2009 World Series

Wish you were here

Cole Hamels faces lefty Andy Pettitte in game three on Saturday.

The 37-year-old Pettitte made 32 starts for the Yankees this season, going 14-8 with a 4.16 ERA and a 1.38 ratio. Righties hit 249/331/386 against him and lefties 282/321/409. Like Burnett, same-side hitters hit for a higher average against him. Over his career the numbers for lefties and righties against him are very similar — 270/329/400 for righties and 271/318/393 for lefties.

In 2009, he didn’t walk lefties but he did walk righties. He faced 236 lefties this year and walked 12 of them (5.1%). He walked 63 of 597 (10.6%) righties. He was fourth in the AL in walks this season, walking 76 in 194 2/3 innings or about 3.51 per nine innings.

Righties and lefties got extra-base hits at about the same rate (7.2% of righties and 6.8% of lefties).

He was a lot better away from home than he was at it. 8-4 with a 3.71 ERA and a 1.26 ratio away and 6-4 with a 4.59 ERA and a 1.49 ratio at home. He threw 100 innings at home and 94 2/3 away and allowed 14 homers at home and six on the road.

He started against the Phillies on May 23 and allowed four runs over seven innings. Ibanez and John Mayberry hit homers off of him in that game. The Phils took a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth, but the Yankees got three runs off of Lidge and won 5-4.

Pettitte has made 38 post-season starts in his career, throwing to a 3.83 ERA with a 1.33 ratio (3.91 and 1.36 for his regular season career). In three starts this post-season he’s 2-0 over 19 innings with a 2.37 ERA and a 1.05 ratio. He’s walked just three and struck out 15. In game three of the NLDS he held the Twins to a run over 6 1/3 innings, giving up just three hits and a walk. He started game three of the ALCS against the Angels and allowed three runs over 6 1/3, giving up a pair of home runs. In game six he allowed a run over 6 1/3 innings.

Raul Ibanez is the Phillie with the most regular season at-bats against Pettitte. He’s 6-for-21 with a double and a home run (286/318/476). Rollins 4-for-18 with a home run. Victorino 3-for-6. Utley 1-for-7 and Howard 1-for-9. Werth 1-for-13 with a homer. Feliz 2-for-7 with three walks. Ruiz 2-for-3 with a homer.

3-4-5 of the order a combined 3-for-29. That could be better.

The Phils could sure use Cole Hamels right about now. He went 10-11 with a 4.32 ERA and a 1.29 ratio over 32 starts in 2009. He went into the All-Star break with an ugly 4.87 ERA, but threw to a 3.76 ERA and a 1.19 ratio in 15 starts after the break. He was much better at home this year than away from Citizens Bank Park. 3.76 ERA and a 1.12 ratio at home and a 4.99 ERA and a 1.48 ratio away. He was pretty good against lefties this year (242/295/416). Righties hit .282 against him, but he didn’t walk many of them, holding their line for the year against him to 282/320/447.

He made one start against the Yankees this year, which came on May 24 in New York. He allowed two runs over six innings. Teixeira hit a home run off of him. A single by Cabrera off of Lidge in the bottom of the ninth tied the game at 3-3. Ruiz had an RBI-double off of Tomko in the top of the eleventh and the Phils won 4-3.

Hamels struggled at the end of the year, throwing to a 7.02 ERA over his last three starts. After a brilliant post-season in 2008 he’s been hit hard in the playoffs as well. In three post-season starts in ’09 he has allowed 11 earned runs in 14 2/3 innings (6.75 ERA). He’s allowed 20 hits in the 14 2/3 innings, six of which were home runs.

He allowed four runs in five innings against the Rockies in game two of the NLDS. In game one of the NLCS against the Dodgers he allowed four runs in 5 1/3 innings. He got an early hook in game five, allowing three runs in 4 1/3 innings.

The former Brave Teixeira is the Yankee who has seen him the most. 5-for-17 with two home runs. Jeter 4-for-7. Damon 3-for-5 with a double and two walks. A-Rod 0-for-4 with a walk. Matsui 0-for-3. Posada 0-for-3. Cano 0-for-3.

The teams play three games in three days, so if either the Phils or the Yankees chase the other’s starter early in game three it’s going to make a whole lot of problems.

Joe Blanton will start game four.


Most influential player that ever stepped in Yankee Stadium makes his case for a new addition to Vizzini’s list

Vizzini is the guy in The Princess Bride who is best known for his list of classic blunders that’s headed up by never getting involved in a land war in Asia. With an assist to Grady Little, it may be time for him to add never letting Pedro Martinez stay in a playoff game to pitch to Hideki Matsui. In game six of the 2003 ALCS, Little left Martinez in to pitch to Matsui in the bottom of the eighth and the Red Sox were never able to recover. Last night, after being pulled from his previous start after 87 pitches with a two-hit shutout, Martinez’s 97th pitch of the game was delivered to Matsui and Matsui hit it out to right to put New York on top to stay at 2-1.

Despite the high pitch count, Pedro was throwing well at the time. He had just struck out the big bats of Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez back-to-back. Starting with the at-bat against Matsui, though, he faced four more hitters in the game. Matsui homered, he got one out to end the sixth and the only two men he faced in the seventh got hits. Keeping Martinez in to face those four hitters cost the Phillies two runs in a game when they scored one. They got off that easy because of a missed call that gave them two outs on a play where they earned none.

