Friday, October 30, 2009

It's a Best-of-Five Now

The Phillies are headed back home with the series tied 1-1. Playing with house money last night, the Phillies came up short in the their bid to take a commanding lead in this series.

All told, Phillies fans have to be happy, but after the way Pedro pitched last night you can't help but regret not coming back up 2-0. Tomorrow will bring Game 3, but till then, here are the rest of my observations from Game 2:

  • Ok, so I was wrong about A.J. Burnett. The dude pitched lights-out last night, getting ahead of almost every batter he faced. His curveball was consistently dropping off the planet and outstanding command kept him from walking guys (something you can't do against the Phillies). However, if he's asked to come back on short rest in Game 5, I think the Phillies can get to him. His road splits are terrible this year, with his road ERA (4.59) a full point higher than his ERA at home (3.51). Unless the Phillies are up 3-1, I'm willing to guess that Joe Girardi keeps Burnett on normal rest and uses him at home in a potential Game 6.
  • Last night was not Pedro's fault. More importantly, it wasn't Charlie Manuel's fault for going with Pedro. Baseball, more than any other sport, is over-analyzed to the point of insanity. Did a manager stay with the starter to long? Not long enough? Should he have sent the runners? Why did he send the runners? Most of the time, unless the move works, you're damned if you do or damned if you don't. Just know this about last night, Pedro pitched as good as you could have hoped. A.J. Burnett was just a little bit better.
  • A-Rod is pressing. Nothing else can explain his incredible fall from hottest player on the planet to six strikeouts in eight at-bats. A-Rod is one of the greatest athletes of our generation and he desperately wants to succeed in his first World Series. However, he's been known to put too much pressure on himself causing these slumps. The Phillies must take advantage of this now, before he snaps out of it.
  • Rollins and Victorino are the keys to this series. When they get on base a lot, like Game 1, the Phillies are going to win. If they struggle, like Game 2, the Phillies are going to lose. Victorino, especially, saw only 14 pitches in his four at-bats last night. That is terrible, and he has to do better. It's the top of the orders job to see pitches and wear down the Yankee starters, because god knows Feliz and Ruiz aren't going to do it.
  • The umpires finally reared their ugly heads last night, blowing two calls. I'm not trying to beat a dead horse here, but Bud Selig is really going to have to address the use of instant replay this off-season. Neither call was that bad, nor did either call cost a team a run (directly). However, both teams would have been in the position to still score with two outs and runners on third in both instances, so they did impact the game. I'm just hoping, along with everyone in the league office, that no calls cost a team a game in this World Series. Especially with more fans watching than any year since 2004.
  • I'll talk more about Cole Hamels tomorrow, but I'm just not getting a good vibe from him. I watched a post game interview with him last night, on Phillies Post Game Live, and he just seemed distant. I think for the first time in his life, a life full of success after success, he is failing. That can be hard on any athlete (see Rodriguez, Alex), especially someone who is only 25. Tomorrow is a chance at redemption for him. We'll see what he does with it.

Go Phils.

1 comment:

  1. All so true! No matter how any Philly pitches going forward, batting is the key to winning this thing. We got to wake up the bats, start hitting the first pitch strikes so that the Yanks pitchers have to rethink their strategy and we have to play smart sound ball!