Last year, the Phillies won the World Series behind the strength of Cole Hamels and Brad Lidge. This year, they are likely going to lose the World Series because of the failure of those same two players. What was a dream World Series match-up for many has now turned into a nightmare for the Phillies.
The Yankees are up 3 games to 1 in the series and there is no tomorrow for the Phillies. Winning 3 games in a row is not impossible; the Phils did that many times this year. But against this Yankees team, it appears to be an insurmountable climb. But it is not over until it is over and Cliff Lee will pitch tonight.
As for last night’s 7-4 loss, Joe Blanton had a Blah-anton-like performance, giving up 4 runs in 6 innings on 5 hits and 2 walks. Overall, he did not have a good post-season at all and ended with a 6.00 ERA, assuming he does not pitch again. Much like Cole Hamels the day before, Blanton looked good for about 3 innings after a horrible 2-run 1st inning. If he had held it to those 1st two runs, that would have been great. But, no such luck.
The offense scratched and clawed at CC Sabathia to get back into the game and did manage to score 3 runs off him, including Chase Utley’s 3rd solo homer off CC this post-season. But two hottest hitters this week, went hitless: Jayson Werth and Carlos Ruiz. And Raul Ibanez continues to be worthless at the plate; he is batting .188. Pedro Feliz had suffered as well, but came up with a 3 hit night, including the game tying home run in the 8th inning.
But the heroics by Feliz, which at the time felt like a real positive, were quickly squashed by another Brad Lidge disaster. Lidge came into the 9th with a 4-4 tie and got the first two outs in the blink of an eye. But that 3rd out still eludes Lidge, as it has all year long. He gave up a hit to Johnny Damon who then blew the game wide open.
The Phillies put the shift on for Mark Teixiera, so Feliz was covering 2nd base. Now, we all know that every base runner steals on Lidge, right? Well, we all know that except maybe Lidge, who appeared confused by what has become routine for him. The problem here is that no one was covering 3rd base and Damon kept right on going. After the game, Lidge was asked who should have covered 3rd and he said, “I don’t know.” News flash: it was you, Brad! Ugh.
Then with the runner on 3rd, he proceeded to hit Teixiera with a pitch. This is where I believe it really went to hell; Teixiera had ONE hit all series long. This was not the guy to screw up with. If he was going to get out of the inning, Teixiera was the guy to go after. BIG mistake. After that, the rest is history; an A-Rod single scored Damon and Jorge Posada knocked in two more. And Lidge walks off with an ERA of 27.00. Yikes!
I am going to the game tonight and hopefully, I will not have to witness the Phillies going down in flames. But it does not look good right now, except for the fact that Cliff Lee will pitch. Lee has been the only bright light thus far in the World Series for the Phillies pitchers, but he cannot do this alone. I wish him (and me) luck tonight!
Photo by Jenn