• Phils On To Mo’s “M.O.”?

    Posted by on October 31st, 2009 · Comments (6)

    Via Jayson Stark

    The Phillies didn’t beat Mariano Rivera in Game 2 of the World Series on Thursday night. Heck, they didn’t even score on him.

    But they did make Rivera sweat through 39 pitches — the most he’d thrown in any outing, regular season or postseason, since May 6, 2005 (336 outings ago) and the most he’d tossed in a postseason game since his infamous blown save in Game 4 of the 2004 American League Championship Series.

    And afterward, Jimmy Rollins said something — almost in passing — that we should all keep in mind the next time we hear the dulcet strains of “Enter Sandman” and the Great Mariano bursts through the bullpen gates:

    “I think we saw some things,” Rollins said.

    Now if there’s a secret to hitting Mariano Rivera, it’s definitely news to the rest of the population. But here’s the full context of exactly what Rollins said:

    Asked if it was any kind of benefit to have seen Rivera for two full innings, in which he faced everyone in the Phillies’ lineup except Pedro Feliz, Rollins replied: “We felt pretty good up there, and that’s always the question mark: What is he going to look like? And I think we saw some things.”

    So what kind of things? That’s the question.

    “Now you have a game plan,” said Rollins, who worked an 11-pitch walk against Rivera in the eighth. “We didn’t really see Mariano during the season. Spring training, he comes in [when] I’m out of the game. So it’s a mystery.

    “Like we know what he’s going to do. It’s no surprise. But when you see him, you figure out how much his ball is moving. Once you find your approach, you’ve got to be stubborn with it, because he’s going to be stubborn with what he’s going to do to you.”

    That 8th inning in Game Two was concerning. Given the sorry state of the Yankees “Bridge to Mo,” if Mariano is not going to be über-effective against the Phils, the Yankees could be looking at some big problems late in these Series games.

    Starting Pitching Starring So Far In ’09 World Series

    Posted by on October 30th, 2009 · Comments (0)

    Raphy at B-R Blog & Stat of the Day has a great post up on this now. It’s worth checking out.

    Menounos, The Fresher Maker

    Posted by on October 30th, 2009 · Comments (7)

    Via Bob Raissman with a H/T to BBTF

    There were some very angry TV sports reporters, most of whom have covered the Yankees all season long, inside the Stadium Thursday night. Multiple moles said these reporters were rushed through their interviews with Yankee players to accommodate “Access Hollywood” “reporter” Maria Menounos.

    “Guess the Yankees wanted to reach a different audience,” one spy said. “They basically shafted the people who had been covering them all year to give her better access.”

    Before Menounos interviews Mariano Rivera, one stoolie overheard her ask, “Is he a pitcher?”

    Hey, when it comes to ballplayers, those with better asses always get “better access.” Why do you think Dick Young spent so much time working out with a Buns of Steel VHS?

    Nick Swisher & The Philly Phanatic

    Posted by on October 30th, 2009 · Comments (4)

    Somehow, I think, Swishalicious meeting The Phanatic over Games Three, Four and Five of the 2009 World Series is going to produce some interesting moments. Maybe it will be like when Peanut Butter met Chocolate? Then again, it could turn out to be more like when Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson got together during Superbowl 38…

    October 29th Vs. The Phillies

    Posted by on October 30th, 2009 · Comments (36)

    In a must win situation, the Yankees got the win that they needed.

    And, the Yankees can thank two parties for this victory: A.J. Burnett and Charlie Manuel.

    Burnett was super for New York in this game. He was a master at getting strike one and starting ahead in the count. And, he would have pitched a shutout over seven innings if not for the A-Rod’s error…errrr…I mean Matt Stairs RBI “single” in the 2nd inning.

    And, Charlie Manuel made a stupid, stupid, move in the 7th inning – one that probably cost his team a win in this one.

