Nov 03

About Last Night: We have a Series.

There’s a chance I could get my wish and this thing will go seven games. Those that know me understand that the only rooting interest I have is for a playoff round go seven games.

UTLEY: Two more bombs last night.

UTLEY: Two more bombs last night.


Last night was about the resiliency of the Phillies which was something the Mets have seen the last three seasons. With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, a play here or there the other way and the Phillies could have won already as they held leads in the games they lost.

The Yankees got to Cliff Lee for five runs, but it took them until the eighth to do it. We could see him again in Game 7 as a reliever, as that is his throw day. Lee has thrown well north of 200 innings this season and maybe they are catching up to him. The Phillies won because he pitched deep into the game to keep the Yankees out of their bullpen.

Last night, we also saw Chase Utley, who I’ve said several times throughout the season that he’s one of the top position players in the game. If I were starting a team, Albert Pujols would be my first choice and Utley probably my second. Maybe A-Rod.

I’m looking forward to Game 6, which is often the most intense of the playoff games because of the sense of urgency. The key tomorrow night will be Andy Pettitte, who has pitched well this postseason, but not well over his career on three days rest.

Joe Girardi gambled by going with a three-man rotation. It could still work out for the Yankees, but Burnett was hammered and Pettitte has a losing record on three days.

Oct 29

Phillies take early control ….

When you’re only playing seven games at best, every game is important, with tonight’s Game 2 falling into the critical category for the Yankees. I don’t see them climbing out of two-game hole.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel tabbed Pedro Martinez over Cole Hamels for tonight, citing the former’s big-game presence and experience in New York and the later’s numbers pitching in Philly. In a duel of aces, Cliff Lee out-dealt CC Sabathia, and with the support of two Chase Utley homers, the Phillies gained early control of the series.

LEE: Accepts congratulations after whipping Yankees.

LEE: Accepts congratulations after whipping Yankees.


The victory put the Phillies, win or lose tonight, in position of not having to return to New York if they run the table at home. That’s doable.

Lee was magnificent last night while Sabathia was good enough to win, but also a bit rusty. Sabathia had his rest. Now, Yankees manager Joe Girardi must decide whether to pitch him in Game 5 on normal rest or Game 4 on short rest. Sabathia pitched well on short rest before, but how long before he’s gassed?

Meanwhile, the Phillies, who have a fourth starter, have the luxury of using Lee any manner they desire, and if they go short it would be for Game 7. Regarding starting pitching, the Phillies are deeper.

The Yankees’ vulnerability in the bullpen surfaced last night to the tune of four runs. Phil Hughes is not the answer. When given the opportunity, the Phillies went for the throat last night. The game could have been an even greater blowout had they taken advantage of several early chances against Sabathia.

The Yankees are dangerous when down, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them get to Martinez tonight. However, it also wouldn’t be a shock for Philadelphia to rough up AJ Burnett.

Yes, the Yankees can still win, but it means doing so on the road. They’ve won at Minnesota and Anaheim so far in the playoffs, but the Phillies are a clearly better team.

Oct 20

TALKIN’ BASEBALL: We have a series in the AL.

There is nothing quite like the drama that is playoff baseball, where seasons fade and stay alive with a swing of the bat. There is an ebb and flow of emotions in baseball unlike any other sport and we saw them all last night when the complexion of both series changed on the game’s final play.

The Dodgers, one pitch away from tying their series at Philadelphia, are now in life support and face elimination tomorrow night. The Angels, who stared at the end of their season at the beginning of last night’s game, have fresh life.

SABATHIA: Going on three days rest.

SABATHIA: Going on three days rest.

Last night Jimmy Rollins sent the Dodgers closer to winter, and hours earlier the Angels turned the ALCS from a blowout to a series that could be for the ages. After gift-wrapping two victories to the Yankees, the Angels are alive and in position where they could knot that ALCS at two games apiece tonight after Jeff Mathis’ two-out double in extra innings Monday.

The Yankees could regain control and send Los Angeles to the brink of elimination with CC Sabathia on the mound or the Angels can get us back to square one behind Scott Kazmir.

“This is the type of series we expected it to be,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

KAZMIR: Pitching to keep Angels alive.

KAZMIR: Pitching to keep Angels alive.


Sabathia, who will be going on three days rest, is 6-7 with a 4.42 ERA in 15 career starts against the Angels. The Yankees are going with a three-man rotation in the ALCS meaning if there is a Game 7 in New York, Sabathia will get the ball.

Kazmir, who represents one of the worst trades made by the Mets, is in position to be a postseason hero for the Angels. Kazmir, who gave up five runs in six innings against Boston in the ALDS, was acquired from Tampa, Aug. 28, and went 2-2 with a 1.73 ERA in six starts for Los Angeles. He is 6-5 with a 2.66 ERA in 14 career starts against the Yankees.

Regardless of what happens tonight, Game 5 is Thursday at Anaheim.

Oct 14

Something with your morning coffee ….

This Day in Baseball History

This Day in Baseball History

The 1975 World Series between Boston and Cincinnati was one of the most compelling in history. The tone of the series was set in Game 3 on this date when Cincinnati’s Ed Armbrister and Boston’s Carlton Fisk became entangled on the former’s 10th-inning sacrifice bunt.

Interference was not called on Armbrister and the Reds went on to win to take a 2-1 Series lead.

There would have been plenty of dramatics to follow, including Game 6, which is arguably one of best games in World Series history. Had the Red Sox gotten that call then Fisk’s dramatic homer might have ended the World Series in Game 6 and not prolonged it.

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They Said It

They Said It

With poor weather forecast, New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi, anticipating rainouts is considering going to a three-man rotation. That might be to the Yankees’ advantage as their staff is not that deep.

Said Girardi: “In the 10-day forecast that I looked at, it looks like we have some rain in the forecast, so that can change things. But we are definitely considering possibly going to a three-man rotation in this round, but we’ll have to take a look at it and see how it goes.”

The change isn’t etched in stone, but it’s easy enough to change if Girardi wanted to go with four starters.

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BY THE NUMBERS

6: The Phillies have won six of their last eight road playoff games.

Oct 09

Something with your morning coffee ….

This Day in Baseball History

This Day in Baseball History

It was a lightning moment, a sudden burst and it was over.

On this day in 1999, with Mike Piazza out with a thumb injury, the Mets got a home run from backup catcher Todd Pratt in the 10th inning for a 4-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Pratt’s line drive just eluded Arizona center fielder Steve Finley, at the time one the best defensive outfielders in the game.

The Mets went on to the NLCS against the Atlanta, where they fell behind 3-0 on the series but rallied to force a sixth game, which they lost on a bases-loaded walk from Kenny Rogers.

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They Said It

They Said It

One of the interesting story lines in the Yankees-Twins ALDS, is the decision to start backup catcher Jose Molina in Game 2 tonight in New York over Jorge Posada to catch AJ Burnett.

Burnett said he did not lobby manager Joe Girardi to make the switch.

Said Burnett: “It was the manager’s decision, I had no part in it. I’ve thrown good to both. My good games, I’m right. My bad games, it’s not the catcher, it’s me … When I’m good, it doesn’t matter which one is behind the plate.”

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BY THE NUMBERS

3.28: Burnett’s ERA when pitching to Jose Molina in comparison to 4.96 when pitching to Jorge Posada.