Will the Phillies give the Yankees an advantage in Game 4?

Burnett dominates as Yanks even Series
Selig against expanding replay

When a road team splits the first two games of a postseason series they’re said to have an advantage. The series goes back home even, and then it’s a best three of five, with the formerly disadvantaged team hosting the first three games. It would seem that home field advantage switched, but if the advantaged team takes just one game, they guarantee a return trip, winning back the advantage.

The Yankees have to win at least one game in Philadelphia to stay alive. With Andy Pettitte and CC Sabathia starting the next two games, they have a good chance to do that. They’ll match up against Cole Hamels and then either Joe Blanton or J.A. Happ, and with the way Hamels is pitching it looks like the Yankees have the advantage in both games. That is, unless Charlie Manuel decides to start Cliff Lee on three days’ rest in Game 4.

That’s the advantage the Yankees have over the Phillies right now. They’re taking their three best pitchers and riding them to the end. The tactic comes with certain risks, but at this point in the season it’s the best call for the Yankees. The alternative is Chad Gaudin, who hasn’t started a game since September 28 and who doesn’t match up well against the Phillies lefties and switch hitters.

The Phillies are fortunate that their two options are better than Gaudin, but they’re not the best options. Their best option is to match Lee for Sabathia. Instead of the Yankees best against the Phillies fourth or fifth best, it’s the best against the best again, and that worked out well for Philadelphia the first time. The risk is that Lee has never pitched on three days’ rest in his career.

The risk in starting a pitcher on three days’ rest is that he won’t fully recover between starts and pitch ineffectively. They do, however, have different training schedules when pitching on short rest. CC says he loves pitching on three day’s rest because it means he doesn’t have to throw a bullpen. For a guy pitching as well as Cliff Lee, there shouldn’t be much concern.

Charlie Manuel and pitching coach Rich Dubee will make the call, but unless there is a concern specific to Lee, I think they’ll go with him on short rest. If not, they’ll give the Yankees an advantage in pitching match-ups. After accomplishing their goal of splitting the games in New York, why would they do that?

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Burnett dominates as Yanks even Series
Selig against expanding replay
  • MattG

    122 pitches in game 1.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Most of them were zero stress though.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    My comment from the chat yesterday (before Game 2) on this issue, slightly updated:

    Think about this:

    There’s no way Pedro pitches on short rest in Game 5 (I mean, the dude is like 45 at this point, older than Jimmy Key). Meaning you’re going to have to pitch Blanton at some point during this series, regardless of whether or not you bring back Lee on short rest for Game 4 or save him for normal rest on Game 5.

    So, the next four pitchers we face will be either Pedro-Hamels-Blanton-Lee or Pedro-Hamels-Lee-Blanton.

    Worst case scenario, we split those 4 and come back to the stadium down 3-2 with Pedro and Hamels (or Pedro and Lee) to face. Great likelihood, we win 3 out of 4 and come back to YS3 up 3-2.

    Expanding on my comment, assume we beat Hamels tomorrow to take a 2-1 lead. There would then be 4 games left in the series, and the Phillies would need to win 3 of those 4. If Manuel chooses NOT to bring back Lee on short rest, those four games (Games 4-5-6-7) would be started by, in order, Blanton, Lee, Pedro, and Hamels. If he brings back Lee on short rest, those games would be started by Lee-Blanton-Pedro-Lee.

    If I’m Charlie Manuel, and I’ve just played three games of the World Series and seen a good Lee and a good Pedro followed by a non-good Hamels, and I have to win three of the next four games, I want three of those four games started by Lee and Pedro. I don’t want only two of those games started by Lee and Pedro.

    He’s gotta bring back Lee on short rest if Hamels loses Game 3. He can’t afford, at that point, to give two more starts to Blanton and Hamels if he can only afford to lose one more game. He also can’t afford to let Blanton face CC while down 2-1 (thus increasing the likelihood of being down 3-1) nor can he allow Hamels to start Game 7 rather than Lee.

    It’s gotta be Lee on short rest. His slate for the next seven games should be Hamels-Lee-Blanton-Pedro-Lee. Lee on short rest twice, just like CC. It’s risky, but it’s his best strategy by far.

