27?

With a solid performance from Andy Pettitte in game 4 the Yankees are in superb position for a 27th World Champoionship. Both offenses were good last night, each having their ups and downs but the Yankees had more ups than the Phils and took a 3-1 lead in the series.

It was obviously set to go in favor of the Yankees with Pettitte going against Joe Blanton who statistically had no chance against the Yankee lineup.  He held his own and didn’t totally blow it but it definitely wasn’t enough for the Phillies as Pettitte was phenominal.

Game 2 of the series seemed to be dominated by AJ Burnett and his curveball… not to mention his fastball and his other dominating pitches.  Burnett was able to keep the Yankees in the series with a key victory in game 2 and sent the series to Philly even.  If Burnett can come up with another huge performance like in game 2, the Yankees will walk away with this series.  And who though the Yankees had no chance when they lost a game at home.  They are also a very good road team and it proved the last to games as they took their second and third straight wins in the series on the road in Citizens Bank Park.

How about A-Rod?  He’s come up huge these past couple games.  Despite the being hit by pitch twenty gazillion times (I hope you realize I am exaggerating) he has played a very big role in the offense the past two games.  He hit a key homer in the game 3 off the camera in right field that had to be reviewed before being called a homer.  He also came up with some other key at bats.  He has seemed to be getting back into the form he was in earlier in the playoffs.

Derek Jeter… can he get any better?  He hasn’t done anything spectacular this World Series but honestly, you can’t get away with him.  He’s just that good.  His presence alone has helped the Yankees win games.  He has consistently gotten on base and has scored runs.  Speaking of getting on base and scoring runs, Johnny Damon had a great game last night including two steals on the same play.  He stole second and took advantage of his speed by gettign to third which was uncovered.  Great heads up baserunning which really cost the Phillies a run later in the game.  The Yankees have seemed to be getting back into the swing of things all around as the whole team has been rolling smoothly.

Now, since the end of the series is  coming up soon, you have to be thinking MVP.  Well, if the Yankees win it, I’m going to have to give it to AJ Burnett.  Now, the series is not over yet and tonight’s start could change my whole mindset about this choice, but if he is as good as he was in game 2 and the Yankees win, Burnett would be my choice.  Two phenominal starts with dominating stuff.  Two wins.  How can you go by that when choosing an MVP?

Now, I don’t like to have to think this but if the Phillies win, I would probably choose between Chase Utley, who has been killing the ball lately, or Jayson Werth who has equally destroyed the ball this series.  Both have had a major power surge and Jayson Werth has made some plays in the outfield to keep runners from moving forward with his strong arm.

This series is finally getting to the point where both offenses have broken out with a fair share of good pitching.  It is what I expected it to be and hopefully the Yankees can come out on top quickly tonight.  It wouldn’t be the worst thing if we lost tonight but to win it soon would be fantastic.  It would be nice to win in New York but the sooner the better is the way I see it.  No chances.

The one key to tonight’s game is Cliff Lee.  Can he shut down the Yankees streaking offense or will he get run over as Blanton and Hamels have the past two games?

I spy a 27th championship for the Yankees right around the corner.

-Dillon

Burnett Burns Phils

AJ Burnett was sensational as he kept the Phillies to one run in game 2 of the World Series last night in the Bronx.  Pedro Martinez pitched well but was unable to hold the Yankees offense silent to a second night in a row.  The Bombers took a while to score some runs but they got there eventually and came out with an important game 2 victory.

The “Who’s your daddy” chants throughout the stadium did not seem to take any effect on Pedro as he had the Yankees guessing early on.  He and AJ Burnett seemed to match each other inning after inning.  It was in the fourth inning when Mark Teixeira finally got to Pedro and took one for a ride to left field.  In the sixth inning, Hideki Matsui took another Martinez pitch out to right field with a gold-like swing.  Jorge Posada also pitched in with an RBI in the seventh after pinch hitting for Jose Molina.  Last night did not show much offense, but the way Burnett pitched last night, it was enough.

The commentators for Fox’s World Series coverage continue to say that AJ Burnett’s curveball is the best in the game… if it is right.  That’s the whole key.  We have seen Burnett struggle a lot this season when he had a tough time getting his curveball and other key pitches to work.  But last night his curveball truly was the best in the game as he made Phillies batters look in awe of the movement.  And when they decided to try and hit it… they missed.  Simple as that.  Burnett also provided a solid 95 mph fastball that kept hitters honest.  His two seemer seemed to be getting the best of the Phillies batters as well.  It proved this early in the game when he got Shane Victorino to strike out looking at a two seemer that came right back over the inside part of the plate.  Burnett’s sensational performance last night has kept the Yankees in this series. 

