On the one hand I was so thrilled to watch this game play out the way it did. It was riveting. On the other, I was saddened. With the Yankees up 3 Games to 1, it doesn’t seem likely that the World Series.. and baseball.. will be around too much longer in 2009.
The game was a bonfire from the very first inning as the hitters dug in and took control of the game, much like Game 3.
Derek Jeter opened with a single and was immediately pushed to 3rd with another ringing double by Johnny Damon. They would both go on to score to put the Yankees on top 2-0.
The Phillies were not going to roll over for the Yankee machine. They also brought their bats to Citizens Bank Park. Shane Victorino singled and was knocked around to score by Chase Utley’s mammoth double that nearly cleared the fence. Chase has ripped CC Sabathia the entire Series. Just like that it was a 2-1 game.
Big Ryan Howard actually got wood on the ball in Game 4, a much needed sign for the Phillies. His controversial run in the 4th tied the game at 2. He “almost touched” home. Yet another gaffe by the Post Season Umpires. Even so, it did not diminish the game in the slightest.
Then the game got even more fun to watch, if that’s possible. The Yankees came roaring right back in the 5th inning behind their two catalysts, Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon. Jeter’s top spin single through the left side of the infield scored Swisher.
Chase Utley disposed of CC Sabathia again in the 7th inning with another bomb to right field. His 3rd off of Sabathia in the Series! We had ourselves a nail biter at 4-3 going into the bottom of the 8th. Look at his perfect swing plane approach to this pitch! Bye bye baseball.
Pedro Feliz has quietly put together a solid World Series. True, it’s his defense that gets him the notoriety. Yet, with the pivotal Game 4 on the line, Pedro crushed a Joba Chamberlain fast ball into the left field seats to tie the game! 4-4 in Game 4!
Unfortunately, for Pedro (and the Phils), the problem was this guy named Johnny Damon.
The Phillies’ Demon. He’s been everywhere, doing everything so far in this World Series. He keeps coming up with big at bats. Game 4 was his finest moment. Down 0-2 in the count with two outs and nobody on, Mr. Damon refused to give away the out. He battled Brad Lidge for 9 pitches before knocking what seemed to be a harmless single into left field.
Not so harmless when you have the will to win. Johnny’s baseball instincts are as sharp as any player’s in the game. He showed them off in Game 4. Taking advantage of an infield shift, Damon bolted for 2nd base on the first pitch to Mark Teixeira. Safe!
Alex Rodriguez followed Mark’s HBP with a blast into the left field corner that scored Johnny. All hail Alex for coming through, that hit was clutch.
Congratulations Johnny Damon – You are Yesterday’s Hitter!
After suffering through two games of mesmerizing pitching performances, you had to know the offenses on these two powerhouses would explode at some point.
Did they ever. Six Homers and 13 runs in Game 3! It wasn’t necessarily due to a bad pitching performance at all. It was a matter of good hitting. The pitching was good, save for maybe a small melt down by Andy Pettitte in the 2nd that caused him to fall behind 3-0. Other than that, I don’t think you can blame the pitchers.
Ya just gotta tip your hat to the hitters.
Well, most of them. Chase Utley and Ryan Howard are an exception. They continue to pull their strange World Series disappearing act in Game 3.
There were, however, plenty of hitters alive and well in Philadelphia last night. Let’s get to The Contenders:
Hideki Matsui – 1 AB, 1 Hit, 1 Run, 1 RBI. Manager’s just love that line. Generally it translates into a Pinch Hit Home Run. In this instance, it was indeed a PH HR. Nice job Mr. Pro Hitter.
Johnny Damon – 4 AB, 1 Hit, 1 Run, 2 RBI. Johnny has had some clutch hits so far in the World Series. Last night’s laser double to right in the 5th put the Yankees ahead for good.
Alex Rodriguez – 2 AB, 1 Hit, 1 Run, 2 RBI, 2 HBP. Alex came into Game 3 in a slumber at the plate. The Phillies made the mistake of waking him up in his first at bat by plunking him. Next time up, A-Rod’s bat came out of the deep freeze. His HR to right field bounced off the Fox camera. After the first ever Post Season review… the game changed from a comfy Philly lead to a nail biting 3-2 contest.
That HR sent Pettitte into a little side wobble that cost him 2 more runs. To Pettitte’s credit, he recovered just fine. Werth later hit a Massive Blast to left field for his 2nd HR of the game and 7th of the Post Season!!!
Carlos Ruiz – Another player that continually comes up with Post Season hits. Usually they are clutch. Unfortunately for Carlos, the game was pretty much out of hand when he belted a HR in the 9th inning. Still, don’t overlook this guy for doing something special later on.
Andy Pettitte – When Andy escaped the 2nd inning down 3-0 the game had the kind of feel that it would be tough for the Yankees to score on Hamels. Cole had yet to give up a hit in the game. Then came the A-Rod HR and the game changed. Swisher doubled in front of Andy Pettite. Andy was paying attention, got the same curve ball and deposited it into Left to score Swisher and tie the game!