    • MatyRuggz

      Its a different story though if Hamels is vintage 2008 tomorrow night.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Well, of course. If Hamels manages to beat the Yanks, then the Phils are up 2-1 and all the decisions easily fall into place. You’d obviously start Blanton in Game 4, knowing that even if you lose, you have made it a 3-game series and can then pitch Lee-Pedro-Hamels all on normal rest.

        This Game 3 is, as they say, pivotal.

        • Sweet Dick Willie

          Well that depends on when Lee throws his bullpen. I believe most pitchers throw it on the 3rd day after their start (that would be Saturday for Lee).

          So Manuel would have to decide BEFORE game 3 if Lee is starting on Sunday, as he probably wouldn’t throw a bullpen on Saturday and then start on Sunday.

          However, if Lee throws his bullpen today (Friday), then Manuel could wait until AFTER game 3 to decide.

    • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

      I agree with you…but we need to start hitting or it won’t happen. The odds that all of our pitchers throw dominant gems so we win is unlikely against that offense…especially in Philly. If our bats don’t wake up…it won’t matter who they throw out there to be honest…it will continue to matter how well dominant we pitch because we’ll have to…

      • Chris

        The chances that the Yankees pitchers all throw dominant gems is greater than the chances that the Phillies pitchers all throw dominant gems.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Exactly.

          Despite all the Cliff Lee fellating, through 11 games, we still have the best team ERA in the postseason at 2.64.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        We haven’t started hitting yet, and yet we’ve played 11 playoff games and won 8 of them.

        We’re fine. Hitting generally slumps in the playoffs, because you’re facing better pitching on a more consistent basis. Our pitching, meanwhile, has been stellar (because we’re similarly facing slumping opponent hitting, because we’re pitching well).

        We’ll be fine. Win this Game 3, which we probably will, and we’re halfway home, with homefield advantage and favorable pitching matchups all the way.

        • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

          Yeah I know…I’ll feel a lot better once I see how the first game is in Philly. My main concern is that we couldn’t hit at home at all where we usually ran train on teams…and Philly didn’t hit THAT great either but still picked up a game. I’m curious to see how we hit on the road and if their same hitting woes will merely disappear once they head home as well…

          • Riddering

            In the ALCS we scored more runs in Anaheim than at home. That doesn’t mean it’s a trend that will continue into the World Series but–I’m a lot less concerned about the offense than some people.

            Last night was a good showing from our lineup. Lots of contact and the score might have been more lopsided without the DP call.

            • Bo

              If we cant hit Hamels and Blanton than maybe its us and not the pitching. Because Hamels has been batting practice.

              Thats why Philly had an absolute must win in Game 1. Hamels cant be trusted.

  • Frank

    Let’s see how game 3 turns out before we start projecting who has pitching advantages. As we saw last night, these matchups on paper mean nothing. Pedro was excellent when everyone thought he would get pounded. Now we hear Hamels has been bad so the Yanks have the advantage in game 3. The Yanks’ offense has been dreadful-it doesn’t seem they will pounding anyone unless they start hitting.

    • Jay

      The Yankees offense has not been “dreadful.” Good pitching is going to beat good hitting. It’s as simple as that. The Yankees starters have given up THREE runs in the first two games. Does that mean the Phillies offense has been dreadful? No, it means they faced quality pitchers throwing quality games (and yes, despite the two jacks CC gave up to Utley, it was a quality start).

      The offense is dreadful when they’re consistently getting guys on base and then not bringing them in.

      Yes, Pedro elevated his game, but he STILL LOST.

      The thing with Hamels is that unlike Pedro, who has pitched great his last two starts, Hamels hasn’t pitched a good game against a quality opponent since September 1st. In his 3 wins since then, 2 came against the Mets and the Nationals and the other came in a win against Colorado where he pitched 5.1 innings giving up 8 hits and four runs.

      The Yankees clearly have the starting pitching advantage. As it was said, even if Lee is used in game 4, the Phils have to use Blanton in game 5 and then Pedro again in game 6 before even having a chance to get back to Lee again.