    Pedro Martinez had thrown 99 pitches over the first 6 innings of this contest – allowing just 2 runs and getting 8 K’s in the process. Now, even when he was a superstar, everyone knows little Petey was not the same pitcher after 100 pitches. And, today, Martinez is clearly in what Dan Duquette would call the “twilight of his career.” Or, as FOX pre-game analyst Ozzie Guillen would say: “Pedro’s not the san juan as he used to be…”

    So, why, would you allow Pedro Martinez to come out and start the 7th inning in this game – when he was at 99 pitches? Holy Grady Little Batman! Manuel did the Yankees a favor and that extra run (charged to Pedro) was huge. If the Yankees don’t score there, then it’s a 2-1 game and that changes the whole scene in the top of the 8th inning when Philly had two on, etc. For sure, then, they play for one-run, probably get the job done, and then it’s a tie-game heading into the bottom of the 8th inning.

    But, that’s all just “What if?” stuff. And, while it’s not up there with “What if Jane Foster had found the hammer of Thor?” it’s just “What if?” nonetheless…

    Back to Pedro Martinez…I don’t like the clown, but, you have to give him his due for this one. So many in Yankeeland looked at Martinez season this year and went into some babble about “Brad Penny, John Smoltz, National League, blah, blah, blah…he would get killed in the American League…” Well, in this game, Pedro faced the best offensive team in the American League, in a hitter’s park, on the big stage, and was near stellar for six innings. So, he’s got nothing to feel bad about there.

    Back to the Yankees…again, a huge win here. Now it’s “Best 3 of 5” (albeit with the Phillies having the home field advantage). Even if the Yankees now win just one game in Philly, they get to bring the series back to New York. Hey, things could be worse.

    Now, for some miscellaneous observations…

    Hey, is it just me, or, has Alex Rodriguez struck out in 6 of his first 8 career World Series At Bats. Whither that Kate Hudson magic?

    Derek Jeter bunts with two strikes in the 7th inning with runners on first and second, no outs, and the Yankees leading by two runs? Ladies and Germs, if that ain’t a “WTF?” moment there ain’t a “WTF?” moment in the world.

    Speaking of the bottom of the 7th inning today, the umps blew that call, obviously, on the Damon “DP” liner. But, how simple was it to realize that Howard knew he trapped Damon’s hit – since he threw to second instead of stepping on first? No way he throws to second if he knows he caught it on a line. Man, the umpires are falling apart this off-season.

    Lastly, Mo Rivera made that 8th inning sort of interesting, huh? All these two-inning saves for Mariano is a sure sign that the “Bridge to Mo” does not exist in the Yankees pen. Hughes, Chamberlain and Bruney cannot be trusted. Ditto Robertson and Aceves in a tight spot. That leaves Coke and Marte. And, that’s not happening. So much for the Yankees bullpen being so good. And, that might come back to haunt them in this series. Given the Yankees bats are so weak, most times, this post-season, these games are going to be close. Further, all these two inning saves, even with off-days, are going to drain Rivera. Just wait and see…

    Why Tonight Is Must Win For The Yankees

    Posted by on October 29th, 2009 · Comments (4)

    Fifty teams have lost the first two games of a World Series (excluding ties). And, only 11 have come back to win a ring:

    1921 – New York Giants
    1955 – Brooklyn Dodgers
    1956 – New York Yankees
    1958 – New York Yankees
    1965 – Los Angeles Dodgers
    1971 – Pittsburg Pirates
    1978 – New York Yankees
    1981 – Los Angeles Dodgers
    1985 – Kansas City Royals
    1986 – New York Mets
    1996 – New York Yankees

    But, only the 1985 Royals, the 1986 Mets, and the 1996 Yankees came back to win after losing the first two games at home.

    That’s it – just three teams have pulled this off. Needless to say, if the Yankees lose tonight, New York will have created some big hill to try and ice skate up

    Swisher & Posada To Start On The Pine For Game 2

    Posted by on October 29th, 2009 · Comments (8)

    Yankees announced starting line-up for Game Two of the 2009 World Series:

    Jeter SS
    Damon LF
    Teixeira 1B
    A-Rod 3B
    Matsui DH
    Cano 2B
    Hairston RF
    Cabrera CF
    Molina C

    I’m sure that Swisher and Posada are thrilled to hear this news…

    …then again, Wade Boggs and Tino Martinez weren’t thrilled in 1996 either and the Yankees survived.

