World Series, Game 3 (NOT a Live Blog)

Well, I did a live blog for Game 2, and the Phillies lost a game they could have won, so I am not doing a live blog tonight.  But, I may (or may not) check in from time to time with comments on the game.  So, let us start now, about 15 minutes from game time.

7:43:  If you had offered me a deal when the Series started that the Phillies would split the first two in Yankee Stadium, I would have jumped at it, knowing just how good the Phils are at home and trusting in that.  However, the more I’ve thought about it, the more I’m pretty jumpy about this Series right now.  With CC looming tomorrow (against Joe Blanton), if Cole doesn’t come through tonight and get the Phils a 2-1 lead, we could be facing an elimination game as early as Monday night.  I’ve said from the beginning that we cannot go back to Yankee Stadium needing both games, which means that the Phils need, at least, 2 out of 3 here at home this weekend…or else.  And, as I said, tomorrow’s game has a pretty big pitching advantage for the Yankees, so tonight has become HUGE.  Yes, I’m very nervous.  That poor towel might be in for some trouble tonight.

7:47:  In another superstitious move, I decided to change my game beer.  Last night I was enjoying a Samuel Adams Blackberry Wheat, but tonight I just went out to find something different.  And, in a stroke of fortune, I found one of my all-time favorite beers (which is somewhat tough to find), Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout.  So, that was fortuitous.  And, I played tennis today and had SIX balls that hit the tape and rolled over, so I have been incredibly lucky, on multiple levels today.  Let’s hope that it continues with the Phillies and let’s hope that I haven’t used it all up on stupid things like tennis and beer.

7:49:  Quick note on the weather.  There are three options, and I haven’t decided what would be the best for the Phils.  OPTION ONE:  The game is played, without delay, and just goes off as normal.  That would keep the rotations in place, and just have this game (and the rest of the Series) go as we’ve all been trying to figure it would go.  OPTION TWO:  The game never starts and is rained out tonight.  This seems pretty unlikely because the rain doesn’t look bad, and the forecast is for it to clear up.  However, it’s worth talking about because it would have major effects on the rotations–and would present the managers with some interesting choices.  I think it’s obvious that the Phils would just throw Cole tomorrow.  I think Girardi would throw Pettitte and just let CC go on normal rest in Game Four, which would be Monday.  But, he might consider bringing him back, then throwing Pettitte in Game Five, and then Burnett in Game Six, on normal rest.  Joe Buck just said it would benefit the Phillies, but I disagree, I think it would benefit the Yankees, so let’s hope we get this game in.  OPTION THREE:  The game starts, but there is a significant delay in one of the early innings.  This would mean that this game becomes, all of a sudden, a bullpen game.  Even though the Phillies bullpen has been MUCH maligned in this series, but I think this option is a big help for the Phils because of one guy–JA Happ.  If there is a long rain delay in, say, the third inning and the starters have to hang them up, then the Phils just give the ball to JA and sit back and let him go as if he were the starter.  BUT…the Yanks don’t have a guy like that.  They would have to piece together innings from a MUCH-struggling bullpen of guys like Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain.  And, the threat of a delay always seems to benefit the home team because it’s about a 50-50 chance that the delay happens between innings, which means that the home team gets an extra inning out of its starter.  So, let’s root for three shutout innings from Hamels and then a 90-minute rain delay before the bottom of the third.

7:56:  This is a bit of some awesome deja vu, actually.  Does anyone remember Game Three of the World Series last year?  It was on a Saturday night in late October, and there was about an hour rain delay before the game started.  Then, it cleared up and they played an INCREDIBLY thrilling game, finishing with a Carlos Ruiz swinging bunt, walkoff hit, which spurred on a Phils home sweep and a Game Five celebration.  I see it happening again…well, some of it, maybe…

9:01:  So, apparently, we have a 9:15 scheduled first pitch.  That means that there will be a 78-minute rain delay, when it’s all said and done.  Couple that with Andy Pettitte on the mound, and all I can say is thank god the only thing we have to wake up for tomorrow is the 1:00 Eagles-Giants game because this one might go late into the night.  I expect a lot of offense, and don’t tell me I didn’t warn you about Andy Pettitte as soon as runners get on base.  He slows down to a complete SNAIL’S PACE with his 972 pickoff attempts and twice as many stepoffs…ugh.  He’s painful to watch, but hopefully there are a LOT of baserunners against him.

9:04:  National anthem, everyone rise…COME ON, STAND UP, EVEN YOU PEOPLE AT HOME! 

9:05:  Yes, on this Halloween night, I feel like a little kid.  There is something about baseball that makes us all a little child-like.  I get embarrasingly excited and nervous for these games.