AJ Burnett was fantastic in the game. The Phillies managed a run off of him in the second thanks to a two-out bloop double that was followed by a ground ball to third that should have been handled by A-Rod but went into left to put the Phils up 1-0. Martinez pitched well early as well, but Mark Teixeira connected for a solo home run in the fourth that tied the game at 1-1. With his pitch count near 100, Martinez stayed in to pitch to Matsui with two outs in the bottom of the sixth and Matsui hit a 1-2 pitch just out to right. 2-1. Pedro came back to start the seventh against the miserable bottom of the Yankees order and couldn’t get anybody out. He faced two men in the inning and both singled, putting men on first and third with nobody out. Park came in to face Jorge Posada and Posada delivered an RBI-single that made it 3-1 with men on first and second and nobody out. Jeter tried to bunt and fouled out before the Phillies got out of the inning without any more damage, getting a double-play on a ball hit hard to Howard that the umps said he caught that he didn’t. Mariano Rivera came in and kept the Phils off the board for the last two innings of the game.

The Phillies took a ton of pitches in the game and got behind Burnett time after time. Some people seem to think it was the wrong approach. I don’t agree. I’m pretty sure it was the perfect approach — not because you want Burnett to throw a lot of pitches and you get to take a chance against the pen, but because Burnett will walk the whole world. He didn’t last night. He was great. But the approach was right for the Phillies, at least to start the game. I think you can argue that they should have started swinging earlier in the count in the middle innings when it was clear that Burnett was getting ahead time after time. I think they want to do it the same way the next time they see him, at least early in the game.

So the Phils leave New York with a split but also with a bad taste in the mouth. The things that stick out most in my mind from the two games aren’t Utley’s home runs or the clutch hit from Ibanez or even Lee’s heroics. It’s Pedro walking off the mound and pointing at the sky and the little smile on his face after he didn’t pitch well and the Phillies were losing. It’s the way that Lee caught Damon’s popup as if he playing in the World Series wasn’t quite enough for him and he needed to manufacture a little excitement. It especially bothers me because I haven’t seen either of those guys win the World Series wearing a Phillies’ uniform. The Phils have put together a fantastic run in the post-season over the past two seasons because they have elevated their play. They’ve played with an intensity that’s been pretty awesome to watch, but it’s just about the exact opposite of flipping out your glove to catch a popup. They have simply been better in the playoffs than they are in the regular season. It feels like this is the place where I should be saying that it’s not that I don’t want to see them having fun. The problem with that is it’s not true. I don’t want to see them having fun. Not during the game. Have fun after the game or before it on in August when you’re up by 8 1/2 games in the division. Right now you need to go back to work.

The Phillies and Yankees are tied at one game apiece in the World Series after the Yankees took game three in New York last night.

Martinez got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing three runs on six hits and two walks. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and two home runs. He struck out eight.

He faced a Yankees lineup that went (1) Jeter (SS/R) (2) Damon (LF/R) (3) Teixeira (1B/S) (4) Rodriguez (3B/R) (5) Matsui (DH/L) (6) Cano (2B/L) (7) Hairston (RF/R) (8) Cabrera (CF/S) (9) Molina (C/R). Molina catches Burnett with Posada on the bench. Hairston plays right with Swisher on the bench. Matsui and Cano move up a spot in the order. That lineup is a gift to the Phillies. Sure was nice of New York to take their good players out of the lineup and put their bad ones in instead. Taking Posada, who was among the best hitters in baseball against righties this year, out against a righty is particularly nice. Hairston had nice numbers against Martinez coming into the game, but it sure seems like the Yankees would have been better off with the lefty Hinske in right if Swisher wasn’t going to play.

The Yankees had four players on their bench to start the game, lefties Brett Gardner and Eric Hinske and the switch-hitters Posada and Swisher.

Pedro threw a 1-2-3 first, striking Jeter out swinging 3-2 for the first out, Damon swinging 1-2 for the second and getting Teixeira to pop to Rollins behind the mound to end the inning.

Big strike zone for Martinez in the first. Silliest call was a 1-1 pitch to Jeter that was pretty far outside and called a strike. Pedro threw 17 pitches in the inning.

Pedro started the second with a 1-0 lead. A-Rod struck out looking 1-2 for the first out. Matsui was next and he hit a 2-1 pitch past a diving Utley and into right for a single. Cano hit a ball into left-center on a 2-2 pitch, but Ibanez made a very nice diving play to take a hit away from him. Hairston flew to right to end the inning.

Great catch by Ibanez changed the inning. After a long 26-pitch inning Martinez was at 43 for the game after just two innings.

Cabrera flew to center to start the third. Molina followed and walked on a 3-2 pitch that was outside. Jeter struck out looking 2-2 for the second out and Damon swung at the first pitch and flew to center.

Sixteen pitches in the inning, 59 for the game.

Teixeira led off of the fourth and hit a 1-0 pitch out to right-center to tie the game at 1-1. A-Rod flew to left 0-2 for the first out. Matsui drew a walk on a 3-1 pitch, but Cano flew to center and Hairston struck out looking 1-2.

After 16 pitches in the inning Martinez was at 75 for the game.

He struck Cabrera out swinging 1-2 for the first out of the inning. Molina grounded to short on an 0-1 pitch for the second out before Jeter came to the plate and lined his first pitch from Martinez into left for a double. Damon swung at the first pitch he saw, too, and popped to Howard to leave Jeter stranded.

