Archive for October, 2009
UPDATE, 11:36 p.m.: Lot of Chads in this series — Chad Durbin, Chad Gaudin, Chad Jennings. Let’s keep it straight: Durbin is coming in to pitch right now for the Phillies, Jennings is sitting next to me drinking Turkey Hill iced tea (with a dog wearing a scarf and sunglasses on the bottle).
UPDATE, 11:39 p.m.: And it’s raining again. Not terribly hard (yet) but noticeable.
UPDATE, 11:44 p.m.: Little surprised to see the Phillies not put Rodriguez on here with first base open.
UPDATE, 11:47 p.m.: Well, that’s one way to put him on. A-Rod is hit by a pitch for the second time tonight and he did not look happy about it as he went to first base.
UPDATE, 11:53 p.m.: That’s it for Pettitte, as Joba Chamberlain comes in to start the seventh. Get comfortable, too – Girardi already has Marte warming up behind him.
UPDATE, 12:07 a.m.: Happy November, Hideki Matsui. That’s his second homer of the series. By the way, Matsui does it right – he doesn’t stand at home plate, he doesn’t do anything with his bat. He just hits it and starts running around the bases. He’s all class.
UPDATE, 12:20 a.m.: Chad here with what might be a dumb question. Who do you send out for the ninth? It’s a four-run lead, and it would certainly be nice to have Mariano Rivera well rested in case he’s needed for more than three outs in Games 4 and 5. Would you consider Phil Hughes in this spot, knowing you could still go to Rivera if things get dangerous? Sam says no way, you don’t mess around in the World Series. I’m torn.
UPDATE, 10:23 p.m.: It’s 3-0 Phillies as Pettitte’s pitch count reaches 60. That was a smoother inning for him, at least.
UPDATE, 10:32 p.m.: This could be the first instant replay reversal in World Series history. That ball looked to hit the camera – not the wall – and should be ruled a two-run homer. Umps are going in to take a look. It shouldn’t take very long.
UPDATE, 10:34 p.m.: It’s a home run. 3-2 Phillies. It’s the right call.
UPDATE, 10:38 p.m.: That’s Rodriguez’s sixth home run this postseaon, tying a Yankees record. Bernie Williams also hit six in 1996. It’s also the Yankees 17th home run of the playoffs, which breaks a franchise record. The Yankees hit 16 home runs in 1996, 2001 and 2003.
UPDATE, 10:41 p.m.: That ball sailed on A-Rod, which doesn’t help Pettitte any. With his pitch count up already, giving away outs is extra costly.
UPDATE, 10:51 p.m.: One of the few curveballs Hamels has thrown tonight and Swisher rips it down the third-base line. Now you see why Hamels has stayed away from that pitch quite a bit this year — remember, Flaherty said he could see it being far less effective.
UPDATE, 10:52 p.m.: Crowd of 46,061 on hand tonight. They’re all very loud, too.
UPDATE, 10:53 p.m.: Looked like another curveball from Hamels, and now it’s Pettitte (!) looping it to center field to tie the game. That’s his first career postseason RBI.
UPDATE, 10:55 p.m.: That’s a nice break for the Yankees on a dumb play by Victorino. With Pettitte running, he could have fielded that ball on a hop and thrown him out on the force at second. By sliding, he missed the ball and gave Pettitte time to jog.
UPDATE, 10:56 p.m.: And now the inning is snowballing. Damon crushes a liner to right-center and Jeter nearly passes Pettitte as both come home to make it 5-3 Yankees. Action in the Phillies bullpen as Hamels is unraveling quickly.
UPDATE, 11:00 p.m.: That’s it for Hamels. The walk chases last year’s World Series MVP from the game and brings in J.A. Happ. By the way, it’s pronounced “Jay” Happ, not Jay-A.
UPDATE, 11:08 p.m.: Big inning for Pettitte, who starts at 72 pitches and needs to keep the Phillies crowd from getting back into it. Heart of the Phillies order coming up.