    Yanks Now Need Some Funk To Top Phils?

    Posted by on October 29th, 2009 · Comments (4)

    Before Game One of the 2009 World Series, since 1969, the visiting team has won the first game of the World Series 14 times. Here’s the list of all the times, since 1969, where the visiting team has won Game One of a World Series:

    Date		Win	Lose	Score	Champ
    10/28/2009	PHI	NYY	6-1	??
    10/22/2008	PHI	TBR	3-2	PHI
    10/21/2006	STL	DET	7-2	STL
    10/18/2003	FLA	NYY	3-2	FLA
    10/19/2002	SFG	ANA	4-3	ANA
    10/23/1999	NYY	ATL	4-1	NYY
    10/20/1996	ATL	NYY	12-1	NYY
    10/18/1986	BOS	NYM	1-0	NYM
    10/19/1985	STL	KCR	3-1	KCR
    10/9/1984	DET	SDP	3-2	DET
    10/11/1983	PHI	BAL	2-1	BAL
    10/12/1982	MIL	STL	10-0	STL
    10/12/1974	OAK	LAD	3-2	OAK
    10/14/1972	OAK	CIN	3-2	OAK
    10/10/1970	BAL	CIN	4-3	BAL

    O.K., so, in these 14 cases, here, 57% of the time the team that won that first game went on to win the World Series. That’s not far off from being 50-50.

    However, note that, from 1985 forward, the visiting team who won that first game of the series went on to get a ring every time except in series where something funky happened – like the Giants choke in 2002, the Leyritz/Wohlers homer in 1996, the Red Sox choke in 1986 and the Don Denkinger call in 1985.

    So, does this mean the Yankees now need something funky to happen in this World Series for them to come back and win it? Well, put it this way…it couldn’t hurt…could it?

    October 28th Vs. The Phillies

    Posted by on October 28th, 2009 · Comments (12)

    Well, at least the Yankees avoided being shutout in Game One of a World Series for the first time in their history (covering 40 World Series).

    Funny, for some reason, this didn’t feel like a World Series game. Maybe it was the damp conditions with all the mist and the lack of crispness in the air? Then again, I didn’t sense a lot of enthusiasm resonating from the Yankees starting line-up as they were being announced during the pre-game either.

    Sure, you had Yogi and the big flag before the game, etc. But, it felt more like “just another game” watching this one – more so than feeling the electricity of “The Fall Classic.”

    Heck, even during the 1976 World Series, where the Yankees got waxed by the Reds, at least it felt like the World Series during those games. Here? Well, not so much…at least to me.

    Speaking of lack of emotion, that Cliff Lee is one cool cucumber…more so than I ever knew. Talk about not being rattled! And, those plays he made…the “ho-hum” grab on the Johnny Damon pop-up in the 6th inning and the Robinson Cano come-backer in the 8th inning that he caught behind his back…they were right out of the family “for-fun” backyard whiffle ball game. You just don’t see guys being that “chill” during a World Series game that often, do you?

    Will the Yankees bats wake up tomorrow? They better snap out of it…and, if they don’t, this just might end up being more like the 1976 World Series…in terms of the end result.

    CC Sabathia was not clicking early in the game. Yet, despite throwing 58 pitches over the first three innings, he went seven inning and kept the game close. Two fat pitches to Chase Utley were the only thing to hurt him. And, on the whole, I think most would be happy with seven innings and two runs from Sabathia – every time. It’s really a sin for the Yankees to lose a game when they get this kind of result from Big CC.

    Without question, the Yankees cannot afford to lose a well pitched game from Sabathia and not have it hurt their chances in this World Series. And, for sure, it now puts a ton of pressure on A.J. Burnett in Game Two. And, he has to do better than he did in Game Five of the ALCS.

    Moving on…is it now safe to say that the bloom is off Phil Hughes as a relief pitcher? At the least, it’s probably safe to say it when it comes to this post-season. (Shame on Hughes, too, for barking at the umpire after being removed from the game. That’s not taking ownership of his own lack of good performance.) And, Brian Bruney? Hey, I told you so!

