Tagged: 2009

The Fightin’ Phillies Off to the Bronx for Game 6. Utley Chase-ing again.

Chase.jpgChase Utley’s bat seems to be on fire during the third inning.

On
Game 5 of the World Series against the New York Yankees, the Fightin’
second baseman hit a home run in the right field. He did the same in
Game 1. But the difference with the home run in the third inning of
Game 5 were the two men on bases- Jimmy Rollins who got a base hit and
Shane Victorino who was hit by pitch as he tried to bunt the first
pitch.

Of course, the pitcher was no longer the big leftie CC
Sabathia but the right-handed AJ Burnett who was starting for the
Yankees on short 3-day rest.

AJ Burnett gave up a back to back
walk to Utley and Howard in the third inning. The home run hitter Utley
stole second base while Howard was batting and reached home plate on
Jayson Werth’s base hit. No Phillies was retired to the dugout yet.

With
Raul Ibañez’ base hit, Ryan Howard scored widening the gap with the
Yankees; 5-1 on board for the Phillies. Burnett, who was dominant in
and won Game 2, was chased in the third inning and  replaced by David
Robertson.

The Phillies were not done fightin’. Ibañez was out
at second base but Carlos Ruiz stayed in first base while Jayson Werth
gave the Phillies another run. 6-1 on board.

The Bronx Bombers
were first to have a run in the first inning before Utley hit his 3-run
homer. Johnny Damon scored on A-Rod’s double. The Yanks had their
second run in the fifth inning. Johnny Damon grounded out to Ryan
Howard but the first baseman missed the throw  to home plate allowing
Eric Hinske, who was pinch hitting for David Robertson and was walked
by Lee with just one strike, to score safely.

Brett Gardner,
replacing Melky Cabrera in Game 5 as centre fielder, kept Jayson Werth
from having extra bases with his speedy and golden catch on a flyball
in the centre field wall in the fifth inning. Werth, not sure if the
ball was caught, kept moving until Gardner who was taking some time to
recover from hitting the wall showed the ball safe in his glove.

It
was the first out for Alfredo Aceves, the second reliever for AJ
Burnett, in the fifth inning. Aceves retired the next two batters on
ground outs.

History seems to repeat itself, in a very quick
fashion. Chase Utley in the seventh inning in Game 4 with two strikes
hit a solo homer off CC Sabathia. Chase Utley, again, with two strikes
in the seventh inning in Game 5 hit a solo home run but off Phil Coke,
Burnett’s third reliever. It was the second homer of the night and the
fifth home run in the series for the Phillies’ second baseman.

Chase
Utley just tied Reggie Jackson for a World Series record with
multi-home runs. The Phillies were still on lead with 7 runs against
the Yankees’ 2 runs.

With two outs, the Phillies had another
home run in the seventh inning. It was off the bat of Raul Ibañez. Phil
Hughes then had to replace Phil Coke.

Hughes may have allowed a
back to back walk in the eight inning of Game 1 and gave up a solo
homer in Game 3, but the young pitcher had his command back in Game 5.
He struck out Pedro Feliz on three consecutive strikes for the final
out of the seventh inning.

Carlos Ruiz had a base hit in the
eight inning but he grounded into a double play along with Matt Stairs
who was pinch hitting for Chan-Ho Park. Phil Hughes retired the last
batter, Jimmy Rollins, on a ground out.

The Yankees line up in
the eight inning was back on top but with Johnny Damon leading. Again,
the left fielder kept the line moving. Damon singled and reached third
base on Mark Teixeira’s double. A-Rod hit the first pitch and earned a
2-run double, as well as a cheer from Kate Hudson, sending Johnny Damon
and Mark Teixeira at home plate. The Yankees were 4-7 on board against
the Phillies.

Cliff Lee may not be as impressive as he was in
Game 1 but he still earned cheers from the Phillies fans as he was
retired to the dugout and replaced by Chan-Ho Park.

A-Rod
reached home plate on Robinson Cano’s sacrifice fly. The slugger who
calls himself an “underdog” in the World Series gave the Yankees their
fifth run.