UPDATE, 11:15 p.m.: Just what Pettitte and the Yankees needed: 11 pitches and the Phillies are gone 1-2-3. Now they’re doing some sort of skit on the field where a bunch of people in costumes are dancing with the Phanatic. It’s creepy, yet oddly scintillating.
UPDATE, 11:16 p.m.: The skit ended with a guy wearing a Yankees jersey walking up and all the people in costumes (and the Phanatic) running away. No one in the crowd seemed to know how to react to that. Truthfully, I don’t either. Wouldn’t it have been better if they attacked the Yankee guy or something? I’ve never really gotten theater …
UPDATE, 11:21 p.m.: Apparently the night off in Game 2 was just what Swisher needed. He crushed that ball for his first homer of the postseason. He’s 2-for-3 with a double, a homer and two RBI.
UPDATE, 11:28 p.m.: Say what you want about Alex, but Werth is having a monster postseason too: That’s his second home run of the night and seventh of the playoffs.
Derek Jeter SS
Johnny Damon LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Jorge Posada C
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Melky Cabrera CF
Andy Pettitte P
Pitching: LHP Andy Pettitte (2-0, 2.37 postseason ERA)
Jimmy Rollins SS
Shane Victorino CF
Chase Utley 2B
Ryan Howard 1B
Jayson Werth RF
Raul Ibanez LF
Pedro Feliz 3B
Carlos Ruiz C
Cole Hamels P
Pitching: LHP Cole Hamels (1-1, 6.75 postseason ERA)
TIME/TV: 7:57 p.m., FOX
WEATHER: Cloudy with a chance of showers tonight and temperatures falling from the high 60s during the day to 50s (and maybe high 40s) at night. Medium winds. Check out the full forecast here.
STATE OF THE STRIPES: The Yankees are tied at 1 in the best-of-seven and are three wins away from their 27th World Series title. This is the 54th World Series in which the teams have been tied at 1 game apiece, and the team winning Game 2 has gone on to win the title on 28 of the previous 53 occasions (though only once in the last six).
THE SWING GAME: People often talk about Game 3 as the swing game in a World Series and there’s some truth to it: The team winning Game 3 has gone on to win in 35 of 53 World Series that were tied at 1, including each of the last two and nine of the last 10. The lone exception? You probably already know it. The Yankees won Game 3 of the 2003 World Series but then lost three straight to the Marlins to lose the Series.
MAPQUEST IT: The approximately 108 miles from Yankee Stadium to Citizens Bank Park is among the shortest distances between World Series sites. It was 1 1/2 miles from the Polo Grounds to Yankee Stadium (Yankees/Giants); nine miles from Yankee Stadium to Shea (Yankees/Mets); 15 miles between Ebbets Field and Yankee Stadium (Yankees/Dodgers); 22 miles between Candlestick Park and Oakland Coliseum (Giants/A’s); and 98 miles between Memorial Stadium and Veterans Stadium (Orioles/Phillies). Of course, the shortest distance between World Series sites is zero: In 1921 and ’22, all World Series games were played at the Polo Grounds and in 1944 all games were played at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis.
ELITE COMPANY: Tonight is Andy Pettitte’s 11th World Series start for the Yankees, which is the second-most in team history. Pettitte passes Waite Hoyt and Red Ruffing, and is now only trailing Whitey Ford, who made an insane 22 World Series starts. He is 3-4, 3.90 in his 10 previous starts for the Yankees, and 0-0, 4.26 in one World Series start with the Astros.
HOT TO COLD: Alex Rodriguez had a hit in all nine playoff games leading up to the World Series but is 0-for-8 with six strikeouts in the first two games of the World Series. In case you were wondering, the World Series record for strikeouts is 12, set by the Royals Willie Wilson back in 1980 against – yes – the Phillies.
