Thursday, November 5, 2009

Well, That Sucked

I think the headline sums up last night pretty well. What can I say? The Yankees simply played better than the Phillis in four out of the six games. It's as simple as that. They had the best record in baseball virtually the entire season, and they finished as the best team in the world. As painful as it is to admit it, they were better than the Phillies, and they earned every bit of that 27th championship.

Pedro simply didn't have his good stuff last night, and Andy Pettitte did. The old goat looked like one for the first time this postseason. He walked Alex Rodriguez on four pitches to lead off the 2nd, and up came Hideki Matsui, the guy who homered off Pedro in game 2. And wouldn't you know it, Godzilla struck again.

In an eight-pitch at-bat, Pedro threw Matsui five fastballs. The fifth he sent high and deep into the right field bleachers. 2-0 Yanks. Certainly not the start we were all looking for. Evidently, Matsui enjoys hitting off Pedro in the playoffs.

It wasn't the ideal way to begin the ball game, but the Phils didn't back down. In the top of the third, they answered. Curbball got things going with a one-out triple, and Jimmy drove him in with a sac fly, 2-1. Now it was a ball game, and we all know the Phils are pretty good at coming from behind. After Pedro surrendered two runs, the Phils got one of them right back. That's how you respond. Now all they needed was a shutdown inning from Pedro and a chance to get this thing tied. That didn't happen.

All postseason, the Phils have struggled getting teams out the at-bat following themselves scoring runs. It's been a troubling trend. The only pitcher who's been able to it has been Cliff Lee, far and away the most dominating pitcher of the 2009 playoffs. The rest of the starters haven't gotten the job done, and that elusive shutdown evaded the Phils yet again last night.

In the defining inning of game 6, the Phils froze under the bright New York lights, literally. Pedro began the third by striking out the incredibly overmatched Brett Gardner. Then he made a good enough pitch to get Derek Jeter to hit a liner/fly ball to center. Two easy outs, it seemed. Except it wasn't out number 2. No, because our Gold Glove centerfielder terribly misjudged the ball off Jeter's bat, went back about three steps when in fact he needed to come forward, and couldn't recover in time, even with his tremendous speed, turning a line out to center into a one-out single. Victorino's misplay was crucial and back-breaking. You can't give this Yankees lineup extra outs. You just can't. They'll make you pay every time. Every. Damn. Time.

What followed was one of the most painful things to watch. That slimy bastard Johnny Damon was at it again, working a 7-pitch walk, a walk that really should have never been. At least two of those balls were clearly strikes, but with Joe West behind the plate, you never know. West was all the over the place last night with his strike zone, starting out with a really tight one and then expanding on a whim at times. It was a horribly umpired game behind the plate, as it has been most of the playoffs. And I mean for both sides. Pettitte was getting squeezed too. The difference is, Andy adjusted and worked around it. The old goat didn't. On the next pitch, Pedro hit the struggling Mark Teixeira to bring A-Rod up with the bases loaded and one out. The same A-Rod who has been awesome throughout the playoffs, even if he's cooled a bit in the World Series. That was the last thing Pedro wanted to do.

However, Martinez stepped it up a notch, striking out Rodriguez looking, two outs. Maybe he could work his way out of this jam. Truthfully, the inning should have been over right then and there, had Victorino simply made the routine catch he's made a thousand times before. But it wasn't. Briefly, I thought Charlie was going to go out there and get Pedro to bring in the lefty J.A. Happ to face Matsui. After all, Matsui had homered off Pedro the last two times he faced him. But Charlie left the ball in Pedro's hands, and the battle was on. On the first pitch, Matsui crushed a foul ball deep and hard foul. Then he fouled a fastball off, and Pedro had him buried 0-2. Every single one of us in the room was calling for Martinez to throw a low and outside changeup, every one of us. Matsui was all over Pedro's fastball last night, pummeling it for a homer in the 2nd and lacing the ball all night. But Ruiz and Martinez decided to try and sneak a high fastball by Matsui, a horrible pitch selection. And on an 0-2 pitch, Matsui ripped a two-run single to center. 2-1 just became 4-1, and hope was fading fast.

The second he threw the pitch, I was screaming. When it fell, I began to rant and rave like a madman, cursing, fighting myself not to put my fist through the wall, and then finally taking all my anger and frustration out on the pile of pizza boxes stacked in our kitchen. That was easily one of the worst, most stupid pitches ever thrown in the history of baseball. I don't know if Pedro demanded Carlos that he throw a fastball or if Ruiz made the call all the way, but shit, you had to throw just about any other pitch, and it had to be down and away from Matsui. The guy loves the ball inside. He does that thing that Japanese players do where they pull off the ball a bit and start heading toward first, making it incredibly tough to hit an outside pitch and extremely easy to rip one inside. Yet Pedro kept coming in or missing his spots, never once going away. Later in the game, Scott Eyre faced Matsui and struck him out by throwing nothing but junk low and outside. Anyone with half a brain knows that's how you get him out. Apparently Pedro and Carlos don't even have half a brain between them. It was an absolutely inexcusable pitch, especially at 0-2. I like Pedro. I'd love to defend Pedro. But I can't. He was awful last night. Just awful. Yeah, he should have been out of the inning, but he had a chance to still shut the door on the Yanks, to get out of that jam partially created by Victorino and the rest created by Pedro himself. But he didn't. It was pathetic.

