Wednesday, November 18th, 2009 | Cy Young Award, Kansas City Royals, MLB, Sports | No Comments
Zack Greinke is your 2009 American League Cy Young Award winner. It is a bittersweet award win for Greinke because he would rather be out of the spotlight than directly in it. You see Greinke led the American League in losses (17) in 2005 and he took time off from the sport the following season after he was diagnosed with a social anxiety disorder that hampered his ability to perform in public. His statements after he was informed that he had been named the Cy Young Award winner demonstrate his reluctancy to be in the public spotlight: “A lot of stuff going on today when I usually just like doing nothing. But just part of life… Back in Orlando, I haven’t really got a whole lot of attention from people, which has been nice. So I hope it doesn’t get that way, where everyone if like, ‘Oh, hey, Zack, hi.’” Greinke acknowledges that he would rather stay anonymous and not always be referred to as a Cy Young Award winner, so “in that way, it’s kind of like a negative for me.” But he understands that he will have to deal with it. “I really don’t like having a bunch of attention, so even if I did see myself in that light, I don’t do anything about it. I’m real uncomfortable doing stuff like that, to be around people and doing stuff like that.”
As for his numbers, the voters gave the award to Greinke even though he did not have the most wins in the AL. He led the AL with an unbelievably low 2.16 ERA. Greinke racked up a career high 242 strikeouts – 2nd most in the American League behind Justin Verlander (see below). His ERA was the lowest for a starting pitcher since Pedro Martinez finished with a 1.74 ERA in 2000. Greinke received 25 of 28 1st place votes and 3 2nd place votes, good for a total of 134 points. At 16-8, Greinke probably would have had a lot more wins if he didn’t play for a team that won just 65 games all season long. In Greinke’s 8 losses, the Royals scored just 13 runs and in his 9 no decisions, the Royals scored just 21 runs in support of Greinke. There were 6 times during the season that he allowed 1 run or less in an outing and did not qualify for a win.
Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners finished in 2nd place in the voting (2 1st place votes, 23 2nd place votes and 1 3rd place vote for a total of 80 points). Hernandez went 19-5 with a 2.49 ERA. Any other year, Hernandez would have likely won the award.
Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers finished in 3rd place. Verlander led the American League in strikeouts with 269 K’s and was tied for the American League in wins with Hernandez and CC Sabathia with 19 wins.
6 other pitchers had more wins than Greinke – Hernandez, Verlander and Sabathia each had 19 wins, while Roy Halladay, Josh Beckett and Scott Feldman each finished with 17 wins on the year. Joe Saunders and Jered weaver of the Angels matched Greinke’s 16 wins.
Congrats Zack – you deserve to be recognized for your achievement, and whether you like it or not, you will serve as a great example to those out their that suffer from similar anxiety issues that you can overcome.
Thursday, November 5th, 2009 | 2009 Fall Classic, MLB, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Sports, World Series | No Comments
Pedro Martinez just couldn’t get Hideki Matsui out on Wednesday night. In the 2nd inning, Matsui gave the Yankees an early 2-0 lead with a 2-run HR off of Pedro. In the 3rd inning, Matsui extended the Yankees lead to 4-1 with a 2-run single off of Martinez. Matsui capped off his amazing night – this time against Phillies lefty J.A. Happ – with a 2-run double that blew the game open in the 5th inning. After Matsui’s 3rd crushing blow of the night, the Yankees led 7-1 and they would cruise to an easy 7-3 victory in World Series Game 6. The win clinched the 27th World Series Championship for the storied franchise.
For his efforts, Matsui was named the World Series MVP – even though he only started in 3 of the 6 games played. Matsui finished the series with 8 hits in 13 at-bats, with 8 RBI’s and 3 runs scored, including 3 homers. His phenomenal Game 6 performance clinched it – no other player had ever had 6 RBI’s in a single World Series game.
Although Andy Pettitte did not have his best stuff – 3 ER on 4 hits and 5 walks in 5 2/3 inning – Pettitte worked out of jams and avoided the big inning that allowed the Yankees to keep extending the lead as the night progressed. It was Pettitte’s 18th career post-season win and his 6th win to end a playoff series – both major league records. Shockingly, Pettitte also started and won the game-clinching game in each of the Yankees series’ wins this October/November – against the Twins, Angels and Phillies. No other player has ever done that in MLB history.
