Thursday, November 5, 2009

27 Thoughts on #27

1. TPC said it was inevitable and it was. When you have better starting pitching and a better bullpen, you usually win. The Yanks did just that.

2. Arod is officially forgiven and all those naysayers have nothing left to say as he performed unbelievably in the postseason (setting many Yankee records) and is now a "True Yankee" by all accounts.

3. The Captain earns his 5th ring by hitting .407 . He All Time leading postseason hit total is now at 175 and before it's all said and done, that record might be as untouchable as Cy Young's 511 Wins.

4. Pettitte pitched a great game despite being squeezed by the blind umps. He won his 18th (ML career leader) postseason game and record 6th Series clinching game. He might have just punched his ticket to Cooperstown with this latest run.

5. I love the rivalry and I love the theatrics with Pedro, but in some ways it was sad to watch one of the greatest of all time, have nothing in that type of spot. It reminded me of Ali vs. Holmes or Holmes vs. Tyson. The once great Heavyweight getting knocked around as a shell of his former self.

6. Matsui had the single greatest World Series clinching game since R-E-G-G-I-E. Great stuff.

7. With that being said, you can't give the MVP to someone who only started 3 of the 6 games. Seems a little ridiculous to me, no matter how great Matsui did play.

8. For my money, I would have split the MVP. Pettitte and Matsui. Or Pettitte and Arod. Pettitte won 2 games, maybe the two most crucial games and should have garnered consideration.

9. Damon had a great Series and continues to show what a great big game player he is. Remember, he was one of the main reasons the Red Sox came back on the Yankees in 2004.

10. What more can be said about Rivera? The guys greatness knows no bounds. He puts such pressure on the other team to be ahead after 7 it's amazing. Even Jeter said "Everybody" knew it was over when Mo came in the 8th with a 4 run lead. What he has done on the biggest stage might be the most remarkable thing about this whole run. He has defied everything and we take his greatness for such granted.

11. C.C. was the horse we expected which means a lot considering everything that comes along with all that cash. Just a big guy for the big game.

12. Why didn't Ryan Howard play in the Series?

13. A year ago this time Brad Lidge was being compared to Mo and Cole Hamels was the next Josh Beckett. What a difference a year makes.

14. Jeter has more rings (5) than The Babe (5).

15. The Yankees opened the old Stadium with a Series victory in 1923 and did likewise in 2009. Should be the start of a great run.

16. For all the hits Girardi took (some rightfully so) he did a few things that should be absolutely commended for. He had the guts to move Jeter up to leadoff and Damon down to #2. They both had superb seasons and thrived in their new roles. He did a great job of managing the bullpen during the regular season, not overworking anyone. He stuck to his guns with the 3 man rotation and it paid off.

17. How does Manuel leave Pedro in to face Matsui the second time around? Pedro had nothing. He had no fastball and Matsui was all over him the last at bat. Season on the line, Manuel had to go to Happ a lot quicker there. Just a bad job.

18. For as horrible as Cano was this postseason his bat was coming around the last two games. Should be in midseason form for the Winter Games.

19. For as good and clutch as Posada seemed at the plate, he was just as awful behind the plate. He called a shaky game every time out- was constantly being shaken off by the pitchers, any pitch that wasn't close seemed to turn into a passed ball and Jason Giambi probably could have stolen at will on him.

20. Home A.J. is a lot different than Road A.J. Pettitte really bailed out Girardi last night. Burnett on normal rest at home would have been a lot more effective than Road A.J. on 3 days rest.

21. Texiera had a rough time at the plate all postseason but his few hits were big and his defense was stellar, proving 1B is a very important position, and not one where "just anyone" can play it.

22. I would have loved to have seen Arod at the plate in Game 5 with a chance to win. Amazing what a difference a year makes. This time last year Yankee fans were praying Arod got no where near the plate with the game on the line.

23. I thought Joba had some electric stuff and he probably worked his way back to being the 8th inning guy next year with Hughes going into the rotation.