Lots of action in the pen for the Phils as Martinez’s pitch count neared ninety. After throwing eight pitches in the inning he was at 83 for the game. Just two pitches for the Jeter and Damon at-bats.

Pedro struck out Teixeira swinging 2-2 for the first out in the sixth. A-Rod was next and he struck out swinging 1-2. Martinez stayed in to pitch to the lefty Matsui. He got ahead of him 0-2, but Matsui hit a low 1-2 pitch out to right to put New York up 2-1. Cano flew to left on an 0-1 pitch for the third out.

Another big hit for Matsui off of Pedro in the post-season. Martinez stays in to pitch to the lefty and it costs the Phils. A-Rod was 0-for-7 in the series with five strikeouts and a bad defensive play at this point. Sixteen pitches in the inning had Pedro at 99.

He came back to start the seventh and it cost the Phils. Hairston led off and got behind 0-2 but singled to right on a 1-2 pitch. Brett Gardner ran for him at first. Cabrera lined a single to right and Cabrera went to third. Posada hit for Molina and Park came in to pitch to him. Park got ahead of Posada, but Posada lined a 1-2 pitch into center for a single. Gardner scored to make it 3-1. Jeter was next and he tried to bunt but got behind 0-2. He bunted the next pitch foul for the first out. Eyre came in to pitch to the lefty Damon. Damon hit it hard to first. Howard threw wildly to second and wouldn’t have gotten any out on the play, but the ump at first ruled that Howard had caught the ball. He hadn’t, but Rollins tagged out Posada on second base to complete a double-play to end the inning.

Bottom of the order gets it done for the Yankees against Pedro as Manuel lets him start the seventh. Park flailed his arms about after the Posada hit, but I’m not sure if he was mad at someone or just the hit. Jeter trying to bunt is a poor idea, especially with two strikes. It helped the Phillies out a lot. They got three outs in the inning. Jeter gave them one he shouldn’t have and the other two came on a play where they wouldn’t have gotten any with the right call.

Madson started the eighth with the Phils still down 3-1. He hit Teixeira on the leg, but struck A-Rod out looking at pitch out of the strike zone 1-2 for the first out. Matsui got ahead 2-0 but struck out swinging 2-2 for the second out. Cano hit the first pitch of his at-bat into right for a single, moving Teixeira to second. Gardner was next and he struck out swinging 1-2 to end the inning and leave both runners stranded.

Jeter is 4-for-8 with two doubles so far. Matsui 3-for-6 with a homer. Posada 2-for-5. A-Rod 0-for-8 with six strikeouts. Cabrera, Cano, Teixeira and Damon are a combined 4-for-28 with the big home run by Teixeira. The Yankees have two walks in the first two games, one by Matsui and one by Molina.

The Phillies lineup against righty AJ Burnett went (1) Rollins (SS/S) (2) Victorino (CF/S) (3) Utley (2B/L) (4) Howard (1B/L) (5) Werth (RF/R) (6) Ibanez (LF/L) (7) Stairs (DH/L) (8) Feliz (3B/R) (9) Ruiz (C/R). Stairs at DH against the righty with Ibanez back in left field and Francisco on the bench. Four lefties between the 3-4-5-6 spots in the order.

The Phillies started the game with four players on the bench, lefties Dobbs and Bako and righties Eric Bruntlett and Ben Francisco. Dobbs was on the roster but not available. He has the flu.

Burnett looked very good in the first. Rollins flew to left on a 1-1 pitch for the first out. Victorino struck out looking 1-2. Utley got ahead 3-1 and flew to left.

Burnett threw strike one to all three hitters in the inning. All three took. He threw 12 pitches in the inning.

Howard started the second and struck out trying to check his swing 1-2. Werth grounded to third on a 3-2 pitch. Ibanez hit a 2-2 pitch down the left field line. It dropped on the line and went into the stands for a ground-rule double. Stairs was next and he hit a 1-1 pitch hard to third. It went under A-Rod’s glove for a single. Ibanez scored to put the Phils up 1-0. Feliz struck out swinging 1-2 to end the frame.

Burnett had gotten ahead of all eight Phillies hitters 0-1. Two lefties in a row hit with hits to the left side of the infield. You won’t see Matt Stairs with a lot of hits to left. A-Rod should have made the play on his ball. Burnett threw 25 pitches in the inning and was up to 37 for the game.

He didn’t get ahead of Ruiz to start the third, cause Ruiz swung at the first pitch and grounded out to short. Rollins was next and he drew a walk. He was running as Victorino dribbled a 2-2 pitch back to the mound. Burnett threw to first for the second out. Utley was next and took three straight balls before the Yankees put him on intentionally. With two outs and men on first and second, Howard took ball one too but struck out swinging 1-2 to leave both men stranded.

Utley was the first Phillies hitter to get ahead in the count on the first pitch. Twenty-four pitches for Burnett in the inning and 61 for the game.

Werth led off the fourth and singled to right. Ibanez got behind 0-2 and checked his swing as the count went 1-2. Molina threw to first and Werth was picked off for the second out. Ibanez struck out swinging for the second out. Stairs swung at the first pitch and flew to left.

Huge play by Molina helps the Yankees work around the leadoff single. If you’re going to get four hits and two walks in seven innings off of Burnett you don’t want to give away outs on the bases. It got the crowd, which had been sleepy all night, back in the game, too. The Yankees scored their first run of the game in the bottom of the inning when Teixeira led off with a home run. Twelve pitches had Burnett up to 73.

