Thursday, November 05, 2009

Game Six

In the interest of fairness, let’s get this out of the way up front: the better team won. There will be other times to comment on te politics and economics of baseball, but the Yankees were clearly better than the Phillies last night and deserved to win.

Andy Pettitte had nothing. His curve had no bite and he had trouble hitting his spots with his fastball. He allowed more walks than hits (5-4) and threw 94 to get through 5 2/3 innings, only 50 of which were strikes. Still, he did all a pitcher can do: he kept his team in the game. When Carlos Ruiz hit a one-out triple, Pettitte gave up the sacrifice fly and got the inning over with. Last night showed why Pettitte is one of the greatest big game pitchers of all time; he knows how to win when he doesn’t have his good stuff. Or any stuff at all.

If Pettitte had nothing, Pedro had less, and it looked like he knew it. He worked slower than usual and appeared to be laboring throughout. The difference between him and Pettitte was Pettitte got through it. The Yankees’ hitters deserve a lot of the credit for Pedro’s inability to match Pettitte. Matsui had him dialed in all night.

What killed the Phillies last night was the Yankees’ ability to do something the Phillies failed to do in Game 2, when the Series was still up for grabs: have a plan when they came to the plate. The Yankees saw Pedro had nothing and waited him out. The Phillies saw the Angels get embarrassed by AJ Burnett in Game 2 of the ALCS by taking first pitch strikes, then hammer him in Game 5 by jumping on those same pitches, yet they were remarkably passive in Burnett’s Game 2 Series effort. Didn’t they watch the ALCS? Don’t they have scouts? In Game 5 they came out hacking. They do that in Game 2 and it’s an entirely different Series.

Was anyone else struck with wonder that either team made it this far, considering the lack of confidence each manager had in his bullpen, Mariano Rivera notwithstanding? Manuel didn’t have anyone he could depend on. Girardi got some good innings from Joba and Marte, but no reliever was allowed to pitch himself out of a jam. Girardi played his match-ups hard, the sgn of a manager who doesn’t trust his pitchers to go out and let it fly.

I don’t remember Fox showing any numbers on this, but I have a sense the Phillies’ batting average with runners in scoring position must have been as low as any team that lasted six games. Maybe it was just because so many of the at bats were so bat, regardless of the final outcome.

Announced attendance last night was 50,315; Yankee Stadium capacity is listed at 52,325 (including standing room). They devoted 2000 for the expanded press box and media requirements?

There has now not been a Game 7 since 2002, when Dusty Baker thought there wouldn’t be one either.

Game Six Tim McCarver Moment – Hard to believe, but nothing McCarver said met his usual threshold of ignorance/vapidity. I dozed through much of the last three innings, so I could have missed something. Feel free to comment if I did.

Pitchers and catchers report in 106 days. (Based on earliest announced reporting dates.)

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