The ninth inning: I am signing off for the night, unless something dramatic happens. Was fun chatting.
Bottom of the eighth: It has been that kind of series for Swisher. Jeter, as we were just reminded, is the all-time post-season hit leader. For what it is worth the all time non-Yankee World Series hit leader is the Fordham Flash-Frankie Frisch.
Top of the eighth: I don’t think too many Yankee fans thought Damaso Marte would be a big part of their post-season success. At this phase of his career, Rivera gives up runs, but rarely melts down. It is beginning to rain in the Bronx, but not yet in Northern Manhattan. I assume Selig will allow this game to be finished tonight.
Bottom of the seventh: With the bottom of the Yankee lineup completely silent, this is probably their last scoring opportunity. If this ends tonight, A-Rod will have had a strange series. Much fewer big hits than in the ALCS, but in the middle of a lot of rallies. Cano looks about as bad as a big league hitter can look. He makes Texeira look like Reggie Jackson.
Top of the seventh: The Phillies need baserunners here, but if the good Joba has shown up, it could be a short inning for them. This is likely Joba’s last batter, so he could salvage a disappointing season here. A walk to Victorino is not the way Joba wanted to end his season. Perhaps Marte can bail him out. The need to go to Marte in the 7th all but ensures that Rivera will be asked to get six outs. Girardi has said that Rivera is ready to do this, but even for Rivera six outs is a lot, particularly if this lead gets smaller. The way Marte has been throwing, he might be able to get through the eighth which would make Rivera even stronger in the ninth.
Bottom of the sixth: Swisher had seemed to have lost his ability to draw walks this World Series before this at bat. That had been one of his biggest strengths during the regular season. With Hairston in the number two hole, a bunt from Gardner makes less sense.
Top of the sixth: This is a very important inning for Philadelphia. If Pettitte gets through the middle of the lineup without giving up a run, the countdown of outs can begin in earnest. With all the attention on the starting pitching, little attention has been paid to how the Yankees will use their bullpen, but I would assume, and hope, that Girardi will use Chamberlain and Robertson to get to Rivera, spotting Marte against Utley and Howard. The Phil brothers may be done for the year. Reggie Jackson just breathed a sigh of relief. Howard’s home run was kind of inevitable, but it may not be enough. Neither Pettitte or Martinez pitched particularly well, but Pettitte pitched better. He did about as well as the Yankees could have hoped. If the Yankees hold on, it will be a victory won by their bats. With the lefties out of the way for at least an inning, if Joba is throwing well, he can them to Rivera.
Bottom of the fifth: For what its worth, Girardi’s best move as manager this year may have come in spring training when he put Jeter back in the leadoff spot. Girardi should get credit for looking at OBP rather than simply batting Jeter second because he is a middle infielder. On a related note, Jeter may break the all-time Yankee stolen base record next year. It is currently held by none other than Rickey Henderson. The Phillies need a loogy to get Matsui out here. Another RBI by Matsui and this game will get very short very quickly for the Phillies. That plan did not work out so well for Philadelphia. Turns out the Yankees are pretty good even though Cliff Lee beat them twice. Posada this series seems to have a principled position that he only gets hits in clutch situations.
Top of the fifth: Pettitte’s control problems tonight have made this a tough game for him. The Phillies have real power and they Yankees still need at least nine more outs before Rivera. Rollins hit into a rare double play, so Pettitte survived another inning. With all the ink about how Pedro has become a wily, clever pitcher, Pettitte is for the third time in as many starts getting by without his best stuff.
Bottom of the fourth: With Hairston in the number two spot, the Yankee lineup has a different feel. It puts a little pressure on Posada-Gardner to contribute a little bit today as the top half of the lineup is not as solid. Robinson Cano is now literally not hitting his weight. Nice to see Mayor Bloombers who, as it turns out actually did need to spend all that money to get reelected yesterday, enjoying the game. It is a shande that the mayor of New York is a Red Sox fan.