Feliz started the fifth with the score tied at 1-1. He swung at the first pitch and flew to right. Ruiz was next and he ripped a 1-2 pitch into left and off the wall for a double. Rollins struck out swinging 3-2 for the second out. Victorino swung at the first pitch of his at-bat and popped to third, leaving Ruiz stranded.

Burnett was up to 86 pitches for the game after throwing 13 in the inning. Two outs in the frame on the first pitch.

Utley led off the sixth and grounded softly to first 2-1 for the first out. Howard struck out looking 2-2 for the second out. Werth flew to center on an 0-1 pitch for the third out.

Third strikeout in three at-bats for Howard. Burnett threw 11 pitches in the inning and had thrown 97 in the game.

The Phils started the seventh down 2-1. Ibanez struck out looking 1-2. Stairs struck out looking 0-2. Burnett got ahead of Feliz and Feliz hit a 1-2 pitch softly to short for the third out.

Eight in a row for Burnett. After 11 pitches in the inning he was at 108 for the game.

Righty Mariano Rivera started the eighth inning with a 3-1 lead. Ruiz grounded to third on a 1-1 pitch for the first out. Rollins was next and he walked on a 3-2 pitch. Victorino dribbled an 0-1 pitch into right field for a single, sending Rollins to second. With the count full on Utley the runners were not running with the pitch. Utley hit a hard ground ball to second and the Yankees turned the double-play with the help of a strong throw from Jeter that just nipped Utley.

Utley was safe at first, but the Phils got their share of calls in the game. Not sending the runners on the 3-2 count cost the Phillies the chance to bring Howard to the plate as the go-ahead run. I’m okay with not running, cause I think you want to stay out of the strike-out-throw-out double-play that ends the inning, too.

Rivera was back for the ninth and struck Howard out looking 0-2 on a ball that wasn’t in the strike zone for the first out. Werth hit a soft liner to second 2-2 for the second out. Ibanez doubled to left-center on a 1-1 pitch, bringing Stairs to the plate as the tying run. Rivera struck him out swinging 2-2 to end the game.

Rollins was 0-for-2 with two walks in the game. 1-for-6 with three walks in the series.

Victorino was 1-for-4 with a strikeout. 2-for-8 with a walk so far.

Utley 0-for-3 with a walk last night and 2-for-7 with two walks and two home runs in the series.

Howard was 0-for-4 and struck out four times. He’s 2-for-9 with two doubles in the first two games.

Ibanez 2-for-4 with two doubles in the game. The Phils had just three extra-base hits last night — two doubles by Ibanez and one by Ruiz. He also made a very nice diving catch in left. Ibanez is 3-for-8 in the series.

Werth was 1-for-4 last night and is 2-for-6 with two walks in the series. He made an awful mistake in last night’s game, getting picked off of first base.

Stairs was 1-for-4 with an RBI in his only action in the series.

Feliz was 0-for-3 in the game and is 0-for-7 so far.

Ruiz 1-for-3 with a double in the game and 2-for-7 with two doubles in the series.

Mariano threw 39 pitches in the game, but there’s an off day today with game three on Saturday.


Take two

Pedro Martinez faces righty AJ Burnett tonight in game two of the World Series.

Burnett went 13-9 with a 4.04 ERA and a 1.40 ratio in 33 starts for the Yankees this season. The righty was much better against lefties than he was against righties. Lefties hit just 217/310/343 against him while righties hit a much better 282/366/450. Lefties did walk a little more often against him. He walked about 11% of the lefties he faced and about 10.6% of the righties. The on-base percentage is so much better for righties cause they got so many more hits.

He walked too many batters, both right and left-handed. That’s how his ratio is 1.40 when he allowed 193 hits in 207 innings. Overall he walked about 4.22 batters per nine innings. Among the 11 Phillies pitchers who started more than one game for the team this season the pitcher with the worst rate of walks per nine innings was Park. He walked 3.56 per nine for the year.

Burnett gave up 97 walks this year, which led the American League. He led it by a lot. Matt Garza and Ricky Romero tied for second and they each walked 79.

He has made three starts in the post-season this year, throwing to a 4.42 ERA with a 1.31 ratio. In 18 1/3 innings he has walked ten. In game two of the ALDS he held the Twins to a single run over six innings but walked five. In game two of the ALCS he held the Angels to two runs over 6 1/3. His most recent start was game five of the ALCS and he was hit hard, allowing six runs over six innings.

He made a start against the Phils on May 22 of this year and allowed five runs over six innings as the Phillies rolled to a 7-3 win in Philadelphia. Werth, Rollins and Ruiz all homered off of him in that game.

Rollins is the Phillie who has seen Burnett the most in the regular season over his career. 11-for-43 with three doubles and a home run (256/340/395). Victorino 1-for-6. Utley 6-for-21 with a triple and a homer (286/348/542). Howard 2-for-12 with two home runs. Werth 1-for-7 with a homer. Ibanez 4-for-15 with a double. Feliz 2-for-15. Ruiz 3-for-3 with a home run. Stairs is 3-for-11 with two home runs against him.

Martinez made nine starts for the Phillies this season, pitching to a 3.63 ERA and a 1.25 ratio over 44 2/3 innings. He gave up seven home runs — that rate would have him giving up about 31 over 200 innings. Opponents slugged .472 against him for the season.

He didn’t walk much of anyone. His walk rate of 1.61 batters per nine innings was the best of any Phillies pitcher other than Lee.

