November 3, 2009

Back to New York we go

by Dan Bilicki In: Baseball

Having followed the Toronto Blue Jays in recent years, it came to no surprise what happened last night in Philadelphia; in fact, the result was almost expected. Game 5 of the World Series featured one of A.J. Burnett’s classic, inevitable blow ups. 2 innings, four hits and six earned runs into the game, he was pulled. This is coming off a remarkable start in Game 2 which actually had people wondering if the right-hander was worthy of the Series MVP award if he were to come through again. Well, he didn’t and now we’re heading back to the Bronx as the World Series drags on further into November.

So what does it say about Charlie Manuel’s confidence in his bullpen when he refuses to go to his “closer” in a save situation with the entire season on the line? It looks like he doesn’t have any confidence in Brad Lidge to close things out after the debacle in Game 4 where he gave up three runs in the ninth, all with two outs. Well, sticking with Madson last night turned out to be the right move, but we’ll just see how much of an impact the pen and Manuel’s decisions have in Games 6 and 7.

And after yesterday’s game, there should be a very good debate going on, should the Phillies come back to win it all: Who’s the MVP? Chase Utley or Cliff Lee? Utley’s gone 6 for 18 in the Series for a .333 average and has already equaled the record for most home runs in a World Series with five. Lee on the other hand, has been dominant in his two starts (and probably could pitch relief in Game 7 if needed) and has two wins, while giving up 13 hits over 16 innings to go with a 2.81 ERA. It looks like Utley has the inside track since he plays every game, but if Lee comes through strong out of the pen on Thursday, all bets are off.

But also, was there any result that was least expected from the Yankees’ ninth inning than Derek Jeter grounding into a double play? This guy has been the Yanks leader and best bat all Series (and all season too) but couldn’t muster a bloop hit off of Madson when it mattered most? I think that maybe the captain just wanted to win it at home rather than celebrate in Philly.

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