New York Yankees (3-1) at Philadelphia Phillies (1-3)
A.J. Burnett, RHP, vs. Cliff Lee, LHP
Time: 7:57 p.m at Citizens Bank Park
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 47 degrees
Twitter: Phillies Nation
Journey made popular the phrase “Don’t Stop Believin'”. So, Phillies fans, just as the song preaches, don’t give up just yet.
The New York Yankees may have jammed the dagger into this series, by way of a 7-4 comeback victory last night, but that doesn’t mean it’s over. The Phillies have work to do, and that beings tonight with Cliff Lee going against A.J. Burnett.
Lee has been absolutely spectacular throughout the playoffs; he’s been everything the Phillies hoped for and more. He needs to be every bit as perfect tonight as he has been through the first four starts this postseason. His complete-game six-hitter in Game 1 seems like ages ago, but it’s something to start with. If Lee can shut New York down and go deep into this game, the Phillies could be looking at a Game 6 in the Bronx.
The man to try and finish out this World Series on enemy soil is A.J. Burnett. We saw what he is capable of in Game 2 of the World Series (7 inn, 1 ER, 9 K) but we know he can be wild and at times will fall apart as he did in the Angels series. Phillies fans need to be as loud as humanly possible and knock this guy off his perch.
Offensively, the front four need to do a little bit of damage. Jimmy Rollins has been absent, rarely able to hit anything hard, and Shane Victorino is struggling as well. Chase Utley has been the most consistent of the bunch, and the Phillies need more of the same from him. Ryan Howard is the most heartbreaking of all. He is just 3-for-17 in the series with 10 brutal punchouts. If he has something left in the tank, now would be the time to burn it.
Interesting stat: A.J. Burnett threw 84.6 percent of his first pitches for strikes in Game 2. Over the course of the regular season, he tossed just 54 percent of first pitch strikes. Was Game 2 a fluke? It’s very possible.
Don’t stop being a fan, don’t stop the love you have for this team, and for at least one more night, don’t stop believin’. Three wins in a row is absolutely possible.
High hopes, everyone…
Your Gameday Beer – Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale
I’ve purposely stayed away from Barleywines, but tonight with the Phillies’ backs against the wall, it’s time to bring out the big guns. At 9% ABV, Bigfoot is a relatively tame foray into the category but certainly stronger than most traditional beers. Sierra Nevada boasts its “dense, fruity bouquet, an intense flavor palate and a deep reddish-brown color.” The strong malt flavor is balanced by bittersweet hops making for an interesting Ale. This type of brew goes well with desserts like all those cheesecakes Sen. Spector has coming his way. – By Brian