These next three games on the road will be crucial for both teams.  The Phillies have a great home record but the Yankees can’t be counted out for anything.  The Yankees NEED to win a game on the road and hope to bring the series back to New York.  If they can get the series back to New York and keep the Phillies at bay, then the Yankees will take this World Series and add the trophy to the other 26.

Game 3′s starters are Andy Pettitte, who was huge in the ALDS and ALCS for the Yankees, and Cole Hamels, last years NLCS MVP.  This matchup, to me, is the most intriguing of the three big pitching matchups for this series.  Pettitte has been pitching in the postseason since he put on his pinstripes it seems and has had a lot of success.  Cole Hamels has only seen on playoff and has succeeded in it as well.  Both are excellent pitchers with good stuff that can be tricky for opposing hitters to get to.  They both have great minds for the game and can really help their respective teams.  This game will hopefully have some more offense in an even friendlier offensive park than Yankee STadium (Citizen’s Bank Park) but the pitchers will both still have solid performances.

-Dillon

Where’s the Offense

Chase Utley hit two home runs.  Big whoop! These two teams are the two most powerful offenses in the MLB and all that really happened was one guy hit a couple homers.  Very disappointing.

The Phils took game one simply because of the lack of offensive production from the Yankees offense.  The Phils got their two runs from Chase Utley who took CC Sabathia out of the park on a few bad pitches by CC.  It is a tough game one loss for Yankees fans because who knows if we will be able to take a game in Philly. The home field advantage will be very important in this series and the fact that we already lost a game at home might come back to bite us in the butt.

Honestly, I was very disappointed at the lack of excitement in this series so far.  CC really didn’t pitch all that badly but the couple mistakes he made hurt him.  Other than that, he and Cliff Lee were phenominal and I’m not taking anything away from them.  The offenses in this series are really what is making this series really exciting.  Hopefully it gets a little more exciting.

Game two is going to be Pedro Martinez’s return to Yankee STadium.  Will we here the “Who’s your daddy” chant or will we get a lot of boos in Pedro’s direction? who knows but it will be really interesting to see the fans’ reaction to his return.  The Yankees will rely on AJ Burnett to go out there and pitch just as well as CC did last night, maybe without the homers though.  The offense really needs to wake up too.  I guess they thought they had already finished the season or something because there was no sign of it last night.

Go Yankees!

-Dillon

Bullpen Near Flawless As Phils Advance To Fall Classic

The phenomenon that was the Philadelphia bullpen seems to have been forgotten as the Phillies’ ‘pen closed out the NLCS against the Dodgers last night with a 10-4 victory.  The Phillies, the defending world champions, went into the postseason with probably the most inconsistent bullpen of the eight playoff teams.  Brad Lidge, who was about as solid a closer as there was last year, had struggled over the course of the regular season with blown saves, bad decision making and incosistency.  This was a big worry as many skeptics came about believing the Phillies would fall due to their bullpen.  Those skeptics have been silenced for the time being as the Phillies bullpen has been nearly flawless throughout this postseason.

Last night’s picture of Brad Lidge pumping his fist is reminiscent of last season’s fist pumping as he closed out the World Series.  Well, with only one more series to win, we could well be seeing this again very soon.  But then again, we can’t forget about the Yankees.

The Yanks are on the verge of clinching a trip to the world series.  With their ALCS lead, the Yanks are one win away to making one step closer to their 27th World Championship in franchise history.  With phenominal pitching, the most explosive offense in the league and a consistent and solid bullpen, the Yankees are definitely the team to beat.  The Phillies are a fantastic group of baseball players with some outstanding athletes up and down their roster, but the Yankees really have a group of guys that can match up with the best teams in the history of the MLB.  If the Yankees beat the Angels today in their game five of the ALCS, they will advance onto the World Series and will create a matchup that is definitely not worth missing.  Here’s a look at how the Yanks and Phils will matchup assuming the Yankees defeat the Angels.  (No offense to the Angels of any Angels fans out there but it certainly looks as if the Yankees are going to advance to the World Series).

 

The two leadoff batters are certainly two guys that can lead off a game with big hit, spark a rally, or make a key defensive play.  Both veterans of the league, Jeter and Rollins will top off the top two lineups in baseball.

