Yankees Survive Pedro Martinez, Win Game Two

One thing was noticeable last night until Mark Texeira and Hideki Matsui homered: the Yankee Stadium crowd was dead. They felt darkness creeping in, and the malevolent figure was Pedro Martinez.
Pedro Martinez was very, very good last night. A.J. Burnett was just stronger. If the Yankees would have lost, you’d have had second-guessers writing for every paper on the east coast for sitting Nick Swisher and Jorge Posada against the right handed Martinez for a couple of righty reserves.
But Burnett wouldn’t yet the Yankees slip. What I saw for seven innings last night was a guy who was unhittable. Ryan Howard wanted to complain about the balls and strikes calls (he struck out four times) but the bottom line is the Yankees pitched him perfectly in every at-bat. They made that a trend to most Philly batters. Beyond that, if Alex Rodriguez makes that play at third base in the 2nd inning, the Yankees don’t give up a run last night. It’s a testament of how badly Joe Girardi wanted that game that he turned to Mariano Rivera in the 8th inning to get the two inning save. Rivera is now 10 for 11 in World Series saves opportunities. That is amazing in itself.
A.J. Burnett and Mark Texeira possibly saved the Yankees series hopes. The odds of the Yankees going to Philadelphia and winning more then a game would have been slim trailing 2-0. Now they really only have to win one of three, although we think they’re going to get 2 of 3 before returning home to win the thing.
This game fit the profile that we think the rest of the series will follow. Tight game until late, a few big swings win it.

Jay-Z, Pedro, Big Tex homers, Burnett, and Game Two Hoopla

A look at game two’s unique moments in case you weren’t watching baseball’s grandest stage:

A lot was made of the Jay-Z performance that took place before game two. And in case you missed it, yes he played Empire State of Mind.

The Prince of New York steps in for one more go around against Pedro to lead off the game for the Yankees.

Our buddy that we watched the game with remarked that Joe Girardi ‘looks like an AIDS patient’. He sure doesn’t show much emotion. He’s finally in the World Series win column. And they were thinking about shitcanning this guy at any point? Shame on them.

Raul Ibanez made the play of the game most likely (unless you want to count the double play turned by the Yankees in the 8th inning with Utley at the plate).

Mark sent a ‘Tex message’ into the bullpen in left center to tie the game at 1. This woke up the Yankee crowd that was a non-factor until that point.

She like Matsui.

This is a baseball blog, but it’s also a dipping blog. And when it comes to dipping, A.J. fuckin‘ Burnett must absolutely sleep with a dip in. Burnett was dominant tonight. This is the guy we pictured for most of the year for the Yankees, and why we picked him to win the Cy Young. Bottom line is he saved the series and is probably going to end up being the Yankees win this series if he’s anything close to what he was tonight in his next start, which he pretty much guaranteed himself.

Pedro getting the last laugh but not really. The Yankee fans were on edge about this guy all night and he pretty much delivered. He had no business going back out there in the 7th though to surrender another run with 99 pitches logged. Another Charlie Manuel-esque call.

World Series Game One Screen-Shottage

We’re trying something new here on the blog. We found out how to screen grab. We’re pretty excited about it. We’ll do this for all the World Series games and we’ll find some of the best moments captured in HD. Next season, for whatever games we watch you’ll get this special treat as well. So now for the selections from game one:

Still the ugliest player in baseball, bar-none. Jayson Werth ladies and gentleman.

Cliff Lee, clear the mechanism. It’s going to be a special night for you son.

Lee zones in on his next victim. Hard to believe that Lee’s effort last night is statistically being compared to when Bob Gibson struck out 17 hitters and beat Denny Mcclain and the Tigers in game one of the 1968 World Series.

Let us not forget, this was Alex Rodriguez’s first World Series game of his career. He went 0-4 with 3 K’s. He’s still hitting .389 this postseason and Yankee fans better stay up on A-Rod because it’s obvious they’re going to need him to slay leftie pitching to win it.

