One game does not make a series. The Yankees can be thankful for that. Even so, an early statement has been issued by the Defending Champion Phillies; If you want the title, you are going to have to take it!
Unlike their AL adversaries who gladly handed the Yankees win after win with poor baseball fundamentals, the Phillies were on in every facet of the game. Well, almost… a very late inconsequential error (or was it?) allowed the Yankees one teensy little run in their 6-1 whipping.
Not to say that CC was not doing his job. He pitched extremely well. Yes, he gave up two runs. The Phillies lineup just puts pressure, pressure and more pressure on opposing pitchers. CC was feeling it.
CC was good. He just wasn’t able to hold off the inevitable pressure. Take a look at what happened to the Yankees when he stepped out of the game. The moment CC left the game, the runs came in bunches. Not a very appealing sight for Girardi and the Yankee fans.
As great as CC was, Cliff Lee was above and beyond. Of the two best friends, Cliff was the better… again! My bet is that the two didn’t share a friendly beer after this one though. The battle is on. The friendship can wait.
Cliff Lee’s fabulous complete game against the powerful Yankee lineup was fun to watch. He was perfect with his pitches. He upset timing. He fielded the ball with boyish exuberance. He got lucky on a comeback and grinned from ear to ear. Mostly though, he was just mesmerizing to the Yankee hitters. Ten strikeouts, three to the hottest hitter on the planet – Alex Rodriguez.
There was nobody more locked in for this game than Cliff Lee.
Well, let me take that back. There was one other guy. Chase Utley. What a hitter. So patient. So calm. So…. good.
By now most of you have read about the incredible records Chase set (or equaled) last night. His first inning walk broke a tie with Boog Powell for the most consecutive games to reach base in a Post Season – 26. His 6 pitch walk set the tone for the Phillies offense. A 2 out walk that started a rally.. .extended the inning and put CC on task to fight for every out.
His 3rd inning Home Run put him in a select group for Home Runs in Game 1 of a World Series. More importantly, it put the Phils on top. Again, he made CC work. 9 pitches later, he deposited the ball into the stands.
By the 6th inning CC had to hate to see Utley come to the plate. Hats off to CC, he came right at Chase with two quick strikes. The thing about Utley though, is he is patient. He doesn’t mind hitting with two strikes. He is confident and he is good. Pow! Another ball deposited into the right field seats. 2-0.
And with that Home Run, Mr. Utley joined none other than the Sultan of Swat – Babe Ruth as the only two players to club 2 Home Runs off of a LH pitcher in the World Series. Wow. Need I say anymore?
Congratulations Chase Utley – You are Yesterday’s Hitter!
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