Mariano Rivera – what can you say. Although he did not get a save on Wednesday night, he did get the final 5 Phillies outs of the game. He came in with 1-out in the 8th inning and gave up a double in that inning and a harmless walk in the 9th inning. For the series, Rivera appeared in 4 of 6 games – 5 1/3 innings pitched, 0 ER, 3 hits, 2 walks and 3 K’s. Rivera allowed just 1 ER in his 12 2009 post-season appearances. For his career, in 88 post-season appearances, he has allowed more than 1 run in a game only once! Pretty amazing.
Congrats to the Yankees – as much as it pains me to say. The happiest/luckiest guy around is Manager Joe Girardi. If the Yankees had not won, or if had gone to a Game 7 where CC Sabathia would have had to pitch on 3 days’ rest, Girardi could have been on the hot seat for his moves. Now that they’ve won, he gets a reprieve and looks like a genius for “knowing his players and their limitations.” Girardi – a 3-time World Series winner as a Yankee player – had this to say about the accomplishment – “To be able to deliver this to the Boss, the stadium that he created and the atmosphere he has created around here is very gratifying for all of us.”
Wednesday, November 4th, 2009 | 2009 Fall Classic, MLB, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Sports, World Series | No Comments
Can’t wait for World Series Game 6 tonight in the Bronx. Should be a blast to watch.
Can’t believe that Pedro Martinez and Andy Pettitte are going to duke it out on the main stage. The 2 pitchers have faced each other 6 times in their careers, but never in the post-season. In those 6 games, each pitcher has won 3 times and lost 3 times. The visiting team has won each game (advantage Phillies) and Pedro has a better ERA in those games – 3.86 to 5.88. Pedro has pitched better than Andy in this World Series. In Game 2, Martinez worked 6 innings, giving up 3 ER on 6 hits and 2 walks while striking out 8 (he took the loss against A.J. Burnett). In Game 3, Pettitte worked 6 innings, giving up 4 ER on 5 hits and 3 walks while striking out 7 (he got the win against Cole Hamels). Further, Pettitte does not pitch well on 3 days’ rest – in 18 career starts on 3 days’ rest, Pettitte is 5-7 with a 4.18 ERA. Pettitte has pitched well this post-season, however – 3-0 in 4 starts with a 3.24 ERA.
Plus – you gotta love the quotes from the 2 starters – -
Pedro: “Two old goats out there doing the best they can and having fun with it. I don’t have enough words to describe how excited I am about being here. This is just a great gift to me.”
Andy: “I think everybody knew it was going to be a great Series. I think everybody knew it was going to be a tough Series. And it looks like it’s living up to that.”
Fasten your seat belts baseball fans. It should be a fun, but bumpy ride tonight in the Bronx…
Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009 | 2009 Fall Classic, MLB, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Sports, World Series | No Comments
It wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win, especially when a loss sends you home for a long winter break…
The Phillies defeated the Yankees on Monday night, forcing the World Series back to the Bronx for a Game 6 on Wednesday night at the New Yankee Stadium. Cliff Lee rose to the challenge and picked up his 2nd win of the Series. After giving up a single run in the 1st inning on an Alex Rodriguez double, Lee held the Yankees scoreless until Johnny Damon’s RBI groundout in the 5th inning. By that time, the Phillies led 6-2 and looked like they were going to cruise to victory. But Lee gave up hits to the 1st 3 batters he faced in the 8th inning, and Manager Charlie Manuel was forced to go to his troubled bullpen after A-Rod crushed Lee’s 112th pitch for a 2-run double that cut the lead to 8-4. But Chan Ho Park rose to the challenge, getting the next 3 outs and limiting the threat to just 1 more run. Manuel then opted to go with Ryan Madsen instead of closer Brad Lidge in the 9th inning. After a double and single to start the inning brought the tying run to the plate, Madsend induced Derek Jeter to hit into a run-scoring double play. Johnny Damon singled to prolong the inning, but Madsen rallied to end the game by striking out Mark Teixeira. You’d hate to see what will happen if the Phillies have a 1-run lead heading into the 9th inning. Given how Lidge and Madsen have pitched thus far, you might just want to leave your starter in the game.
Lee ended up with a ho-hum night – 7 innings pitched, 5 ER, 7 hits, 3 walks and 3 K’s. It was only a matter of time before the Yankees middle of the lineup got to him. But he did what he had to do to keep the series going. And given the way Cole Hamels has pitched this post-season, if the Phillies had not acquired Lee from the Indians mid-season, we might be looking at a different National League representative in the World Series.
