Well, the Yankees are off to a rather inauspicious start to their first trip to the World Series in six years since they lost in six games to the Florida Marlins. Phillies starter Cliff Lee, last year’s American League Cy Young Award winner with the Cleveland Indians, held the Yanks to just six hits in a 6-1 rout that was a shutout going into the bottom of the ninth.
And Yankees pitchers gave up a total of six walks. That’s a lot of 6’s.
Yankees starter C.C. Sabathia was decent last night, giving up only two runs (both earned on solo home runs by Phillies second baseman Chase Utley), but didn’t pitch anywhere near as well as he had in his earlier postseason games. He barely escaped disaster in the first inning when he loaded the bases on a walk to Utley, a double by powerhouse first baseman Ryan Howard and a walk to right fielder Jayson Werth (who looks remarkably similar to WWE superstar Edge) after a quick first two outs before getting designated hitter Raul Ibanez to ground out to second baseman Robinson Cano.
By comparison, Lee’s half of the first inning consisted of a strikeout to shortstop Derek Jeter, a groundout on a bunt attempt by left fielder Johnny Damon and a strikeout to first baseman Mark Teixiera.
This was a sign of things to come as Lee continued to dominate the Yanks through the rest of game. Only Jeter had any real success against Lee with three hits, and he happened to be the player who scored the Yankees’ single run when shortstop Jimmy Rollins went for a double play and ended up throwing the ball away.
Sabathia pitched decently (you can’t really complain when the starting pitcher gives up only two runs), but unfortunately Lee pitched brilliantly. Throw in a second straight poor outing from reliever Phil Hughes, who has not been the reliable pitcher in the postseason that he was in the regular season, and a *gasp* horrible outing from craptastic reliever Brian Bruney (he posted a 54 ERA for that appearance), and you get the dreadful results of last night’s game.
Speaking of Brian Bruney, I’m rather curious why manager Joe Girardi bothered sending in Phil Coke to relieve him in the ninth inning since bringing him in during a World Series game that was still, if ever so slightly, plausibly winnable at 4-0 pretty much indicated that Girardi had given up on the game (Bruney was “lights out” during the regular season – as in “somebody turned the lights out on his talent” – pitching worse than only the even more worthless Damaso Marte). At that point, he really should have just left Bruney in there and not wasted Coke’s arm, but maybe that’s just the clouded thoughts of a dejected and disappointed fan.
Many people will no doubt say that “it’s just one game with six more to go” and “there’s always tomorrow,” and they would undoubtedly be right.
However, it’s hard to ignore the realistically irrelevant stat about how the team that won the first game won the World Series in each of the last six years that last night’s broadcasters brought up.
It’s hard to overlook tonight’s starting pitcher A.J. Burnett’s last outing where he got pummeled by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for four runs in the first inning or his decidedly less impressive than Sabathia’s pitching throughout the year.
And most importantly it’s hard to escape just how similar Lee’s performance last night was to Josh Beckett’s performances as a Marlin in the aforementioned 2003 World Series.
Source: My own personal Hell.