I had all these wonderfully creative titles for today’s post. I’m sure you’ve seen variations of them from around MLB.com or throughout the internet. Usually, I’ll create a headline to be somewhat deceptive in who is ultimately named Yesterday’s Hitter. The trouble is everybody on the planet already knows who the best hitter was last night.
So, let’s just cut to the chase.
But, before we hand out the hardware… there were certainly some worthy candidates in Game 5 I’d like to acknowledge.
Let’s start with the Philadelphia terror.
Yes, he was at it again last night (even broken bats didn’t slow him down). Johnny Damon is just giving the Phillies Phits in every at bat. He worked his way on again in the 1st inning when he battled Cliff Lee for a single. He later scored on Alex Rodriguez’ double to give NY a quick 1-0 lead.
Johnny would go on to have another stellar day at the plate, getting on base 4 times. He had 3 hits, scored twice, knocked in a run and walked. Johnny now has the highest batting average (.381) of all the regular players in this year’s World Series.
Did I mention Alex Rodriguez? Yea, the same guy that started out 0 for 8 with 6 K’s is coming alive at the plate. He had two doubles last night (one that just eluded a diving Ibanez) and knocked in 3 RBIs.
After that O’fer start, Alex has raised his average to just above the Mendoza line at .222, not too shabby A-Rod. His 3 Ribs gave him a NY Yankee Post Season record of 18!
Jimmy Rollins started the Philly comeback in the 1st with an aggressive at bat. He swung at AJ’s first pitch (remember this? AJ was a 1st strike king in Game 2). Even though he missed it.. it proved to be a game plan for Philly. Rollins singled to start the rally. He ended up with 2 hits and a walk, scoring once.
Raul Ibanez had a nice Game 5. He knocked in 2 runs with 2 hits and had a very important Home Run late in the game. His 7th inning blast proved to be just the cushion the Phils needed to secure the Game 5 win.
Jayson Werth is just knocking the dog snot out of the baseball. He hits everything hard. Sure, he only had one hit in Game 5. But, he crushed the ball all over Citizens Bank park in nearly every at bat. Brett Gardner can testify to how hard Jayson is hitting the ball.
Gardner made a spectacular catch on a Jayson Werth drive to left center. Jayson is hitting just under .300 for the Series.
Poor Ryan Howard, he went from the penthouse in the NLCS to the doghouse in the WS. Howard struck out two more times last night to tie Willie Wilson for the most in a World Series, 12.
If I were Charlie Manuel, I’d certainly consider flip flopping Howard and Ibanez in the order. It couldn’t hurt, could it? I’m betting on Howard to hold the K record all by himself before Game 6 is over.
Speaking of Game 6.. .how lucky are we? It’s been 6 years since the World Series has gotten to this point. I know I’m happy.. but my bet is Jane is a little tweaked right about now ; )
And now, without further ado… our Yesterday’s Hitter!
I said it in Game 1. Chase is so calm, so focused and …. so good! He has continued to deliver throughout the Series. His 1st inning HR immediately jump started the Phillies and the crowd and propelled them to a Game 5 win. Oh, and did I mention… that HR came off of the very 1st Pitch he saw from AJ Burnett! Think he doesn’t study the game? You don’t get this good without having a plan. The difference is Chase not only has a plan, he is so “on” right now that he can execute it flawlessly.
Chase hit another HR (tying Reggie Jackson for most in a WS!) in the 7th that seemed to be just a tack on run. That HR proved to be the Game Winning run! Why? Because those Yankees never stop. They kept going and going like the Energizer Bunny.
In fact, they brought the tying run to the plate in the 9th inning with nobody out and Derek Jeter at bat! I’d have to say that of all the at bats in Derek Jeter’s career, he wishes he could have a do-over on that one. A Presidential Mulligan.
A hit in that situation could have possibly snatched the game away and given the Yankees their 27th title.
And speaking of the 27th… has anybody noticed what number Chase Utley wears? Ya… 26. Do you think he’s trying to tell us something? ; )
Congratulations Chase Utley – You are Yesterday’s Hitter!
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!
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.
Number 9…. Number 9…. Number 9….