9:11:  I really hate Andy Pettitte.  No, really.  All these over-the-top attacks on anyone even perceived of using performance-enhancing drugs (and, I am not stating an opinion on whether or not the attacks are warranted), yet for SOME UNKNOWN REASON, Andy Pettitte gets a pass?!?  Why?!?  I’m not saying, by any means, that he shouldn’t be allowed to pitch any more.  I’m not even saying that baseball fans shouldn’t root for him any more.  But, the minute we stroke the broad brush against Manny or Barry Bonds or Mark McGwire, that brush ABSOLUTELY hits Andy Pettitte, and everyone seems to forget that.  He is a cheater.  Plain as day; he cheated.  I don’t care if he claims to only have done it twice, to recover from injuries or if he “came clean” (AFTER he was outed in the Mitchell Report, let’s not forget), the guy is a cheater.  Again, I’m not ready to demonize everyone who used PEDs in that era.  All I’m asking for is consistency in how we treat these guys.  And, Pettitte seems to miss all the criticism that befalls the Bonds, McGwires, and Ramirezs of the world.

9:19:  Great start against Jeter for Hamels.  You know what?  I’m already, in just over two games, sick of Derek Jeter bitching and moaning about balls and strikes.  Come on, Derek, you’re the ultimate professional, ACT LIKE IT.

9:22:  Wow, a quick 1-2-3 first for Hamels.  There are two things that we need to watch tonight with Cole–and both looked good in inning number one.  First, and I’ve said this before on the blog, it seems to me that the big difference between the Hamels of This Year and the Hamels of Last Year is that last year, when he got ahead, he put batters away.  This year, he just hasn’t, for whatever reason, been able to get hitters out when he has them buried in the count.  You saw that against Andre Ethier in the Dodgers series.  He had Ethier 0-2, then he fouled off like 4 or 5 pitches, before hitting a long home run on a hanging curve.  It looked the same against Damon in the first, but he did a good job against Tex to end the inning.  The other thing is simply getting ahead.  He HAS to command that fastball.  I know all the talk is about how he now a “2-pitch pitcher,” I think that’s kind of crap.  I think the problem is that he hasn’t been able to command the fastball and, therefore, hasn’t been pitching ahead of hitters, which makes the curveball much less effective.  Plus Orel Hershiser always said that “you need command of one pitch to compete, two to win, and three to dominate.  Well, I’ll take “win”–we probably don’t need dominate with this offense at home.”

9:43:  Now, trust me I’m not tooting my own horn here, but what did I say in the opening about the “pace” of any Andy Pettite game.  That inning took twenty-one minutes and there were only FOUR HITTERS!  That’s absurd.  But, the good thing is that the Phillies have, maybe, the best first-base coach in the history of baseball, and Davey Lopes is RIGHT ON Pettitte’s move.  Rollins knew exactly what Pettitte was going to do, and then he got two great jumps on him.  So, Pettitte’s great balk, sorry I mean move to first, might be a bit negated by the incredible preparation and natural baserunning skills of Davey Lopes over at first.

9:51:  Another strong inning for Hamels, as we’re still scoreless after an inning and a half.  Again, good signs for Cole in that he seems to have really good command of his fastball and is, therefore, getting ahead of hitters.  And, he didn’t mess around with Cano and finished him off quickly after getting ahead.  Good signs so far.

9:56:  Another bomb by Jayson Werth, 1-0 Phillies.  The man crush just gets stronger and stronger.  It’s a good thing for Ina that she is such a good cook…

10:11:  A couple thoughts on the 3-run Phillies 2nd.  One, what the hell was A-Rod doing on the bunt play?  Now, I haven’t played much baseball on the left side of the infield (oh, wait…), but that is ABSOLUTELY the thirdbaseman’s ball.  Where was he?  Two, Victorino had a horrible at-bat with the bases loaded and one out, but he got bailed out by an equally terrible pitch by Pettitte on 0-2, allowing him to hit a deep sac fly for the third run.  And, three, Pettitte looks nasty against the left-handers in this lineup.  Utley, Howard, and Ibanez have looked totally overmatched tonight.  Fortunately, Werth just MURDERS lefties and the first two guys in the lineup are switch-hitters who are very comfortable from the right-side.

10:13:  Another long inning in the dugout for Cole Hamels, and he spent most of it on the bases, so we’ll see if it affects him at all.

10:25:  Says a lot about the person (and maybe the team) that Melky Cabrera is more interested in sticking it to the fans in centerfield than he is in, well, playing centerfield.  Good for you, Melky, you got the last laugh on the Philly fans in “faking” throwing them a souvenir.  Ya, you win, tough guy.  But, honestly, I think it’s awesome because the fans are, at least, a little bit in his head.  The Rays, last year, were clearly affected by the fans.  As were the Dodgers in both years and the Brewers last year.  Maybe the Yankees are too.  Keep at it, Philly fans…

10:34:  Okay, well, we’re going to replay on a possible A-Rod home run.  I think (and this is not a biased judgment) that if they overturn this then instant replay is broken.  It is not obvious that it is a home run.

10:35:  BS!  Yes, probably 90% chance that’s a homer, but that’s NOT the point of instant replay.  It HAS to be 100%!  BS!

11:09:  Well, a three-run Yankees fifth chases Hamels after just 4.1.  Yet another disappointing start for last season’s postseason hero.  I still have faith in this offense in this park, especially if we can get to the Yankees middle relief.  Remember, they are thinking of using Pettitte on short rest, so Girardi might be a little quicker to go to the ‘pen.  But, it has to happen soon.