He was fantastic in his start in game two of the NLDS against the Dodgers, allowing two singles over seven shutout innings. That is the only start he has made since September 30. He had a pitch limit of about 90 pitches in the NLCS and was pulled having thrown just 87.

He has faced some of the Yankees a lot during the regular season over his career. Jeter is 22-for-86 with three doubles and three home runs against him (256/347/395). Damon 5-for-25 with two walks (200/259/200). Teixeira 1-for-6 with a double. Rodriguez 16-for-56 with two doubles and a home run (291/350/382). Posada 11-for-60 with four home runs and a memorable post-season head-pointing incident (183/290/450). Matsui 4-for-28 with a homer (143/200/250). Cano 0-for-12. Swisher 0-for-2. Cabrera 1-for-5 with a walk.


Phils starting to regret not trading for Halladay less and less with each passing day

Quite a show for the Phils and Cliff Lee last night as a relaxed-looking Phillies team jumped out to a 1-0 lead on the Yankees in the World Series. How good was Lee? Well, Utley hit two home runs before the end of the sixth and that inning ended with the Phils up 2-0 and there’s nobody out there who thinks he was the most important player of the game for the Phillies.

In four starts this post-season, Lee has now pitched 33 1/3 innings. That’s pretty amazing itself, but he has also thrown to an 0.54 ERA and an 0.69 ratio. He has struck out 30, walked three and has not allowed a home run.

Ibanez had a big chance against Yankees’ starter CC Sabathia early in the game, but grounded to second with two outs and the bases loaded in the first to turn the Phils away. Utley connected for a third inning home run to put the Phils up 1-0. In the sixth he hit another off of Sabathia to make it 2-0. Ibanez got another chance with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth and this time he delivered a two-run single that put the Phils up 4-0. Victorino and Howard drove in runs in the ninth to extend the lead to 6-0. Lee was in control the whole game, but did allow back-to-back singles to start the bottom of the ninth. It led to a Yankees run, which scored with the help of a throwing error by Rollins on a double-play that wasn’t meant to be, but the game ended 6-1.

The Phils lead the Yankees one game to none in the World Series after taking the opener 6-1.

Lee got the start for the Phillies and threw a complete game, allowing an unearned run on six hits. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out ten.

He faced a Yankees lineup that went (1) Jeter (SS/R) (2) Damon (LF/R) (3) Teixeira (1B/S) (4) Rodriguez (3B/R) (5) Posada (C/S) (6) Matsui (DH/L) (7) Cano (2B/L) (8) Swisher (RF/S) (9) Cabrera (CF/S).

The Yankees had four players on their bench to start the game, righties Jose Molina and Jerry Hairston and lefties Brett Gardner and Eric Hinske.

Jeter led off for the Yankees in the bottom of the first and struck out swinging 0-2 for the first out. Damon bunted a 1-1 pitch right back to the mound for the second. Lee struck Teixeira out swinging 2-2 to set New York down.

Eleven pitches for Lee in the inning. Eight were strikes.

He struck A-Rod out swinging 1-2 for the first out of the second. Posada was next and he got ahead 3-1 and singled to right. Matsui got ahead 2-0, but Lee threw three strikes in a row to get him swinging for the second out. Cano swung at the first pitch and flew to center.

Lee battled back after getting behind Mastui down 2-0 with a man on base. He threw 16 pitches in the inning and had thrown 27 for the game.

He started the third with a 1-0 lead. Swisher popped to first. Cabrera popped to second. Jeter was swinging first pitch and doubled down the first base line. Damon hit a 1-2 pitch softly to third. Feliz made the play and a strong throw to first, just nipping Damon to end the inning.

Nice play from Feliz ends the inning and keeps Teixeira from coming to the plate with two men on. After throwing 13 pitches in the inning Lee had thrown 40 in the game.

It might not have mattered anyway. Lee struck out the side in the bottom of the fourth and he got some good hitters doing it. Teixeira struck out swinging 2-2. A-Rod struck out swinging 3-2. Posada struck out swinging 2-2.

Lee had struck out seven through four innings. After 16 pitches in the inning he was at 56.

He got ahead of Matsui to start the fifth. He didn’t get the call on a close 1-2 pitch. Or a close 2-2 pitch. Matsui singled into center with the count full. Cano was next and he hit a soft popup right to Rollins. Rollins looked like he was going to let it drop to get the double-play, but instead caught the ball, just barely getting his glove under it. He touched second and threw to first. It didn’t matter since he had caught it, but that wasn’t the call on the field. The call on the field was that it had bounced and Cano beat the relay from second. The umps huddled and got it right — double-play for the Phils. Swisher popped to Werth in shallow right field for the third out.

Lee was up to 69 after 13 pitches in the inning.

He was up 2-0 when he started the sixth. Cabrera flew to right 1-2 for the first out. Jeter got ahead 2-0 and singled into center. Damon got ahead 2-0, too, and he hit a popup to Lee that Lee looked about as bored as you can look flipping out his glove to catch the ball near his waist for the second out. Teixeira hit a 2-0 pitch back up the middle, but Utley took it near second and beat Jeter to the bag to end the inning.

Jeter, Damon and Teixeira all get way ahead of Lee, but Lee gets out of the inning. Seventeen pitches in the inning had him at 86. The way he caught the Damon popup was just weird.

A-Rod grounded to third 1-0 for the first out of the seventh. Posada got ahead 2-0 but grounded softly back to the mound 2-1. Matsui grounded softly to third on a 1-0 pitch to end the inning.