    Now, for some miscellaneous observations…

    So much talk about the “Spike Curve” in this game. Really, guys, is it any different from the “Knuckle Curve”? Let’s not go crazy over something that’s been around for a while now…

    Thank goodness the umpires, after huddling up, got the call correct on that Cano liner-DP to Jimmy Rollins in the 5th inning. Imagine the fallout from that had the men in blue screwed up another call this post-season?

    FOX mentioned that it’s 108 miles from Yankeeland to Phillie-town. Pretty cool – considering there are 108 stitches on a baseball as well.

    Also cool: Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia pitched in the first regular season game ever at the new Yankee Stadium and they faced each other in the first World Series game at the new Stadium – both happening in the same year. What are the odds on that?

    Lots of empty blue seats to be seen on the monarchy-side of the moat from the seventh inning on in this one. Guess the bandwagoners had seen enough?

    Speaking of the Stadium crowd, it was funny to hear the field mikes, during the 7th inning stretch, pick up fans yelling “Hats off!” Some things never change at the Stadium…no matter which one it is.

    Lastly, I saw where the Phillies are hanging Harry Kalas’ sports jacket in the dugout. Made me wonder…when the time comes…will the Yankees players hang Big Stein’s blue blazer and turtle-neck in the Yankees dugout? Somehow, I don’t think that’s happening…unless Randy Levine and Lonn Trost can figure out a way to place some advertising on it.

    Philly Scribe Not Feeling Yankee Hospitality

    Posted by on October 28th, 2009 · Comments (3)

    Frank Fitzpatrick is not having a nice day in the House that Stein Built. (H/T BBTF.)

    Frank Fitzpatrick has been covering sports with the Philadelphia Inquirer since 1980. And, he was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2001. There’s no record as to how long he’s had a stick rammed up his poop chute.

    Hinske & Bruney In, Guzman & Cervelli Out

    Posted by on October 27th, 2009 · Comments (2)

    Joel Sherman has the details.

    Eric Hinske makes sense. You’re going to need to pinch-hit for the pitcher in Philly. Brian Bruney? When was the last time he pitched to a major league hitter in game conditions, four weeks ago? That’s too long. Shoot, that’s an accident waiting to happen.

    NJIT Prof: Yanks In Six

    Posted by on October 27th, 2009 · Comments (1)

    Via a New Jersey’s Science and Technology University Press Release

    NJIT’s Bruce Bukiet, a mathematician who has applied mathematical modeling techniques to elucidate the dynamics of run scoring in baseball, has computed the probability of the Yankees and Phillies winning the World Series. He also has computed the most deserving of Major League Baseball’s prestigious 2009 Most Valuable Player (MVP) and Cy Young awards.

    Bukiet, a popular NJIT math professor, dives annually into such terrain in part for his love of the game, but also for his love of teaching and math. “Baseball can be a terrific learning tool,” said Bukiet. “It demonstrates how math can be used to help us better understand the world around us.”

    With the World Series set to begin Wednesday night in the new Yankee Stadium, the model gives the Yankees a 70 percent chance of winning the series with most probable outcomes being a Yankees championship in 6 games (23 percent chance). The chance of them winning in 5 or 7 games is 19 percent each. The Phillies have a 30 percent chance to defeat the Yankees. Their best chance is a 10 percent chance to win in 7 games.

    Bukiet’s method uses the 2009 regular season statistics for each player on each team’s roster. He then applies a Markov Process approach to modeling production of runs in baseball games. Bukiet first presented this mathematical model in 1997 in Operations Research. His method has been used for a number of purposes over the past decade, including predicting how many games a team should win in a season, the expected influence of trades, the value of wagering on a game and who is most deserving of Major League Baseball’s most prestigious awards.

    Well, at the least, a study like this is less messy than performing a tasseography on Damaso Marte’s Starbucks empties…

    Click here for some more interesting methods of predicting this series…

    Phils Fan A Real Pro

    Posted by on October 27th, 2009 · Comments (3)

    Via the Daily News

    She wanted to get to the World Series in the worst way.

