Saturday, October 31, 2009

World Series Game 3: Ghost Riders In The Sky

Although both teams took the train to Philly yesterday, the World Series officially shifts to the City of Brotherly Love tonight. After dropping the Game 1 to Cliff Lee, the Yankees are lucky to be tied at this point and will need to take at least one of the games at Citizen's Bank Park to bring the Series back to the Bronx. Take all three and they won't need their last two home games.

With a struggling Cole Hamels on the mound, the Yankees are in good position to take the game tonight. After throwing 227 innings to a 3.09 ERA and winning both the NCLS and World Series MVPs last year, Hamels has returned to Earth in 2009. Perhaps the fact that, including the postseason, the pitched 262 innings - almost 80 more than in 2008 - has taken a bit of a toll on Hamels' arm.

So far this October, Hamels has made three starts, given up 11 earned runs and failed to make it out of the 6th inning in any of them. He's only walked two batters but has allowed 20 hits - six of which were home runs - in 14 2/3 innings. The fact that 6 of the 32 flyballs he's allowed have left the yard is a bit fluky but there isn't a whole of of time for a regression to the mean. And with the game time weather in Philly projected to be in the high sixties with high winds, the balls should be flying off the bats a bit farther than they were in Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees turn to Andy Pettitte tonight in hopes that he can tune out the raucous Philadelphia phaithful and keep the explosive Phillies offense at bay. In each his three starts this postseason, Pettitte has pitched 6 1/3 innings. Joe Girardi has been quick with the hook as the games have worn on but Andy has given up only 4 ER in those 19 innings (2.37 ERA). Dominant isn't a word typically ascribed to Pettitte but in two of those starts, he's allowed one run and walked away with the win. He will of course have the added benefit of having a pitcher in the opposing line up tonight.

Citizen's Bank Park has the reputation of being a bandbox, but the Phillies actually hit more home runs on the road this year (116) then at home (108). Although the middle of their line up is heavy with lefties Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Raul Ibanez, the Phillies hit righties and lefties with equal

With Cliff Lee waiting in Game 5, it's important that the Yankees win tonight. Their offense has been waiting to explode and Hamels has not been pitching well. He could easily come up with a big start as he did in the World Series twice last year, but it would be a missed opportunity for the Yanks should they stuggle at the plate again in Game 3.

We got our Halloween partying out of the way last night, so tonight I will be dressing up as a baseball fan and sitting in front of the TV. This song choice is about as festive as we're gonna get around here.

Go Yanks.

Their faces gaunt, their eyes were blurred, their shirts all soaked with sweat,
He's riding hard to catch that herd, but he ain't caught 'em yet,
'Cause they've got to ride forever on that range up in the sky,
On horses snorting fire, as they ride on hear their cry.

As the riders loped on by him he heard one call his name,
If you want to save your soul from Hell a-riding on our range,
Then cowboy change your ways today or with us you will ride,
Trying to catch the Devil's herd, across these endless skies.

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