      • JMK aka The Overshare

        So not getting on base and not scoring runs isn’t dreadful offense, but getting guys on and not scoring is? That doesn’t make sense.

        Getting no-hit is a much worse offensive performance than getting nine hits and not having one cross the plate. Same result, but different scale.

    • LI Kevin

      “The Yanks’ offense has been dreadful-it doesn’t seem they will pounding anyone unless they start hitting.”
      /McCarvered

  • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

    While Sabathia pitched very well…he still seemed to have been hit hard even on his outs at times…while Cliff Lee just looked unhittable all together. That being said, do you think he may be tiring out as of right now? He’s pitched about 140 IP which is around where he was the past few years when he started to whither.

    Also, didn’t you post the Cole Hamels numbers yesterday or the day before showing how he’s actually been eerily consistent with last years numbers…and a lot of his struggles could be pointed at bad luck?? Pedro Martinez had a 5.66 ERA on the Road and pitched a gem last night.

    Our team just isn’t hitting…and it might cost us big in the end. Ironic, seeing how we always needed pitching in the past…now we have it…and we can’t hit to save our life (for the most part)

    • MatyRuggz

      I’d take Sabathia without his best stuff over 80% of the pitchers in this league who have their best stuff going on any given night.

      • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

        Me too, he looked great…but wasn’t ALDS/ALCS Sabathia…and Cliff was ALDS/ALCS Cliff Lee…so he won lol

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Think of it this way. It will either be CC v. Lee, both on short rest, for Game 4, or it will be CC v. Blanton for Game 4 and AJ v. Lee for Game 5.

          If they both pitch Game 4, you have to give the edge to CC, since he’s done short rest before, and well, and Lee hasn’t (and might have been overextended in Game 1).

          If they don’t bring back Lee on short rest, short rest CC v. Blanton is still an easy win for us, and AJ v. Lee is probably a Lee win (unless good AJ shows up again, which is entirely possible).

          So, worst case scenario, both aces win a game in Philly and we go back to NYC with a 3-2 series one way or the other, but Cliff Lee is unavailable to start Game 7 (since he pitched Game 5). Best case scenario, CC has outdueled Lee on short rest in Game 4 and we either have already won 4-1 or, if Hamels wins Game 3, we come back home up 3-2 and still have Andy and CC.

          Pretty much all permutations lead to good matchups for us going forward.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Seconded.

        The only real wildcard to me in this series was AJ. Regardless of how the Game 1 pitching matchup shook out, if AJ pitched poorly, we were gonna be in mild trouble. If he pitched well, we had a gigantic advantage.

        We now have a gigantic advantage.

        • Girardi out to the mound

          I agree, but I think going forward I am most concerned about Andy on 3 days

          • Chris

            Andy won’t pitch on 3 days rest. He’ll be busy with a parade that day instead.

          • the artist formerly known as (sic)

            Yeah, and I’m concerned that at some point a meteorite could strike the earth.

            Chillax homie.

            • Girardi out to the mound

              Yeah a 37 year old pitching on 3 days rest who relies pretty much on his ability to control his pitches is no reason for concern. I am not saying he will not pitch well but it is certainly a concern and if you do not think so you please pass those rose colored glasses my way

  • Tank Foster

    We win game 3, we win the series. If Hamels loses, the Phillies are in deep, deep trouble.

    In a way, though, if the Phillies win game 3 and then use Blanton, again I think they are giving something away to the Yankees.

    Whether they’re up 2-1 or down 2-1, I would extend tsjc’s argument to say that they should want 3 of their last 4 games started by Pedro and Lee.

    • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

      Joe Blanton wasn’t all that bad though. 3.77 ERA at Home with a .270/.321/.469 (.791) against in 105+ IP?? That’s not bad at all. And he didn’t face New York this year. And against the Red Sox and Rays this year he pitched a total of 14 IP with 17 strike outs…and a 2.57 ERA. That’s pretty nasty. The only team that got to him in the East was Toronto…and he still pitched OK. 4 runs in 5.1 IP…although he yielded 9 hits and only 2 K’s. Doesn’t walk a lot of guys though…so our “patient hitting” and philosophy to sit there and continue to take strike 1 down the middle and fall behind in the count might have to change finally…

      • Tank Foster

        Garsh that’s not encouraging. I got the idea from this blog that Blanton has been dreadful this season. But haven’t the Yankees hammered him the last few times they faced him?

