Cliff Lee. That’s all you need to know about Game 1 of the 2009 World Series. The Phillies ace absolutely shut down the Yankees and he did it with style. He struck out 10 New York batters including Teixeira and Posada twice and ARod three times while not allowing a walk. Lee also fielded his position with a coolness rarely seen on the mound. An effortless pop fly was soon followed by an amazing behind-the-back stab to rob the Robinson Cano of a single.
Often times an early run helps to settle down an offense, but tonight the reverse was true. The Phillies pitcher set the tone for the club and the offense took advantage of opportunities. Unfortunately the latter did not kick in until after the first inning. Following two quick outs to start the game, the Phillies loaded the bases only to see Raul ground out to end the threat. He was able to redeem himself with a bases loaded single in the eighth to tack on some insurance runs. Yet, Chase Utley was the only offense the Phillies needed. The Man opened the scoring with a solo home run in the top of the third and reiterated the point with another in the sixth.
Throughout the game, the Phillies worked counts on Yankees starter C.C. Sabathia and inflated his pitch count from the beginning. C.C. pitched well allowing just the 2 Utley homers over 7 innings, but he was outmatched by his friend Cliff Lee. Joe Girardi was forced to dip into his bullpen calling on five guys to finish the final three innings as the Phillies tacked on 4 runs in the eighth and ninth. Phil Hughes took the brunt of the damage and lost his cool after being pulled on consecutive walks.
The Yankees lone run came after a JRoll error in the ninth as his timing was off attempting to turn a double play with Chase Utley. Earlier in the game he executed an intelligent double play on an infield popup that momentarily confounded the six umpires. Ben Francisco and Pedro Feliz were the only Phils without a hit.
If you missed the pregame festivities at the Stadium, you’re lucky. Fans were subject to Star Wars-themed introductions and a torturous rendition of the national anthem. That was the only part of the night that was hard to watch; witnessing Cliff Lee’s masterpiece was a pleasure. Phillies lead the World Series 1-0.