Nine and 95 for Lee.

He started the eighth up 4-0. Cano led off and hit an 0-1 pitch hard back up the middle. Lee caught it behind his back on one hop and threw to first for the first out. Swisher struck out looking 2-2 for the second out. Cabrera flew to center 0-1 to end the inning.

Pretty amazing play by Lee on a ball hit hard. Eleven pitches in the inning. 106. Swisher had good swings in his at-bat, twice fouling the ball off.

Lee started the ninth up 6-0. Jeter led off and dropped a 1-2 pitch in front of Victorino for a single. Damon was next and he lined a single to right, moving Jeter to second. Teixeira hit a ground ball back up the middle. Utley took it near the bag and flipped to Rollins. Rollins didn’t have a chance to get Teixeira at first, but threw off his wrong foot anyway and the ball went into the dugout. Jeter scored to make it 6-1 with Teixeira at second on the error with one out. Lee struck A-Rod out swinging 1-2 and Posada out swinging 0-2 to end the game.

Lee threw 16 pitches in the ninth inning and 122 in the game.

The Phillies lineup against lefty CC Sabathia went (1) Rollins (SS/S) (2) Victorino (CF/S) (3) Utley (2B/L) (4) Howard (1B/L) (5) Werth (RF/R) (6) Ibanez (DH/L) (7) Francisco (LF/R) (8) Feliz (3B/R) (9) Ruiz (C/R). The righty Francisco is added to the lineup, hitting in-between Ibanez and Feliz. Ibanez is the DH. I bet Francisco is a little surprised to be starting in the World Series. Feliz should probably be hitting behind Ruiz against a lefty, but I’m pretty sure that Manuel isn’t going to start doing that now.

The Phillies started the game with four players on the bench, lefties Dobbs, Stairs and Bako and righty Eric Bruntlett. That’s really not that imposing a bench from the right side of the plate, given that Bruntlett hit 171/224/238 for the season.

Rollins started the World Series by bunting Sabathia’s first pitch too hard to first. Teixeira took it for the first out. Victorino popped to second 1-2 for the second out. Utley got behind 1-2, but came back to work a walk. Howard doubled into right field on an 0-1 pitch, moving Utley to third. Werth walked to load the bases. Ibanez got ahead in the count but was swinging 3-1 and grounded out to second to leave the runners stranded.

Sabathia didn’t look very good in the first. He almost had the Phils down in order, but Utley came back from 1-2 to work a walk. Utley doesn’t score from first with two outs on the double by Howard. Sabathia threw 24 pitches in the inning.

It got better for him in the second. Francisco got ahead 3-0 but grounded to third 3-2 for the first out. Feliz grounded to short 0-1 and Ruiz grounded to second 0-1.

Ten pitches in the inning had him at 34 for the game.

Rollins started the third and drove a ball into left-center, but Cabrera tracked it down on the warning track for the first out. Victorino grounded to short 2-2 for the second. Utley was next and got behind 1-2 before he hit a 3-2 pitch just out to right to put the Phillies up 1-0. Howard struck out swinging 1-2 to set the Phils down.

First strikeout of the game for Sabathia. Best at-bat for the game for him against Howard right after the home run. Again he gets way ahead of Utley and can’t put him away. After throwing 24 pitches in the inning he was at 58 for the game.

He set the Phils down in order in the fourth. Werth struck out swinging 2-2. Ibanez struck out looking 2-2. Francisco got ahead and flew to center on a 2-0 pitch.

Thirteen pitches in the inning had Sabathia at 71.

Three up, three down again in the fifth. Feliz struck out looking 0-2. Ruiz grounded softly to short on a 1-2 pitch. Rollins popped to third.

Sabathia had set down seven in a row since the Utley home run. Ten pitches in the inning, 81 in the game.

Victorino got ahead 3-0 to start the sixth but flew to center 3-1 for the first out. Utley was next and again got behind in the count, but hit an 0-2 pitch further out to right this time to make it 2-0. Howard struck out swinging 2-2 for the second out. Werth dribbled a 3-1 pitch into right field for a single, but was left stranded when Ibanez followed and struck out swinging 0-2.

So Utley homers, Sabathia sets down eight in a row and then Utley homers again. Third time in three at-bats that Sabathia got way ahead of Utley and didn’t put him away. Twenty-three pitches for Sabathia put him at 104.

Francisco started the seventh and got ahead 3-1 before walking on a 3-2 pitch. Feliz swung at the first pitch and grounded hard to third. Rodriguez started the double-play to clear the bases. Ruiz grounded to third 0-1 to set the Phillies down.

Francisco gets ahead again and finally gets on base. Big no bunt with Feliz, who doesn’t have much chance to get a hit. Nine pitches for Sabathia in the inning, 113 for the game.

Righty Phil Hughes started the eighth for New York. Rollins got ahead 2-0 and hit a ball way out but foul down the right field line before he walked on a 3-2 pitch. Victorino got ahead 3-0 and Rollins stole second as the count went 3-1. Victorino swung at a bad 3-1 pitch and missed, but walked 3-2 to put men on first and second for Utley. Lefty Damaso Marte came in to pitch to Utley. Utley got ahead 2-0 but struck out looking 2-2. Howard flew to right for the second out, Rollins tagged and took third. It brought Werth up with men on first and third and righty David Robertson came in to pitch to him. Werth walked on four pitches to load the bases. The righty Robertson stayed in to pitch to Ibanez. Ibanez got behind 1-2 but hit a 2-2 pitch through the right side and into the outfield. Rollins and Victorino both scored to put the Phils up 4-0 with men on first and second. Francisco hit a 1-1 pitch hard, but A-Rod made a nice play at third to throw him out and end the inning.

