the fans’ reaction to his return.  The Yankees will rely on AJ Burnett to go out there and pitch just as well as CC did last night, maybe without the homers though.  The offense really needs to wake up too.  I guess they thought they had already finished the season or something because there was no sign of it last night.

Go Yankees!

-Dillon

Bullpen Near Flawless As Phils Advance To Fall Classic

The phenomenon that was the Philadelphia bullpen seems to have been forgotten as the Phillies’ ‘pen closed out the NLCS against the Dodgers last night with a 10-4 victory.  The Phillies, the defending world champions, went into the postseason with probably the most inconsistent bullpen of the eight playoff teams.  Brad Lidge, who was about as solid a closer as there was last year, had struggled over the course of the regular season with blown saves, bad decision making and incosistency.  This was a big worry as many skeptics came about believing the Phillies would fall due to their bullpen.  Those skeptics have been silenced for the time being as the Phillies bullpen has been nearly flawless throughout this postseason.

Last night’s picture of Brad Lidge pumping his fist is reminiscent of last season’s fist pumping as he closed out the World Series.  Well, with only one more series to win, we could well be seeing this again very soon.  But then again, we can’t forget about the Yankees.

The Yanks are on the verge of clinching a trip to the world series.  With their ALCS lead, the Yanks are one win away to making one step closer to their 27th World Championship in franchise history.  With phenominal pitching, the most explosive offense in the league and a consistent and solid bullpen, the Yankees are definitely the team to beat.  The Phillies are a fantastic group of baseball players with some outstanding athletes up and down their roster, but the Yankees really have a group of guys that can match up with the best teams in the history of the MLB.  If the Yankees beat the Angels today in their game five of the ALCS, they will advance onto the World Series and will create a matchup that is definitely not worth missing.  Here’s a look at how the Yanks and Phils will matchup assuming the Yankees defeat the Angels.  (No offense to the Angels of any Angels fans out there but it certainly looks as if the Yankees are going to advance to the World Series).

 

The two leadoff batters are certainly two guys that can lead off a game with big hit, spark a rally, or make a key defensive play.  Both veterans of the league, Jeter and Rollins will top off the top two lineups in baseball.

Jeter has been a number two hitter most of his career and isn’t your typical leadoff hitter.  Now, I’m not saying it’s like a usual number four hitter batting leadoff but more like a number two guy batting first.  Jeter is definitely capable of producing in the leadoff spot, I’m mean look at his stats from this year.  Joe Girardi’s decision to move Johnny Damon to the second spot in the lineup and move Jeter up one has proven successful as they have put up some staggering numbers.

Jimmy Rollins on the other hand is your typical leadoff guy.  A guy that can get on base, run and score runs with ease.  That’s what you generally think of in a leadoff guy.  Not that Jeter can’t do that but Rollins fits the profile better due to the way the Phillies offense runs.  Rollins came up with a big hit late in game 4 against the Dodgers where he drove in the winning run from first to pu the Phils up 3-1 in the series.  J-Rol is clearly a great guy to start off your lineup with.

 

Johnny Damon, as I stated already, was moved down to the second spot in the lineup by Joe Girardi at the beginning of the season.  The main reason for this was to let Jeter do his magic with his bat and let Damon, who can hit for power, hit in a more key spot with guys on base.  Now, again, this swop can go either way but it has obviously worked out the way it is currently.  Damon can hit for power, drive some guys in, and can still run better than most people think he can.  Watch out for Damon, you don’t really want to underestimate him.

“The Flyin’ Hawaiin” Shane Victorino has been a solid force at the second spot in the Phillies lineup for years now.  The switch hitter can hit well from both sides of the plate, can generate some power (as shown last night when he hit a bomb to left field) and can really run.  This guy can really carry a team with his speed because with the guys following him in the lineup, he will most likely get to score some runs.  With his speed, he can easily get into scoring position to make it easier on the guys following him.

 

To me, this is the most intriguing matchup of any of the players on either roster.  Mark Teixeira can field, hit and has a great smile.  Chase Utley, exactly the same.  Both guys can hit, field and are just a great presence on their respective squads.  I can’t really compare them any further, they are just so similar.

Alex Rodriguez by Keith Allison. 

Two guys with a lot of power and good gloves at their respective positions fill up the middle of the lineup.  Ryan Howard is a powerful guy that probably doesn’t think anything other than homer when coming up to the plate.  Alex Rodriguez has had a great career and his play this postseason has been a sight for sore eyes.  He has been phenominal.  Rodriguez may have a better glove than Howard, but Howard is the next power hitting phenomenon that will hit the MLB.  Rodriguez went under that category when he came up with the Mariners and now the likes of Howard, Prince Fielder and Pablo Sandoval fit that list.  These two will most certainly fill a very very important role in this series.