Not giving up, the Yankees rallied some hits in the
ninth inning. With Posada leading the line up, he hit a double and
reached third base on Hideki Matsui’s base hit. The veteran catcher
reached home plate for another run but Derek Jeter grounded into a
double play. Hideki Matsui was out at second base.

The ninth
inning of Game 4 has become historical. It all began with Johnny Damon,
who on two out and two strikes hit a single on a battle against Brad
Lidge. With Mark Teixeira batting, Damon stole second then third base
that was left uncovered. Teixeira earned a base on hit by pitch. Damon
scored in that inning on A-Rod’s double.

Yet again, Damon on two
out and two strikes singled on a line drive to keep the line moving in
the last inning of Game 5. But the Phillies were on guard to keep the
wheels of Johnny Damon from going any further. With Teixeira in the
batter’s box, Ryan Madson made sure that the game would be closed. And
he did as Mark Teixeira struck out swinging.

The Philadelphia Phillies won Game 5 with 8-6 on board for the last game in Citizens Bank Park.

AJ Burnett and Cliff Lee both wear #34 on their uniform, but the Phillies’ ace was the prevailing pitcher of Game 5.

The
Fightin’ Phillies are pushing the World Series to Game 6 in Yankee
Stadium for a battle against the Bronx Bombers who are one win away for
their 27th World Series Championship title.

Also posted in Bleacher Report.

CC Chased by Utley

Utley.jpgGame 1 of 2009 World Series was, without a doubt, a history both for the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies.

Chase Utley was walked in the first inning and in the third inning
after eight pitches from CC Sabathia, the second baseman of the
Phillies hit a solo home run to right field. Three innings later, Utley
hit another solo homer in the right field.

It was the first home run, then first two consecutive home runs, that
CC Sabathia gave up on a leftie in the Yankee Stadium. Utley’s third
inning homer was also the first one in the Bronx on a post-season game.

The Yankees lost Game 1 of the World Series, 1-6 against the Phillies.
It was their first post-season lost in the Yankee Stadium.

Game 4 of the Fall Classic would be CC’s chance to take command in the
mound and be the “CC” he used to be during the regular season, and
during the ALCS.

The tension in the field, as well as among the fans, was apparent as
Chase Utley stepped into the batter’s box in Citizens Bank Park. With
two balls and no strike, Utley drilled a double sending off Shane
Victorino to the home plate for the Phillies’ first run.

The next two at-bats of Chase Utley were not productive. He popped out
to second baseman Robinson Cano in the third inning and to shortstop
Derek Jeter in the fifth inning.

The seventh inning was the pay-off at-bat. On two strikes, Chase Utley
hit another long shot to the right field from the same pitcher, CC
Sabathia.

As Utley returned to the Phillies dugout, so did Sabathia to the
Yankees dugout. He would not return to the mound. Joe Girardi had Joba
Chamberlain relieve for CC.

With 6.2 innings pitched, the 6’7″ Yankee allowed 7 hits, walked 3 but struckout 6, and earned 3 runs. He has an ERA of 3.29.

The Yankees did win Game 4 on 7-5 against the Fightin’ Phillies. They still lead the series on 3-1.

34 must be a lucky number in the World Series.

AJ Burnett.jpgGame 1 winning pitcher Cliff Lee wears #34 in his Phillies uniform. AJ Burnett is also wearing #34 in his Yankees uniform.

And who will forget Nolan Ryan and Rollie Fingers?

AJ Burnett pitched for the Yankees in World Series Game 2  with a blast. The Yankees beat the Phillies on 3-1, tying the series on Thursday night in Yankee Stadium.

The Pie-Man of the Bronx was able to keep his goal for the game. “I won’t change anything as far as my plan or my attack, just maybe not be so careless from the get go — just throwing balls over the middle to get strike one,” Burnett said.

The right-handed pitcher allowed 4 hits, 2 walks and just one run in seven innings. The run was from Raul Ibañez, who hit a double, driven by Matt Stairs’ single, a ground ball to left field that was deflected by Alex Rodriguez in the second inning.

