-That Johnny Damon play will go down in World Series history as one of the great, heads up plays in Yankee playoff history and will be trivia question (what Yankee stole two bases on 1 pitch in the 2009 world Series?) forever. Don’t forget the situation at the time. The Yanks were tied and there were 2 outs in the 9th inning when it happened. Had he stumbled, or Feliz dives and tags him out, the game moves to the bottom of the 9th with Phil Coke on the hill and Johnny is the goat instead of the hero. There’s an old Baseball axiom ‘Never make the last out of the inning at 3rd base’ since you were already safely in scoring position at 2nd base in order to do so. Making the last out
at 3rd base with Teixeira at the plate would only compound the felony further. Gutsy, aggressive play when it works, horrendously stupid when it doesn’t. Like most Yankee fans I was stunned and confused when he took off, guessing that Johnny was deeked into thinking the throw got away, which it clearly didn’t. But then I was relieved when I saw nobody was covering 3rd. Then I remembered the guy chasing him was actually the Philly 3rd baseman, and it all made sense.
-Tim McCarver noted ad nauseum (shock!) about how Damon being on 3rd base affected how Lidge was able to pitch to Alex, so I won’t go through that again. But the Yanks have now beaten Lidge twice this season. The one victory the Yanks had against the Phillies in the 3 game series back in May was a tying homer by Alex and walkoff by Melky off of Philly closer Brad Lidge. I will be surprised if Manuel goes back to Lidge in a save situation if Alex is due up in the inning. I suspect he’ll give Madsen a try, who looked good last night and struck out Alex in the 8th.
-Despite the HR to Feliz, Joba looked outstanding last night. Maybe the best I’ve seen him all year. He was pumping 97 MPH fastballs and had a vicious break on his slider. He blew away Werth and Ibanez on fastballs, fell behind 3-2 on Feliz after two nasty sliders out of the zone, then came back in with a fastball that got too much of the plate. I had no problem with his pitch selection or stuff last night, he just made one mistake and paid for it. It was nice to see Jorge Posada give him a hug when he returned to the dugout after he scored, because Joba was clearly down after giving up the lead. I go right back to Joba in the 8th inning tomorrow if I’m Girardi. I liked what I saw much more than what I’ve seen out of Hughes lately.
–The Phillies must feel demoralized after losing their first two games at home on the heels of getting the split they hoped for at Yankee Stadium. But this series isn’t over, not by a long shot. Philly’s not the type of team that will pack it in, and they have their Ace in Cliff Lee going tonight. Let me draw up a very plausible (and even likely) scenario where this thing still goes 7. Tonight, Cliff Lee (on full rest) out-pitches AJ Burnett on short rest. On Wednesday night, Pedro tosses another gem and Pettitte is shaky on short rest, giving up 4-5 runs in 5 or 6 innings pitched. Manuel gets 8 innings out of Lee, patches together an inning or two out of his bullpen with Pedro and closes out both games with Madsen. All of a sudden, it’s Game 7 and the Yanks are the team facing elimination with Philly having all the momentum on their side. Girardi’s getting killed in the NY papers for pitching his guys on short rest. Yankee fans will be biting their nails heading into Thursday night. The good news is that even if this does go 7, the Phillies will be throwing Cole (“I wish 2009 was over”) Hamels in hostile Yankee Stadium facing CC Sabathia, which is a game Yankee fans have to feel confident about. But just don’t count these Phillies out yet. Manuel said in last nights press conference that they’ve come back from many (15?) blown saves this year. They’ve battled back from late, back breaking losses all year. They’re not dead yet.
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