Tuesday, November 3, 2009

We Didn't Think It Would Be That Easy, Did We?

Good morning, Fackers. That's not one of you on the left with your head down, is it? If it is, we'll just assume that the glass of white wine is there because your girlfriend got up to go to the bathroom. Either way, cheer up. It was a tough loss but let's just take a deep breath.

It's funny how no one picked the Yankees to sweep this series (well, except Iracane) but we still feel like they should win every time they play, isn't it?

The same thing happened against the Angels in the ALCS. We nodded along with all the predictions saying how the series could be "one for the ages" and knew the Halos were a formidable foe, but were still shocked when Vlad Guerrero hit that homer off of Andy Pettitte and when Nick Swisher popped out to end Game 5 (another miserable A.J. Burnett outing with an unlikely comeback) against Brian Fuentes. Similarly, we applauded the notion that the Fall Classic featured the two best teams in baseball and assumed it would be a great series. Unfortunately, for the series to be great, both teams have to lose some games.

Did anyone assume that we were going to take all three games in Philly? I highly doubt it, but after the Bombers took the first two, our expectations completely changed.

After the top half of the first inning, it was easy to imagine Cliff Lee finally realizing that he was human and A.J. Burnett pitching well enough to beat him. Even when Derek Jeter came to the plate in the 9th, it was hard not to picture him poking a hit through the infield and bringing the go-ahead run to the plate with no one out.

Unfortunately, both of those fantasies were squashed almost immediately by a homer off the bat of Chase Utley and a double play turned by he and Jimmy Rollins, respectively.

As for Burnett, he threw 56 pitches and exactly half of them were strikes. He faced 15 batters but retired only 6. He walked twice as many men (4) as he struck out (2). IIATMS ran down the gory details of his outing via pitch f/x. Judging by the charts, it becomes even more apparent that Burnett had all the accuracy and precision of a greased up fire hose.

There will surely be the temptation to point to the fact that he only had three days of rest as the reason his command was so poor but we've seen this plenty of times from Burnett on 4 and even 5 days of rest. In fact, we just saw it early in Game 5 in Anaheim. As much as we don't want to realize it, his dominant performance in Game 2 of the series was about as likely as his meltdown in Game 5.

But the Yankees knew what they signed up for when they inked Burnett to that $82.5M deal: Incredible stuff with so-so command. If they wanted a guy who they thought could be consistently average all the time, they would have went after Derek Lowe instead. So we take the good with the bad and move on.


  1. I couldnt agree more. At the start of the series, if someone was to say that we would take 2 of 3 at The Bank with us going home to face Pedro and Hamels/Happ/Myers, I would take that every time. I just want to win this series so we can stop listening to Tim McCarver. He is really just flat out brutal.

  2. Totally agree, Daryll. The Yanks are still in great position to win this thing. It sucks that we have to wait a 36 hours for the next game to start, but they'll be at home with Pettitte and, if need be, CC Waiting.

    McCarver was especially bad last night. The incorrect predictions of the pitch locations, saying that AL hitters didn't know Cliff Lee. There were a ton more but those are the two that stuck with me. Although, in his defense, he's still more tolerable than Chip Caray.

  3. Let's hope the momentum from last nights last 2 innings carries over to Wednesday night. It will be nice to have Posada and Matsui back in the line-up to start Game 6.

  4. I have a work function I cannot get out of on Thursday! They better lock this up on Wednesday!

  5. Thank you Jay for your level-headedness (is that a word?). For some inexplicable reason, I was looking at the Daily News comments on Mark Feisand's column, which was a good "don't 2nd guess Girardi pitching Burnett on short rest and don't panic" column. It's a slow day at work for me, so I said, "what the hell" and i jumped into the mix. A lot of guys wishing Girardi started Gaudin so we'd have Burnett in 6 and Pettitte AND CC ready for a possible game 7. Every 10 comments, a sensible one comes, but its ridiculous really. Guys are adamant that AJ sucks on short rest (he doesn't). Many are pissed that Teix hasn't hit (one guy called him a bust and that we got him for his bat not just his defense). Another guy called for us to rid ourselves of the awful Cano. I hate seeing these idiots in panic mode and forgetting how good a position NY is in right now.

