Tuesday, November 03, 2009

2009 World Series: Various Perspectives Following Game Five [J. Mark English]

  • Bob Ford, Philadelphia Inquirer: Now comes the hard part....Monday night's World Series win over the New York Yankees was hardly a sure thing, but it was the surest card the Phillies had in their hand as they attempt to play their way out of the deep hole they dug in the first four games of the series....Cliff Lee settled down after a shaky first inning, got some run support and was able to pitch aggressively against the Yankees. The only reliable starter left in the makeshift rotation wasn't as sharp as he was in the opener, but he didn't have to be. New York hasn't been able to hit him consistently, but, in all likelihood, won't get a chance to prove that again....Whatever carryover momentum they hope to take with them will become moot at approximately 8 p.m. tomorrow night when Game 6 begins. After that, it's all up to the starting pitchers to provide the advantages and disadvantages. The Phillies will feel a little better about their chances (having awakened still having some), but everything that follows rides on what they can get from Pedro Martinez in the first game back in Yankee Stadium and whatever mix-and-match special Charlie Manuel dials up for Game 7.
  • Harvey Araton, New York Times: Aided by his bat and an astute apology, Alex Rodriguez is ending the baseball season not as a former steroids user but as a home run hero. In the process, he may be clearing a path forward for himself and his much-maligned sport...This may go down as the season that the fans forgave baseball — or perhaps just grew tired of worrying about performance-enhancing drugs. Rodriguez and Andy Pettitte, two high-profile Yankees stars who were exposed as past users, are shining in the 2009 World Series....Until recently, players accused of cheating selected from two popular options: vehemently deny, as Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens have chosen, or remain silent, as McGwire has. But beginning with the admission last season by Pettitte that he had used human growth hormone, a third option has emerged: quickly apologize and move on....“Obviously, success on the field has helped, but isn’t it something how they beautifully and effectively transcended their humiliation?” said Richard Emery, one of the lawyers representing Brian McNamee, the physical trainer who cited Pettitte and Clemens in George J. Mitchell’s investigation into steroids for Major League Baseball.
  • Lee Jenkins, Sports Illustrated: The biggest catchphrase in this World Series, besides instant replay of course, is short rest. Who's getting it? Who's giving it? Who's refusing it? Charlie Manuel did not ask Cliff Lee to pitch on short rest in Game 4 and the Phillies lost. Joe Girardi did ask A.J. Burnett to pitch on short rest in Game 5 and the Yankees lost. Both managers exposed themselves to criticism even though they made exact opposite moves...The problem was not with their decision-making. It was with their reluctance to reverse those decisions when the circumstances changed. After the Phillies lost Game 3, they had to win Game 4 to stay afloat, but Manuel still stuck with Joe Blanton over Lee. After the Yankees took Game 4, they no longer needed Game 5, but Girardi still went with Burnett on three days rest. It was the bold call, an attempt to press the action and ride the momentum, but given the Yankees 3-1 lead, it was completely unnecessary....In their haste to close the door on the Phillies, the Yankees have left it cracked. Burnett gave up six runs in two innings Monday night, making the case against short rest in an 8-6 loss. Now the Yankees will likely ask Pettittte to do what Burnett could not. While Burnett is in his prime, Pettitte is 37, has not pitched on short rest in three years, and is 4-6 with a 4.15 earned run average when he has tried it in the regular season...The Yankees are gambling heavily in a series that should have been a sure thing. If Pettitte falters in Game 6 on Wednesday against Pedro Martinez -- yes, the self-proclaimed "old goat" is back -- the Yankees will still have Sabathia for Game 7. Sabathia is more comfortable than most on short rest, but even he was not as dominant as usual Sunday night, giving up three runs in 6 1/3 innings. Short rest takes a toll on everyone.

Labels: , , , , ,