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Joe Blanton, career ERA v. Yankees:

          8.18

        • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

          2008
          6.2 IP, 6 hits, 5.40 ERA, 4 ER, 3 walks, 2 K’s

          2007
          6.2 IP, 5 hits, 4.05 ERA, 3 ER, 3 walks, 5 K’s

          “Hammered” him? No. Scored a few runs off of him? Yes. He didn’t walk many batters this year…and 11 hits in 13.1 IP the past two years…the way we’re hitting right doesn’t look good to me right now.

          • the artist formerly known as (sic)

            the way we’re hitting right doesn’t look good to me right now.

            You’ve now made that point very clear, at least a half a dozen times.

            Joe Blanton v. our lineup in TEH BANDBOX1! of CBP is a good thing. Slow your roll.

            • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

              I’m not trying to drill it in anybody’s head…I apologize if it bothered you…but it’s a HUGE issue right now. The biggest. Our starting pitching has been consistently good the entire playoffs. Our hitting has been consistently mediocre-bad the entire playoffs…and our bullpen has been consistently bad the entire playoffs.

              The ironic part was that going into the playoffs…our starting pitching was the question mark (according to analysts) and our hitting and bullpen were the “advantages.” And the Phillies had the worst bullpen going into the playoffs…and they’ve been the best since it’s started lol. Go figure.

              • the artist formerly known as (sic)

                I think your concern is slightly overblown (about the hitting anyway)

                The only concern I have is for Swisher. Maybe Damon. Everyone else is fine.

                Babe Ruth and Albert Pujols would have had a hard time w/ Cliff Lee on Wednesday night.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                If it were truly a huge issue… we’d be sitting at home already, watching someone else play the World Series.

              • Chris

                Our hitting has been consistently mediocre-bad the entire playoffs…and our bullpen has been consistently bad the entire playoffs.

                That’s not true. The Yankees offense had one bad game against Cliff Lee. In all the other games, they’re averaging over 5 runs per game. Only 5 teams in baseball averaged more than 5 runs per game in the regular season.

                The Yankees playoff bullpen ERA: 3.13. Slightly worse than the Phillies 3.00, but still good enough for 3rd of the 8 playoff teams.

                The offense seems bad because you want them to blow everyone out every night. That won’t happen. The bullpen seems bad because you want them to be perfect and the starters have been so good (starters ERA is 2.43). That won’t happen.

                • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

                  The Yankees have scored 52 runs in 11 Games while the Phillies have scored 62 runs in 11 Games.

                  What’s odd is that we have more hits than they do…and the same amount of home runs…and extremely similar amount of walks…but they have 13 more RBI and 10 more Runs than us as a team. We have the exact same team batting average (.256)…interesting.

                • Chris

                  The Phillies scored 10 and 11 runs in games started by Padilla and Kuroda in the NLCS. Let’s see how the Yankees fare against back of the rotation NL starters.

                • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

                  Hamels isn’t really a back of the rotation starter though lol. And Blanton, as I’ve explained somewhere on this thread, has some pretty good numbers for a #4 or #5 starter this year…

                  But we’ll see…I have faith either way.

  • Greg G.

    Back up. Just to clarify: Are we certain CC’s coming back on 3 days rest? Are we certain Girardi plans on using AJ and AP on 3 days rest as well?

    • the artist formerly known as (sic)

      Reasonably certain? Yes.

      Absolutely certain? No.

      Official starter hasn’t been announced yet.

      • Chris

        In my opinion, you have to start CC on 3 days rest, and then you decide between Gaudin and AJ for game 5. If you’re up 3-1, then you pitch Gaudin. If you’re tied or down, then you pitch AJ.

        • TheZack

          No, you don’t pitch Gaudin. Ever. Why give the Phillies a really good chance at a win?

        • tim randle

          …so you’re saying Chad is better than 80% of AJ?

