The apparent answer to every key to last night’s impressive 6-1 Phillies victory would start with Cliff Lee. The man was on a mission from pitch number one as he mowed down Derek Jeter to start the proceedings. From then on, it was a clinic unlike anything ever seen in Phillies history. Forget what you know about Cole Hamels and the ridiculous postseason he had a year ago – this is much bigger and badder.
Cliff Lee was motoring from the minute he sprinted out to the mound.
The most powerful bat of the last decade, Alex Rodriguez, looked like a fool from the second he stepped into the batters box.
A-Rod struck out three times last night, making contact on four foul balls total throughout the night. The Almighty One also managed a soft groundout to Pedro Feliz at third base. Prior to Rodriguez’s first World Series, he had been on a plateau shared by only Ryan Howard. Five home runs, 12 RBI, and a .400 average through the opening two rounds had people believing the old clutch-less A-Rod was just a memory. Last night’s opening act has to have the five boroughs wondering, “are we back to square one?”
The hope here is that a performance like this can snowball into a downward spiral for the duration of the World Series. But as awful as Rodriguez looked, he can’t be held down for long. The slugger is just too talented and too powerful not to be heard from. Let’s see how Pedro deals with the heart of this Yankee order.
In C.C.’s head:
This isn’t the first time the Phillies have played Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em with CC Sabathia in the postseason. Many pundits also believed that Sabathia was the better pitcher going into the match up with Lee. Excuses were made about Lee going up against “lesser talent” in the NL for his first few playoffs games.
Bull. Everyone jumped on the Yankee bandwagon because of who they are, and forgot to respect the Phillies in the process. That blew up in some faces. Now, it looks as though the Phillies have C.C’s number. Overall, he pitched a solid game. On many occasions, however, he allowed base runners, worked in hitters counts, and had difficulty locating his pitches. Here’s to hoping we see this again if we see him in Game 4.
Patience My Dear:
The Phillies as a whole saw 170 pitches on the evening, an average of nearly 19 pitches per player. Chalk it up to patience at the plate, and a will to work favorable counts. Even Jimmy Rollins managed to see 21 pitches in five plate appearances, although he did try to bunt his way on with the first pitch of the night.
If the Phillies can continue this grit at the dish, it’s going to be a long series for the Yankees and their bullpen. A.J. Burnett, tonight’s starter, has been known for his wild streak, so let him throw as hard as he wants. The Phils need to show that same fortitude of last night.