    A “desperate” Philadelphia Phillies fan was arrested for offering to exchange sex for tickets to see her beloved team play the Yankees, investigators said.

    Cops say Susan Finkelstein, 43, posted a pleading ad on Craigslist saying she needed two tickets to baseball’s biggest game.

    “DESPERATE BLONDE NEEDS WS TIX!” the ad was headlined.

    “Diehard Phillies fan – gorgeous tall buxom blonde – in desperate need of two World Series Tickets,” she allegedly wrote.

    Describing the price as “negotiable,” she ended the ad flirtatiously: “I’m the creative type! Maybe we can help each other!”

    Bucks County Public Safety Director Fred Harran said an officer with the special investigations unit spotted the ad and set up a meeting with Finkelstein at a local bar.

    The officer told her he and his brother had tickets to sell.

    Finkelstein offered to perform sex acts on both of them, saying, “Well, I’d rather have two tickets, and I could take care of both of you.”

    “There was no confusion at all,” Harran said. “She was pretty explicit in what she was going to trade.”

    Finkelstein is charged with a misdemeanor count of prostitution.

    Maybe she just confused “StubHub” with “StubRub”?

    Astute Reader Comments On The Yanks World Series Match-Up This Year

    Posted by on October 27th, 2009 · Comments (2)

    I know that some readers of this blog elect to pass on checking out reader comments. Because of that, I wanted to highlight two really fun comments left this week by “Tresh Fan” – as they present some unique insight about the 2009 World Series:

    The first one

    For me this has been some time in coming. They nearly met in ‘64, and in the Spring of ‘65 I clearly remember picking up a baseball mag with the prediction that the Yanks and Phils would meet in the WS that year. It didn’t happen, of course; but what was really weird was that both teams made the post season in 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980 and 1981—5 times in 6 years—but they never met in the Series: the Yanks got there in every one of those years but one (1980) which was the one year the Phillies got there. In fact, the only time the NL East met the AL East in the WS during those 6 years was in 1979—the year that both the Yanks and Phils missed. So like I said, this match-up was some time in coming. And now that it’s finally here I hope to enjoy it.

    And, the second one

    2009 will mark the 8th time the Yanks have taken on the defending World Champions in the World Series. Their record in the previous 7 trials is 5-2 with the two losses coming in 1922 and 1976—interestingly enough, in both of those series losses the Yanks failed to win a single game, going a collective 0-8-1. Most recently the Yankees faced off against the Atlanta Braves in 1996 with what is known in the medical community as “the desired result.”

    The Phillies for their part are trying to become just the 4th NL team—and only the second in the last 86 years—to win back-to-back World Championships, thus establishing themselves as on of the most memorable teams in Senior Circuit history. And their status would be enhanced all the more by besting the New York Yankees in doing so. Should be interesting.

    Great stuff “Tresh Fan” – and thanks for sharing it!

    Get Ready For Phillies Fan Infestation At Yankee Stadium?

    Posted by on October 27th, 2009 · Comments (6)

    I was watching (no pun intended) the news this morning on Channel 5 and they had a report that said ticket brokers are claiming that most of the tickets being bought for Games 1 and 2 of the 2009 World Series are being purchased by parties with a Pennsylvania home address.

    Won’t it stink if 10% (or more) of the Stadium crowd for these games was “Pro-Phillies”? At the least, Yankee Stadium security personnel could have their hands full covering these games. And, I wonder if Yankees fans will return the favor when the series heads south for Games 3, 4, and, possibly, 5?

    Pedro Not Facing His Daddy In The Boogie-Down

    Posted by on October 26th, 2009 · Comments (7)

    Via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:

    Phillies manager Charlie Manuel confirmed Sunday that Cliff Lee will start Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday, but he would not commit to using Cole Hamels in Game 2 on Thursday.

    “I ain’t answering that,” Manuel said when asked about Hamels. “I’m not trying to be a smart (aleck). I’m not ready to answer it yet.”

