The Yankees win… again. That’s a lot like a fat kid eating a hamburger in front of a homeless shelter. While the rest of us have to abide by the “wait till next year” chant, New York faithful are busy thinking of a better, more improved lineup next year. The lump in my throat is the knowledge that John Lackey is available this winter and we could very well see a stronger Yankee team with more than three starters in the playoffs. This is a thought that will keep me up at nights.
The Phillies are fine. There is no need to jump ship yet. They still have the second best lineup in baseball and will concentrate on their bullpen and pitching staff this off-season. Hell, if they just took Brad Lidge outback that would net them five extra wins next season easy.
While I am sad that the baseball season is no more, I am stoked to give out some very prestigious awards:
The Scott Brosius Award for Least Likely MVP – Hideki Matsui
If you would have told me that Matsui would win the World Series MVP a week ago I would have called you a liar. They just don’t give those out to designated hitters. Well except for 2004 when Manny Ramirez won it. He is essentially a DH that walks around left field for nine innings.
World Series Foot-in-the-mouth Award – Cole Hamels
Mental note: Never insinuate that you may be quitting if you live or work in, at, on, or around the city of Philadelphia. It may be the City of brotherly love but they will kill you in your sleep if they think you’re not trying.
That’s the last time we will see him in a meaningful game Award – Pedro Martinez While he made the Yankees his daddy, he now has to ask his mommy if he can pitch next season.
Done celebrating because I will be a Blue Jay next year Award – Johnny Damon
Look for the Yanks to upgrade over the whithered outfielder. He has a very slim chance of coming back to New York, unless of course the Yankees are just giving money away. Oh, WAIT.
What a difference a year makes Award– Cole Hamels and Alex Rodriguez
Last fall Cole Hamels was described as Sandy Koufax, wrapped in Bob Gibson, enveloped with bacon, and stuffed in a Christmas stocking. Now he just leaves hanging curveballs to anyone who asks for them. Rodriguez on the other hand, has renewed his career. He is no longer a choke artist, steroid taking, money grubber. Well at least not in New York. The rest of America still needs more convincing.
There you have it. Cliff Lee is the dominant ace the Phillies wanted and needed. In the end, though, it won’t be enough. Philadelphia has proven that they can score with the best of them. They just have trouble stopping the Yankee assault. This point was driven home last night.
As soon as Cliff Lee relinquishes the ball to another arm all assuredness goes out the window. The Phillies may have won game 5. Yet all they did was stay the execution. To win it all they have to face both Andy Pettitte and C.C. Sabathia. Both are seasoned big game hurlers. Philadelphia has a glaring problem from the mound.
The Phils send up Pedro Martinez in game 6. Unfortunately, they need him to pitch all 9 if they have a chance to force game 7. Yankee hitters proved they can get to the bullpen in a hurry. If they do play Thursday, they send up Cole Hamels, a player that indicated recently that he just wanted the series to be over. Receiving flack from teammates and the city of Philadelphia, Hamels has recently backtracked on those comments. In the end however, you need a fearless pitcher to command a game 7. The Yankees will have that in tonnage in Sabathia. The Phillies will be hoping Hamels can keep the score down enough for Cliff Lee to close out the game. That is no strategy for success.
Here we are, well into fall and on the precipice of possibly a classic World Series. If the Yankees win, I will find solace in that I won’t have to hear about the Yankees gaining retribution for not winning the title for a whopping 8 years. How the media plants a chip on the Yankees shoulder is beyond me. This is like Lakers fans getting miffed if there is no three-peat.
This series could be very close. This is a rare time when the National League team can match batters pound for pound with the American side. Both teams can hit the ball out of the yard when needed. The offenses are very similar with the speed going slightly to the Phillies.
Both teams have great defenses. When you look at each depth chart it really is hard to decipher who you would take between the positions. Teixeira and Howard are monsters at the plate but Tex may get the nod because of his fielding. Utley is arguably the best hitting second baseman in the majors right now, but Robinson Cano is not far behind, and younger.
Shortstop may go to Rollins if it weren’t October, a month Jeter dominates from both sides of the ball. The only real mismatch is at 3rd base, there ARod is a hall of famer and Pedro Feliz looks good in a hat.
The one thing that may keep this from being a tight series is the pitching. Last series the Phillies were able to get past their faults in the pen by dominating the Dodgers with their starters. In this series however, they are on the short end in both starting and relief pitching. Phillies starters are ill-equipped to face a line-up like the Yankees. Save Cliff Lee, the Phillies will be sending up questionable pitchers like Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton, and for game two, Pedro Martinez.
Hamels is a ghost of his 2008 self. He is neither overpowering nor fooling anyone at this stage. Joe Blanton is a fastball pitcher that likes to start a batter by throwing balls in the dirt. He will get behind in counts to a disciplined lineup and subsequently give up a long ball or two. Pedro Martinez looked good against the Dodgers, but then again Vicente Padilla looked good for a start against the Phillies.
The Phillies will most likely have to match the Yankees run for run rather than quieting their bats. Either way Charlie Manuel will have to go to the bullpen earlier in games than he would have liked. From there Chan Ho Park will remember he is Chan Ho Park. J.A. Happ will get bombed. Ryan Madson will walk batters. And Brad Lidge will either strike out the side or give up a grand slam.
This looks to be a good one, so pop open a beer, loosen the pants, and put up your feet. This may take a while.