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.