A Harrowing Escape

Remember the position James Bond was in in Goldfinger, when he was tied up with the laser ready to — what do lasers do again? slice? buzz? — him into two pieces?

“You expect me to talk?”

“No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die.”

The Phillies didn’t talk; they walked, both literally (in the baseball sense) and figuratively.

After yet another first inning run was given to the Yankees — the third in two games — Chase Utley gave the Phillies the spark they needed to force a Game 6 in New York. Jimmy Rollins led off the bottom of the first with a line drive single up the middle, and A.J. Burnett proceeded to hit Shane Victorino in the hand with a two-seam fastball that didn’t tail back into the strike zone.

Utley, to that point, had done the majority of his damage against C.C. Sabathia. Burnett, however, served up a first-pitch fastball down the middle that simply couldn’t be passed up. Chase took his usual perfect, effortless, mechanically-flawless swing of his and gave the fans in the right field seats a souvenir and the Phillies a 3-1 lead. The home run was Utley’s fourth of the World Series, tying Lenny Dykstra, Barry Bonds, and Duke Snider for the National League record.

In the third inning, the Phillies stayed patient against A.J. Burnett who, unlike his Game 2 self, simply could not find the strike zone. Chase Utley and Ryan Howard both walked to start the inning. Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez would follow with RBI singles to center field and right field respectively. It was at that point manager Joe Girardi opted to remove Burnett from the game — without having recorded an out in the third inning. Burnett’s replacement, David Robertson, would allow the sixth run on a Carlos Ruiz RBI groundout.

Chase Utley hit his second home run of the game and fifth home run of the post-season in the seventh inning off of Phil Coke. Utley’s five is tied with Reggie Jackson for most in a World Series all-time. He still has at least one more game left to lay sole claim to the record. Ibanez also added a solo home run in the seventh off of Coke after Ryan Howard struck out, tying Willie Wilson’s post-season record with 12 strikeouts.

The early offense, a five-run cushion, was more than enough for Phillies savior and starter Clifton Phifer Lee. The Phillies put ten runners on base on five hits, four walks, and the hit-by-pitch in the first three innings alone. Lee wasn’t as sharp as he had been in his prior four post-season starts, but was good enough to keep the Yankee offense at bay.

Charlie Manuel — who has rarely pushed the right buttons in the World Series — let Lee come back out for the eighth inning despite owning a six-run lead and many available arms in the bullpen. He allowed a single to Johnny Damon and two doubles to Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez to start the inning. A-Rod’s drove in two runs with the double and would score on a sacrifice fly by Robinson Cano, making the score 8-5.

Lee’s final line: 7 IP, 5 ER, 3 K, 3 BB. It looks much worse than his start really was. His line was 7 IP, 2 ER, 3 K, 3 BB prior to Manuel’s illogical decision to allow him to take the bump to start the eighth. Chan Ho Park, however, limited the damage in relief of Lee, and Ryan Madson induced Derek Jeter to hit into a run-scoring ground ball double-play, and struck out Mark Teixeira in the ninth to seal an 8-6 victory.

The Phillies will pack up their bags and head to New York for Game 6, which will likely see a match-up between starters Andy Pettitte (on short rest) and Pedro Martinez.

One down, two to go.

Game graph above courtesy FanGraphs.

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22 comments

  1. JM

    November 02, 2009 11:52 PM

    Lee wasn’t as sharp, but you failed to mention two things. First, Jimmy Rollins fielded the Damon single in the 8th but couldn’t get it to first base. Although it was ruled a hit, it looked very close to a Rollins error to me.

    Second, A-Rod’s double likely would have been caught by a better outfielder. Raul Ibanez looked just silly letting it bounce off his glove.

    So, on paper Cliff Lee allowed five runs. In my opinion, I’d say it was more like 3 (okay, I’ll say 3-1/2).

  2. melk

    November 03, 2009 12:04 AM

    It won’t happen but it should be Happ starting Game 6 and Martinez (6 innings max) in Game 7.
    Can say it’s to give pedro extra day rest. Happ has the potential to go 7+. And less of bullpen, the better. (Also makes replace of hamels less of issue — you’ve got to hope (unless it’s the 17th inning) that Hamels (like Lidge) is done for the season.

  3. Sean

    November 03, 2009 12:07 AM

    I’m with JM on this one completely. Bad non-pitching defense let the Yanks nearly come back tonight, and did let them come back last night (bad call pulling third to short last night with Damon, 2 outs and not covering 3rd).

    Rollins blowing that throw, coupled with Ibanez’s missed catch almost blew it. Even Howard’s deer in headlights first base grounder when he hesitated and let a run score from third (forget which Yank) is what is costing the Phils. Maybe not called errors, but plays that need to be made to win a WS.

    Also, Howard really needs to get out of his slump. You can’t win with one of your best hitters just not showing up at all. All of these homers are great, but too many of them are solo because Howard’s (and before tonight, Rollins) are never on base and are ending the innings with men on.

  4. MRM

    November 03, 2009 12:14 AM

    Don’t forget Francisco’s delayed throw home that Rodriguez scored on. I’m thinking Victorino would have just got that ball in ASAP, whether to Utley or Ruiz, holding Rodriguez at third.

  5. jom

    November 03, 2009 12:34 AM

    how bout the fact that victorino offered at that pitch that hit him? should have been a strike, not a hbp. who knows what happens after that, maybe a hit, maybe an out. maybe chase hits a 2 run homer, 3 run homer, or sees a different pitch and gets out. that missed call was costly to the Yanks

  6. Rich

    November 03, 2009 12:53 AM

    Victorino did not offer at the pitch that hit him.