Jeter has been a number two hitter most of his career and isn’t your typical leadoff hitter.  Now, I’m not saying it’s like a usual number four hitter batting leadoff but more like a number two guy batting first.  Jeter is definitely capable of producing in the leadoff spot, I’m mean look at his stats from this year.  Joe Girardi’s decision to move Johnny Damon to the second spot in the lineup and move Jeter up one has proven successful as they have put up some staggering numbers.

Jimmy Rollins on the other hand is your typical leadoff guy.  A guy that can get on base, run and score runs with ease.  That’s what you generally think of in a leadoff guy.  Not that Jeter can’t do that but Rollins fits the profile better due to the way the Phillies offense runs.  Rollins came up with a big hit late in game 4 against the Dodgers where he drove in the winning run from first to pu the Phils up 3-1 in the series.  J-Rol is clearly a great guy to start off your lineup with.

 

Johnny Damon, as I stated already, was moved down to the second spot in the lineup by Joe Girardi at the beginning of the season.  The main reason for this was to let Jeter do his magic with his bat and let Damon, who can hit for power, hit in a more key spot with guys on base.  Now, again, this swop can go either way but it has obviously worked out the way it is currently.  Damon can hit for power, drive some guys in, and can still run better than most people think he can.  Watch out for Damon, you don’t really want to underestimate him.

“The Flyin’ Hawaiin” Shane Victorino has been a solid force at the second spot in the Phillies lineup for years now.  The switch hitter can hit well from both sides of the plate, can generate some power (as shown last night when he hit a bomb to left field) and can really run.  This guy can really carry a team with his speed because with the guys following him in the lineup, he will most likely get to score some runs.  With his speed, he can easily get into scoring position to make it easier on the guys following him.

 

To me, this is the most intriguing matchup of any of the players on either roster.  Mark Teixeira can field, hit and has a great smile.  Chase Utley, exactly the same.  Both guys can hit, field and are just a great presence on their respective squads.  I can’t really compare them any further, they are just so similar.

Alex Rodriguez by Keith Allison. 

Two guys with a lot of power and good gloves at their respective positions fill up the middle of the lineup.  Ryan Howard is a powerful guy that probably doesn’t think anything other than homer when coming up to the plate.  Alex Rodriguez has had a great career and his play this postseason has been a sight for sore eyes.  He has been phenominal.  Rodriguez may have a better glove than Howard, but Howard is the next power hitting phenomenon that will hit the MLB.  Rodriguez went under that category when he came up with the Mariners and now the likes of Howard, Prince Fielder and Pablo Sandoval fit that list.  These two will most certainly fill a very very important role in this series.

 

I honestly have to give the advantage to the Phillies and Jayson Werth in this matchup.  Nothing against the long time Yankee but the fact that Jayson Werth can consistently hit for a lot of power and has driven in more runs than Posada, Werth has the advantage.  Posada has been such a key to the Yankees for so long.  A great pitch caller who has always called great games for Yankee pitchers.  He has had his great offensive games and he has had his tough ones, just like every baseball player ever to live.  This matchup right now goes to Werth but just wait and see, Posada will still play a key part in this sereis.

Again, Ibanez and Matsui are a great matchup of players in the lineup.  Ibanez can still play the outfield whereas Matsui has had a bad knee keeping him from playing the field.  This isn’t all that big of a deal since we have had plenty of guys fill in with quality games and very successful seasons.  His bat is still going and he may be getting old, but he still has plenty in his tank to put in his two cents for this series.

Ibanez has surprised everyone in the league this year with his outstanding outbreak in offensive production.  He opened the season with some great power but over the season it has decreased in power.  He still has a lot of power and can go off any tme which makes him so dangerous.  Both these guys can go off on you and can really hurt an opposing pitcher.  Watch out Phillies and Yankees pitching.

Alright, sorry I couldn’t finish today but I’ll get the rest of my matchup analysis tomorrow.  Stay tuned.

Go Yankees!

-Dillon

Tough Loss in Extras

The Yankees took a tough loss at the hands of the Angels yesterday afternoon after they forced extra innings on a Jorge Posada homer.  The Yankees were unable to hold the Angels scoreless and on a bomb to left field, Jeff Mathis walked off with the double.  The Angels avoided a sweep which would’ve kept the Yankees undefeated in the playoffs.  It also would have avoided extreme embarrasement on their part to have been swept.  This win will be a boost for the Angels who will play again today against a CC Sabathia who was about as dominant as there is when he pitched in the opener of the ALCS.  His opponent on the mound for the Angels will be Scott Kazmir, another tough competitor and a worthy opponent.