If the Phillies had a lot of runs in Game 1 on Wednesday, Thursday night gave them a lot of strikes and strikeouts. Burnett struck out  Raul Ibañez twice and Ryan Howard thrice. He struck out four other Phillies.

Burnett’s favoured catcher was outstanding, not just in helping him with his pitches. Jose Molina, also a Puerto Rican, kept a runner from staying in the fourth inning. Jayson Werth hit a single on a full count but while Ibañez was batting, he was picked off by Molina at first base on a throw to Mark Teixeira. AJ Burnett only faced three batters in the fourth inning.

The Bronx Bombers hit two solo home runs. The Yankees’ first homer in the World Series came off the previously shy bat of Mark Teixeira over the fence in the right centre field in the fourth inning. It was his first career World Series home run.

The other solo homer was provided my Hideki Matsui on a fly ball in the right field in the sixth inning. It was Godzilla’s second career World Series home run.

When Jorge Posada was announced to pinch hit for Jose Molina in the seventh inning, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel left the dugout to get the ball from Pedro Martinez, the Phillies starter, and summoned Park Chan-Ho to face Posada who went 0-for-7 against him.

Pedro Martinez pitched for 6 innings and left the mound with 4.50 ERA. He struckout eight Yankees but allowed 6 hits and 3 runs.

A.J. Burnett may opt for Jose Molina to catch for him, but he was the number one cheerleader of Jorge Posada when the veteran catcher hit a single on a line drive to centre field driving in Brett Gardner, who was pinch running for Jerry Hairston, Jr., for another run. The run was charged to Pedro Martinez.

The Philadelphia Phillies were able to keep the remaining Yanks off the plate when Johnny Damon lined into a double play. Posada was out off first. They also caused a gathering of the umpires to discuss the play and call, which was questioned by Joe Girardi.

The Phillies were trying to rally more runs, but the goal seemed impossible as they had to face Mariano Rivera in the eight inning. Posada stayed in the game to replace Jose Molina.

The eight inning was quite a battle against The Sandman who drew the third walk for the Phillies with just one out. Shane Victorino, batting next, was able to hit a single on a ground ball to right field. The Old Guard closer was able to stay out of trouble when Chase Utley grounded into double play, Robinson Cano to shortstop Derek Jeter to Mark Teixeira. Shane Victorino was out at second base.

Ryan Howard was batting first in the ninth inning, but he never had the chance to have a base hit as he was struck out on 0-3 count by Mariano Rivera. The first baseman of the Phillies was totally shut out by Burnett and Rivera in his four at-bats.

After 38 pitches, Mariano Rivera struck out the eighth batter he faced on 2-2 count for the final out of the game.

The Yankees are off to follow the Phillies in Citizens Bank Park for Game 3 on Saturday night. Andy Pettitte will start for the Yankees who will face Cole Hamels.

Also posted in Bleacher Report.

Amazing Lee Dazzling in World Series Game 1

34.jpgIt
was a total domination by Cliff Lee against the New York Yankees in
World Series Game 1. The left handed pitcher, who was traded from the
Indians in July, pitched in a complete game with 80 strikes and 42
balls on Wednesday night.

Lee, who was a former Cleveland
Indian teammate and a close friend of Game 1 opponent CC Sabathia,
struck out two batters in the first and another two in the second
inning. He allowed an RBI, with extra base hit, for Derek Jeter in the
third inning.

But in the fourth inning Cliff Lee did nothing
but strike out all batters in the box: Teixeira, A-Rod, and Posada. All
three struck out at least twice. A-Rod was struck out thrice.

The Yankees scored in the bottom of the ninth, but it was on throwing
error of shortstop Jimmy Rollins. Lee allowed 6 hits, no walk, and 10
strike outs.

2.JPGBesides the ten strikeouts and no runs, two of
Lee’s impressive performances include a waiting-in-the-mound catch for
Johnny Damon’s pop-up in the sixth inning and the behind-the-back catch
when Robinson Cano hit the second pitch in the eight inning.