  7. Dave

    November 03, 2009 01:22 AM

    It was CLEAR on the replay that Victorino did not offer at the pitch that hit him.

  8. e

    November 03, 2009 01:28 AM

    Good thing Amaro doesn’t believe in defensive metrics!

    oh. and Myers needs to be banned from the team.

  9. jerseyhoya

    November 03, 2009 01:33 AM

    We got this, Crash

  10. jom

    November 03, 2009 01:40 AM

    he did offer at the pitch, he did not pull back until after the ball hit his hand.

  11. Mark

    November 03, 2009 08:07 AM

    If you watched the replay at all you would notice well before the ball got to him that he was pulling back and trying to get out of the way. Also, by the time the ball hit his hand the bat was way back by his back shoulder and his head was turned. Just because he put the bat out doesn’t mean he offered. To offer you need to make an effort to hit the ball. All Victorino was doing was trying not to get hit in the face.

  12. Jussayin...

    November 03, 2009 08:35 AM

    Mark, I guess you see things differently than they actually are.

    Hit in the face? Really? The bat up by his shoulder? Really? I think you should get a job as an umpire, you could do as good a job at blowing calls as they do if that is how you saw that.

  13. Jussayin...

    November 03, 2009 08:37 AM

    The Phillies have no faith in their bullpen. None. That is why they kept Lee in the game.

  14. smitty

    November 03, 2009 10:12 AM

    Victorino didn’t offer at the pitch. But he did turn into it-though in an attempt to get out of the way

  15. Jussa

    November 03, 2009 11:18 AM

    Yeah hit in the face. If you take a gander at where the ball is heading to start with it’s right at his face as he is squared around at the beginning of the pitch. He turned his head away expecting to take the hit in the body but that caused his hand to move right into the line of fire. As for the bat barrel coming back to his back shoulder I took a look again and you are right there. What I was remembering was his left hand coming back to his body. I thought he brought the bat with it when in fact he took his hand off of it.

    There was no attempt at the ball all his movements in that entire sequence were to defend himself from being hit. I would like to see you attempt a bunt on a 90 some mph fastball coming at your face.

  16. Mark

    November 03, 2009 11:22 AM

    Jussa,

    Yeah hit in the face. If you take a gander at where the ball is heading to start with it’s right at his face as he is squared around at the beginning of the pitch. He turned his head away expecting to take the hit in the body but that caused his hand to move right into the line of fire. As for the bat barrel coming back to his back shoulder I took a look again and you are right there. What I was remembering was his left hand coming back to his body. I thought he brought the bat with it when in fact he took his hand off of it.

    There was no attempt at the ball all his movements in that entire sequence were to defend himself from being hit. I would like to see you attempt a bunt on a 90 some mph fastball coming at your face.

  17. Pedro

    November 03, 2009 12:38 PM

    He was definitely offering. He didn’t react until after he was hit. I’ve watched the replay numerous times, pausing it just before and just after he got hit. He releases the bat the moment AFTER he is hit, and the bat is still square. Also, he didn’t turn away until after he got hit, because the ball came in so quickly there wasn’t time to turn away.

    Also, since he was looking for a pitch in the strike zone, he didn’t pick up the ball until late. Even just considering the speed of the pitch and the time when he picked up the ball coming towards him, there is no way he could have pulled back in time.

    And, if it was as obvious as everyone is trying to make it, then why did Girardi come out of the dugout to argue, and why did the home plate umpire appeal to 3rd? Notice that the home plate umpire didn’t say he didn’t offer. He said the third base umpire said he pulled it back. Home plate ump wasn’t sure either. Why couldn’t the third plate ump be wrong?

    But it doesn’t matter. Yankees win 10-4 on Wednesday.

  18. john

    November 04, 2009 12:42 AM

    Charlie will never do it (his rigidity and dumb loyalty are a bigger problem than Howard) but he should put Werth after Utley and then Howard…………especially with petite. Right handers hit much much better and it would be good to break up the lefties. That inning in Game four where we had rollins and Vic on with no outs………..what happened………out out out (lefty lefty lefty). But Manuel would let Howard strike out another 40 times before he made a change. Guess what Charlie there are only two games left in the WS……….show your players you can manage…..Werth hit 36 homers on the year – he is more than deserving of the cleanup role. This change in itself might actually win us the game.

  19. Pete

    November 04, 2009 05:56 AM

    And, if it was as obvious as everyone is trying to make it, then why did Girardi come out of the dugout to argue….

    Irrelevant. Managers argue calls that go against their team, regardless of whether they have any idea what the right call should have been. It’s usually done to support their players so a player doesn’t run the risk of getting tossed. I’m not saying Girardi didn’t really believe the ump missed the call, but whether he chooses to argue has no bearing on whether the call was missed or even close.

    Anyway, I’ve noticed this appeal to Yankee authority seems to be a trend. One post argued that it is obvious ARod is being intentionally hit because ARod said it was obvious.

  20. jon

    November 04, 2009 11:23 AM

    Looking at the replay shows clearly that the bat was still extended for the bunt. It has to be not just pulled back but turned 90 degrees. The fact that he was going to be hit does not matter. How often has a ball been thrown at a players head in a non bunt situation and in spinning out of the way it tips the bat for a strike. It is true he tried to protect himself but he did not pull back on the bunt in the process so it is a strike.

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