The next few days will tell if waiting until game 5 to start Cliff Lee was a wise move by Charlie Manuel, but I’m breathing a sigh of relief that he is not being pushed to start three games. That said, there is immense weight on tonight’s game to the point that tonight’s winner might very well be the Series winner. OK, I know there are only two teams left, so that doesn’t sound like a strong statement, but I really think this one’s a biggie. Not to automatically concede a Cliff Lee game as a Phils win, but the Yanks could well find themselves down 3-2 going back to NY, and with all hands on deck, Lee would surely be available for part of game 7. Being available for a short stint in 7 may not seem overwhelming, but considering the Yankee offense (when it’s showed up at all) tends to start showing signs of life several innings into the game, Lee for a few middle-to-late innings could be a huge factor in that potential game 7. And if tonight shows CC having little left in the tank, things can really get dicey. Maybe I should take another hit of Theraflu so I can sleep through the game and spare myself the anxiety.
Always the Centaur of Controversy
It’s from the Who Cares files, but still a mildly funny story that has been blurbed about an anonymous former girlfriend of Arod saying he had two paintings of himself as a centaur. If the Yanks were playing Boston, it might have prompted some very craftfully done banners to the park. But if Rodriguez takes a cue from his game three and continues hitting and getting on base, there might be a lot of commissions for other pinstriped centaurs in the works.
It sure was a surprise to no one that, of course, the controversial video-replayed HR came off the bat of Arod. It seems the proper call was made (chalk that up as a “yay” vote for video replay), but I was prepared for the umps to not overturn the initial call because I did not think the video evidence was 100% definite. What is 100% definite is that it was asinine to have a camera actually hanging over the wall into the field of play. It’s like having an automatronic Jeffrey Maier erected right at the home run threshold just to confuse the umps.
So This Was Nice
Swisher’s double and HR were huge in game three, so it was nice to finally get production from him. Perhaps tonight will show whether that was an aberration. Meanwhile, I see that Matsui has been practicing in RF. This is a novel idea, but one that I’d like to think might have occurred many weeks ago. Considering how he has had a few big hits of recent and that RF has been a vacuum for the Yanks, putting him in right (if he is in game shape to play it) could have paid off. Not sure if the Yanks were having him cram at the last minute, but if so, that kind of reduces that as a viable option. Would be nice to get his bat back in there. We still don’t see Swisher drawing any walks.
All Hands On Deck…Already
I wholly appreciate Girardi seeing the gravity of game three, but with a four run lead and six outs to go and no major signs of trouble, I would have loved to see him work the bullpen to avoid using Rivera. For certain, the World Series is not the time to coddle pitchers for a more important game that may never come, but could Chamberlain, who pitched an efficient, perfect 7th, not come out for the 8th? OK, I guess Marte was able to faces two lefties. But how about the 9th – could Hughes not face just one more batter before Joe picked up the red phone? A three run lead with two outs to go I would hope is just enough wiggle room to not potentially compromise the effectiveness of your stopper. And the fact that Girardi gave Hughes NO room for error made it all but certain he was going to go to Rivera. The good news was Rivera only threw five pitches for the last two outs, but the process of warming up in the bullpen is essentially as demanding as coming into the game — and this after Rivera was taxed for two laborious innings just two days before. With two more consecutive games in Philly, the next two days might show just how human or superhuman Rivera is.