    I would pitch AJ Burnett again in a second. He wasn't as sharp as in Game 2, but the Phillies were patient and the zone felt awful tight (compared to how its been called all series). Personally, I'm glad Philly didn't just roll over. And I think bigger than Burnett's off day was how Cliff Lee remains the ONLY pitcher who can quiet the Yankees...and we still ran off a few runs on him. The instant the bullpen took over, the 6 run lead wasn't safe. Not since Brosius, O'Neill and those late 90s Yanks have I felt like no lead is safe against the Yankees.
    I mean, really, tell me how a big lead most of the game and up to 6 runs in the 8th becomes a nail biter just 1 inning later?!

    I'm really tired of all the short rest talk as being the biggest (or only factor considered by FOX) issue in this Series. Its the World Series.. there IS no normal rest. You either step up or step away. We hear nothing of Pettitte being a career big game pitcher for NY, and the winningest post season starter and series clinching starter ever. Now we are headed to Yankee Stadium where the Yanks have been excellent and we have our ACE ready for a possible Game 7 and our biggest clutch pitcher in Game 6. Doesn't seem like a bind to me (McCarver) especially considering how in shambles the Philly staff is aside from Lee.

    We have The Phillies right where we want them. And I love that they are a worthy opponent. They were loud last night too towards the end, but they were so nervous too.

  6. Joshua - Anyone second guessing the decision to start Burnett on short rest isn't really thinking about the other options. Chad Gaudin gets absolutely crushed by lefties and starting him in Philly on incredibly long rest would have been suicidal. The Yanks made the right choice, it just didn't work out.

    The Phillies bullpen looked vulnerable at home with a big lead, and I don't think they'll look too much better on the road with a small (or non-existent) one.

    I will love the fact that the Phillies made it interesting if the Yankees win. It will be great to look back on a classic series with lots of twists and turns, but right now I just want them to win as soon as humanly possible.

    I'm with Laura in not wanting a Game 7, but it's because it will fry my nervous system not because I have a work function.

  7. Agreed. I think CC has been superb, but I really want the victory to come at the hands of Andy Pettitte and the rest of the 'core'.

  8. Hey Jay
    I agree with most of what you say, but AJ has been terrible on the road all year on 5 days rest - so what did you expect!! the other thing is did Brett Gardiner make a spectacular catch that Fox didn't even acknowledge!! what is their problem?? You would have thought Shane Victorino was god or something with his hurt hand.

  9. it's completely realistic. if someone told you before Gm.1, the first 2 games will see a split and then the Yankees will go on to win 2 outta 3 in CBP, most Yankee fans would say "Awesome!" -and that's where we are, folks

  10. Glad to see almost everyone is thinking logically today.

    We took two out of three in CBP and lost a game to Cliff Lee with AJ starting. On balance, that's pretty effing good.

    To those who are picturing 2001 or 2004 all over again, relax.

    It's so easy to fall into the temptation of following the sports media into a whirling eddy of disaster. After all, that's what they do and that's where they get their ratings. All anyone needs to know is we have a 3-2 lead and two chances at home with Andy and CC. And we scored the last four runs of the last game (if you believe in offensive momentum).

    The only bad thing is the 44hrs between games to think - and that's where we get into trouble. Don't think, look at the black and white, and get ready for what could be a great week in Yankeeland.

    I've said many times that this year reminds me of '96 and I'm not changing my tune now!

  11. Jay - It's also the nervous system..and digestive system...and I hate Buck and McCarver...and I'm sick of the Black Taco...and I am starting to loath DirectTV...and Fox Promos...and...really the list goes on and on but mostly HOLY CRAP it has been a long time since we've won a WS.