CAPTAIN CLIMBS: More evidence why Derek Jeter should always be hitting, instead of bunting: After going 4-for-8 in the first two games, Jeter’s career World Series average is .314 (43-for-137) which is fifth-highest all-time among players with at least 100 ABs. Who’s ahead of him? Only Lou Gehrig, Eddie Collins, Babe Ruth and Steve Garvey.
RANDOM QUESTION OF THE DAY: What is the best of the go-to tabloid headlines about an Andy Pettitte start? (Personally, I’ve always been a fan of “PETT ROCKS” as opposed to “ANDY DANDY”, “RAGGEDY ANDY” or any others. For some reason, “PETT ROCKS” always makes me laugh.)
IF THERE WERE WALK-TO-THE-PLATE-MUSIC IN REAL LIFE, TODAY’S WOULD BE: Parents Just Don’t Understand by DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince.
Back with more later. Joe Girardi is scheduled to be in the interview room at 4:50 p.m.
UPDATE, 4:31 p.m.: Chad here. Sam and I just got to Citizens Bank Park. It’s cloudy with some light rain falling. On the way in, a radio station announced that it’s supposed to start really raining at 7, but it’s not supposed to last too long. The sky doesn’t look especially promising, but the game is three and a half hours away, so these clouds aren’t the ones to worry about.
UPDATE, 5:01 p.m.: Girardi just announced CC Sabathia will start Game 4. Burnett and Pettitte could go short as well. Audio shortly.
UPDATE, 5:19 p.m.: Here’s the audio from Girardi’s interview. The news about CC comes a few minutes in and then he talks more about it near the end.
UPDATE, 5:26 p.m.: Chad here, back with some notes from Girardi’s beat writer session. We mostly talked more about the decision to start Sabathia, but there were a few other newsy items.
• If the Yankees had a 3-0 lead after three games, it “probably” would have been Chad Gaudin starting Game 4.
• In his press conference, Girardi said Gaudin would be available in relief tonight and tomorrow, but in the session with the beat writers he clarified, saying Gaudin is still an emergency option. He would prefer to save him for Game 5 or 6. Gaudin is simply far enough removed from that Tuesday bullpen session that he could pitch long relief if absolutely necessary.
• Another “probably” answer when asked whether he would announce a Game 5 starter tomorrow.
• Starting Hideki Matsui was never a serious option. Girardi was not convinced that Matsui could move well enough to spend eight or nine innings in the field.
• Matsui is not necessarily the first pinch hitter used tonight. Girardi wants to pick his spot.
UPDATE, 5:42 p.m.: Here’s some audio from Mariano Rivera, who came to the interview room earlier. Mo was asked plenty about how being used for multiple innings (and on back-to-back days) can affect his pitches at this point in his career, as well as his thoughts on Hughes and Joba. Those guys will be important tonight since Girardi essentially admitted Rivera won’t be available for two innings.
UPDATE, 5:53 p.m.: Whoa, did some of you guys finally get a hold of Tim McCarver???
(Actually that’s just a picture of what I was doing at this time a year ago – which is to say I was carving pumpkins with my wife and we decided to mess around with a new digital camera)
UPDATE, 6:34 p.m.: Yankees are about halfway through BP. So far, it’s still dry here, though there is plenty of cloud cover. We’ll see.
UPDATE, 7:11 p.m.: Yankees are off the field and it’s raining as the grounds crew rakes the dirt. Not a heavy, heavy rain but definitely noticeable.
UPDATE, 7:37 p.m.: The tarp has been on the field for a few minutes, but the rain seems to be stopping. In fact, I don’t see it raining at all at this point.
UPDATE, 7:48 p.m.: Just kidding. Now it’s raining harder again. Cole Hamels went out to the bullpen but is just sitting there under cover with some other Philly pitchers. There do not appear to be any Yankee pitchers (let alone Andy Pettitte) in the visitors’ bullpen. At this point, I’d say starting on time is pretty much impossible.
