Exeunt Phillies

Congratulations to the 2009 World Series champion New York Yankees. It was a great, hard-fought series and they deserve their success, no matter how much money they spent on C.C. Sabathia, Mark Teixiera, and A.J. Burnett. In the end, it was money well spent.

Congratulations to the 2009 National League champion Philadelphia Phillies, who were two World Series victories away from being the first National League team to win back-to-back World Series since the Big Red Machine in 1975-76. It was a hell of a run, and while the dream has poofed for 2009, 2010 is not out of the question.

Game Six was not a thriller. It was hardly dramatic. The Phillies were 3-to-1 underdogs after Hideki Matsui’s two-run home run in the second inning. They were 5-to-1 underdogs when Matsui got his third and fourth RBI’s on a single in the third inning. Matsui made it 49-to-1 on a two-run double in the fifth. Ryan Howard’s two-run home run in the sixth only bumped the Phillies from 3% to win to 7%.

Andy Pettitte, as in Game 3, was not sharp. He had spotty control, walking five while pitching five and two-thirds innings, but induced two gut-punching double plays off of the bats of Chase Utley in the first and Jimmy Rollins in the fifth.

Pedro Martinez, meanwhile, did not have his stuff at all. Contrary to what the FOX broadcasters were saying, his fastball velocity was similar to that on October 29 in Game Two. The difference was that his fastball in Game Two was getting nearly two more inches of horizontal break and more than a half-inch more of vertical break. Simply put, his fastballs tonight were flat(ter).

Martinez’s pitch selection in Game Six was similar to Game Two:

The difference, however, was that in Two, the Yankees got their hits (three singles, a double, and two home runs) on four curve balls and two change-ups. In Six, the Yankees got their three hits (two singles and a home run) all on fastballs.

Martinez wasn’t locating his breaking pitches effectively. Here’s a look at where his change-ups ended up:

  • 35 total change-ups
  • 16 taken for balls (46%)
  • 8 fouled off (23%)
  • 7 taken for called strikes (20%)
  • 2 hit for outs (6%)
  • 2 swung at and missed (6%)

And the sliders:

  • 12 total sliders
  • 4 taken for balls (33%)
  • 3 swung at and missed (25%)
  • 2 hit for outs (17%)
  • 2 taken for strikes (17%)
  • 1 fouled off (8%)

As you can see in the above charts, very rarely did Pedro throw his off-speed pitches below the knees and when he did, the Yankees rarely offered at them. In fact, of the ten change-ups thrown below the knees, only once was it swung at; and none of Pedro’s sliders were southbound. Most of the breaking pitches the Yankees offered at were belt-high or higher, where those pitches are least efficient.

Taking advantage of Pedro Martinez, as he did in Game Two, was Hideki Matsui. In his two plate appearances against the future Hall of Famer, Matsui drove in four runs on a home run and a single. Matsui would add two more RBI — making it six total — against Chad Durbin, tying Bobby Richardson’s single-game World Series record for RBI, set in 1960.

In the World Series, Matsui had 8 hits in 13 at-bats (.615), including three home runs and a double. He led his team in HR and RBI and tied for the lead in hits — a no-brainer choice for World Series MVP even though he only started three games and never took the field.

On the other side of record-breaking, Ryan Howard broke the all-time record for strikeouts in the World Series when he struck out for the 13th time against Damaso Marte in the eighth inning. Chase Utley, a candidate for World Series MVP until Matsui broke out, remained tied with Reggie Jackson for most home runs in the World Series with five.

Mariano Rivera, he of 39 career post-season saves (13 of which have come in the World Series), entered with one out in the eighth inning and recorded the remaining five outs to clinch the championship for the Yankees, their 27th championship in franchise history.

The Phillies have no reason to hang their heads, as they put together the most impressive two-year run in the franchise’s long history, and they are still primed for another run next year. Pedro Martinez, Scott Eyre, Matt Stairs, Chan Ho Park and Brett Myers are all free agents. Martinez, Eyre, and Stairs may hang up their spikes. There are three significant arbitration cases to be dealt with (Joe Blanton, Shane Victorino, and Carlos Ruiz) as well, so the upcoming off-season will be another critical test for GM Ruben Amaro, who is going into his second year handling the business end of things for the Phillies.

For the Yankee-fan view of things, head over to It’s About the Money.

Game graph above courtesy FanGraphs.