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Blogging about the 5x NL East Champion Phillies

Category Archives: Mariano Rivera

5 Teams to Watch in the AL

Yankees – They’re the 2009 World Series champions and still kept intact the solid nucleus that got them there. They traded top prospects to land centerfielder Curtis Granderson, a much better defensive asset than Johnny Damon. They also traded Melky Cabrera to the Braves for Javier Vazquez to bolster the starting rotation. With guys like C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Brunett, and Andy Pettitte, the Yankees boast a very good pitching unit. Mariano Rivera is still the best closer in the game and the aging offense led by Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Mark Teixeira can still put a ton of runs up on the score board. If things go right, they could have another parade down Broadway.

Red Sox – The pitching is truly phenomenal. Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, John Lackey, and Daisuke Matsuzaka form the best top-four in baseball. The offense is led by top young stars Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia. Marco Scutaro is hoping to end the revolving door at the short stop position and Adrian Beltre is an offensive upgrade at third. Offensive depth is the only thing that should concern the Sox but they have the pitching to get the job done. David Ortiz is a shell of his old self but it still the DH.

Twins – It’s safe to say that Joe Mauer is the scariest hitter in the AL. The reigning MVP is one of the reasons Minnesota is buzzing prior to the 2010 season. Along with a new outdoor park and a very dangerous lineup featuring Mauer, Justin Morneau, Jason Kubel, and Michael Cuddyer, the fans and Twins have high expectations for this year. The only problem with them this year though is pitching. If their starters can have decent years, they could beat out Detroit for the division.

Mariners – Seattle is truly going to be a serious contender in the AL. The addition of Cliff Lee, Chone Figgins, and Milton Bradley will revamp a pitching staff and offense in need of fire power. Lee became a hot pitcher again after his last season transformation with the Phillies and will look to create a formidable 1-2 punch with Felix Hernandez. Figgins will add speed and Bradley will look to add power to a Mariners lineup that hit 160 homer (12th in the AL) last season.

Angels – Surely they make their case for a serious playoff contender every year but there has to be a breaking point. They improved an already solid lineup with Hideki Matsui and bolstered their bull pen with Fernando Rodney but the team still doesn’t jump out at anyone. The core of the offense is aging in Bobby Abreu, Torii Hunter, and Matsui and they lost Figgins to the division rival Mariners. Jared Weaver, Joe Saunders, and newly acquired Joel Pineiro will need to have season like 2009 to give the Mariners a fighting chance in an AL crowded with contenders.

East: Yankees
Central: Twins
West: Mariners
Wild Card: Red Sox

Pennant: Yankees over Mariners

Yankees Win 2009 World Series

Once again, the Yankees are Pedro Martinez’s daddy. The Phillies season has finally ended as the Yankees beat up the Phillies pitching, winning game 6 by a score of 7-3 and the series 4-2. Hideki Matsui went 3-4 with six RBI’s, falling a triple shy of the cycle, as he single handedly killed the Phillies hopes of forcing game 7.

Martinez was awful, going just four innings and allowing four runs on three hits and two walks, striking out five. His opponenet, Andy Pettitte, went 5.2, allowing three runs on on four hits and five walks. Despite pitching like crap, Pettite earned the win. Mariano Rivera pitched the last five outs, getting Shane Victorino to ground out to Robinson Cano to seal the victory.

The offensive fire power got going early for the Yankees when Matsui hit a two-run homer in the second. The Phillies answered with a run in the bottom of the inning but were soon counter-punched when Matsui hit a two-run single to make it a 4-1 game.

The Yankees then tacked on three more off of Chad Durbin in the 5th. They got an RBI single by Mark Teixeira and a two-run double by Matsui to make it a 7-3 game. Ryan Howard then came alive, answering with a two-run homer off Pettitte to finally chase him from the game. The Phillies had a huge opportunity in the 7th with Utley at the plate and two outs with two runners on but specialist Demaso Marte came in to strike him out to end the inning.

Carlos Ruiz and Raul Ibanez were the only bright spots of the night. Chooch went 2-2 with a walk and a run scored. Ibanez had a pair of doubles. For the Yankees, Derek Jeter had three hits and two runs.

On a side note, Ryan Howard struck out for the 13th time this World Series, a new record. Matsui also tied Bobby Richardson’s record of six RBI’s in a single game. Richardson did the feat back in 1960 versus the Pirates.

Stars of the Game:
Game 1: Cliff Lee
Game 2: AJ Burnett
Game 3: Nick Swisher
Game 4: Johnny Damon
Game 5: Chase Utley
Game 6: Hideki Matsui

World Series MVP (official):

Hideki Matsui: 8-13 (.615), 3 runs, double, 3 HR, 8 RBI,

World Series LVP:
Ryan Howard: 4-23 (.178), 3 runs, 2 doubles, HR, 3 RBI, 13 K’s (new record)

Phillies Player of the Series:
Chase Utley: 6-21 (.286), 6 runs, double, 5 HR’s, 8 RBI, SB

Phils Fail at Comeback, Yanks Up 3-1

All Brad Lidge had to do was get Johnny Damon out. But he was resilient. Damon fought off every strike-two pitch by Lidge until he got the one he like. After his base hit and steal of second and third, Mark Teixeira walked and Alex Rodriguez drove in Damon to make it a 5-4 game. Jorge Posada tacked on two more with a double to make it 7-4, the final of game four as the Yankees take a commanding 3-1 lead in the World Series. For the record, this was not Brad Lidge’s fault.

Joe Blanton pitched well, allowing four runs on five hits and two walks in six innings of work. He also struck out seven. His counterpart, C.C. Sabathia went 6.2 innings, giving up three runs on seven hits, three walks, and striking out six. He was yanked after Chase Utley made it a 4-3 game with his solo homer in the 7th. Mariano Rivera pitched a quick 9th to earn his second save of the series.

The Phillies had to come back twice in the game. Down 2-0 in the first, the Phillies added a run in the bottom half. They then got another in the 4th off a Pedro Feliz double that scored Ryan Howard from second. Howard appeared to have never touched home plate but was ruled safe. In the top of the 5th, Blanton gave up two more runs to make it a 4-2 game.

After Utley made it 4-3 in the 7th, Pedro Feliz hit a two-out solo home run in the bottom of the 8th off Joba Chamberlain to tie it up. The the wheels fell off as Lidge had to face the top of a Yankees order that scored the most runs in the majors and 95 more than the Phillies, who were 4th.

Star of the Game:
Game 1: Cliff Lee
Game 2: AJ Burnett
Game 3: Nick Swisher
Game 4: Johnny Damon

Next Game: Monday in Philadelphia, 7:57 EST
Series: Yankees lead 3-1
Pitching Probables: AJ Burnett vs. Cliff Lee
Gameday Discussion: Liberty Bell Sports

This is for the Phillies. They are on the ropes. They need to win the next three versus the Yankees, two in New York. An easy task? Hell no. A doable task? Yes it is. Cliff Lee has been incredible this post season and will need to give the Phillies some momentum going into New York. The series isn’t over and the Phillies don’t give up. Not ever!

No matter the out come of this series, I’ll still be writing this blog and I will still be loving the Phillies. This is a team that has been the basis of my sports-loving life since I was five and I have never given up on this team. No matter what happens tonight or Wednesday or Thursday, the real fans will still love this team. Go Phils!
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