I have no idea why you would not bring lefty Phil Coke in to pitch to Ibanez. Maybe you have to face the big lefties in the ninth, but maybe not, too. Huge hit for Ibanez after he came up empty with the bases loaded in the first.

Righty Brian Bruney started the ninth for New York and got Feliz to pop to second for the first out. Ruiz was next and he ripped a 2-1 pitch into left-center for a double. Rollins followed and hit an inside out dribbler that seeped down the third base line for a single that moved Ruiz to third. Victorino ripped a single to right, scoring Ruiz to make it 5-0 and moving Rollins to second. Lefty Phil Coke came in to pitch to Utley. Utley flew to center 3-2 for the second out, with Rollins moving to third. With two outs and men on first and third, Howard hit a 1-1 pitch into right that rolled to the wall. Rollins scored easily to make it 6-0, but Victorino was thrown out trying to score to end the inning.

Second time in the game something odd happened with a ball hit to right field. In the first, Utley didn’t score from first on a double with two outs and in the ninth the Phillies ran into an out at the plate. The Phillies don’t really do either of those things. They don’t make outs on the bases and Utley is a fantastic base-runner who scores from first on a double with two outs. So maybe right field is a little smaller than they thought?

Twice in the last two innings the lefties in the New York pen got Utley with two men on base. Marte struck him out with two on in the eighth and Coke got him with two men on in the ninth.

Still think not bringing in Coke to pitch to Ibanez in the eighth was the critical mistake in the game for New York.

Rollins was 1-for-4 with a walk and a stolen base in the game. He hit the ball very well in the third, though, and nearly hit one out against Hughes in the eighth but the ball was just foul. Not a fan of stealing when Victorino is ahead 3-0 and the pitcher can’t throw a strike, though.

Victorino was 1-for-4 with a single, a walk and an RBI.

Utley was 2-for-4 with a walk and two home runs.

Howard 2-for-5 with two doubles and an RBI.

Werth was 1-for-2 and walked twice.

Ibanez was 1-for-4 with an enormous two-run single in the eighth.

Francisco was 0-for-3 with a walk.

Feliz looks awful. 0-for-4 with a strikeout. He’s 5-for-37 in the post-season.

Ruiz was 1-for-4 with a double that started a two-run rally in the ninth for the Phils.

Pedro Martinez faces AJ Burnett tonight in game two.


Play like a dynasty

It’s a little late for any of us to ask the Phillies to play like champions. They’ve been doing that for a while now — they are champions and nothing can ever take that away from this core of outstanding players. But the World Series starts tonight and with it the chance for the Phils to become something more. For this team that has passed every test over the last two years, the challenge in front of them now feels a little like some kind of monstrous mythical beast willed into being just to face them. The New York Yankees. The name just about says it all. But not quite. They are a mighty team with mighty talent, a mighty payroll, 103 wins, home field advantage and baseball history on their side. There isn’t much of a question that the Yankees have been the best team in baseball this year. The good news for the Phillies is that the year isn’t over yet, though, and if you’ve been waiting for someone to help us see just how good the Phils are you won’t have to wait much longer.

Cliff Lee faces CC Sabathia tonight in game one of the World Series.

Sabathia went 19-8 in 34 starts for the Yankees this year, throwing to a 3.37 ERA and a 1.15 ratio over 230 innings. He didn’t allow a lot of hits or home runs and he was fantastic against lefties. They hit 198/198/310 against him.

He was tied for the American League lead in wins, fourth in innings pitched, fourth in ERA and fourth in ratio.

Third in fewest hits allowed per nine innings in the AL, fourth in fewest home runs allowed per nine innings. Not quite as good at preventing walks. This year he walked 2.62 batters per nine innings. He walked about 7.4% of the right-handed batters he faced and about 6.0% of the lefties. 2.62 walks per inning isn’t a bad walk rate at all — it’s just not as good as his rates of preventing hits and home runs. There were 22 players who pitched for the Phillies this year. Fifteen of them had a walk rate that was worse than that. There were also 22 pitchers who pitched for the Yankees and 17 of them had a walk rate that was worse than Sabathia’s.

He’s had four straight years in which he’s thrown at least 190 innings with an ERA under 3.40 and a ratio under 1.20.

Sabathia made one start in the ALDS against the Twins and two starts in the ALCS against the Angels. Between the three games he pitched 22 innings, going 3-0 with a 1.19 ERA and an 0.75 ratio. He’s allowed three walks, one home run and struck out 20.

He’s pitching very well.

The Phillies faced him in game two of the 2008 NLDS when he was pitching for the Brewers. Milwaukee jumped out to a 1-0 lead with a run off of Myers in the top of the first, but the Phils scored five times off of Sabathia in the bottom of the second. Victorino hit a grand slam off of him in the inning and the Phils rolled to a 5-2 win behind seven strong innings from Myers.

Sabathia faced the Phillies on May 24 of this year and allowed three runs over eight innings. The Yankees tied the game at 3-3 with a run off of Lidge in the ninth, but the Phils got an RBI-double from Ruiz off of Tomko in the top of the eleventh and won 4-3.