And the top of the fourth pretty much sealed the deal that this thing was over. After Chase struck out and Howard lined out, Pettitte walked Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez. Up came Pedro Feliz with a chance to do some two-out damage and bring the Phils close again. Three runs in this stadium with these batters with that much baseball left to play isn't insurmountable, but you have to take advantage of the opportunities that you have. Pedro, seeing Pettitte walk two guys right before him, was patient. He worked a full count. But then he grounded out to third to end the threat. Basically, game over.

It was about to get worse. The Phils went down 1-2-3 in the 5th, and after a 1-2-3 fourth by Pedro, his night was done. Chad Durbin came in, gave up a leadoff double to Jeter, who got to third on a sac bunt by Jerry Hairston. Then he gave up a single to Teixeira, 5-1, and walked A-Rod. In came Happ. The first batter he faced was Matsui, who welcomed Happ to the game with a two-run double, 7-1 Yanks, 6 RBIs for Matsui. Like I said, we should have traded him for Halladay. Seriously, Kyle Drabek better be the boss, because man, imagine how much better this team would have been with Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay at the top of the playoff rotation. Fuck the future. That duo would have won now. But I digress.

The Phils did muster one last grasp for air. Ryan Howard finally decided to show up to the party, hitting a two-run homer to left in the 6th to make it 7-3, but it certainly seemed like too little too late. However, in the 7th, the Phils were still breathing with Ruiz getting a one-out single in the inning. Then Rollins reached on a fielder's choice, replacing Ruiz on the base paths with two outs. Victorino worked a walk, and up came Utley with a chance to make it a one-run game if he could break Reggie Jackson's record for home runs in one World Series. He struck out on a pitch he tried to check his swing on instead. Against Andy Pettitte and Damaso Marte, Utley was awful all series. And he was again last night. All five of his home runs couldn't make up for that.

From there it was Mariano time, which meant World Series No. 27 was all wrapped up for the Yanks. It was painful to watch. It really was. I truly have grown to hate the Yankees even more than before with this series. But what can you say? The Yankees were the better team. Hideki Matsui was a beast, earning every bit of the MVP. He hit .615 (8-for-13) with three home runs and eight RBIs, six of which came last night, tying a World Series record.

The Yankees simply had more guys who came through, and they made fewer mistakes. Derek Jeter continued to be Derek Jeter, Johnny Damon was an impossible out after the first two games, Teixeira was awful, but he had a big hit last night. A-Rod slumped a bit, but he still managed some key RBIs, game four in particular. Matsui and Posada hit the crap out of the ball. Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher didn't do jack shit, but they didn't make any errors at least. And the pitching was simply better than Philadelphia's. CC wasn't his best, but he was still good. Burnett had an awesome start in game 2, and Pettitte stifled the Phils in both his outings. And of course, Mariano is Mariano.

Meanwhile, the Phils struggled from top to bottom. Everyone with the exception of Cliff Lee had a hand in the Phillies losing that series. Lee was simply awesome, but he didn't get enough help. In fact, the only other Phillies that really seemed interested at all in this World Series were Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz, but they had their down moments as well. I guess Chan Ho Park did his thing too, but other than that, the Phils failed to step up. Jimmy and Shane didn't get on base enough. Chase was impotent against Pettitte and Marte. Howard didn't do dick. Werth didn't do a whole lot better, save game 3. Ibanez was dreadful. Pedro played well one game the entire postseason (game 4 of the WS), and Ruiz made some pretty poor pitch calls in key spots (see last night, inning No. 3). And the pitchers simply didn't perform well enough. Pedro was awful last night. Cole Hamels was awful all fucking season. Joe Blanton did what he could, but he still left trailing. The bullpen wasn't any good, with the exception of Chan Ho and Eyre in his limited duty, and the Phils hurt themselves with errors, both physically and mentally. They simply weren't the better team this year, and it sucks. A lot.

This is much more like the feeling we've grown accustomed to around these parts, despair, disappointment. Thank god they at least won it all in 2008, because I don't think it would be even remotely tolerable without that championship. It's still a tough pill to swallow regardless. Sure, it was a great run, winning the World Series last year and getting back this year, but it doesn't really make it any less hard to take. This is the one team that had not let us down over the past two seasons, the one team that didn't fold under the pressure. I'm not sure it's fair to say they necessarily did that in this World Series. They were beaten by a better team. But it just didn't quite feel like the Phils gave the Yanks their best shot. Credit the Yankees pitchers for that. They got the job done. The Phils didn't. And that sucks.

I really fucking hate New York, almost as much as I hate losing. Shit.

BallHype: hype it up!


  1. Pedro seemed to me to just struggle mightily pitching out of the stretch. After the 1st 3 games, I didnt feel great. I was like, how many runs do we have to score for me to feel comfortable to pull out a win. 8? 10?. Whatever, it was a good season.

    Now I'm looking forward to the offseason to see what Ruben and co. can do with revamping the bullpen and piecing together the rotation. And hopefully Cole will learn from last years offseason after a long playoff run and go through a better routine and develop his curve. If not maybe we ought to trade him for like Zambrano, who Id love to see smack some HRs out of the Bank. But hes probably a bad fit in the clubhouse.

    Hopefully I can make it to Spring Training this year and see the boss Drabek, as well as Dom Brown and Mike Taylor. Drabeks got a good chance to make an impact this year in either the pen or a potential rotation fill in.

  2. Man, it was hard for me to watch the shit last night, but I did. I really, truly hate the New York Yankees, and what they represent. I know you're takin' it harder than me, because the Phillies are your team. For them to come in the World Series on such a tear, and then to play like that has to be gut-wrenching.

  3. It definitely hurts, but when push comes to shove, they got beat by a better team. I just wish that team wasn't the Yankees.