Here we go…
The World Series hits the home stretch with a return to Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night. Perhaps this is the way it was meant to be. A championship in front of the home crowd instead of a slew of Phillie Phanatics…
It was a gamble to pitch A.J. Burnett on short rest. CC Sabathia was one thing, but A.J. has proven this season that he is not CC. A.J. relies too much on the perfection of his pitches, so when he’s off, he is really off…
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The result was a hole that the Yankees couldn’t dig out of, although to their defense, they tried. I really thought they had a chance in the 9th inning of Game 5 until Derek Jeter hit into the double play.
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In the end, the two home runs by Chase Utley were simply too much. So, the Phillies emerged with the 8-6 victory to cut the Yankees’ Series lead to 3 games to 2.
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The Yankees are gambling in Game 6 with Andy Pettitte on short rest. With Andy, you are most likely not going to get a stellar performance. It will either be an average performance with no more than 3 or 4 runs to keep the Yankees in the game, OR it will be a disaster like Game 6 of the 2001 World Series when Andy lost to the D-Backs, 15-2. I was at the game, and accidentally dropped a beer in disgust (sorry to those of you who were around me!).
The Yankees need to go into the game with Plan A and Plan B. Plan B should be to have Chad Gaudin ready to go in case Pettitte doesn’t have it. I’d hate to be three or four innings in and down 7-0. If it’s obvious that Andy doesn’t have it, manager Joe Girardi should be quick to make a change. This is where a solid pitching acquisition at the trading deadline would have been huge. Not that I think the Rays would have been agreeable to trading within the division, but having a Scott Kazmir at this point would probably be much preferable to pitching Andy on short rest. Nevertheless, this is the hand that we have been dealt so it is up to the Yankees to make the most of it.
If Ryan Howard comes around, this Series is going to get ugly in a hurry. They’ve got to continue to keep him off the bases, and they need to figure out how to stop Chutley. They also need to keep the game close until they can get into the Phillies bullpen which is clearly a weakness. This has been the season of walk-off’s for the Yankees so it’s time to finish the season with one…
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Before the series is over, I do want to say that baseball is not the same without Harry Kalas. The long-time Phillies announcer passed away earlier this season, and he is missed. It is very unfortunate that he was unable to experience the back-to-back World Series for the Phillies. Here is a quote from Wikipedia:
“Swing … and a long drive, and this ball is … outta here! Home run <insert player’s name here>.”
I have been a fan of the University of Iowa since I was, as the saying goes, “knee-high to a grasshopper”. Kalas was a 1959 graduate. So, win or lose (hopefully lose!), this one’s for Harry…