          Why not start AJ with Chad warming up inning 1? If AJ started to falter in the 3rd or 4th, we could go to Chad (to start an inning) or Coke/Robertson mid inning, and then turn it over to Joba/Hughes/Aceves for 4 innings…

          …are we saying we don’t have any faith in those guys anymore?

          don’t forget, if it means winning game six, any body can pitch at least one batter–hell, if CC has to get out there to bail out Mo for the last out, he gets the Keyshawn Johnson treatment.

          • Chris

            I’d start Gaudin because you only need to win 1 of the remaining 3 games. Having AJ in game 6 on regular rest and Pettitte in Game 7 on regular rest with CC ready to give you a lot of innings in relief (if needed) gives you a better chance of winning one game than starting both Andy and AJ on short rest.

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          I’d rather pitch A.J. Go for the kill, man. Go for the kill.

    • Tank Foster

      I don’t think there’s any way CC doesn’t start game 4. Now whether he starts both AJ and CC on 3 days rest is another matter. If the Yankees were up 3-1, I might consider pitching Gaudin in game 5. Having CC, AJ, Andy, all rested, two win 1 of 2 at the stadium is a very good bet.

  • Reggie C.

    What exactly has been Cole Hamels’ problems lately?

    Is it control? Lost velocity?

    I took a quick look at his game log and the last impressive start Hamels put in was on Sept 17 against the Natinals. Since then something’s happened.

    • Girardi out to the mound

      He’s pitched against teams that were not the Nationals?

      • the artist formerly known as (sic)

        Wrong.

        So why was Hamels’ ERA nearly a run and a quarter higher this year than last? Well, most of it has to do with a unluckiness. His BABIP was 55 pts higher this year, and he stranded about 4% fewer runners as well. More balls dropping in means more runs cross the plate, it’s that simple. The Phillies as a team went from a +14.8 UZR/150 to just +5.8 this year, so Hamels was working with a lesser defense. The peripherals indicate that the lefty from San Diego who was drafted one spot after Nick Swisher in 2002 is still a world class pitcher.”

        http://riveraveblues.com/2009/.....ers-19026/

        • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

          Exactly, which is why I don’t understand everybody seemingly being so sure that we’re going to beat up on him. Especially when we’re not hitting a lick.

          • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

            Well, the Yankees do tend to pound lefties, so that’s a plus. And, despite his lack of walks (6.00 K/BB in the playoffs), he’s given up six homers in 14.2 innings. If he can get the HR ball under control, he’d be in a better position. However, if he doesn’t, then it could be a long night for him.

            • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

              They showed some of his pitches in the previous series’ last night on the MLB Network. His location is off on a lot of them…and those are the ones going for big home runs. Ruiz will set up low and outside and it will end up up and inside and get crushed. Does this mean he’ll definitely continue to do this? Who knows. We need to start hitting though regardless…

              • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                That’s what happens to everyone: you miss your spot badly, it ends up in the seats. For proof of this, see Guerrero v. Pettitte and Utley vs. Sabathia I and II. If he can’t locate, he’ll get pounded.

                His best pitch is his changeup so he’ll obviously need his fastball to be established before he can break it out (unless he’s on like Lee and Pedro were and he feels he can throw it in any count). His average velocity was 90.3 this year so it’s not coming in too hard. Perhaps we’ll see the Yankees jump on it early and not allow him to establish it and then go to the changeup.

                • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

                  Yeah, the thing with Pedro was he was mixing speeds like crazy. He was blowing 88mph fastballs by the likes of Jeter and Arod…because he would throw a 70mph off speed pitch…then a 77mph one…then an 83mph pitch. He was all over the place with his speeds…so nobody could really sit on anything…you couldn’t gauge anything. Tex and Matsui waited and just so happened to connect (Teixeira’s was on the outside part of the plate and he still somehow pulled it to right-center).

                  Hamels won’t be able to do that…which is good. He’ll throw is low 90’s stuff consistently with his steady changeup. Hopefully this will be a sigh of relief compared to Pedro’s cartoon performance lol

                • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                  It doesn’t matter how fast it’s coming if he’s locating and mixing well. There’s always a chance that the pitcher does that.

