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Running Blog for Game 1 of the 2009 World Series

Kirk Gibson

The most famous Game 1 moment in World Series history

Will Nick Swisher or Matt Stairs be the next Kirk Gibson?

No matter how many people picking the Yankees, I think this will be a very, very even series. The lineups are very even. The starting rotations are very even (and the Phillies obviously have more depth there). A lot of people are saying Mariano Rivera gives the Yankees the critical advantage, but the Phillies bullpen has improved during the playoffs.

With both teams matched up so well, I am left to go with my gut and I will choose the Phillies in 6.

Granted, the last time I did a pro sports championship, my Los Angeles Lakers faced the Orlando Magic. Before that series, I took the Magic in 7.

So now, I am choosing against my team again. I am a die-hard Yankees fan. Maybe I just undersell my teams? I am a pretty pessimistic person, actually so maybe there is some truth to that.

Anyway, follow on with this running blog on Game 1 of the World Series.

4:38 p.m. Cliff Lee vs. CC Sabathia. You can’t expect anything less than a pitchers’ duel. I’ll take the Yankees tonight, 4-1. One note. Both teams are very good against left-handed pitchers this season. The Yankees were 40-18 while the Phillies were 31-16.

4:40 p.m. But really, we all know that Game 1 is the least consequential game in a seven-game seven. I think the key to this series will be seen tomorrow. I’ll talk about that then when I do another running blog for Game 2.

4:43 p.m. Ozzie Guillen just took the Phillies in this series. Well, I think he did. It’s hard to hear him through all the mumbling and cuss words.

4:44 p.m. I keep forgetting about Raul Ibanez in that Phillies lineup. Damn, they are stupid deep.

4:52 p.m. Very interesting bunch there for the first pitch. But the booing of Michelle Obama is a little uncalled for. Is the World Series really a stage for that? I digress.

4:56 p.m. I don’t know if it means anything, but … notable Phillies vs. Sabathia: Ryan Howard and Shane Victorino are 3-for-7. Jimmy Rollins is 4-for-11 with a couple of doubles. Raul Ibanez is 11-for-40 with two homers and nine RBIs.

4:58 p.m. OK, this game was scheduled to start at 7:57 p.m. Let’s get this show on the damn road! I am out of pregame stats.

5:00 p.m. The good thing about Joe Buck? He’s not Chip Caray.

5:01 p.m. We’re underway with a bunt by Rollins on the first pitch. But I don’t expect many one-pitch at-bats. Predicted time of game: 3:29. Good pace.

5:06 p.m. Left-handed batters versus Sabathia this year hit .198. With the walk to Utley, here comes the most feared left-handed hitter in the game.

5:08 p.m. So, Tim McCarver says that the Yankees will try to throw a bunch of breaking balls to Howard. The next pitch is a fastball over the heart of the plate and Howard yanks it for a double.

5:09 p.m. Yes, there are some rain drops, but this game shouldn’t be forced into a delay tonight.

5:11 p.m. So early on, CC is missing up with his fastball. Something to keep track of.

5:15 p.m. Ibanez got busted in a bit, but let’s be honest: Sabathia got lucky on that one. If I’m the Phillies though, I am pleased to have put together a first-inning threat and make Sabathia throw 24 pitches.

5:18 p.m. Against Cliff Lee: Johnny Damon is 2-for-22. Derek Jeter is 11-for-27. Alex Rodriguez is 5-for-15 with a couple of home runs. Mark Teixeira is 9-for-23 with four doubles and a home run. But, some of that may have come during the years when Lee was having a hard time just staying in the major leagues.

5:20 p.m. Sabathia got the first two batters he faced out easily, too …

5:21 p.m. … but Lee did what Sabathia couldn’t: put away hitters.

5:23 p.m. The Fourth Kind looks pretty good … except for the fact that the “based on a true story” angle is absolutely false.

5:26 p.m. It may be a lot to pronounce, but I would rather be called Carsten Charles than CC. That name is not nearly as badass.

5:28 p.m. Joe Buck complaining about the rain from his heated booth. Oh, poor baby!

5:29 p.m. Simple, quick inning by Sabathia. It’s too early to say that he really needed that, but he’ll definitely take the 10-pitch inning.

5:32 p.m. I don’ t believe that Rodriguez ever lost the joy of baseball. He may have dreaded it at times, but as we found out in spring training, that was his own fault. Plus, there was always the $250+ million.

5:34 p.m. That rain is really picking up. Maybe I should retract my comment at 5:09 p.m.

5:35 p.m. The Yankees get their first base runner with a hit to right by Posada, but it wasn’t like he got good wood on that ball. That was a solid pitch by Lee.

5:38 p.m. Cano drives a fairly well-hit ball to center, but we’ll head to the third scoreless.

5:40 p.m. During commercials, I am trying to decide what I want for dinner from a take-out Chinese restaurant. I am a slave to orange chicken.

5:42 p.m. Sabathia finally gets a fastball down, but Rollins gets all over it. It didn’t look or sound like it was hit out. It needed about five more feet.

