Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Game Five

Game Five wasn’t much apart from watching the Phillies blow AJ Burnett out by the third inning and their sphincter-tightening efforts to blow the game. (Is it just me, or does Burnett always look like he’s about to either cry, or try to rip your head off?)

Now the real fun starts: second-guessing the managers. Girardi has taken advantage of the leisurely pace of postseason scheduling to ride three starters, mainly because he only has three starters he trusts. That’s fine for the first two rounds, as Fox’s added days off make keeping pitchers busy harder than keeping them fresh. The Series still uses the traditional format, which means bringing Sabathia back on three days’ rest means Burnett and Pettitte have to do it, too, or Chad Gaudin need to start Game Five. This minimizes the effectiveness of working Sabathia three times, since the pitcher who loses a start isn’t Gaudin, it’s Pettitte. Not much of a gain for such risk.

So everyone gets three days rest. Maybe it affected Burnett; maybe not. What’s quantifiable is that he got lit up, and now it’s up to Pettitte to close it out or let the Series got o Game Seven. Pettitte actually prefers five days rest instead of the usual four, and wasn’t sharp his last time out, though he still got the win. Bringing him back on three is a definite gamble. Yankees fans have the comfort of Sabathia pitching in Game Seven, but take a look at the record. They’re 1-1 in his two starts so far, and he’s 0-1. He’s pitched well (3.29 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 12-6 strikeouts to walks), but it’s not like Girardi will be sending Sandy Koufax or Bob Gibson to the mound to validate his strategy.

At least Girardi knows he’s made a decision and can put things in his best pitcher’s hands. It will be Cole Hamels’s turn to pitch for Game Seven, and he’s been, to put it politely, terrible. Yakked up a lead so quick in Game Three Penn and Teller couldn’t have got the bullpen involved in time. Then he was quoted after the game as saying he can’t wait for this season to be over. Maybe he’s just frustrated and it slipped out wrong. It can’t make Charlie Manuel too secure to know his potential season-saving pitcher isn’t sure he wants to be there. At least he has an option: J.A. Happ was probably Philadelphia’s best pitcher down the stretch, apart from Lee. Problem is, with the spread out schedule, Happ hasn’t started in a month,

I told the beloved Spousal Equivalent I’d officially declare a man crush on Chase Utley if he hit another home run about five minutes before he hit another home run. I just hope he washes his hands after he touches his hair if we’re going to shake, or I’ll spill more beer than I drink from the glasses slipping out of my hands.

Joe Buck needs his depth perception checked. He repeatedly announces pop-ups on balls that are caught near the warning track. It’s like he’s channeling Harry Caray.

A-Rod Watch – two for four, three RBI. His Series average is up to .222. Fair’s fair, and he was on his game last night.

Game Five Tim McCarver Moment – It’s harder to get three strikes than it is to get two.

Game Five Tim McCarver Moment (Honorable Mention) – “In case you’re wondering why he’s pinch hitting Posada in the fifth inning, it’s so he can get an extra at bat out of him, as opposed to waiting for the seventh or eighth.” You might want to mention that Molina only played because he’s Burnett’s pet catcher, and is a defensive specialist. The Yanks were down 6-1; they needed lumber.

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