The Yankees hit four homers yesterday accounting for all of their runs, but the lack of runs in extras cost them.  Jeter, A-Rod, Posada and Johnny Damon all went deep but other than that, the offense was pretty quiet.  The offense will need to wake up today to help Sabathia through a tough start on three days rest.

The decision by Joe Girardi yesterday to put in Alfredo Aceves can be supported by the fact that he is a right handed pitcher and the batter he came in to face, Jeff Mathis, was also a righty.  It was a tough break and Girardi is getting a lot of negative comments from everywhere.  Hopefully it won’t affect the game plan for today.

If the Yankees can win today, they will be in very good position to win the series in the next game at Yankee Stadium.  If they don’t, they still have the home field advantage to use in order to win this series.  It is unlikely the Angels will be able to pull off a win in New York so it is most likely that the Yankees will at the least, need to use the home field advantage to good use.  They should be able to close it out wherever they are.  They are such a solid team that as long as they don’t make any errors, mentally and on the field, they should beat the Angels and move on to the World Series in pursuit of their 27th world championship.

One last thing: how about that throw from Melky Cabrera on the walk off hit by Mathis?  He was at the foot of the wall and he bombed a pretty accurate throw to just the right of home plate.  Did I mention it was pretty much right on target.  It was a crazy good throw.  I knew he had a great arm, but he just launched it from the wall and it came closer than I though it would be to getting Howie Kendrick out at home.  Wow.

-Dillon

Bombers Live Up To Nickname, Lead 3-1 in 5th

After a come from behind win at home against the Angels, the Yankees are headed to California to play two in the California sun.  The way the Yankees have played the first two games in NY, it will be tough to stop them, even when the Angels are at home.

In this first game in Aneheim, the Yanks are living up to their nickname, “the Bronk Bombers.”  The Bomers continue to dominate this postseason as solo shots from Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Johnny Damon have put the Yankees up 3-1 over the Los Angelses Angels of Aneheim going into the sixth inning.  A lead off home run by the captain Derek Jeter ultimately wrote the script for this one as Alex Rodriguez and Johnny Damon have both put souvenirs of their own into the stands.  With Andy Pettitte rolling on the mound, the Yankees look to be on pace for another win.

The first shot from Derek Jeter was certainly a shot that was a no doubter off the bat.  The same for Rodriguez’s shot which was an even bigger bomb.  Rodriguez almost hit another one that just missed as it stopped at the warning track.  Johnny Damon’s was more of a line drive that went a couple of rows into the right field stands just past the pole.  The Yankees just started teeing off on Jered Weaver who had a really tough fifth inning.  Jorge Posada got a hold of one and roped it into the outfield for a single.  Weaver has been pulled and the Angels are looking to the bullpen to stop the Yankee offense.  Good luck.  The Yankees look really confident and will be tough to stop at this point in the game.

CC Sabathia is set to go tomorrow on three days rest and it will be really interesting to see if the Yankees can close out the series with a sweep, assuming they win today to go up 3-0 in the series.  The Yankees have done everything right this postseason: they have pitched, they have hit, and they have been opportunistic taking advantage of some key mistakes by the Angels team.  Today, Torri Hunter made a big baserunning mistake as he was picked off by Andy Pettitte and his great move trying to steal second.  This Yankees team sure looks like a World Series caliber team.  Maybe even better.

-Dillon

Brilliant

CC Sabathia was absolutely brilliant last night against the Angels and led the Yanks to a game one victory.  It’s always important to get the  first game victory to get the momentum in your direction so hopefully this is a good sign for success in this series.  The next we’ll see of Sabathia will be in game four when he makes his second appearance on three days rest.  It’ll be interesting to see how that all goes down but for now on, back to Sabathia’s brilliance.

He went 8 innings giving up four hits, one walk and one run while striking out seven.  He was probably the best I’ve seen him in a while now.  And that is saying something because he is definitely in the Cy Young considerations.  He was great.

The offense was able to get a few breaks since the usually really good Angels defense made three errors which cost them dearly.  THe one that probably hurt them the most was the one where Matsui hit a pop up right in between Chone Figgins and Eric Aybar and it just dropped without either one trying to catch it.  The Angels really had a tough game last night but the Yankees did their part in making sure the Angels offense didn’t get very far.  That was why CC was so important last night.  It is all going to go down to pitching.  Like I said in my last post.

On the offensive side of things, there wasn’t any one person that had a terrific game.  They did their job without doing anything huge.  No homers, which was due to the fact that the wind was blowing strongly into the f ield, and they just got on base and scored runs as simply as it gets.  Simple baseball.  Not too exciting but it was still a great game.  A big win for the Yanks and the momentum is definitely going their direction to start this series.

