Monday, November 2, 2009

Odds & Ends From Last Night

Good morning, Fackers. There were some incredible moments in last night's game that ranged from brutal to ecstatic. We covered the latter in the recap focusing on the 9th inning last night early this morning, but still wanted to talk about some of the events that set the stage for the dramatic conclusion.
  • If I didn't know any better, I'd say that Joe Blanton hit A-Rod on purpose in the first inning. Joe Blanton has hit just 26 batters in over 1000 career innings pitched. It just so happens he nails the Yanks' best hitter on the first pitch he throws to him? There certainly was an edge to be gained. The Phillies had gotten in CC Sabathia's head (not to mention A-Rod's) before the first half inning was over. One misplaced pitched and CC could have been done for the game. Joe Girardi told the media that the umps said they would use their judgment if someone was hit by a pitch, but home plate umpire Mike Everett's judgement left much to be desired last night.

  • Everett's strike zone, especially early in the game, was inconsistent to say the least. In the first inning alone, he called 5 of CC Sabathia's pitches that were clearly inside the strike zone or very close, balls. He also extended the plate outside against left handed hitters a good six inches throughout the night. Joe Blanton struck out 7 Yankees, 4 of them looking. Enough said.

  • In the fourth inning, Everett ruled Ryan Howard safe at home although he never touched the plate. It was a non-issue as he knocked the ball away from Jorge Posada and the Yankees never tagged him, but Everett was right on top of the play and had no excuse to miss it.

  • Chase Utley made a costly mistake on defense in the 5th inning (but made up for it at the plate later). Going to a double play instead of a sure force out on a grounder up the middle by Melky Cabrera, Utley attempted to flip the ball to Jimmy Rollins, but instead threw it straight up in the air and the runners were safe. It was scored a single, but it was obvious that he had the out at second and was getting greedy.

  • This brought up Sabathia with runners on first and second with no one out. Joe Girardi asked him to bunt. I'm guessing he was trying to stay out of the double play, which is semi-defensible, but Joe still had CC bunting with two strikes. With a pitcher who hits as well as Sabathia (and bunts as poorly) at the plate with the infield playing in, it was a very poor decision.

  • In the bottom half of the 5th, CC gave up a single to Jimmy Rollins and a walk to Shane Victorino before recording an out. The heart of the Phillies' order was looming but Sabathia induced pop outs from Chase Utley and Ryan Howard and struck out Jayson Werth swinging to escape unscathed.

  • Sabathia was awfully close to equaling the 7 innings of two run ball he threw in Game 1 when the Chase Utley stepped to the plate with two outs in the 7th. With an RBI double against CC earlier in the evening and two home runs off of him in Game 1, Utley again hurt the Big Fella. It was a 1-2 slider that hung up in the strike zone which Utley hammered to right field for a solo homer. As well as Utley had hit Sabathia and with Damaso Marte ready to go out of the 'pen, I think the only reason Girardi didn't pull Sabathia is because there was no one on base.

  • Melky Cabrera left the game with a strained hamstring after trying to beat out a groundball to first base. It's likely that Melky is done for the Series and the Yanks may make a roster move such as recalling Freddy Guzman to replace Brett Gardner as a pinch runner off the bench. Melky played pretty well this postseason and no one wants to see a player get injured, but if you had to pick a starting position player, he would be the easy choice.

  • Joba Chamberlain was very nearly the goat of the game. After CC Sabathia and Damaso Marte finished off the 7th inning Joba struck out Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez swinging. He had Pedro Feliz down 1-2, but let him back to 3-2, and on the payoff pitch Feliz belted a line drive home run to left field. For the second time in two innings the Yanks had the Phillies down to their last strike but gave up solo homers. It tied to game at the time at 4 and things looked grim for the Yanks. Joba came back to strikeout Carlos Ruiz to end the inning but was visibly torn up in the dugout. After the Yanks rallied in the 9th, the cameras showed him thanking his teammates.

  • The crowd in Philly upheld it's sterling reputation by chanting at various times "Yankees suck", "Derek Jeter sucks", "CC Sucks" among others, typically at point when the Phillies were losing.

  • Speaking of the crowd, Citizens Bank Park was just as quiet as Yankee Stadium at various times. Jimmy Rollins' contention that it would sound more like a World Series at the games in Philly is partially true, but when their team is losing a pivotal game in the World Series, fans aren't going to be very loud.

  • Speaking of partially true things said by Jimmy Rollins, he might have predicted the series length correctly, he just had the wrong team.


  1. Speaking of the imaginative 'XXX sucks' chants, the hot selling t-shirt outside of CBP yesterday featured 'Jeter sucks A-Rod' in bold blue and red lettering (I was at the debacle of a Giants game earlier in the day and saw all the sidewalk merchandise).

    Can't wait to see how Joba bounces (or doesn't) back. His body language in the dugout seemed very humble - so unlike the '"I had good stuff today" after giving up 7ER' crap we saw during the regular season. I think the guy just genuinely loses focus once in a while. It'll be interesting to see what happens.

  2. Another random thought; was there anyone in CBP more relieved then Phil Coke?

    Not saying the guy isn't a competitor, just don't think anyone was going to want to wander into that park in the bottom of the 9th after Lidge just fanned three (which, obviously, didn't happen).

  3. yup, the guy in CBP more relieved than Phil Coke was Joba!