    Manuel seemingly was allowing for the possibility of going with Pedro Martinez, who has pitched in a lot of big games against the Yankees.

    In another twist, Martinez was hit on the lower right shin by a ball of the bat of Pedro Feliz during the first inning of the Phillies’ simulated game Sunday at Citizens Bank Park.

    Martinez said he was fine and continued pitching without any noticeable problems. Martinez started the simulated game and pitched two innings, facing 12 batters and throwing 50 pitches.

    General manager Ruben Amaro Jr., along with the rest of the Phillies’ coaching staff, closely watched the simulated game.

    Book it. There’s no way Slippery Pete the Mango Tree Sitter is starting Game 2 of the 2009 World Series – not after throwing 50 pitches today.

    Someone in Martinez’ situation…remember…they used to try and find him extra rest…and…this was before he was being held together with gorilla glue and 100-pound test fishing line…is not going to throw 50 pitches in a session and then come back on 2-days rest and pitch in a World Series game.

    Expect to see Pedro on the mound in Philly, on Halloween, starting Game 3 of the World Series…far from the Bronx.

    What The Other Guys Say…

    Posted by on October 26th, 2009 · Comments (5)

    For those interested, here are some good Phillies-related blogs to follow during the 2009 World Series:

    Scott Eyre’s Blog
    Phillies Nation
    The Fightins
    The Good Phight
    Balls, Sticks, & Stuff
    We Should Be GM’s
    Phollowing the Phillies
    The Phillies Zone
    High Cheese
    Philled In
    Crashburn Alley
    The 700 Level
    Phillie Phanatics

    Say what you want about the Phillies…but you can’t say they don’t have some dyed-in-the-wool fans, for sure.

    The Yankees Starting Rotation For The 2009 World Series

    Posted by on October 26th, 2009 · Comments (10)

    So, for the Yankees starting rotation in the 2009 World Series, among your options are the following:

    Choice One
    Game 1 – 10/28 – Sabathia
    Game 2 – 10/29 – Burnett
    Off Day – 10/30 – None Needed
    Game 3 – 10/31 – Pettitte
    Game 4 – 11/1 – Sabathia (on 3-days rest)
    Game 5 – 11/2 – Burnett (on 3-days rest)
    Off Day – 11/3 – None Needed
    Game 6 – 11/4 – Pettitte (on 3-days rest)
    Game 7 – 11/5 – Sabathia (on 3 days rest)

    Choice Two
    Game 1 – 10/28 – Sabathia
    Game 2 – 10/29 – Burnett
    Off Day – 10/30 – None Needed
    Game 3 – 10/31 – Pettitte
    Game 4 – 11/1 – Chamberlain or Gaudin
    Game 5 – 11/2 – Sabathia
    Off Day – 11/3 – None Needed
    Game 6 – 11/4 – Burnett
    Game 7 – 11/5 – Pettitte

    Choice Three
    Game 1 – 10/28 – Sabathia
    Game 2 – 10/29 – Burnett
    Off Day – 10/30 – None Needed
    Game 3 – 10/31 – Pettitte
    Game 4 – 11/1 – Sabathia (on 3-days rest)
    Game 5 – 11/2 – Chamberlain or Gaudin
    Off Day – 11/3 – None Needed
    Game 6 – 11/4 – Burnett
    Game 7 – 11/5 – Sabathia (on 3 days rest) or Pettitte

    Choice One is crazy – because you’re asking everyone to pitch on 3-days rest at some point. Choice Two only gives you Sabathia in two games. And, Choice Three has CC three times – but twice on 3-days rest. And, with Choices Two and Three, you have Chamberlain or Gaudin getting starts in the World Series. And, do we really want that?

    Tough call, eh?

    Matthews: Phils Match Up Well With Yank$

    Posted by on October 26th, 2009 · Comments (13)

    Via Wallace Matthews

    The Yankees have spent $1,187,333,651 on ballplayers since 2003, the last time they made it to the World Series. That’s one billion, one hundred eighty-seven million, three hundred thirty-three thousand and six hundred fifty-one dollars, if you’re scoring at home.