Top of the fourth: Another injury for the Yankees. The Yankees have a useful bench, but not actual depth. They have pinch runners, good defensive ballplayers, but nobody who can really hit other than Gardner, who was already in the lineup. Hairston is a big downgrade from Damon. If Pettitte can follow one half inning in which the Yankees score by shutting down the Phillies, it would change the tenure of the game a lot. Tim McCarver just said that too much is made of pitchers starting on three days rest. If he really felt that way, maybe he should have talked about something else during the last 48 hours.
Bottom of the third: Gardner looked terrible against Martinez. He is a better player than that. Martinez has probably gone through 50 pitches and is not yet through the third. It will be interesting if Manuel has to patch it together tonight because if it goes well, he will have to do the same thing tomorrow night. This is Texeira’s moment, let’s see how he does. A seal on every rock for A-Rod. Nice bit of hitting by Matsui.
Top of the third: What would the announcers talk about if Pettitte were going on four days of rest. It seems like they have discussed this ad nauseum. It is a convenient topic because and an easy way to explain a potential bad outing for Pettitte, but there is no way to prove this. If Pettitte pitches well, will anybody say it was because he was on short rest? If Ruiz scores, will Yankee fans stop eating Dunkin’ Donuts?
It is interesting watching a series where so many key players, Texeira, Howard, Cano etc. are slumping but where the managers are doing so little. Manuel and Girardi get some credit for not panicking, but this is also a result of the post-season rosters and stability of both lineups. The Yankees and Phillies do not have a lot of plan Bs. However, if Pena pinch runs with none out in the seventh, Girardi will be making a big mistake.
Bottom of the second: Amazing to see A-Rod not take strike one as he seems to have done ever plate appearance this series. Walking A-Rod in front of three Yankee lefties could be trouble, but Cano seems to have checked out for the series. Has anybody noticed how both Matsui and Damon have swings any decent Little League coach would change right away? Getting to Pedro early is big for the Yankees, but they now need to get the big inning, which they have had trouble doing through much of the post-season.
Pedro made one mistake to Matsui, but gets credit for keeping the Phillies in the game. A two run lead is unlikely to be enough in this game.
Top of the second: Pettitte is throwing a lot of pitches and not getting ahead of too many hitters, but if he is going to walk anybody, Werth is the guy. Tim McCarver just mentioned that the Yankees have quieted Philadelphia’s left-handed bats. That may come as news to Chase Utley. Pettitte looks like he is struggling, but that is kind of the look he has on his face all the time when he is pitching.
Bottom of the first: Texeira is having the kind of series where a fly ball to the warning track counts as a successful at at bat. The Yankees benefit more from coming back to their park because Matsui’s bat is a real asset. Without Molina as Burnett’s personal catcher, the Yankee lineup is as deep as it should be. Gardner in the number nine spot may even be an improvement on Melky.
Top of the first: The left side of the Yankee infield is interesting for many reasons. One is that both Jeter and A-Rod have strong arms and limited range. Utley’s first at bat will set a tone. The Yankees would be foolish to throw at him and probably won’t. Nice first half inning for the Yankees.
Pre-game: The national media, being both Yankee-centric and Yankee-phobic, seems to have already written the Yankees’ obituary. You would not know from listening to the analysis or reading most newspapers that even if the Yankees lose tonight, tomorrow’s game will pit CC Sabbathia against either Cliff Lee on two days rest or a whatever combination of pitchers Charlie Manuel can put together.
My sense is that Pettitte needs to start off strongly, but so does the Yankee offense. Pettitte is, at this point in his career, against a lineup like the Phillies’, good for six innings and four runs. If he does that, the game will be decided by the Yankee offense and Pedro’s pitching. Pedro is a bit of a wild card here as he could either be very strong or out of the game by the fourth inning. If is is a low scoring game, the Phillies may win, but if it is high scoring, the Yankees should come out on top.