UPDATE, 8 p.m.: No official word, but since first pitch was supposed to have been three minutes ago, it would appear we’re in a delay. There was a group of military personnel holding a giant American flag on the warning track for a few minutes, but now they are heading back inside. That could mean we’re not starting for awhile or, I suppose, that we’re starting soon and they’re just removing that part of the ceremonies.
UPDATE, 8:18 p.m.: It’s Chad again, and I feel like I’m back in Scranton looking at a tarp on the field but seeing no rain in the sky. It honestly does not appear to be raining at all. Can’t see any rain in front of the outfield lights. Can’t see any splashes in the puddles on the tarp. I have to assume the grounds crew is expecting rain to start falling again soon, or maybe they’re just leaving the tarp on as long as possible just in case. Surely right field drains perfectly well at Citizens Bank Park.
UPDATE, 8:25 p.m.: It’s Chad again, and this is clearly my fault. A matter of minutes after my last update, it started raining. Weather is clearly not a strength of mine.
UPDATE, 8:37 p.m.: Word seems to be that we will play baseball tonight at some point, but when, exactly, is unsure. Could be an hour or so. We’ll see. To pass the time, I’ve been ranking my favorite Halloween candy. My current list:
1. Peanut M&Ms
2. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
4. Nestle Crunch bar
My 6th grade math teacher was always a great house to stop at when I was a kid. She gave out full-sized – like, what you’d buy in a store – Hershey bars and wrapped a word problem (“If Sam has 50 pieces of candy and Chad has 32 pieces of candy …”) around the label. Good times.
UPDATE, 8:50 p.m.: With Tenth Avenue Freeze Out playing throughout the stadium, the tarp is being pulled off the field.
UPDATE, 9:07 p.m.: Nice job by the cast of Glee with the anthem. Mike Schmidt just threw out the first pitch and we’re (supposedly) about five minutes from first pitch.
UPDATE, 9:12 p.m.: Chad here to point out that the Phillies are now playing “Run This Town” by Jay-Z. I get that it’s a cool and catchy song, one that would get a baseball team pumped for a World Series game, but it’s maybe not the best decision to play a song by the guy who just performed at your opponent’s stadium and remains a New York icon. The Yankees don’t play The Roots or Will Smith before their games.
UPDATE, 9:15 p.m.: Full disclosure: I pretty much love the Phillie Phanatic.
UPDATE, 9:17 p.m.: And we’re off. Rain delay of 1 hour, 20 minutes and it’s 63 degrees at first pitch. Enjoy the game.
UPDATE, 9:35 p.m.: Rollins is all over the base paths already. It will be interesting to see just how much Pettitte can control the Phillies running game. Remember, with Davey Lopes as their first base coach, they’ve got an expert on their bench.
UPDATE, 9:42 p.m.: Nice curve from Pettitte to get Howard and get out of it.
UPDATE, 9:46 p.m.: Wow, first pitch of the inning and it’s a fastball on A-Rod’s arm. You wouldn’t think there would be any intent since he hasn’t had a hit all series …
UPDATE, 9:52 p.m.: Hamels looks like he’s rising to the occasion, at least so far. His change-up – as Chad blogged about yesterday – is critical and it appears to be sharp.
UPDATE, 9:56 p.m.: That actually wasn’t a terrible pitch from Pettitte – it was down, at least – but Werth is having a monster postseason and he flicked it over the left-field fence. 1-0 Phillies.
UPDATE, 9:58 p.m.: So far, Pettitte has gotten out one right-handed hitter tonight (Victorino). That pitch to Feliz was right in the middle and it got crushed off the wall.
UPDATE, 10:10 p.m.: We’re probably going to be seeing some of Alfredo Aceves tonight, as Pettitte has thrown 51 pitches through two innings. Not ideal for the Yankees, who need to start making Hamels work a little harder.