A big smile painted on the pitcher’s face and a shrug showed how much fun it was for him to start the bottom of the eight.

The 2008 Cy Young awardee started his game with a strikeout and ended
it with another strikeout. Both strikeouts were to World Series
veterans Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada.

Cliff Lee did not just
secure the game for the Phillies, along with Chase Utley’s back to back
home runs, he also saved their bullpen. He now holds 3 starts with 3-0
wins in his 2009 post-season resume.
3.JPGThe defending champions beat the Bronx Bombers on 6-1 and now have a 1-0 lead in the 2009 World Series.


Also posted in Bleacher Report.

Cliff Lee Striking and Phillies Fightin’

Cliff Lee.jpg

Cliff Lee has been tremendous in the first half of World Series Game 1
against the Yankees. He struck out two in the first as well as in the
second inning. As if those were not good enough, Lee struck out Mark
Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, and Jorge Posada in the fourth inning. It was
the second strikeout for Teixeira and A-Rod.

CC Sabathia, a
former Cleveland Indian teammate and a close friend of Cliff Lee,
scuffled in the first inning. He’s thrown 24 pitches in that inning
alone. And in the third inning, CC pitched eight times to Chase Utley
before giving up a home run in the right field near the foul pole.

Utley’s home run was the first homer of the 2009 World Series and the
first home run in the new Yankee Stadium in a post-season game.

As for CC, it was the first home run he gave up on a left-handed hitter
at home. The next time he faced Chase Utley, another home run was given
up in the right field. It was a back to back home run for Chase Utley.

Cliff Lee is just so striking and the Fightin’ Phillies lead by 2-0 against the Bronx Bombers in the first six innings.

Old Guard pitchers advance the Yankees back to World Series.

Thumbnail image for Andy and Mo.jpgAfter  being suspended on Saturday night because of hefty rain, Game 6
was finally pushed through on Sunday night in the Bronx, New York.

The
Yankees may have lost Game 3 of the series with Pettitte as their
starter, but Dandy Andy presented himself in the mound in Game 6 with
confidence and results that speak of his possible legend.

The
36-year old pitcher only allowed one walk, of which Howie Kendrick was
the recipient. It was after Vladimir Guerrero hit an RBI, which he
grounded off first in the second inning. Guerrero’s move was considered
to be a wrong move; obviously.

The Angels have committed a lot
of mistakes during the series, some of which were not even part of
their accumulated 8 error record in the ALCS. Some of those errors even
helped the Yankees reach homeplate.

One easy and unwonted out
happened during the sixth inning. Chone Figgins, after bunting
Pettitte’s 89 MPH fastball, grounded out to catcher Jorge Posada. He
was out for tagging himself as he ran to first base. His left foot
touched the ball.

In the same sixth inning, the Angels might’ve
had a run when Vladimir Guerrero’s double RBI advanced Torii Hunter to
third base. The centre fielder’s speed has been a concern to the
Bombers. With two out, Mr. Iron Gaze saved the inning when Kendrick
Morales hit the ball back to him for the third out.

Posada.jpgWith long time teammate Jorge Posada catching behind the plate, the
left-handed pitcher struck out six Angels in 6.1 innings before Manager
Joe Torre climbed to the hill. The man in the mound knew what was
coming.

Pettitte may have wanted to stay longer, a lot of the
fans wanted too, but he yielded to his former teammate’s call and left
his throne with 99 pitches and a 2.84 ERA.

The post-season
veteran pitcher allowed seven hits and only had one run. The Yankee
fans gave Pettitte a standing ovation while the Old Guard starting
pitcher tipped his cap in recognition of the fans as he retired to the
dugout.

Joba relieved for him, pitching against two Halos. He
grounded out both to end the top of the seventh inning, but that was
all for him. Joe Girardi already had plans for the eight and ninth
inning.

The Sandman left the Yankee bullpen radiating assurance
to the Yankees and at the same time threat to the Angels. “I knew I was
going to be there for at least two,” said Rivera who was called in the
top of the eight.