The other big story – Chase Utley – can’t believe it took me this long to get to him. Utley answered A-Rod’s 1st inning double with a 3-run home run of his own to stake the Phillies to a 3-1 lead. He also hit a solo home run in the 7th inning that extended the Phillies lead to 7-2. On the night, Utley went 2 for 3 with a walk, 2 home runs, 4 RBI’s and 3 runs scored. Utley is hitting .333, with 5 home runs, 8 RBI’s and 6 runs scored for the Series. Utley and former Yankees slugger Reggie Jackson are the only 2 players to ever hit 5 home runs in a single World Series. If the Phillies somehow come back and win this World Series, he and Lee will be sharing the MVP trophy.
What it all boils down to – Game 6 – Andy Pettitte on 3 days’ rest v. Pedro Martinez on full 4 days’ rest. Pettitte gave up 4 ER on 5 hits and 3 walks in Saturday night’s World Series win, but he does not have a good history of pitching on 3 days’ rest. Martinez pitched as well as could be expected of him in Game 2 in New York last week. Although he took the loss – 3 ER on 6 hits and 2 walks in 6 inning – he lost to the better pitcher that night – A.J. Burnett. Could Martinez outduel Pettitte? You betcha…
Should be fun to watch, especially if the Phillies can force a Game 7. Sabathia is definitely going for the Yankees, but who will get the shot at glory for the Phillies – Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton, Lee? Ah the suspense…
Friday, October 30th, 2009 | MLB, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Sports | No Comments
Not that it was a must-win, but the Yankees must sure be thrilled that they defeated the Phillies 3-1 on Thursday night at the new Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. Going down 2-0 and heading to Philadelphia would not have meant the end of the World Series, but it would have been a mighty hill to have to climb to win 2 out of 3 in Philly and then 2 at home in New York to pull off a 7-game World Series win.
A.J. Burnett’s 7-inning gem allowed Manager Joe Girardi to keep his bullpen off the field. Burnett gave up just 1 earned run on 4 hits and 2 walks while striking out 9. After 108 pitches, Girardi called upon Mariano Rivera to get the Yankees a 6-out save and preserve the 3-1 lead. Rivera came up big in the 8th after 2 men were on with just 1 out. Rivera induced Chase Utley – the Phillies’ Game 1 hero – to hit into an inning-ending double play to end the threat. Rivera allowed the Phillies to get the tying run to the plate when Raul Ibanez doubled with 2-out, but he struck out Matt Stairs swinging to end the game. And then the celebration began in the Bronx.
Pedro Martinez did about as well as he could given the circumstances – he pitched 6 innings, giving up just 3 earned runs on 6 hits and 2 walks. He also had 8 strikeouts. But he gave up solo home runs to Mark Teixeira in the 4th inning and Hideki Matsui in the 6th inning that gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead. Martinez even started the 7th inning, but Manager Charlie Manuel removed him after he gave up leadoff singles to Jerry Hairston, Jr. and Melky Cabrera. Brett Gardner – who ran for Hairston – ended up scoring an insurance run when Jorge Posada singled off of reliever Chan Ho Park.
Andy Pettitte will square off against Cole Hamels at Citizens Bank Ballpark on Saturday night in Philadelphia. And as it stands now, it looks like we could see a rematch of Game 1 on Sunday night, as CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee are penciled in to start in Game 4 of the World Series on Sunday night. This is really turning into the Classic Epic World Series Battle that we hoped for…
Thursday, October 29th, 2009 | 2009 Fall Classic, MLB, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Sports, World Series | No Comments
Cliff Lee made it look easy as the Phillies cruised past the Yankees 6-1 in Game 1 of the 2009 World Series. Heading into the 9th inning, Lee had given up just 4 hits (and no walks!) through 8 innings while striking out 8. After giving up singles to Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon to start the inning, Lee induced Mark Teixeira to hit into what should have been a double play. But Jimmy Rollins error allowed Jeter to score and Teixeira to move up to 2nd base with 1 out. But instead of getting flustered, Lee simply struck out Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada swinging to end the “mini” threat. Phillies 6, Yankees 1, Advantage Phillies with the 1-0 lead. The Lee – Sabathia duel was a good one, but Lee was just that much better. To not walk a single Yankees batter while pitching 9 innings is simply incredible. Lee never seemed out of sync and he never seemed to be intimidated by pitching in the Bronx.