5:45 p.m. Victorino gets under one and crushes it foul. Sabathia comes back two pitches later with another fastball a little more outside and gets the ground out.

5:50 p.m. A healthy diet of pitches inside to Utley, but he has such a great compact swing, he can explode on any of them.

5:52 p.m. And that’s what I am talking about. fastball, down and in and he muscled it out of there. 1-0 Phillies.

5:53 p.m. Sabathia is already up to 58 pitches. Now he could throw 120 easily, but the Yanks really need him to pitch into the seventh inning at least.

5:59 p.m. Looks like the Yankees are going to need to bide their time. Cliff Lee just looks on point right now.

Just as I say that, Jeter doubles down the right-field line on a belt-high fastball.

6:01 p.m. Think Lee will throw that 1-1 pitch again?

6:02 p.m. No, Lee sticks with the fastball, breaking Damon’s bat and getting him to ground out weakly to third.

6:04 p.m. As of right now, Cliff Lee has thrown 27.1 innings in this postseason. He has allowed two earned runs, three hits and just 16 hits.

6:08 p.m. Nasty curveball by Sabathia to strike out Ibanez. May have been his toughest pitch so far tonight.

6:10 p.m. 1-2-3 inning for Sabathia. We are now one hour into the game and are heading to the bottom of the fourth. Bad pace, bad pace.

6:15 p.m. Heh. Heh. Dubee.

6:16 p.m. Pitchers’ duel are death for live blogs. There just isn’t much to talk about. Lee has been fantastic. Sabathia has been pretty good.

I think I am distracted as I try to find out what I want for dinner. Chinese is now out of the picture. I had it last week.

6:18 p.m. That was Lee’s first full-count pitch of the night and he had A-Rod way out in front on the changeup.

6:20 p.m. I just feel like not typing while the Yankees are at bat because there isn’t much to say other than “another weak out” or “strikeout.”

6:21 p.m. I don’t want to let my Yankee bias come into this, but I have to since it’s the World Series. I am a very superstitious person when it comes to sports and it’s come obvious to me that something needs to change. Give me a minute while I change positions in the living room.

6:24 p.m. My most memorable superstitious moment in sports came during the 1998 World Series with the Yankees vs. Padres. The Yankees started to mount a rally while I was kneeling in front of a toilet, praying with my head down onto the seat. I had to stay in that position for the rest of the inning.

6:30 p.m. You would hate to say right now that the batters are just going through the motions, but they know that there is nothing doing right now.

6:32 p.m. Matsui hits a soft single up the middle. In this game, this qualifies as a huge rally.

6:33 p.m. I predict that the world order will be set back into place here with a double play or strikeout by Cano. We can’t possibly have the Yankees with two runners on base in the same inning, can we?

6:35 p.m. What a great play by Jimmy Rollins! This is similar to thinking of why fielders should let the ball drop during and infield fly rule. See if the runners know the rules or are paying attention to the game.

6:37 p.m. So Cano hits into a double play … just a very unconventional one.

6:38 p.m. Somewhere, I’m sure Tim McClelland thought that the umpires made the wrong call on that play.

6:40 p.m. I’m surprised we don’t see the types of plays that Rollins just pulled off more often. Like I said, in infield-fly rule situations, more fielders should just let the ball drop and see if an unaware runners tries to advance, not knowing the rules. Or, like Rollins did, act as if the ball is going to hit the ground on a double play, get the runner to start advancing, then catch it and get an easy two outs. God, for a Yankees fan, I love that play by Rollins way too much.

6:46 p.m. I was just going to say that it was nice for Sabathia to come back from being down 3-0 to get Victorino and then he was in front of Utley, but screw that. What a SHOT by Utley! Another fastball down, this one wasn’t in as far as Utley’s first home run and there was no doubt as soon as it hit the bat.

6:48 p.m. You could see Posada targeting an up-and-in pitch to Utley. It was no where close to the spot Posada wanted it to be in.

6:53 p.m. The Phillies have done exactly what they have wanted to do: Work Sabathia into a lot of deep, long counts.

6:55 p.m. Sabathia has thrown 104 pitches. I think he’ll be out there for the seventh, but the Phillies have done a nice job of making him work in a lot of their at-bats.

6:56 p.m. Two runs off of Cliff Lee. Uh, that seems very unlikely.

6:58 p.m. The Yankees said they wanted to come into this game and try to disrupt Lee’s timing since he likes to work quickly. I have not see any of that.

6:59 p.m. The Yankees also wanted to work the count like the Phillies have. Working the count is one of the Yankees’ strengths, but it’s hard to do that when the opposing pitcher just keeps throwing strikes. Cliff Lee’s strike percentage is near 64 percent.

7:00 p.m. Realistically, the Yankees are just one swing away from a tie. But it’s not feasible with how Damon sees Lee’s pitches.

7:01 p.m. By the way, I have settled on an old standby for dinner: Olive Garden. Chicken Alfredo pasta with salad and bread sticks. Good, but basic. I am at a friend’s house. He will go pick it up because you know I can’t leave this right now.

7:03 p.m. Jeez, McCarver. Lee’s catch wasn’t that funny. Settle, kid.

