Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Searching For Clues

Everyone is looking for clues about what the outcome of the Amtrak Series will be. Sabermetricians have pointed to a defensive advantage the Phils have over the Yankees. Who knew Ryan Howard was a better defensive first-baseman than Mark Teixiera in 2009, anyway?

One of the most ridiculous of the so-called indicators thus far, from this home video made by the New York Times, is that the Yankees have never lost a World Series they've played in a year ending in nine. Interesting trivia, yes. But if you believe that nonsense you probably believe the world is ending in 2012 because they Mayans' calendar ends with that year.

Perhaps people are reaching for clues because the three-game preview of the World Series played at the Stadium back in May doesn't offer much. Here are the box scores:

Game 1, Phils won 7-3. Myers threw eight solid innings to get the win and Madson closed out the game with a scoreless ninth in a non-save situation. Myers gave up solo homers to, not surprisingly, Teixiera, A-Rod and Jeter. Rollins hit the overrated A.J. Burnett's first pitch out for a homer and the Phils also got dingers from Ibanez, Werth and Carlos Ruiz. Burnett lost, Wang finished up with three innings of two-run ball and saw his ERA drop to 25.00.

Game 2, Phils lost 5-4. Happ got the start and pitched six solid innings. The Phils got a three-run homer from some guy named John Mayberry, Jr. who played in right for some odd reason. Yes he hit a big homer, but Werth who was moved to left to make room for Mayberry in right, misplayed a ball. Could've been ruled an error but wasn't. Durbin and Madson held the lead till the ninth when Lidge came in and gave up a game-tying two-run homer to A-Rod. Moments later Lidge coughed up the game when Cabrera singled in the winning run.

Game 3, Phils won 4-3 in 11. Hamels gave the Phils a quality start with six innings of two-run ball. Jeter and Cabrera each had three hits for the Yanks; Victorino and Carlos Ruiz each had three hits for the Phils who took a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth. Lidge blew another save, but not the game. Condrey came in for two scoreless and Ruiz gave the Phils the lead with an RBI double.

What can be gleaned? Hard fought baseball is in the near future. This is why they play the games.

Game One Tonight

The Phils have been off for a week now and hopefully, if the weather cooperates, their hiatus will end tonight when the first pitch of the 2009 World Series is thrown sometime after 7:30 at Yankee Stadium.

In case you need a bit of priming for the Pinstripe Series, there is an interesting article from the Times's Tyler Kepner that compares Ryan Howard and Alex Rodriguez. The article has some good quotes from Jimmy Rollins and Joe Girardi.

Speaking of Girardi, on Tim Marchman outlines Joe Girardi's propensity to overmanage ballgames. Marchman blasts Girardi for using seven relievers in the first five innings of Game 3 of the ALCS. Then he contrasts Girardi's approach with Manuel's more simple approach to managing a game. Evidently, Marchman wasn't watching Game 2 of the NLCS when Manuel used five pitchers in the eighth inning after having yanked Pedro Martinez, who tossed seven scoreless, two-hit innings. Either way, it's a good piece and makes some salient points about the nuances managing baseball. If the Series comes down to managing, Marchman give the Phils the edge.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Rollins Makes World Series Prediction

Normally, there's no reason to tune into NBC's The Jay Leno Show, but last night Jimmy Rollins appeared via satellite from New York. In case you missed it, watch the segment below in which Rollins predicts a Phillies World Series win in five games. Rollins has proven himself quite the prediction virtuoso in recent years, particularly when those predictions involve outlasting teams from New York. Hopefully, the power Rollins has over the Mets will extend to the Bombers, too.