Ryan Madsen

Utley, Lee Force Series Back to New York: Phillies 8, Yankees 6

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009 | 2009 Fall Classic, MLB, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Sports, World Series | No Comments

phillies top yankees world series chase utley cliff lee1

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…

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