I am beginning to think the Yankees just cannot be beaten in a close, late-game situation.
The Yankees defeated the Phillies 7-4 in the ninth inning of game four of the World Series Sunday night with a miraculous, two-out rally.
The word of the 2009 postseason was once again used by me: “WOW.”
With the game knotted at four and two outs in the top half of the ninth, Johnny Damon worked a nine-pitch at-bat against Phillies’ closer Brad Lidge, ending in a two-out single by the Yankees’ left fielder. Damon promptly stole second base and with all his wits about him, took third.
With Mark Teixeira batting and the Phillies playing the infield over-shift, nobody was covering third base. After swiping second, Damon just got up and took third while he was at it.
Then Teixeira was hit with a pitch, bringing up the new “Mr. October,” Alex Rodriguez.
Now I have to admit, my heart was racing at this point. When I was watching, I thought I would need resuscitation after watching what was about to happen. A-Rod in another clutch situation…what was going to happen?
Rodriguez delivered, that’s what happened. The Yankee third baseman came up with a double to score Damon, giving the Yankees a 5-4 lead.
Jorge Posada came up next with Teixeira on third and A-Rod on second, hitting a two-run single to give the Bronx Bombers their seven runs and pad the Yankee lead. Posada also had an RBI on a sacrifice fly in the top of the first, which gave him a total of three RBIs in the game.
I have to give Damon all the credit in the world; to work the count and come up with a hit in that pressurized situation with the crowd rocking the way it was, and on top of that steal two bases at once and then score–that was such brilliance. He certainly took charge of the situation and showcased the mental facet of his game.
Not to mention he went 3-for-5 on the night with a double in the first and an RBI single in the top of the fifth. Damon came up and knocked in Melky Cabrera, which gave the Yanks a 4-2 lead.
Derek Jeter also knocked in a run with an RBI single in the fifth that broke the 2-2 tie coming into the frame.
CC Sabathia took the mound for the Yankees tonight, pitching on three days rest for the second time this postseason. The big man pitched 6 2/3 innings and gave up three earned runs on seven hits. He walked three and struck out six.
I have to give Sabathia credit; he tossed a quality start. But he has clearly seemed a bit shaken in the World Series. His body language and his demeanor (to me) indicate that he might have been a little shaken these past two starts on the stage of the World Series. His numbers are still good, but he looks a little off. It’s not physical (again, to me) it could be mental.
Maybe it’s just Chase Utley, who took Sabathia deep for a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh. That was Utley’s third World Series homer, and he has smacked all three of his homers off Sabathia.
Utley also doubled in the bottom of the first, a hit that scored Shane Victorino to put the Phillies on the board for the first time in the game.
It seems Utley has Sabathia’s number. That’s pretty much a fact at this point.
Pedro Feliz provided the rest of the offense for the Phils in game four. Not only did Feliz tie the game in the bottom of the fourth with an RBI single to score Ryan Howard, he homered off Joba Chamberlain to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth.
Well, I probably shouldn’t say Feliz knocked Howard in to tie the game in the fourth. Replay showed that Howard never even touched home plate, yet the umpire called him safe. I guess we’re just looking the other way on that one…
Utley and Feliz saw some meatballs and took advantage. But I guess it didn’t matter; the Yankees were more clutch and got the job done. Mariano Rivera came in and saved the day yet again, Yankees win.
It was another nail-biter, another ninth inning win. But I’ll take it; Yankees up, 3-1.
I also want to point out how ridiculous the Phillies have been pitching to A-Rod. In the first inning, Rodriguez was hit with a pitch, the third time in the last two games he’s been beaned. The benches were warned after the HBP, but nothing came of it.
They may have hit A-Rod in the first…but he hit back in the ninth.
Rodriguez now has 15 RBIs this postseason, which ties the Yankees’ single postseason record. A-Rod is knotted with Scott Brosius in 1998 and Bernie Williams in 1996. Remember that Rodriguez is also tied with Williams for most home runs in a single postseason with six.
Facing elimination, Cliff Lee will hope the keep the Phillies alive tonight. He was dominant in game one at Yankee Stadium, tossing all nine innings without allowing an earned run.
Lee will face A.J. Burnett, who was just as dominant in game two. Burnett tossed seven innings and gave up only one earned run on four hits with two walks and nine strikeouts.
Burnett will be throwing on three days rest for the fifth time in his career. On three days rest, Burnett’s numbers are stellar. He is 4-0 with a 2.33 ERA on short rest, so we’ll see how he responds following that amazing outing in game two.
Honestly, if Burnett can go out there and do anything close to what he did in game two and if he can capture the win in the clinching game…I hate to even make picks or even predict things (because I am usually wrong) but he would make a strong case for the World Series Most Valuable Player Award.
I have to say, at this moment it would be Rivera; if the Series ended tonight, I think Mo would be the MVP. But if Burnett can mimic what he did in game two, he certainly has a chance at the award. He won a pivotal game two–a game the Yankees said they needed to win after losing game one the way they did.
And if Burnett wins the final game…well, the work and evidence of an MVP is right there.
But like I said, I’m not calling it; I don’t make predictions. I can’t even predict the weather, much less which player may or may not win the MVP of the World Series!
Well guys, the Yankees are 27 outs away from their 27th World Series Title. It’s almost sad to see this season end, but we’re not done yet. ONE MORE WIN and we are World Champions!!!
I’ll be back after game five with some highlights, thoughts, and analysis.
Until then, Go Yankees!!!