If this were the circus, the Ut-Lee Show might replace Ringling Brothers as the Greatest Show On Earth. For the second time in this World Series against the Yankees, Cliff Lee and Chase Utley have joined forces to win a crucial game for the Phillies. Game 5 was a must win as a loss would have sent them home empty handed. The Phillies pulled off an 8-6 win and this series will head back to New York for Game 6.
Chase Utley set the tone in the first inning. Jimmy Rollins led off with a single and then Shane Victorino took a wicked hit to his hand with a pitch that got away from AJ Burnett. Utley made the Yankees pay by smacking a 3-run homer off Burnett on the first pitch he saw. Utley homered again in the 7th inning and ended with 4 RBI, 2 hits, a walk and 3 runs scored. And those 2 homers gave Utley 5 total for this World Series, a total previously matched only by Reggie Jackson in 1977 and Utley did it in one less game. Move over, Mr. October!
As for the non-Utley offense, Raul Ibanez woke from his slumber and hit a solo shot in the 7th. Ibanez had another RBI on a single earlier in the game too. But Ryan Howard is still slumping; he walked twice and did not have a hit in the game. Then there is Cliff Lee, who has the highest average on the team for this series; he had another hit last night and is batting .333.
On the mound, Lee became the first Phillies pitcher since Steve Carlton in 1980 to win two games in the same World Series with his performance last night. Lee allowed only 2 runs over 7 innings, although he got into trouble in the 8th and 3 more runs scored. But Lee probably should not have been sent out for the 8th at all if the Phillies were considering using Lee on short rest for a possible Game 7. And in the post-game conference, Charlie Manuel and Lee indicated that the Game 7 scenario was a possibility.
The move to leave Lee in is telling; first, it shows confidence in Lee. But more importantly, it also shows that Manuel is still unsure about his bullpen, which is not surprising. Brad Lidge blew a tie in Game 4, which the Phillies then lost. Ryan Madson has been shaky and allowed 3 hits and 1 run before saving the game last night in a nail biter of an inning.
The rest of the starters have been inconsistent as well. No one is sure what to expect from Pedro Martinez tomorrow; Joe Blanton has not had a good post-season; and Cole Hamels will likely not pitch again after several disasters and his diarrhea-of-the-mouth episode in which he wished for the season to be over. Lee cannot pitch every game so Martinez will need to come up big if the Phillies are to have a shot at repeating.
The good news is, the Phillies have momentum with the win last night. The bad news is, the Yankees are not going to give in and will have their home town crowd to support them. Andy Pettitte will be on 3 days rest, but Pettitte is better on 3 days rest than many pitchers on full rest. And so the battle begins at 7:57pm on Wednesday night.
Here is the full Photo Album from Game 5; the last game of the year at Citizens Bank Park. Go Phillies!
Photos by Jenn