 

I honestly have to give the advantage to the Phillies and Jayson Werth in this matchup.  Nothing against the long time Yankee but the fact that Jayson Werth can consistently hit for a lot of power and has driven in more runs than Posada, Werth has the advantage.  Posada has been such a key to the Yankees for so long.  A great pitch caller who has always called great games for Yankee pitchers.  He has had his great offensive games and he has had his tough ones, just like every baseball player ever to live.  This matchup right now goes to Werth but just wait and see, Posada will still play a key part in this sereis.

Again, Ibanez and Matsui are a great matchup of players in the lineup.  Ibanez can still play the outfield whereas Matsui has had a bad knee keeping him from playing the field.  This isn’t all that big of a deal since we have had plenty of guys fill in with quality games and very successful seasons.  His bat is still going and he may be getting old, but he still has plenty in his tank to put in his two cents for this series.

Ibanez has surprised everyone in the league this year with his outstanding outbreak in offensive production.  He opened the season with some great power but over the season it has decreased in power.  He still has a lot of power and can go off any tme which makes him so dangerous.  Both these guys can go off on you and can really hurt an opposing pitcher.  Watch out Phillies and Yankees pitching.

Alright, sorry I couldn’t finish today but I’ll get the rest of my matchup analysis tomorrow.  Stay tuned.

Go Yankees!

-Dillon

Quick Predictions

I’ve got to do a research paper on Napoleon that is due tomorrow and I have been the biggest procrastinator over the past couple years and I don’t even have an opeing paragraph done yet.  I’ve got to move fast and I don’t really have time to write much more than this.  So here’s my predictions for the NL and AL championship series’.

Dodgers-Phillies:

Dodgers in six

Yankees-Angels:

Yankees is five

-Dillon

Sweet Sweet Victory

Well, before I get to the Yankees-Red Sox recap, I’ve got to let my thoughts be heard on a few other things that happened yesterday around the MLB.

Most baseball fans know Chase Utley.  The second baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies.  He’s got that good defensive record, a strange power source from a second baseman, and a great mind for the game.  Yeah, him.  But he wasn’t playing in Sunday’s matchup between the Phils and Mets.  Eric Bruntlett filled in for him and made his presence known in an unusual way.  In a game that had so many unusual scenarios, Bruntlett made a play that only one other person has done before.  But that was just the end of everything that happened yesterday.

The Phils scored six runs in the top of the first off of Oliver Perez.  But Perez didn’t make it out of the first inning.  He was facing Pedro Martinez, who was making his return to NY after being cut by the Mets this past off-season.  Pedro had a 3-0 count and manager Jerry Manuel came out to pull Perez.  An unusual happening.  A pitcher getting pulled in the middle of an at bat.  Strange.

Well, the Mets eventually got out of the inning.  Then they had a little fun of their own.  To lead off the bottom half of the inning, Angel Pagan hit a shot to the left center gap that sent Shane Victorino running to the wall.  The ball got wedged under the wall and Victorino thought he could get away with calling it as a double.  But the umps didn’t think it that way.  The umps didn’t make the call and the left fielder picked it up and threw it in.  This whole time, Pagan had been running the bases and wound up with an inside the park homer.  The ball was wedged underneath the wall but it wasn’t so badly wedged that it would take some work to get it out and that it should have been a double.  The umps made the right call.  Strange.

Later in the game, Jeff Francoeur, the Mets’ right fielder, made a great sliding catch to rob Eric Bruntlett of all people of a base hit.  At first the umps called Bruntlett safe as he went on to third as Francoeur was unaware of the call.  Then the umps met and reversed the call after both Francoeur and Jerry Manuel argued the call.  It was another crazy moment that was obviously a catch when the replay showed it.  Strange.

Now, the biggest highlight of the game was Bruntlett’s play in the bottom of the ninth which ended the game.  With runners on first and second, Jeff Francoeur (there seems to be a recurring theme of players being involved in multiple strange plays) stepped up to the plate.  He hit a liner with a full count up the middle.  With the runners in motion, Bruntlett had been moving to cover second base.  The ball was hit right to him on a line.  He snagged it, tagged second base, and tagged David Murphy who was on first at the start of the play.  An unnasissted triple play to end the game, the first in the NL history, second in MLB history.  Strange.

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OK so back to the Yankees-Red Sox game.  Last night, the aces of the two clubs faced off in the rubber match of the series.  It was set to be a great pitcher’s duel, as was Beckett’s and Burnett’s not to long ago.  And it was a really good game.  The Yankees opened up the game with two runs early.  The first was on a Derek Jeter solo shot and the second on Hideki Matsui’s first shot of the night which was also a solo shot.  The Yankees scored two more runs on the Red Sox in the third inning, neither on homers.  Then, Robinson Cano homered in the fourth, and A-Rod homered in the fifth to drive in two more.  Matsui hit the final Yankee homer in the eighth which was another solo shot.  A home run barrage, as Yankees.com puts it, lit up the sky in Boston as the Yanks rolled to an 8-4 victory.  Sweet Sweet Victory.