Sabathia pitched well for the Yankees, but not good enough. He only gave up 4 hits and 3 walks in 7 solid innings of work. But 2 of the hits were solo home runs to Chase Utley. The Phillies only broke the game open after Sabathia departed after throwing 113 pitches in 7 innings. Phil Hughes promptly walked the only 2 batters he faced in the top of the 8th inning. Both runners came around to score on Raul Ibanez’s clutch 2-out 2-run single against David Robertson. That gave the Phillies a daunting 4-0 lead with just 6 outs left for the Yankees. Brian Bruney and Phil Coke did not fare much better in the top of the 9th inning. The 2 pitchers allowed 2 more insurance runs to score on Shane Victorino’s single and Ryans Howard’s double.
All in all, it was a solid start for the Phillies. They showed they were not intimidated by the Yankee “aura”. They showed the could score runs against the Yankees best pitcher. And they showed that they were in this for the long haul.
There’s not too much time to dwell on the Game 1 loss for the Yankees. Game 2 is tonight at 7:57PM EST on FOX. Pedro Martinez will surely be greeted with a lot of boos as he tries to pitch the Phillies to a 2-0 lead against A.J. Burnett. I hate to say there is a must-win game this early in a series, but it would serve the Yankees well to find a way to get a W tonight in the Bronx. Heading back to Philly for Game 3 on Saturday night down 2 games to none is not the game plan that Manager Joe Girardi and the Yankees drew up before the start of the 2009 Fall Classic.
Wednesday, October 28th, 2009 | 2009 Fall Classic, MLB, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Sports, World Series | No Comments
Fasten your seat belts and get ready for the 2009 Fall Classic. Cliff Lee & the Philadelphia Phillies take on CC Sabathia & the New York Yankees tonight at the new Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. Tonight’s match-up is a dream match-up. 2 aces who used to be teammates, 2 pitchers who have been spectacular thus far in the post-season, 1 team looking to repeat as World Series Champions, and 1 team looking to recapture that glory and win its 27th championship in franchise history. It doesn’t get much better than this.
Tune in tonight on FOX at 7:57 Eastern time for the 1st pitch of the 2009 Fall Classic. Not sure where most people are going, but I’m taking the Yankees in 7 games of an epic World Series battle. I like the Phillies lineup better than the Yankees, but I just feel like the Yankees starting pitching is a little bit deeper. Sabathia is great, Burnett is above average and Andy Pettitte brings that experience that makes him so tough to beat in October (and November this year). There’s a reason that Pettitte has the most post-season wins in major league baseball history with 16. After Cliff Lee, Pedro Martinez is a crapshoot, especially with the pressure of a game in the Bronx. Cole Hamels has not been himself, and likely won’t be until he gets the necessary rest this off-season. Joe Blanton? No thank you. It should be a great series – now let’s just hope it lives up to the hype…
Tuesday, October 27th, 2009 | MLB, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Sports | No Comments
Nice – while much of the early World Series focus has been on the duel between Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia in Game 1 on Wednesday night, the Phillies made a big news splash by announcing that Pedro Martinez will start Game 2 on Thursday night in the Bronx. Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel likely went with Martinez instead of Cole Hamels because of his solid history with against the Yankees, but it was still a bit of a surprise.
Pedro has made 1 start for the Phillies during the 2009 post-season. Martinez tossed 7 shutout innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 2 of the NLCS, a game that the Phillies ultimately lost when the Phillies bullpen couldn’t hold onto the lead.
In 14 career post-season appearances, Martinez is 6-2 with a sparkling 3.13 ERA. He has made 2 post-season starts against the New York Yankees at the old Yankee Stadium, going 0-1 with a hefty 5.40 ERA. The most notable game was back in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS. The Red Sox held a 5-2 lead heading into the 8th inning, but then Red Sox Manager Grady Little decided to leave a tiring Martinez in the game a little too long. Pedro ended up giving up 3 runs to the Yankees in that 8th inning to tie the game at 5, and the Yankees went onto win on Aaron Boone’s solo home run in the 11th inning. Overall against the Yankees, Martinez has much better numbers – 8-4 record with a 2.95 ERA. In his only World Series start, Martinez threw 7 shutout innings in Game 3 of the 2004 World Series as the Red Sox swept the Cardinals in 4 games to win the crown.
That was Pedro’s last post-season appearance, and that Boone home run was the last time that the Yankees played in the Fall Classic. Two worlds collide as the reigning World Series champs take on the franchise with the most World Series championships in a battle of heavyweight contenders in the 2009 World Series…