    The number jumps to $1,425,549,383 – almost enough to pay a Goldman Sachs CEO his bonus – if you go back to 2000, the last time they actually won a world championship.

    That’s a lot of money, a lot of time, an eclectic and ever-changing collection of a handful of great players and far too many frauds, failures and goldbricks who have passed through the Yankees clubhouse since the last time they earned a parade down Broadway.

    Finally, the Yankees seem to have found the right combination of players to get them back to where they believe they rightfully belong every year, although in last night’s 5-2 win that finally vanquished the stubborn but underpowered Angels, it was a member of their original cast, Andy Pettitte, and a soon-to-be castoff, Johnny Damon, who ultimately brought them there.

    Plus, the Angels were willful participants in their own failure with their nightly baserunning follies, another episode of which was presented last night when Vlad Guerrero somehow managed to get himself doubled off first base on a routine pop fly to right in the second inning.

    The $201-million Yankees – down slightly from the $209-million version that failed to make the postseason in 2008 – did precisely what they were supposed to do against teams like those, no more and perhaps even a bit less.

    But the Philadelphia Phillies, the defending world champions who are ready and rested after finishing off the Dodgers on Wednesday, are a different story altogether.

    Unlike the Twins and Angels, who are National League-type teams trying to keep up in the high-powered American League, the Phillies are the exact opposite.

    They hit nearly as many home runs as the Yankees, scored just a handful fewer runs, and play in a ballpark just as homer-friendly to them as the new Yankee Stadium is to the Yankees.

    Most importantly this time of year, with the exception of Rivera, for whom they have no equivalent (but then, who does?) the Phillies’ pitching staff can match the Yankees, arm for arm.

    The Yankees have CC Sabathia? The Phillies have Cliff Lee. A.J. Burnett equals Joe Blanton. And though the Yankees are still stuck for a reliable fourth starter, the Phillies have J.A. Happ, a 12-game winner with a 2.93 ERA. And of course, there’s Pedro – shame on you if you ask Pedro Who? – who in the midst of the 2004 Yankees collapse against the Red Sox sat in the press room at the old Stadium and mused about the good old days sitting under a mango tree in the Dominican Republic.

    You think he might want to put a little hurt on his old tormentors?

    No, this is not going to be easy, even with Sabathia starting Game 1 on full rest and Alex Rodriguez still seemingly unaware that it is indeed October.

    The Yankees spent nearly as much money on this ballclub as they did on the ballpark it plays in just to get back to the World Series.

    Now, what kind of price will they have to pay to win it?

    Me? This World Series will come down to what happens in Yankee Stadium. The Yankees play extremely well at home. But, the Phillies have played well on the road this season. So, if the Phils can split the first two games of this series and then turn it into a situation where it then becomes a “best 3 of 5” with Philadelphia then having the home field advantage…well…things could get sweaty for New York.

    The key to this series…assuming that Sabathia and Pettitte do what they normally do…could be A.J. Burnett (for the Yankees). What happens in his starts could make or break the Fall Classic for the Yankees.

    Do you agree? And, if you do, does it scare you that Burnett could be the key player in this World Series?

    Phils Fans Don Their Masshole Halloween Costumes A Little Early

    Posted by on October 22nd, 2009 · Comments (5)

    They’re gearing up in Philly for the Yanks. Via Phils-ville

    Some random thoughts and observations from last night’s Pennant clincher:

    15 minutes before air-time, Larry Andersen holding court outside the Pattison Ave. Will Call window like he didn’t have a care in the world. Caught the vibe from L.A. right then and there that this one was in the bag.

    Best anti-Manny chant of the night: “Hit the showers!”

    Second best: “You took steroids!”

    Yankees Suck,” “Beat the Yankees” chants after Phils went up 6-2.

    Anti-steroids commercial playing on Phanavision as Manny was jogging out to left field for the bottom of the 6th. Priceless.

    If that’s the Phils fans treatment for Manny, it’s probably just a warm up for what A-Rod can expect to hear in the World Series this year – assuming the Yankees make it, he says, not wanting to put the whammy on anything….

    Should be interesting…

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