Charlie Manuel is a rooster. And roosters crow.

Utley circling the bases on the first of his two homers. “Boo me? Fuck you. Again.”

It’s not the MLB Postseason without Buck & Mccarver. People really seem to hate Tim Mccarver. We don’t get it. Timmy is much less an asshole then Joe Buck. People will argue that Buck is actually good at what he does. Nah.

Jay Bruce will be better in 2010–according to statistics!

There’s a lot to pick apart from this post over at Fangraphs.com.

Basically, there are several major reasons that Jay Bruce will have a nice 2010 season. And although it may be the postseason, we’re Reds fans. This shit is just as important as what the Yankees and Phillies do. Actually, it’s more important. This is the franchise we’re talking about.

Cincy’s franchise player had a .373 BABIP in the minor leagues, and a .298 major league mark in 2008. In 2009, his BABIP dropped off a cliff (.222). That was the lowest BABIP among batters taking 350+ trips to the plate.

[snip]

Jay Bruce has all the ingredients to be a superstar. In a “disappointing” year, he showed top-shelf power, improved strike-zone discipline and better contact ability. Fantasy owners aren’t going to get another chance to acquire The Boss with anything less than a premium draft pick. If at all possible, nab Bruce now, before he becomes a perennial first-rounder.

Great to see press like this for our boy, especially from a reputable site that does it’s statistical homework like Fangraphs.

Believe in Jay Bruce [Fangraphs.com]

They know you well, Pedro

Why is tonight’s game two of the World Series must see TV? Most people are going to say Jay-Z and the fact the Yankees must win to avoid a 2-0 hole at home. The reason we’re planning on being glued to the television set come 7:57 PM is because Pedro Martinez will be on the bump.

What we’ll be watching for (or more so listening for), is that buzz in the crowd that you can’t mistaken for any other ballpark in America. It will be loud and deliberate tonight. And if Pedro was taking the mound anywhere else in baseball tonight he wouldn’t be received with the noise that you’re going to hear tonight. That’s why you can’t hate on the Yankees. You can say shit about their fans, but you must admit that they’re the nastiest and most intense fan base in the game today. You better respect them. They’ll show up tonight and leave the rest to their roster to get game two.

Now Yankees fans, they know Pedro Martinez well. The reason he’s starting tonight is because Charlie Manuel feels he has that postseason flair left in him. The same postseason flair that he showed in the ALCS in 1999.

He’s the cancer that won’t go away. He just keeps coming back. Admit it Yankee fan, you thought you’d never have to see this guy again. You thought the final excorcism of this guy was in 2004 (am I allowed to mention 2004)? But you were sadly wrong. It’s five years later and the son of a bitch is back. I’m getting texts from Yankee fans this morning that read ‘I want fucking Pedro’s head on a platter tonight’.

Oh you’re gonna get it. There’s something that tells us that Pedro has enough in that old right arm to stifle the Yankee lineup until late in the game and keep it tight or let Philly hold a lead. If he can do that, you’re going to hear the quietest stadium in America.

The pressure is on the Yankees. If their fan base was honest, the last guy in the world that they want to see 60.6 from their hitters at this point is the 38 year old who has made a career of winning prominent games like the one that takes place tonight. It’s going to be great. This is most likely the final chapter in the Pedro/Yankees saga. You thought he was finished, left for dead; but he’s back like Jason in one of the Friday the 13th movies. You can’t kill this son of a bitch.

Added: In case you haven’t read, Pedro still hates your asses.

