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.