Tonight, AJ Burnett goes against Joe Saunders.  For Yankee fans, the biggest question is this: which AJ Burnett will  show up?

-Dillon

Yankees To Go With Three Man Rotation

Youve got CC who has pitched on three day’s rest before in the playoffs, AJ Burnett who is a dominant pitcher when everything is working for him and then you’ve got Andy Pettitte who is a postseason veteran being with many of the past Yankees’ playoff teams.  This is about as good as a three man rotation there is.  And this is how the Yanks will be running for the ALCS.  CC will start game one, Burnett Game two and Pettitte Game three.  It’s awesome baby!  Yeah, I just quoted Dick Vitale, sue me.

CC’s past postseason experience will be key for his pitching on three days rest.  It is going to be tough but he has done it before and he should be able to get through it and still give us a great outing.  Now, the Angels are no easy team to beat but CC’s short rest will be a very important part to this series.

All I can say is I hope he is doning plenty of these fist pumps because he hasn’t had the most consistent of seasons.  If he has all his pitches working he will be great but he needs to really work.

Andy Pettitte just needs to be the Andy Pettitte that Yankee fans all around have come to expect him to be.  Or maybe a little better.  He puts in a good effort and usually comes out with a good outcome.  This quality pitcher is the third guy in the rotation and will probably have the least pressure on him.  But that doesn’t mean he needs to lighten up.  I’m sure Pettitte will give out a quality peformance as he alwasy does.

I hope I don’t have to into the offense being phenominal and them having no problem getting on and scoring.  It is all going to come down to pitching and that’s that.

-Dillon

Quick Predictions

I’ve got to do a research paper on Napoleon that is due tomorrow and I have been the biggest procrastinator over the past couple years and I don’t even have an opeing paragraph done yet.  I’ve got to move fast and I don’t really have time to write much more than this.  So here’s my predictions for the NL and AL championship series’.

Dodgers-Phillies:

Dodgers in six

Yankees-Angels:

Yankees is five

-Dillon

Dodgers, Angels, Yankees Sweep LDS Opponents

Talk about a dominant performance.  The Yankees, Angels, and Dodgers all swept their LDS opponents and have moved on the their respective league’s championship game.  Wow!

Now, the Yankees simply flexed their muscles in their first round matchup against the Twins.  They won both games at home to open the series, despite having to come from behind in a crazy game.  When Mark Teixeira hit the walk off homer to left to end the game, the Yankees stormed onto the field and celebrated, leaving a stunned Twins team in the opposite dugout.  In the third game of the series, the first in Minnesota, the Twins kept it close again, but when they had the chance to score some runs and put some pressure on the Yankees, they made some key baserunning mistakes that really cost them.  It was surely a disappointing series for Twins fans but you can’t say that you didn’t see this coming.

My pick for the ALDS matchup of the Angels and Red Sox had the Red Sox coming out victorious after a five game series.  Obviously I was wrong as the Angels really poured it onto the Red Sox and swept them.  History wasn’t in line to repeat itself in this series and the Angels soared their way to the ALCS.  It was kind of against my prediction but while I was watching the game three between these two teams, which was at Fenway, I told my dad in the eighth inning that the Angels would come back to score three runs against Papelbon and win the game.  He didn’t want to believe it but when the game was over I left the room with him staring at the t.v.  I felt pretty good about myself about that one.

The ALCS is going to be a very intriguing matchup between two quality powerhouses with good pitching.  The Yankees obviously have a pitching advantage but the offense’s of these two teams are pretty evenly matched.  The Halos have a very good and underrated offense that will really matchup well against the Yankees.  But the key to this seris will be pitching.  If the Yankees pitching can overcome the good Angels offense than the Yankees will roll onto the World Series.  My Prediction: Yankees win it in six.

Now onto the Dodgers, the team that everyone thought would be leaving the playoffs early due to their end of the season slump.  Well, the Dodgers didn’t feel like taking any of that and they went out and swept a very powerful Cardinals team, that a lot of people thought would not be a factor in the Central this season.  With the one-two punch of Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright, how can you go wrong.  Well, the Dodgers’ offense poured it on to the top two pitchers in the Cy Young race this year while in LA and when they went to St. Louis, Vincente Padilla put in a great perfornance and kept the Cards at bay while the Dodgers continued to have success against Cardinals pitching as they pushed Pineiro out of the game early.  It was a great series for the Dodgers and they will want to use this head of steam going into the NLCS against whoever it is they end up playing.

-Dillon

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