Cliff Lee historic in World Series game 1

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Cliff Lee had the second greatest pitching performance in World Series history last night. Lee became the only man to ever strike out 10 or more, walk no one, and win the game.
In a game that Chase Utley homered twice in a game that CC Sabathia was pretty strong. Sabathia’s outing was a footnote to the performance Lee turned in, but going 7 innings, walking three and striking out six while only allowing two earned runs in your World Series debut isn’t too shabby. Sabathia only allowed four hits but the Yankees found themselves in a 2-0 hole by the time exited the game.
The Yankees couldn’t muster a run until the 9th off the dominant Lee. Playing in a misting rain, Derek Jeter showed up and was Derek Jeter, collecting three hits and scoring the lone Yankees run on a Mark Texeira groundout.
We’re not entirely surprised that the Yankees didn’t win this game. They probably felt some added pressure with Big George being in the house. This was the first Series game at the new stadium. These Yankees; collectively, hadn’t been here before. That’s why we said they’d probably fall into a 2-1 hole. But they’ll be alright. Tonight’s game does have added pressure. You don’t want to head to Philly for three while being down 2-0. The Yankees have to find a way to win this one tonight.
Tonight’s game two will be a dramatic scene, with Jay-Z opening things up. You understand what network television is doing with this. It’s going to pump ratings up and get a different genre of folks to maybe turn the game on and leave it on for the first few innings.

The Rise of Jayson Werth

Just two short seasons ago, Jayson Werth was a scrub. A bench-warming player. A guy who scanned the crowd during games for women. His head wasn’t in the game. People admitted that he was ugly. He was an afterthought in Phillies history, if he was even a thought at all.

Now, he’s still a piece of shit. He’s still ugly. But women have convinced themselves in his flurry of good play that this guy is actually some kind of Philly icon. It all started last year. We saw it coming then. This is an average ballplayer who is tailor-made for Philadelphia, the sports city that always endears the lesser shiny penny. When he plays above his head, the city goes nuts for him and his perceived ‘charisma’.

But Vincent Papale you are not you son of a bitch.

You’re going to crash and burn. You’ll never have another season like you had this year. And while you might enjoy a little two year run of being the big shot in the city of brotherly love. But they’ll forget you. When you return to the Werth that you are; the one who hit .234 in 2005, who will love you then? Philly fans turned on Santa, they’ll turn on your mangy ass too.

It’s coming. It might not be this series, it might not be in April of 2010. But your run at the top is going to reach it’s end soon. We’ll be there to laugh at you when it does. Dickhead.

Steinbrenner State of Mind

We’ve talked to some Yankee fans who are closer to the whole situation then we are; and by closer we mean they’re from Connecticut. They seem to agree with us when we say we get the feeling that George Steinbrenner isn’t doing so well health-wise. Sad but probably true, as a baseball fan who is watching from afar; it’s pretty obvious that George Steinbrenner’s health is going downhill.

One thing is that Steinbrenner isn’t as visible. It’s a huge production now when he’s going to be at the stadium and on hand for a Yankees game. It’s an anouncement, an event. To our knowledge it used to be an everyday occurence. Notice how little he comes out in the media and actually speaks. When he does it’s national sports news.

From the AP:

Once he was omnipresent at Yankee Stadium, micromanaging so much that World Series tickets could not be sent out until he revised the seating charts in his office. He raged at his players and celebrated them with equal gusto.

Now George Steinbrenner is 79 and frail. Still the owner but no longer the leader of his beloved Yankees, he saw just three regular-season games this season.

But he’s coming back to New York just for the Series, and the Yankees can’t wait.

“We’re trying to do this for pops, Mr. Steinbrenner,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

That sure sounds like the Yankees know it could be big George’s last World Series doesn’t it? Let’s be honest, if it takes the Yankees another five years to get back to their next World Series, this is without a doubt Steinbrenner’s last senile World Series; if not his last overall.

The point of this is, the Yankees are going to fight hard for their icon. He’s been as much of a symbol of the Yankee franchise as the “NY” on the cap. He is the most powerful owner in our sports lifetime. This is in many ways, the end of an era. The last ride for a magnificent cowboy.

When you see the Yankees take the field tonight, they’re trying to win one for George. That makes them all the more dangerous. While it might not make it hard to root against the Yankees, we certainly wouldn’t bet against them.