A Huge hit that started a 3 run rally to give the Yankees the lead. Andy’s RBI hit was the first for a Yankee pitcher in the World Series since Jim Bouton (Ball Four!) in Game 6 of the 1964 World Series. Cool Andy… very cool.
Nick Swisher – What was that comment we made about A-Rod’s bat coming out of a deep freeze? Okay then… Nick’s melted out of that freeze. Hot! Hot! Hot! (See Sony commercial). Nick’s aforementioned double to lead off the 5th was a result of finally paying attention to what the pitcher’s were doing to get him out. He did figure it out, smoked a double off of a nice curve ball (teaching Andy along the way) and scored the tying run.
I was extremely impressed with Nick’s base running on Pettitte’s single. He saw the hit, correctly deduced the angle, dropped his head and never even hesitated… Scoring on a very close play at the plate. Pure hustle. Had he not committed himself immediately after contact, he’d have been out. The very next inning Nick blasted one half way to the moon for his 2nd extra base hit of the night.
And…. the winner is:
Congratulations Nick Swisher – You are Yesterday’s Hitter!
Home Field Advantage… there’s a reason you want that status. Especially in the Best of 5 Divisional Games. It’s a Major League Advantage ; )
The Home Town teams did not disappoint. The Crowd was a factor in each of the games.
Although, Cliff Lee didn’t exactly need the crowd. He was mesmerizing to Colorado’s hitters. Spot on with locations and adjusting speeds.. up – down, in – out… a masterful job of Pitching.
On the Phillies side of the plate.. they are just relentless. A stacked lineup that features Power, Speed, Power and more Power. Every single player in the lineup (including Cliff Lee) posted a hit in their box score. But it was the meat of the order… 4,5 & 6 that brought home the bacon. Ryan Howard, 2-4 with an RBI from an absolute laced rocket through the wind that turned Carlos Gonzalez 9 different directions. Jayson Werth, 2-4 with an RBI Triple that was as hard and high as you could possibly hit a ball into the crosswind gail. Werth also scored twice and was a menace to the Rockies. Raul Ibanez.. man. They just kept coming at you. Raul was 2-4 with 2 RBIs. It didn’t seem like it was fair – High School Seniors against the Freshmen. Phillies take the nod 5-1 and a 1 Game Lead.
In LA it was an exercise in futility. These two were battering the ball all over the field. They filled the bags so many times between them I was certain YH would come out of this game. It just seemed inevitable that one hit would produce 3 or 4 runs. But… it just never happened. The game ended up setting a Major League Record for Men Left On Base in a 9 inning Post Season tilt… 30 Runners!!!
Rafael Furcal had a great game and set the tone for LA (they barely escaped the top half of
the first inning with only one run across). Raffy led off LA with a sharp single and one pitch later he was trotting around the bases courtesy of Matt Kemp’s towering HR to centerfield. From that point forward it was standing room only on the bases. Fortunately for LA, they were able to squeak across one run at a time as a result of their top 6 hitters. Furcal 3-4 a Run and a Rib, Kemp.. the Big Fly was his only hit. Andre Ethier 2-3, a Walk and 2 Runs. Manny Ramirez… pretty pitiful. But James Loney and Casey Blake picked up the listless Ramirez and were effective hitters all night long. Loney, 2-4 with a Walk. Blake, also 2-4 with a Walk and knocked in a big run in the 3rd to give the Dodgers some breathing room at 3-1.
In the Bronx, it was simply… Out with the Old… In with the New. Same ol’ story for Yankee Stadium (new or old) another Post Season win for New York… ho hum. The Twins though, were surprisingly tough early on. Even to the point of taking a scrappy 2-0 lead in the top half of the 3rd. I’m pretty sure the New Yorkers were a little nervous… the crowd was pretty much taken by surprise when the Twins scored first. Honestly, though.. .how can you worry when without question your team possesses the most dynamic post season hitter of our era…
Derek belted the first pitch he saw in the first inning for a rifle single. He was due up 2nd in the Bottom half of the 3rd inning with NY down by that 2-0 score. No Problem for Mr. October/November/December (whatever)… he just performs when the occasion needs it the most. And it did in the 3rd. What does Derek do 2 pitches later? A Home Run launch.. tie game 2-2. Mr. Clutch…
When you have that fella on your team.. how can you not perform? From then on it was a no contest whipping as every gear fell into place. Including the oft troubled Alex Rodriguez’ post
season issues. History. Alex was a healthy 2-4 with 2 RBIs and a Run scored. Hideki Matsui provided some thunder of his own with a 2 Run Bomb. But it was the Captain.. .
Derek Jeter folks.. you should enjoy this man’s play as though you are witnessing Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Lou Gehrig or Babe Ruth. Those are the names he accompanies on the All Time List for Home Runs in the Post Season. It’s amazing if you think about it. He’s not a power hitter. He is a clutch hitter. Period. A Perfect day at the Plate for Derek; 2-2 2RBIs, 2 Walks, 3 Runs.
Hats off to you Derek Jeter. You are Yesterday’s Hitter… .Without Question.