Damon + A-Rod = Win!

November 2, 2009 – 12:11 pm

NYY 7, Philadelphia 4. Alex Rodriguez has seemingly morphed from a batter who never could hit in the clutch to one who now only hits when it’s a clutch situation. When A-Rod came to the plate in the ninth with the score tied, two outs, and the go-ahead run on third he was 0-for-3 for the night and 1-for-13 for the series with 7 Ks. But with game four and a 3-1 series advantage in the balance, Rodriquez of course came through with a double off the left-field wall. Amazing. And not to be overlooked was Johnny Damon’s contribution. First, with two outs he extended the inning with a great at-bat, finally getting a line drive single to left. And then he came through with some brilliant base-running, stealing both second and third on one play because of the moronic shift that the Phillies had on for Mark Teixeira. Being on third took away a lot of Brad Lidge’s pitch options, and made it that much easier for Alex to sit on a fastball. So really we need to credit Damon as much as A-Rod for this W.

Swish Is BackWith a 3-1 series lead, the Yankees now have two chances to win it all without having to go to a Game Seven. And hopefully they can avoid that, as it’s now becoming pretty obvious that CC Sabathia pitching on three days rest is not nearly as good as CC with full rest. That’s not to say he’s not very good even on just three days rest — but twice now he’s seemed to struggle, becoming something of an Andy Pettitte-style pitcher. In 6+ innings, CC either gave up runs or had runners in scoring position in five of those innings. But bottom line, he held the Phillies to just three runs, and kept them at bay long enough for the Yankees to put some offense together in the ninth. Joba Chamberlain also did a very good job in the eighth, although he did unfortunately give up the tying run with just one bad pitch to Pedro Feliz which left the yard. But still, Joba did end up striking out the side and even had Feliz at two strikes — so all things considered, another good outing for Joba. And once the Yankees took the lead in the top of the ninth, it was take it to the bank time with Mariano Rivera. This time Mo really had to extend himself, throwing all of eight pitches to get the save. Rivera has now gotten two saves with his last 13 pitches. How’s that for being efficient?

So the Yankees can wrap it all up with a win tonight — but ah, the hurdles they will be facing. First off the Phillies have Cliff Lee going on normal rest. If he’s as dominant as he was in the first game, we’ll see you back in New York. And even if not, the Yankees have A.J. Burnett going on just three days rest. How will that effect who shows up, “Good” A.J. or “Bad” A.J.? Plus, we’ll have Jose Molina catching instead of Jorge Posada. And game four was a great example of just what that means. Jorge got a big hit in the ninth, driving in two insurance runs — but at the same time his terrible defense gave the Phillies a run in fourth, and then his base running in the ninth after his hit was yet another example of just how lost he seems to be once he gets on base. All things considered, I still like keeping A.J. happy and having Posada to come off the bench. And finally for this game we have the ongoing mystery of when Mark Teixeira is going to emerge from his 1-for-14 slump with 6 Ks. It’s a good thing that the Yankees are on the verge of winning it all — otherwise, you know there would be a lot of fingers pointing at “clutchless” Mark Teixeira.

Photo: Yahoo! Sports

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