I was truly hoping that a player wearing #9 would have a spectacular day at the plate yesterday. That would have been a perfect capper on 09/09/09. But…. no dice. There were, however, a number of fabulous performances worthy of Yesterday’s Hitter.
Let’s start with the early game where a fellow wearing an upside down 9 (6) ; ) made quite a mark at the dish. Esteban German had a perfect 5 for 5 day for the Rangers as they stayed in step with the Red Sox in the AL Wild Card. Normally, this would have done the trick and we could have crowned him. Except for a Certain Fella…. and the fact that the Rangers won 10-0 and German really didn’t participate much in the feasting, scoring but once with an RBI.
Next up… Kansas City’s doubles machine –
Billy Butler. He had a solid day and has been on a tear. His 3-5 day included a pair of Ribs and 3 more doubles to bring his total to 45 on the season! Normally… good enough. Except for this Certain Fella.
Of course, we could always pen in The King.
All Albert did yesterday was pop 2 more Home Runs to bring his league leading total to 47! As my TribeTed friend says.. just write him in.. everyday! I would.. except for this Certain Fella.
We can’t overlook what Seth Smith did in Colorado. It’s another amazing run for the Rockies behind the solid leadership of Jim Tracy, they’ve opened one gap in the NL Wild Card and closed the other… trailing the Blue Crew by a mere 2 1/2 games! Seth had the game winning single to knock in 2 runs in the bottom of the 9th! Magical stuff indeed. Well, there was this Certain Fella that kept Seth from the top.
Victor Martinez … he had a super important hit for the Red Sox in a game they had to win to fend off the Rangers. Martinez roped a Pinch Hit bases clearing double to give the Sox the win. Nope… not him.
This Certain Fella –
He had the hit of the day. Jorge Posada’s hit was so important, so immense, so incredible… so freakin’ fabulous, I literally jumped out of my chair and cheered. His Pinch Hit 3 Run Home Run was a thing of beauty. He battled and battled and battled and man, did he ever drive that fast ball on a line! It was a superb and very professional at bat. Why was it so important?
Because Yesterday’s Hitter can’t be annointed if his team loses. It’s just one of the criteria. It’s a team game with individual statistics. Your team simply has to win in order to receive the title of Yesterday’s Hitter. And so… without further ado… meet Yesterday’s Hitter:
With a classic Derek Jeter bunt in his first at bat followed by a booming double that cleared the Center Field wall and hopped into Monument Park (where he will be someday), Derek paved the way for a Historic moment in baseball. One more hit would tie him with the great Lou Gehrig. Another prototypical at bat from DJ (I call him this because he just keeps crankin out record hits!) produced an inside out shot down the right field line in the 7th and he climbed to the pulpit of Yankee lore. Watch Here!
You are watching one of the greatest hitters, and maybe … someday the all-time hit leader, in baseball history everytime DJ steps to the plate. He is a gracious and incredibly humble, extremely gifted man and I relish every moment I get to watch him play. I think it’s a wonderful thing that he actually did not break Lou’s mark last night. Because, with today being an idle day for the Yankees, Derek will have an opportunity to savor the flavor of his magnificent accomplishment… sitting atop Yankee History with The Iron Horse
Two fellows cut from the same mold. Now we know why DJ wears # 2 : )
Can you imagine being the opposing pitcher and facing the Bronx Bombers? I mean, these guys really are the Bronx BOMBERS! They are so incredibly good it boggles the mind. They have been setting MLB marks all year long and are on pace to add even more by year’s end. Jorge Posada helped push them in that direction with his 20th HR of the season (1 of 7 Yankees this year) during a sparkling 4 for 5 performance that netted 4 RBIs on the night. His 20th HR set a Yankee team record putting 7 men in the lineup with at least 20! Derek Jeter should make it 8 if he continues his hot hitting. Think about that for a second. Think of all the History, all the incredible Legends that have donned the pinstripes, all the incredible teams that have logged the most World Series titles. It really boggles the mind. Enjoy watching this team because THEY are now Historic and have their place in Yankee lore. Watch Posada’s history making rocket by clicking Here.
Honorable mention; David Wright, Ronnie Belliard