The Red Sox did score four runs but CC kept them at bay most of the night.  The Yankees did jump on top early and that was a big advantage for them as the game went on.  The Red Sox tied the score in the second but the Yankees went back ahead and never looked back.  The Sox didn’t leave the yard once in the game, surprisingly.  The lack of the long ball in a game dominated by the long ball is probably what did the Red Sox in.

CC finished the game with eight strikeouts as all his stuff was dominant.  Phil Hughes and Mariano Rivera were successful out of the ‘pen as they finished the game off.  Beckett finished with five K’s on the night, not bad.  He also gave up all five homers though.  Not good.

So let’s take a look back at the series that was.  Game One:

The Yankees score 20 runs against Brad Penny and the REd Sox.  Another terrible outing for Penny who would later be pulled from the starting rotation to make room for Wakefield who is coming back soon.  Another home run happy game sent many bombs flying through the Boston sky.  The Red Sox had their fair share of runs too.  They just weren’t able to make up for what the pitching let up.  Too bad.  They scored 11 runs.

Game Two:

The Red Sox stole the Yankees’ thunder for game two as they burst out with another 14 runs compared to the Yankees’ Nick Swisher’s single run.  Swish hit a solo shot to left to score the only run for the Yanks on the day.  A very disappointing loss for the Yanks and a touche to the REd Sox was all that was in me for Saturday.

Then came game three which I just talked about.  A very exciting series that was truly a back and forth one.  Great to watch and I’m sure, as always, it was great to play in for both teams.  No fights broke out which was good for the teams.  I don’t think either could afford losing anyone right now, especially the Red Sox who are in the Wild Card race and don’t have that big of a lead anymore.  It was a clean series  that was fun to watch as a fan.  Especially since the Yankees won.

-Dillon

Expect the Unexpected

This phrase is one that most people know and understand, one that applies to every day life.  It is a simple one.  Meaning that you can’t always expect what is supposed to happen.  Sometimes, unexpected occurrences happen and you don’t know what to do.  Sometimes the unexpected isn’t anything hard to deal with but you just didn’t expect it to happen.  It’s not that hard to understand which is why it is a critical saying to general every day life.

Now, think about this.  If I asked you who would win the NL Wild Card, you would probably give me a breakdown of every division and who would come in first and second.  Then you would probably figure out who has the best chance at having the best record among the second place teams.  So, I did a little experiment with my pal Jay.  He was unaware of my intentions to put this in my blog so he’ll figure out later.

Me: Jay, how do you think the NL playoffs will be shaped up at the end of the season.

Jay: The Dodgers, no doubt, are gonna win the West.  That’s no question.

Me: I agree 100%.  How could Manny and Ethier and Furcal and the O-Dog go without winning that division.  They’re just too good and too consistent.

Jay.  I think the Cards will pull it out in the Central because they have Holliday now to bat behind Albert.  Too much power and good enough pitching to get along.  Now the East is the toughy.

Me:  It always is.  That’s why I say the Phils are gonna repeat as NL East champs.

Jay: I think the Phils will as well.  The Mets were my pre-season choice but now with all the injuries I can’t pick them and you’ve got to like what their doing down in Philly.

Me: That addition of Cliff Lee will probably end up being the biggest, most important trade of tbe year if the Phils get deep into the playoffs.

Jay: I think the Cubbies could make a run at the Wild Card.  They have been playing better of late and I think they will continue winning and take themselves into the playoffs.  I think that’s how it’ll all work out.

Me: That’s a very intersting look at things but it’s your decisions and I can’t make them for you.  Thanks man.

Jay: No problem.

This conversation took place over the phone a day after the Cards aquired Matt Holliday from the Athletics.

Now, I agree with every one of those predictions except the one that the Cubs will win the wild card.  How can you not think about the Rockies.  They have been playing really well of late and they are at the top of the Wild Card standings.  Jay said that he still thought the Cubs will streak right past both Colorado and San Fran but I don’t think that’s going to happen.  The Cubs may be playing great of late but the Rox are too.  I think they will pull away.

Now why would I go to all this trouble just top see who someone would pick to win the Wild Card?  Because seriously, who would think the Rockies would be in the playoff picture at all.  And how ’bout the Giants too.  I don’t think I would meet anyone that thought they would have a chance at the playoffs.  This is why you have to EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED.

The Rox have a real good chance at makign the playoffs as the Wild Card.  They pulled away another  game yesterday with a win and the Giants’ loss.  The Rox are riding a four game win streak and I don’t think they will let anyone stop them from getting to the playoffs.

Even though the Rox were in the playoffs in 2007 in which the Red Sox beat them in four games, they were unexpected to be there that year too.  They just weren’t considered a good enough team to get that far into the playoffs.  Somehow they did and then they got swpet by a really good Red Sox team.  But still, the point is that they were unexpected to be there.  Same with this year but they may just do it.

Watch out MLB, here come the Rox.  And maybe even the Giants.

-Dillon