Mariano Rivera is one of those pitchers you don’t want to face when you’re in the batter’s box.

“Man,
I don’t even want to talk about Mariano Rivera right now,” Torii Hunter
said. “You don’t want to face him. I don’t plan on getting to him. If
we do, the game is probably in the bag.”

Chone Figgins was
fortunate to hit an RBI on one ball – one strike count against Mariano
Rivera. He was not the only blessed Angel of the night. With two outs,
Figgins scored on Vladimir Guerrero’s RBI giving the Angels their
second and last run. It was the first post-season run given up by
Mariano Rivera at home since Game 2 of the 2000 World Series against
the Mets.

In the top of the ninth inning with two out, and just
one more for the final one, Gary Matthews Jr. was pinch hitting for
catcher Mike Napoli. It was an offensive move but obviously didn’t
work. Matthews, Jr. struckout swinging for the final out of the series.
The pitch was not even a cutter.

Andy and Mariano.JPGMariano Rivera secured the World Series ticket his Old Guard buddy Andy Pettitte clutched for the Yankees.

The
Bombers earned three runs in the fourth inning from Robinson Cano and
Nick Swisher on Johnny Damon’s RBI and from Derek Jeter who had to step
on homeplate to give way for A-Rod who was walked with bases loaded.

They
had another runs in the eight inning from Robinson Cano on Melky
Cabrera’s sacrifice bunt, which he earned as  double on throwing error
by Scott Kazmir, and from Brett Gardner on Mark Teixeira’s sacrifice
fly to centre field.

The New York Yankees defeated the Los
Angeles Angels on 5-2 in Game 6 of the American League Championship
Series. The Bronx Bombers will represent the American  League in the
World Series to face the defending champions Philadelphia Phillies of
the National League on Wednesday night in Yankee Stadium.

Also posted in MLBlog and Bleacher Report.

Phillies and Yankees on World Series

Old Guard.jpgThe wait is finally over.

After
5 days of waiting, the Philadelphia Phillies now know which team will
they face. The New York Yankees just defeated the LA Angels in the
American League Series of Game 6, 5-3 on board. It was a game that
lasted for 3 hours and 40 minutes with 50,173 people in full
anticipation.

The Phillies and Yankees have faced each other
during the regular season, and the Phillies have won the series, 2-1,
against the Yankees. Game 2 of that series was a walk-off win as Melky
Cabrera hit a single, scoring Robinson Cano. Alex Rodriguez provided
the tying run, a two-run homer to the right field.

Game 1 of the
World Series will be started in the Yankee Stadium and starting
pitchers will be CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee. Both pitchers are
considered aces in their ball clubs. But who will prevail?

Cliff
Lee has a 14-13 record, 245 hits, 3 walks, 10 strikeouts, and a 3.22
ERA. CC Sabathia, on the other hand, has an amazing 19-8 record. He has
allowed 197 hits and 67 walks while striking out 197. If Mo is capable
of calming the Yankees organization, and fans alike, during the late
innings, CC has a calming effect on me when he’s starting for the
Bombers.

Both NL and AL teams know how big the World Series will
be. The Philadelphia Phillies will do everything to defend their title
while the New York Yankees will be looking forward for a 27th World
Series title.

There are a lot of World Series rookies from the
Yankees, but the Old Guard remains intact. The last Old Guard
appearance in the World Series, excluding Andy Pettitte who was in the
Astros, was on 2004. This would be a nice reunion, especially that
Pettitte is back to the Yankees. With new members in their club, the
World Series will be more exciting.

Yogi.jpgThe Phillies and Yankees are
strong teams in their respective leagues, but only one team will claim
the 2009 World Series title. I am a fan of both teams, but I am rooting
for my top favourite team, the New York Yankees.

The National
and American League Series are over.  But, “It ain’t over till it’s
over.” It must be a wonderful night for Yogi Berra who watched the
game. I’d love to hear what he’s got to say about Game 6.