Top Moment No. 4: World Series Game 1 Victory

Top Moment #4: Lee Shuts Down Yankees in WS Opener the start of the 2009 World Series, Phillies fans were peering through rose-colored glasses. There was a certain sense of entitlement that this team, this city, belonged on this grand stage.  The Phils were the defending champions, after all.  Who did these punks from the Bronx think they were?

With optimism at an all-time high prior to the start of the Fall Classic, the Phillies seemed to use their relatively easy road to the World Series, along with the fabled left arm of Cliff Lee, to take Game 1 over the New York Yankees, 6-1. It was a monumental matchup, a Clash of the Titans, if you will, with Lee going up against the $160 million man, CC Sabathia.  For the first seven frames, it lived up to it’s billing.

Lee settled into the new Yankee Stadium instantly by striking out Derek Jeter on three pitches, inducing a ground out by Johnny Damon, and then fanning Mark Teixeira.  Cliff tossed just 10 pitches in the first inning, and never looked back.  His location was precise from the first pitch, something we’d seen throughout his five playoff starts.

The offense finally got involved in the third inning as Chase Utley blasted one of his two homers on the day, en route to a series-record-tying five, as he joined Mr. October, Reggie Jackson at the top of the sacred list.  Utley gave the Phils a 1-0 lead, then struck again in the sixth with another solo shot to right-center field, which doubled as the game winner.  The Phils would tack on two in the eighth and two more in the ninth off of five different Yankee relievers to lock it up.  Don’t read much into the lopsided score, however, because this was an old-fashioned pitchers duel for the first seven.

Lee and Sabathia went toe to toe, with Chase Utley taking full advantage of the only two mistakes CC made.  Cliff would win the battle with a stat line that had never been witnessed before in a World Series. His complete-game, zero earned run performance, to go with 10 strikeouts and no walks, was the first of its kind.  Koufax never did it. Gibson never did. Maddux didn’t either.  Cliff Lee holds one of the most dominating performances in the history of MLB’s postseason.  Unfortunately for the Phillies, it did not translate into another title, but for Game 1, the Phillies were still kings.



  1. Manny

    January 19, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    I just watched the entire Game 1 again on MLB Network a couple of days ago… Cliff Lee was absolutely stellar. Game 1 AT Yankee Stadium… and he pitches the entire game. There are so many details in this game that made it even more amazing:

    -When he pats Posada on the back with his glove when he’s running to 1st base.
    -When he makes the behind the back catch… amazing.
    -When he catches that pop up with minimum effort.
    -When they show him going out quickly to the mound between innings, while the grounds crew did their thing… as if he can’t wait to pitch to these Yanks again…

    Absolutely amazing, stellar, cool, kick-ass performace by Clifton Phifer Lee. Damn, I’ll miss him.

  2. Dudley Monk

    January 19, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    I was on cloud nine during and after that win. Then, it all came crashing down. Oh well, we had a great season and will hopefully get a chance to win it again next year.

  3. Stuart

    January 19, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    Great great post. Really gets you smiling again at what we were. We all seem afraid now that we lost Lee, but what else did we lose? Nothing. We got a bullpen arm, we upgraded Lee and upgraded Feliz. We are making another run at this and hopefully we will be Kings again.

  4. Chuck

    January 19, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    I’ll miss Clifton Phifer Lee, too…

    But I CAN’T WAIT to see Harry Leroy Halladay!

  5. Don M

    January 19, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    i think its weird that people keep calling him his full name.. stalkers

  6. Nick

    January 19, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    Hey we love our Clifton Phifer Lee’s.

  7. WFC010

    January 19, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    I will always miss Cliff Lee, and I really can’t think of a single other former Phillies player who left such a huge impression of many of us, despite not even being here for 1 full season. Not only is he an incredible pitcher, but we loved all his little quirks as well. Roy Halladay is going to be amazing for us, but I don’t think the “what if Cliff stayed here one more year, to pitch along with Roy?” thoughts are going to just fade away anytime soon, even though it was just a daydream that we never expected to have come true in the first place.

  8. Nick

    January 19, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    I think if we win the 2010 World Series (which is a legit possibility with the fading Dodgers/Angels, aging Yankees, and the overrated Cardinals/Mariners) everyone will forget about the possibility of Halladay/Lee/Hamels/Blanton/Happ (holy shit, best 1-5 in MLB)

  9. NateB

    January 19, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    This would be my #1 moment of the year because it looked like the Phils were on their way to capturing back-to-back WS titles. They looked DOMINATING in the first game.

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