Former Yankee and current YES Network analyst John Flaherty has agreed to break down the pitching match-up for every Yankees postseason game exclusively on the LoHud Yankees blog. Be sure to check him out on the pre- and post-game show on YES today. Here’s his take on the Game 3 starters:
YANKEES: LHP Andy Pettitte
WHAT’S HE THROW? “Cut-fastball, sinking fastball, change-up, curveball”
BREAKDOWN: “I expect Andy to do what he’s done throughout this postseason, and that’s perform in a big spot. He has been working both sides of the plate very well, and he needs to continue that. The Phillies have several left-handed hitters and I thought CC showed the way in Game 1 because he threw to the inside part of the plate to them. Those guys – Howard, Utley – they like balls out over the plate that they can go the other way with, and that means you want to come inside. That’s not necessarily Andy’s strength, but he’ll have to focus on it this time. I also look for him to shut down the Phillies running game with his pickoff move. That is an important key.”
PHILLIES: LHP Cole Hamels
WHAT’S HE THROW? “Fastball, curveball, change-up”
BREAKDOWN: “Hamels gets his fastball in the 90-93 mph range, but it’s straight as a string; he doesn’t throw a two-seamer. The curveball was good for him last year, but he’s struggled with it this year and has gone away from it, which has hurt him. I think Pedro pitching in Game 2 in New York says a lot about Hamels’s psyche right now, and it isn’t good. To me, as an outsider, that isn’t a positive sign for the Phillies going in though it can work both ways – I get the feeling the Phillies aren’t expecting much from him, so if he is able to get it together and deliver something, it could be a big lift for them.”
EDGE: “This is the biggest edge I’ve seen because Pettitte is really in his element and Hamels just can’t seem to get going. I know he was great in the World Series last year and the Phillies obviously have their fingers crossed that it’ll happen again, but I don’t see it. I give Pettitte the edge here big time.”
Hamels and his changeup • 10.31.09
This is what the Yankees are up against tonight. Cole Hamels doesn’t have an especially good curveball, and his fastball seems to have slipped a bit from the years I saw him in Scranton, but his changeup remains a plus-plus pitch. He has to locate his fastball and mix in some curveballs, but it’s the change that makes him a front-line starter.
“Everybody is geared up to hit the fastball in the big leagues,” Hamels said. “If you can throw a changeup in there, it screws them up. But at the same point, if a guy gets two strikes, I guess the home run swing gets put in the back of their mind and they just try to get the ball in play. It’s not necessarily an advantage for me now because they do know what I’m going to throw most of the time when I have a strikeout count.”
When Hamels faced the Yankees earlier this season, he went six innings, allowing two runs on eight hits. He struck out five and walked none, but that was all the way back in May. He hasn’t had a very good postseason — and his regular season wasn’t nearly as good as last year — but he’s tricky because he throws offspeed so often.
“If you try to pitch to them more than what it took you to get to the big leagues, you’re going to be in a not comfortable spot,” Hamels said. “I look for certain places I might be able to throw a guy in a certain situation, but really, deep down, I just kind of have to believe that my stuff is pretty good. It’s got me some success in the big leagues, so I might as well stick to it.”
A very pinstriped Halloween • 10.31.09
This is only the second time in baseball history that a World Series game will be played on Halloween (the first was during the 2001 Series, which was pushed back after 9/11), and so several Yankees were asked what they’d be doing tonight if they weren’t playing Game 3 of the World Series.
Andy Pettitte said that while his wife is here in Philly, his kids stayed home so they could go to the Halloween carnival at the family church. “My daughter is extremely upset that I am not going to be home,” Pettitte said. “My wife is flying up here to be with me, but my kids, they want to be home for Halloween and go around trick or treating and do the things that they normally do. I’m not going to mess with that with them if that’s what they want to do.”
Nick Swisher said “me and my lady, we were going to go to a costume party as inflatable sumo wrestlers,” according to MLB.com, which did a great story on what some Yankees would be doing. Check it out to see a lengthy scary story from Phil Coke, which explains why he will never jump out out of the hedges to scare kids.