11:44:  For the record, base open, 2 outs, I agree with not walking A-Rod.  Get the out.

11:55:  So, the Phils are into the Yankees bullpen.  6 innings for Pettitte, which means we can expect to see him again in Game 6 on three days’ rest.  Now, the Phillies have to get to guys like Chamberlain in the 7th and probably Hughes in the 8th.  And, expect to see Marte or Coke against the LHs.

12:32:  Well, it has looked pretty bleak for a while now, but the beauty of baseball is that the team has to get 27 outs.  So, there’s always hope.  Gotta get 4 runs before 3 outs, with the bottom of the order due up.  Personally, I think Girardi is making a mistake by not sending out Rivera.  I think the big goal for the Yanks is that they have to avoid turning the lineup over.  So, if Hughes is ineffective, and the Phils get a couple baserunners for Rollins and Vic, who knows?  If I were Girardi, I throw Rivera out there and go home with a 2-1 lead.  Period.  Why take a chance–for rest?  Really?  In NOVEMBER?!?  Probably won’t matter, but still.

12:49:  Yankees win 8-5, despite another blast by Chooch in the 9th.  They did have to use Rivera, which is a little solace, I guess.  All in all, this is a strange feeling.  For the first time in the past two postseasons, the Phillies trail in a series.  It’s not going to be a good night’s sleep for this guy.  AND…the Phils have to beat CC Sabathia tomorrow or face a 3-1 deficit.  Scary.  So, to try and recap this game, I’ve got a couple of thoughts:

  • The left-handers were TERRIBLE tonight.  Throw in Victorino’s 0-fer and it’s hard to believe they scored 5 runs.
  • How precipitous is the postseason fall for Cole Hamels?  What a change.  And, it’s not about the results, it’s about the mindset and just overall toughness.  Last year, he was a bulldog.  He wanted the ball.  He was “the man” last year.  This year, he looks timid; he looks scared.  I don’t know if it’s because he’s not the “ace” any more or if the 260 innings have caught up to him.  But, again, it’s not the results, it’s the body language.  He looks like he expects to fail, which is the EXACT opposite of him last year.
  • There was a stark difference in one aspect of the game tonight that is rather disconcerting, as a Phillies fan:  the bullpens.  Except for Hughes (who may have thrown his last pitch in 2009), the Yanks ‘pen looked terrific.  The Phils ‘pen, on the other hand, did not.  Happ, Durbin, and Myers all gave up runs.  Madson looked okay, but if Chamberlain, Marte, Coke, Robertson, and company significantly outpitch Madson, Myers, Park, and Durbin, we are in a lot of trouble.
  • Okay, tomorrow is going to be rough.  With bad days for Hamels, Happ, and Myers (all of whom could, theoretically, start Game Seven), don’t you have to, at least, consider throwing Lee tomorrow–not only for tomorrow’s game, but because even if they someone get this series to seven, can we trust Hamels to win Game Seven in Yankee Stadium?  I kind of think that the Phillies are up against it now, and Cliff Lee winning three games might be the best chance to win this Series.  Don’t get me wrong, I like Blanton (even though he’s been terrible against the Yankees in his career), but why not throw him in Game Five.  Then they can throw Pedro in Game Six and have Lee back for Game Seven.  I think they kind of have to do it.
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7 Responses to World Series, Game 3 (NOT a Live Blog)

  1. Doogan says:

    Man, I haven’t seen many players in my life that hit lefties like Werth. It will be interesting to see what happens with the rain picking up here. I still think we have a decent chance.

  2. Doogan says:

    Surprised to see Myers here in the 8th. Why not Park or Madson?

  3. Doogan says:

    OK, so you start the 8th with Myers. With 2 outs, nobody on, they pinch-hit with Matsui. Isn’t that the perfect spot to use Bastardo? Why is he on the roster if you’re not gonna use him there?

  4. Doogan says:

    Definitely agree. Don’t understand why you wouldn’t have Rivera out there for the 9th

  5. bry says:

    Doogan, I totally agree on the Bastardo comment. There is absolutely no good reason for Myers to face Matsui. It’s not like it’s important to “save” Bastardo. What are you saving him for? And, is he even good enough to save?

  6. Doogan says:

    The Lee starting on 3 days rest thing is tough. In theory, it sounds great to me, but you have to think that the coaching staff and Lee know better than us. I think maybe going forward, it would be good to give your best pitchers a start or two on 3-days rest during the season, so they can get used to it and see if they can handle it. For now though, they’re going with the “he’s never done it” reasoning, and so I think we’ll see Blanton out there tomorrow. If they were considering Lee in Game 4, they probably wouldn’t have announced Blanton today.

  7. Greeley says:

    You guys should take some solace that the Yankees basically blew Hughes for the rest of the series – they brought him in for the ninth to give him some confidence, but having to pull him after two batters (and one home run) basically put this guy on suicide watch. If you see him again (not on mop-up duty), seriously, throw a party.

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