24. What a remarkable turnaround for Marte. He went from being a punching bag to a huge weapon against those Philly lefties. Great move by Joe for sticking with him.

25. Robertson showed a lot of guts and I would have no issue with him and Aceves working the 7th and 8th next year if both Joba and Hughes go to the rotation.

26. This would have been a lot easier with a healthy Chin-Min Wang.

27. Parade down the Canyon of Heroes this Friday. Party NY style!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

TPC Explains Why #27 is Inevitable

Despite AJ Burnett getting beaten while showing Steve Phillips type control in a room full of Lewinsky look a likes, despite Texiera evoking memories of Vintage Postseason Arod 2005-2007 and despite a lineup in Game 5 that featured 3 hitters (Jeter, Damon and Arod), the Yankees are still in complete and utter control of this seasons fall classic.
Here's TPC's take and why Yankee fans should get the Budweiser ready (I hate Champagne. For starters it's French. Secondly, it tastes like cheap Beer and Third, it's French.).

1- Going into the Series, we knew the Yankees had two clear cut and distinct advantages. a) They would have a huge edge in starting pitch in at least 5 of the 7 games. That has not changed. Pettitte and Sabathia are distinctively better than Pedro and whoever has the guts to take the ball from Manuel in Game 7 (gotta love Lee copping out and not going Game 4 and & and Hamels hoping the season ends already. It's Ph-aaan-tastik!!! Philly style). b) They have a big edge in the bullpen (which is magnified by their starting pitching edge) especially with Rivera at the end. Games 4 and 5 showed us exactly how big that edge is. Lidge blew Game 4 despite having 2 outs and no one out in the 9th, and Madsen all but gave away last nights game except Jeter and Tex decided to be nice and cho--and make big outs late.
The Phillies will not be able to breath easy, no matter the score until the final out has been made, while the Yankees know if they have a lead going into the 8th, it's game, set and match. That edge has mentally worn down the Twins and Angels and will continue with the Phillies, especially after last nights near implosion by the Philly pen.

2- The lineup changes the Yankees make in their home park is a decided advantage for them. Just look at last nights lineup with Swisher, Cano, Gardner, Molina and the Pitcher now being replaced by Matsui, Posada, Cano, Swisher and Gardner. Your going from a borderline Triple A end of the lineup to one that has some real pop. The length of the lineup will cause Pedro- even if he has his good stuff- to max out at 6 innings and that will lead to the parade of clowns we saw yesterday. Pettitte is used to throwing against the extra hitter and despite his big hit in Game 3, he will gladly take a seat for Godzilla's stick in this one.

3- Manuel made a very curious decision last night leaving in Lee to start the 8th. Lee was not his usual sharp self all game, walking 3 to that point and going deep in counts all night. He was already at 100 pitches and Manuel knows he's going to need him in relief if there is a Game 7. Knowing he has no confidence in his bullpen, Manuel left Lee in too long. It did a few things that I think sealed the Phillies faith. a) It showed the utter lack of trust Manuel has in his pen which is going to kill him the next two games when he will need to go to that same pen early and often. b) It gave the Yankees confidence that no matter what the score they can and will come back on the Phillies. c) if they do face Lee in Game 7, the armour has been pierced. The Yanks know they can get to him. Plus, Lee will be thinking a little differently now that he gave up those 3 late runs. He might also be a tad more tired which is the most curious of all reasons why Manuel left him in.

4- This Yankee team is much different than the 2004-2008 versions. It used to be the Yanks would go down a few runs and it was over. This year it's different. Anyone who has watched these Yankees knows they feel they should win every game, and no lead is safe. It's why the Yankees leading the league with 51 come from behind wins was no accident. It's the result of a good bullpen keeping them in games, a deep lineup which allows them to get to the other teams middle relief and the confidence that they can and will win when down late no matter who they are facing.

5 -Redemption for Pettitte. The last time Pettitte had a chance to close out a World Series for the Yankees he got shelled in Game 6 of the 2001 Series against Arizona and Randy Johnson. Pettitte has been a fighter all his career and will gut his way out to this win. He will beat Pedro and will pitch well in doing so.