Ibanez is the Phillie with the most regular season at-bats against Sabathia for his career. He’s 11-for-40 with five extra-base hits and ten strikeouts (275/326/525). Rollins 4-for-11 with two doubles and a triple. Victorino 3-for-7 with three singles, but he had the biggest hit of the game against Sabathia in game two of the NLDS last year. Utley 0-for-3. Howard 3-for-7 with a double. The Phils could sure use Werth tonight, he’s 0-for-6 with three strikeouts against Sabathia for his career. Feliz 0-for-6 with two strikeouts. Ruiz 2-for-3 with a pair of singles.

Ruiz has had a fantastic post-season so far. I’d be trying to start lefties against the Phils, too, but when you do it gives them a big weapon at the bottom of the lineup. Ruiz hit 293/370/524 against lefties this season.

Lee went 14-13 with a 3.22 ERA and a 1.24 ratio in 34 starts for the Indians and Phillies in 2009. He doesn’t walk anyone, almost literally when it comes to lefties. He walked six left-handed batters all season. Lefties hit just 241/263/320 against Lee with eleven extra-base hits for the season. Righties had a lot more luck, hitting 283/321/414.

He started games one and four against the Rockies in the NLDS and was fantastic twice. In 16 1/3 innings he pitched to a 1.10 ERA with an 0.86 ratio.

He was also great in his start in game three of the NLCS against the Dodgers. He allowed three singles over eight shutout innings in the game. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out ten.

In his three starts combined for this post-season he has thrown 24 1/3 innings with an 0.74 ERA and an 0.70 ratio.

He made two starts against the Yankees this year, both of which came while he was with Cleveland. On April 16 he allowed a run on seven hits and three walks over six innings as the Indians topped the Yankees 10-1. Posada hit a home run off of him in that game and Swisher had a double. On May 29 he allowed three runs on nine hits and two walks over six innings and the Yankees won the game 3-1. Posada doubled off of Lee in that game.

The Yankees have seen Lee a lot given how long he pitched in the AL. Jeter 11-for-27 (407/467/519). Posada 6-for-21 with two doubles and two home runs (286/273/667). Cano 4-for-18 with four singles (222/263/222). A-Rod 5-for-15 with two home runs and four walks (333/450/733). Swisher 6-for-18 with two doubles (333/458/444). Teixeira 9-for-23 with four doubles and a home run (391/462/696). Cabrera 3-for-11 with a home run. Damon 2-for-22 (091/130/091).

Here are the World Series rosters.


Which switch?

Four switch-hitters seem likely to get a lot of at-bats for the Yankees in the World Series. Here’s a look at what Jorge Posada, Mark Teixeira, Melky Cabrera and Nick Swisher have done against left and right-handed pitching in 2009 and over their careers as switch-hitters:

 
Vs Right

Vs Left
  A O S OPS A O S OPS
Posada 09 282 365 544 909 290 360 476 836
Posada Career 268 378 474 852 299 381 496 877
                 
Teixeira 09 282 373 579 952 305 400 511 911
Teixeira
Career
281 371 547 918 309 394 537 931
                 
Cabrera 09 277 332 415 747 268 343 420 763
Cabrera
Career
275 333 397 730 255 325 355 680
                 
Swisher 09 250 357 509 866 244 393 475 868
Swisher
Career
242 341 468 809 251 395 439 834

Posada was much better against righties than lefties in 2009, but has been better against left-handed pitching over his career. It was the fourth straight year for Posada that he posted a better OPS against right-handed pitching than left, though. The difference was most dramatic in 2006, when he hit just 263/348/380 in 158 plate appearances against lefties and 284/385/540 against righties. It’s enough to convince me that you’re better off with a lefty against him if you can. He good against lefties, too, and has had monster years against left-handed pitching. In 2002, for example, he hit 326/420/556 against them while hitting just 247/351/436 against righties. I’d still go with lefty these days.

Your chances aren’t real good against Teixeira no matter who’s pitching. He’s put up an OPS of over .900 against both right and left-handed pitching for each of the past three seasons. In 2006 he was a lot better against lefties than righties, but in 2005 he was better against righties. I don’t think it matters a whole lot.

It’s really, really in the Phillies’ best interests to get Melky Cabrera and Jose Molina out as often as possible in this series. The .680 career OPS against left-handed pitching is a pretty compelling argument that a lefty is the way to do it. Cabrera was a little better against lefties in 2009, but it still looks like the way to go. I don’t think you’re going to see the Phils make a whole lot of moves to get the pitcher they want on Cabrera either way.

Swisher gets on base more against lefties and hits for more power against righties. That has been the story for his career and it was for 2009 as well. I’d go with a righty if I could, but I don’t think it matters much and I don’t think the Phils will go to a lot of trouble to try to get Swisher facing a righty, either.

Bottom line for me is I don’t think it matters a whole lot whether it’s a righty or a lefty pitching to Cabrera or Teixeira. Teixeira is just a real good hitter either way and Cabrera is just not. I think you’re a little better off with a lefty against Posada and a little better off with a righty against Swisher.

Miguel Cairo is off the roster for the World Series and Brett Myers has taken his spot. I think that’s a very good decision. Cairo and Bruntlett both was too much.

This suggests that left-handed batter Eric Hinske and right-handed pitcher Brian Bruney have been added to the Yankees roster, taking the places of Francisco Cervelli and Freddy Guzman. Cervelli was the third catcher and his removal leaves the Yankees with two and more questions about who will catch Burnett’s starts. Lidge struck Hinkse out to end the World Series in 2008.


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