        • Girardi out to the mound

          Guess it is too early to take a joke

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      Well, looking at all the peripherals from this season, Hamels had trouble with two things: the home run ball (which has consistently been an issue in his career) and a little bad luck on batted balls (.321 BABIP). I think Mike also posted that the Phils’ defense declined a little bit this year. His BB/9 was a tick lower than last year, his K/9 was exactly the same, and his K/BB was better by ~.2. His FIPs were identical at 3.72 and he also had good tRA marks (124 tRA+ last year, 121 this year). JA Haap had a fluky year in a good way for the Phils, and Hamels had a fluky year in a bad way.

      • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

        Yes. But even though the Phillies Defense has declined…it’s still VERY VERY GOOD…so I don’t know what more he could ask for to be honest. I think he was blessed last year with ridiculous defense…and this year he’s forced to settle with getting VERY VERY GOOD defense.

        • the artist formerly known as (sic)

          He could ask for his BABIP to regress to normal levels, which would, you know, knock some ticks off that ERA.

          • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

            Agreed.

        • Chris

          Yankees defense > Phillies defense

          • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

            Not really. Actually, not at all.

            • Chris

              Actually, it is. Perhaps more accurately they are essentially equal.

              Yankees DefEff = .965
              Phillies DefEff = .961

              DefEff is a better measure of defense than team UZR.

              • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                Hm, fair enough. I didn’t realize the Yankees had stayed that high in DER.

                It’s odd because if we go position by position, it seems that the Phils have the edge.

                Howard’s probably equal to Tex now, but Tex can throw better.

                Utley’s easily better than Cano.

                Rollins is generally better than Jeter, even though Jeter out played him on D this season.

                Feliz is definitely better than Rodriguez in the field now.

                Ibanez and Damon are most likely a wash, Victorino’s probably a touch overrated out there, but Werth is better than Swish.

                All I want for Christmas is a tell-tale defensive statistic. Hopefully, new Hit F/X data will help with that.

                • Chris

                  The interesting thing was that the worst 3 teams in the AL in DefEff in 2008 were Texas, Seattle and the Yankees. The best 3 in 2009: Seattle, Texas and the Yankees. A lot has been made about the defensive improvements of the Rangers (with Andrus) and the Mariners (their outfield), but no one mentions that the Yankees overhauled their defense.

                  As for why the Yankees are better I have no idea,
                  but my biggest issue with UZR is that it breaks down somewhat when you try to apply it to a full team. Still better than the alternatives for individuals, but I want something better too.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  Actually, going position by position, I’d also give the edge to the Phillies, but they don’t have a BIG edge anywhere.

                  -Tex/Howard is probably a draw. Possibly slight advantage Tex.
                  -Cano/Utley is Utley, but not “easily” as you put it. Utley’s a great defender, yes, but Cano is also excellent. He’s very underrated.
                  -Jeter/Rollins is probably a draw this year, since Jete has played much better than normal.
                  -ARod/Feliz is Feliz, but again, not by a ton, because ARod has played a good 3B this year.
                  -Damon/Ibañez is Ibañez, but not by a wide margin, because they’re both pretty subpar.
                  -Melky/Victorino is Victorino, but not by much.
                  -Swisher/Werth is Werth, but again, not by much, because just like the Utley/Cano portion, Swisher’s defense is generally underrated by a good tick.

                  I’d say the 2009 Phillies have a good but not amazing defense, and the 2009 Yankees also have a good but not amazing defense, with a slight, slight, slight edge to the Phillies. It’s fairly negligible, though, IMHO.

                • Tony

                  ARod played a good 3B this year? What team were you watching?

              • dalelama

                Does lack of range make this statistic misleading ? Also does this stat include the catcher’s ability to throw out baserunners rather than not make any errors ? Cal Ripken for example often had better Fielding %’s than Ozzie Smith just because he got to far fewer balls hence could never make an error on that play ?

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          Well, he wasn’t just blessed with good defense because he had a 3.72 FIP last season. He kept guys off base and minimized the damage from his homers. The hits are just falling more this year.

  • TheZack

    Yeah, I don’t think we can rule out Girardi overmanaging here and using Gaudin in either game 4 or game 5. There is very little thus far to suggest he won’t do the wrong thing.

