What Ya Gonna Do?

October 29, 2009 – 12:10 pm

Philadelphia 6, NYY 1. Last night was as good an example as you will see of the old adage “good pitching beats good hitting”. Cliff Lee had nasty stuff, and when he struck out four of the first seven Yankee hitters in the first two innings, including Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez, it was obvious the Yankees were in for a long night. The only way they were going to win this one was for CC Sabathia to throw a shutout, but CC missed on two pitches to Chase Utley and that was that.

It would be easy to go in to a panic over the Yankee offense looking terrible, particularly with Tex and A-Rod going a combined 0-for-8 with 5 Ks. But the reality is that their performance was all about Cliff Lee, and had very little to do with the Yankee bats. Cliff Lee is one very hot pitcher right now — something all the pundits seemed to overlook in their WS prognostications. Lee will get at least one more start, maybe two — so one way or the other the Yankees are going to have to figure out a way to beat him. That’s what it’s all going to come down to. If it’s CC vs. Lee again in game four, that could be the determining game in the series.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves…. the critical game right now is tonight, and the big question is which A.J. Burnett is going to show up. If it’s “bad” A.J., then we’ve got a real problem. And there’s also the issue of the bullpen, which certainly is not living up to it’s hype. But I think that problem is not as bad as it might appear. Phil Hughes has hit a wall — for whatever reasons, who knows — but hopefully with last night’s performance Joe Girardi has seen enough and that’s the last we will see of Hughes in close games. And ditto Brian Bruney who was activated for the series. Good gamble putting him on the roster, but alas it didn’t work — he’s too rusty and also can’t be trusted in a close game. Girardi got a good education about his relivers last night, at least let’s hope he did. So tonight it should be Chamberlain first out of the pen, then maybe Robertson who still looks good, and then of course Rivera who has now had four days off and could be good for another 2-inning appearance. But it all has to start with “good” A.J. showing up.

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