7:04 p.m. Up 2-0 in the count, I have no idea why Teixeira is swinging on that pitch. Again, work the count, try to get it to a three-ball count in which he has to throw you a strike. But what do I know?

7:10 p.m. Well, Girardi says that what happens tonight will tell if Sabathia comes back on three days rest. Really, it depends on what happens in games 1-3. If they Yanks are down 3-0 or 2-1 going into Game 4, I don’t think the Yankees have a choice but to pitch Sabathia on short rest.

7:12 p.m. I would have to go back and think of each at bat, but how many balls have the Yankees hit hard tonight? Two?

7:13 p.m. You might be able to see my cousin on ESPN right now. She was named a San Antonio Spurs cheerleader a couple of months ago. I’m very happy for her, but it certainly changes the way that you look at cheerleaders, you know?

7:17 p.m. The Yankees’ only saving grace right now is that Lee might hit the 120-pitch mark by the time he is done with the eighth inning and the Phillies would bring in Brad Lidge for the ninth.

But Lee is at only 86 pitches and Lidge has been very good this postseason.

7:19 p.m. Also, it must be pointed out that Carlos Ruiz has done a masterful job of framing pitches tonight for Lee.

7:20 p.m. Sabathia did a fine job. He really only made one really bad pitch (Utley’s second home run). But Lee is just unbeatable tonight.

We’ll see if those Phil Hughes-fatigued rumors have any merit.

7:25 p.m. I think McCarver said a few minutes ago that the Yankees were 36-8 since the All-Star break. Obviously, that doesn’t sound right, so I looked it up. They went 51-22. Slight difference there, Timmy.

7:26 p.m. Fatigue, confidence, pressure, whatever. Phil Hughes has obviously not been as sharp in these playoffs as he was in the regular season.

7:30 p.m. Those last two pitches looked pretty close, but nonetheless, it’s amazing to think that David Robertson is the set-up man that I trust the most right now as a Yankees fan.

7:33 p.m. Hughes starts the inning with consecutive walks and he is done. That’s probably the last time we see him in a close situation. He just doesn’t deserve the trust.

7:36 p.m. Chase Utley. Babe Ruth. Same thing.

7:38 p.m. Those two strikes by Marte were exactly where Hughes throw a couple of his pitches that were called balls. No wonder he was barking at the ump coming off the mound. I thought he had a case.

7:40 p.m. I feel a big hit coming from Howard right here.

7:41 p.m. Or a big line drive to right. Nice job by Marte. Still, it doesn’t matter as long as Lee is in the game. Like Joe Buck said, this feels like a much more lopsided game than 2-0.

7:42 p.m. My Olive Garden food has arrived. It will wait.

7:46 p.m. “Here’s a guy in David Robertson who only throws 91 MPH.” The first 1-2 pitch was clocked at 93.

7:48 p.m. Another big two-strike hit by the Phillies. This one is over.

7:49 p.m. Nice play by Rodriguez to end the inning, but the Yankee middle relief gives up two critical runs. The Phillies have just played a perfect game tonight … well, other than the fact that Lee isn’t pitching a perfect game. But it’s fairly close.

7:53 p.m. Wow! It’s all working for Cliff Lee tonight. What a great behind-the-back snag.

7:58 p.m. So, where does Lee’s performance rank in greatest performances by a starting pitcher in World Series history? It doesn’t touch Don Larsen or Jack Morris, but it’s one of the greatest. Granted, I don’t know how big this list is.

8:02 p.m. Let’s just get this show to the bottom of the ninth …

8:05 p.m. Ruiz hits a booming double to the gap and then Rollins cues it over to third for a base hit. The Yankees couldn’t even get that against Lee tonight.

8:07 p.m. And then Victorino singles to right and the rout is on. Girardi will make a pitching change. Greeeeaaaaaaat! My chicken Alfredo is getting luke warm!!!

8:14 p.m. Wow, Utley got on top of that ball juuuuuuust a little bit or else he would be the next Reggie Jackson. Also, Alex Rodriguez is not the next Reggie Jackson.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Well, at this point, as you may or may not have figured, WordPress’ server shut down. So I didn’t get to finish out this game. But I did want to give credit to the Phillies for keeping the pressure on in a meaningless ninth inning. They outplayed the Yankees early and demoralized them late.

The Yankees finally scored in the ninth, even though it was an unearned run. Phillies won 6-1. There just aren’t many positives the Yankees can take out of this game. They were just outplayed. And Cliff Lee, there are no superlatives for his performance. Absolutely tremendous.

But hey, at least I got my Olive Garden!

Game 2 is Thursday night; Pedro Martinez vs. A.J. Burnett. It is, for lack of a better term, a must-win for the Yankees. I am undecided if I will do another blog on it. Since I am not at my own house right now, it’s a little inconsiderate to take up someone else’s TV for three hours, especially when they don’t like baseball.

We’ll see.

Thanks for following along and I am very sorry about the abrupt stop in the blog.

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  1. October 29, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    I would appreciate it greatly if you were to do another one for Game 2.

    That’s just where I stand.

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