    Furthermore, sure, the offense might come around, but at this point, you have to count against it. You can cite SSS all you want, but at this point, the Yankees have played 11 post season games and the offense has been consistently dreadful, and now you have A-Rod possibly trying to do too much.

    I just don’t think that you can keep sitting back and saying “the offense wills tart hitting, it will be fine.” With 5 games max left, I’d say its unlikely the offense does much more than it has to this point.

    Which is fine, as pointed out, they’ve won as much as they have without the offense clicking. But it sure makes things a lot more difficult.

    Who knows, maybe all they need is Citizen’s Bank Park to ignite their bats…

    • Tank Foster

      They scored 10 runs in one game…a bad call kept them from potentially blowing last night’s game open.

      You’re right that they aren’t hitting like the regular season, and that it’s probably wishful thinking to hope for a 10 run blowout against Hamels or even Blanton. But when you adjust for the overall playoff effect, the Yankees are pretty much hitting better than any other team in the playoffs. This year, I don’t have the sinking feeling I’ve had in other post-2000 playoff series that there was just nobody who was going to get a hit. They aren’t hitting alot, but they are getting big, timely hits.

      • Klemy

        Couldn’t we argue that every hit is timely when you’re only getting 6-8 a night? lol

    • Chris

      There is nothing wrong with the offense. Coming into the World Series, they were averaging 5.33 runs per game in the post season. That would have been good for the 4th highest scoring in baseball during the regular season.

      They got shutdown on Wednesday by a great pitcher who’s pitching incredibly well right now. That’s just one game. In every other game they’ve played they’ve scored enough to win.

      • jsbrendog

        +100

        the offense isn’t not hitting, the pitching it really pitching well.

        occupational hazard when you make the playoffs. the further you advance the better the pitching gets.

        • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

          Tell that to the 1996 Atlanta Braves lol

        • TheZack

          Here’s a game guys: how many solo HR’s have the Yankees hit this post season? You think this is all because of “better pitching” and that because they scored ten runs in one game, things are okay? Joe Saunders, Duensing, Blackburn, Pavano, etc. These are the amazingly better pitchers? The Yankees faced a lot of good pitchers in the regular season and did fine. They faced lots of bad ones and did badly. The point is that it was pretty damn rare for the offense to go 11 games of general suckatude.

          Sure, you can chalk it up to the pitchers again and again. But this is an offense with far too many good players in a post season-long slump to just say that.

          • JMK aka The Overshare

            Exactly. We haven’t faced 11 aces this post-season. Even if we did, there’s absolutely no legitimate reason Damon, Cano, Tex, Swisher should be hitting around .200 or less. They’re too good of hitters to say, “Oh, the pitching is better, this was expected.” Yeah, you see aces and #2s far more often, but that doesn’t render your 2,3,7,8 THAT bad. And Swisher and Cano are not your average 7,8 hitters. On most teams Cano is anywhere from 2-5, Swisher probably a 6.

            This wasn’t expected. They’re slumping and it’s not just because the pitching is good.

            Seacreast out!

            • Bo

              Theres a reason most guys dont hit in the post season. The pitching is better. The late inning pens are better. The scouting is better. the adjustments made are better. Thats why pitching wins in october.

              That said you cant be doing what Swisher is doing.

  • Tank Foster

    People can say what they want about the AJ Burnett signing, but if you ask me, his performance this postseason has proven he was a smart signing.

    Well, at least so far. I suppose he needs to pitch well for a few years to justify the whole contract, but what he’s done this year has definitely been worth it.

    His start in Anaheim when he gave up 4 in the first was in many ways as impressive as this start. There aren’t many pitchers who under that pressure could shake off a rough start and hold it together to keep your team in the game.

    He’s a good pitcher with a good mental makeup for high pressure situations. Way to go Brian Cashman.

    • the artist formerly known as (sic)

      “People can say what they want about the AJ Burnett signing”

      You sure about this?

      Alriiiight…

      [looks left…looks right]

      The AJ Burnett signing was simultaneously the greatest and worst signing in all of sports history.