Monday, November 2, 2009

27 for 27

One more win is all the Yankees need to make #27 a reality. 27 more outs for Jeter, Posada, Pettitte and Mo to win one for the thumb and for Arod, C.C. and co. to win their first.
Tonight, Burnett goes for the clincher against this seasons best postseason pitcher in Cliff Lee. Burnett will be going on 3 days rest while Lee is going on his usual 4, but facing a 3-1 deficit and the burden of lengthening the season squarely on his shoulders.
It seems interesting that just a few short days ago, Girardi was getting run out of town for his "over managing" and for his curious decisions (including here). Now? Well, Girardi has done a masterful job this World Series. His bullpen managing, his lineup maneuvers (although letting CC to hit in the top of the 7th was a very curious decision), even his critically acclaimed pinch running moves have worked out. He has out managed Manuel and now has a chance to change his number to 28 next season.
Can a player who has only 2 hits through 4 games be considered an MVP candidate? Yes, when your first hit is a 2 run HR in Game 3 with the series tied at 1, down 3-0 when your team is looking listless at the plate and when your second hit is a 2 out top of the 9th run scoring double that breaks a 4-4 tie and gives your team a commanding 3 games to 1 lead. Arod has done the unthinkable. It used to be he was a collector of stats and only failed when it counted. This Series he has only done something when it counts MOST. Amazing turnaround from Arod.

Damon would also be in consideration with his clutch hitting and great baserunning, except if he played even average in Left Field, C.C. would have given up only 1 run through 7 and not have to labor nearly as much. He misjudged and misplayed Victorino's bloop which led to the first Philly run and should have caught Feliz RBI single in the 4th or at least thrown out Howard at the plate. I love Damon's stick especially in bug games, but they can only re-sign him as a DH next season. With that being said his taking 3rd on that steal made Lidge throw the fastball that hot Tex inside instead of going to his slider, which was nasty last night. Ledge didn't want to bounce one and it allowed Tex to reach base and allowed Arod to drill one down the line.
Posada's catching abilities, both calling the game and throwing out runners has severely declined over the last two years (yesterday's game really proving this out) but he is as clutch as they come. Not sure where he will play next season, but looks like he might be a part time catcher- more time DH.
2nd game in a row CC didn't have his good stuff and 2nd game in a row he went 6+ and gave the Yankees a chance to win. It's why he's the Horse and the Ace and why the Yankees are in this position.
All MVP talk will be put to bed tonight if AJ throws anything similar to the way he pitched in Game 2 and the Yankees wrap it up in 5.
It's really nice having Mariano to close things out. Showed again yesterday. Lidge dominated Matsui and Jeter, 2 outs two strikes to Damon and he couldn't close the door. It's why the Sandman is arguably the most important player on the Yankees for the last 15 years.
Maybe you didn't notice but Jeter is hitting .412 for the Series. True greatness.
Pettitte pitched a really gutsy game in Game 3. Early on, we were seeing shades of Game 6 vs, Arizona in 2001 (Yanks led 3 games to 2 when Pettitte gave up 6 runs in two innings losing Game 6 and eventually the Series). Somehow Andy got it together and pitched 4 solid innings after that and delivered a huge hit to tie the game. Amazingly, the Yankees almost didn't sign this guy this past offseason. Needless to say, he earned everything they gave him.
I thought the home plate umpire was horrible last night, incredibly inconsistent with his strike zone and is also why CC struggled early and Blanton didn't. Seemed to me Blanton was getting the calls that CC wasn't.
That Ryan Howard is really scary huh? Scary as Arod circa 2006 postseason that is.

Marte has been huge for the Yanks this postseason and has finally made that trade from last seasons trade deadline pay off. Remember, Marte was supposed to be the bridge to Mariano but injuries and then ineffectiveness stopped that. He is now showing why he was once considered the toughest pitcher in the league against lefthanded batters.