Johnny Damon, not surprisingly, is also a big fan of Halloween. When I asked Johnny what his kids will be dressing up as, Damon ticked them off on his fingers: “I’ve got an Elvis, a puppy dog and a cat,” he said, before adding that his oldest daughter often likes to change costumes but will likely be going as a dancer from the Elvis era.
Would Johnny be dressed up if he were home? Absolutely. Damon said a year ago he had a “great costume” when he and his wife and friends went as the heavy metal band Slipknot, who all wear masks and – coincidentally – appeared on the “Jimmy Kimmel Show” last night.
Damon is also, apparently, Phil Coke’s worst Halloween nightmare.
“I like to get out with the kids,” Damon said through a wide grin, “and hide behind the bushes, and scare kids who think it’s going to be an enjoyable treat.”
Today in The Journal News • 10.31.09
The World Series of Home Runs we all thought would develop between the Yankees and Phillies has been dominated by pitching so far, Chad Jennings writes. Will it continue now that the teams have shifted from Yankee Stadium to plays-even-smaller Citizens Bank Park?
People always talk about how much big-game experience Andy Pettitte has, so I decided to try and find one way to quantify it. Check out my column for more on Pettitte’s storied postseason history and the reason the Yankees have confidence in him taking the mound in Game 3 tonight.
Mariano Rivera has gotten plenty of work this postseason and Joe Girardi knows he can’t overdo it with his closer, especially now that the Series has three games on three straight days. The notebook also has items on Alex Rodriguez, the outfield alignment and other news and notes.
The ultimate closer • 10.30.09
Well-placed sources tell me that Metallica played the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame concert at Madison Square Garden tonight. How’d they finish? I’m told that the legendary band closed the show with “Enter Sandman” … while video clips of Mariano Rivera played in the background. Not bad.
On that note, I’m headed to bed. Back at it tomorrow with plenty of blogging as the World Series resumes. Check back all day for updates and then join us at night for the Game 3 thread(s).
What to do with Matsui in Philly • 10.30.09
Joe Girardi is hesitant to announce decisions before he has to, and he’s slow to rule out options until they’re obviously off the table. It might drive us writers crazy, but for a man in his position, it makes good sense. Today, he committed to one decision while leaving another option open.
Asked if Johnny Damon would be the starting left fielder tomorrow, Girardi said, “Yes.”
Asked if it was out of the question that Hideki Matsui might play the field, he didn’t exactly say one way or the other. “I’m going to look at somet thing today, watch a little bit, see how he moves around and see if we think that it’s physically possible for him to do it,” Girardi said.
Thing is, if Damon’s starting in left field, Matsui will clearly be the top pinch hitter off the bench. Girardi said “you don’t want to lose (Matsui’s) bat,” but pinch hitting Matsui and leaving him in the lineup to play left, takes Damon’s bat out of the lineup, which the Yankees don’t want to do either.
My personal opinion: I don’t see it happening. Putting Matsui in the field would be a very late, must-do scenario, and by that time it’s likely that Matsui will have already had his pinch hitting opportunity. Like Girardi, I wouldn’t rule it out, but it seems unlikely.
“At times, DHs have went to the field and a lot of times DHs were previously position players that you could put out at a position,” Girardi said. “You know, our club is not necessarily built to come to this ballpark, but our club is able to handle it.”
Tons of events (and traffic) in Philly • 10.30.09
For those Yankees fans who are coming to the games this weekend at Citizens Bank Park, be warned: Getting around is not going to be easy.
The area called the “sports complex” was already bustling as I walked out tonight, with the parking lots overflowing with people attending a Pearl Jam concert at the Spectrum. There’s another one there tomorrow (starting right around the same time as the baseball game) not to mention the Giants-Eagles on Sunday at the Linc (at 1 p.m.) and a hockey game (Flyers-Lightning) at Wachovia Center Monday at 5 p.m.
In short: Hello, traffic.
Add in the potential for a crippling transit strike which would shut down public transportation, and this weekend could be as much about gridlock as it is about baseball if you’re in town for the Series. For more details, check out this rundown of events and some tips on getting around.