      • jsbrendog

        nailed it.

        dont tell mike pop

      • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

        No, the greatest signing ever was Kevin Youkilis for $6MM this season. He put up similar numbers to the $20MM man Mark Teixeira!

        /Fox’d

        • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

          “The Yankees overspent on their freeagents this off-season while the Red Sox made the smartest moves of all time with Smoltz and Penny.”

          – Any Major Sports News Analyst

          • Bo

            It is about time Cashman realized that premium frontline pitchers with plus stuff is what this team needed.

  • ARosen15

    We could really use a big inning in the first. Quiet the crowd and give Big Game Andy a lead. Jeter going deep in 1st AB. Take a little pressure off

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      If Hamels hangs a curve like Pedro did last night on Jeter’s double, Jeter’ll take it deep.

  • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

    How much better is Joe Blanton than Chad Gaudin do you think? Blanton has MUCH more experience and is a workhorse…but “stuff” wise and result wise…they seem to be similar in that respect…no?

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      Per FanGraphs, Blaton’s more of a fastball/changeup guy whereas Gaudin’s more fastball/slider.

      • Don

        Blanton and Gaudin were teammates in 2007 and actually had pretty similar numbers. Gaudin’s blemish was his walks.

        • Bo

          More walks? Thats a big blemish.

          You dont need fangraphs to tell you that Blanton is a better pitcher.

  • Mike bk

    the equation is simple. if we beat them tomorrow with andy, charlie has to come with lee in game 4 to match CC. he cant send blanton out there to outpitch CC and try and even the series. I am sticking with the rotation i expected before the series except game 6 is now a toss-up depending on tomorrow about Hamels or Pedro.

    3-Andy vs Hamels
    4-CC vs Lee
    5-AJ vs Blanton
    6-Andy vs Hamels/Pedro
    7-CC vs Lee

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      If there are no rainouts, Game 3 would be tomorrow on Halloween and Game 6 would be Wednesday Nov. 4, so if Hamels were to start Game 6 it would be on 3 days rest.

      Given Pedro’s effectiveness in Game 2, unless Hamels throws a CG no-hitter tomorrow, you can pencil in Pedro for that Game 6 start, on full rest.

      • Bo

        they had zero confidence in hamels to start game 2. theres no way they’d start him after what pedro did last night

  • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

    You see the Philadelphia headline after the game last night?

    “Yankees Avert Sweep”

    Pretty ridiculous.

    • Klemy

      Wow, that is…incredibly ridiculous.

    • JMK aka The Overshare

      From where?

  • Don

    Like to see the following in RF the rest of the way:

    Swisher vs. the lefties
    Hairston vs Pedro
    Hinske vs. Blanton

    Make sense?

    • Klemy

      I don’t want to see Hairston again unless he’s pinch running late in a game TBH. I’m living with Swisher the rest of the way afetr 1 night of rest proved we really have no better option. You just hope Swish snaps out of it.

      • Don

        Did you miss the basehit the opposite way that led to the 2 run cushion?

        • Klemy

          No, of course I didn’t. And that doesn’t make him my right fielder for the next game either.

          • Klemy

            Look, my point is just this: Swisher is a better player than Hairston. Swisher helped get us where we are now and I stay with him and hope he comes out of it. Hopefully his game off wakes him up. If you disagree and think Hairston should play, that’s your point of view and you’re welcome to it.

            • Bo

              Theres no point in sending him out there if Swisher is going to have at bats like hes had the past 2 weeks. its not like he had 4 bad ab’s here. This has been 9 games.

  • mryankee

    Offense needs to wake up. These close games are getting way to often. Lets put a 10 spot up and that way MO can get some rest. I also have to give pedro credit, migt be a nice fifth starter next year.

  • phil O’neill

    matsui in right field

    • Bo

      A guy who hasnt even stepped on the field all season to play RF? Keep in mind hes a LF. Is that smart?

  • Bo

    The question is how don’t they pitch Lee in Game 4?

    They are at a distinct disadvantage in games 2-3 with SP. They’d be in a huge hole in Game 4 if they started Blanton.

    But if he was going to start lee on 3 days rest why let him throw 120+ pitches even if they were relatively stress free

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