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Short Un”rest”

Andy Pettitte is the topic of sports radio today and the concern is the veteran lefty going on short rest. He said he wasn’t going to go out there and try to blow the ball by people, he is just going to approach it as he always does and try to get people out.

Here’s some food for thought Yankees fans. The only Phillies starter to have W’s in this series isn’t pitching tonight. Pettitte is going up against 37-year-old Pedro Martinez. No one is talking about Pedro’s age, Why? Why is Pedro getting a pass here and Andy Pettitte the most winningest pitcher in post season history being underestimated because he is on three days rest?

Some more food for thought, I hope your hungry. This will be just the fifth start for Pettitte in the last month. He has thrown four postseason games in 30 days. That is plenty of rest. That means on average he has had over seven days of rest if you factor in all the off time. You may think I’m crazy or weird, but it’s fact. I know he has only had three days of rest between his last start and this start tonight, but it’s not like Pettitte has been on a regular workload. He has had ample rest. He clinched in Game 6 of the ALCS on October 25th, then didn’t pitch again for six days in the World Series. That’s an extra day of rest and Pettitte wasn’t sharp. He said he didn’t have it, so you can sit here and argue and try to make a radio show on this topic, but I am calling you all out.

By the way, Pedro is 37.

Also as far as the decision to go with the Three Horseman who got the Yankees to the game clincher here tonight, Joe Girardi absolutely made the right decision. Why put Chad Gaudin in to start against Cliff Lee and basically forfeit a Game 5 when you can have A.J. Burnett on the mound? No one knows his players better than the manager. If he didn’t think Burnett didn’t give the Yankees a chance to win Game 5, he wouldn’t have been on the hill.

By the way, Burnett was hitting 95 on the gun. He had problems locating. If you followed this team all year, Burnett had problems locating on regular rest. Why didn’t these guys on sports radio just tell Girardi to have Derek Jeter go up to bat in the top of the first with a white flag tied to the top of his bat?

By the way, Pedro is 37.

One more thing before I punch out. Was Nostradamus a Yankees fan? Check this out:

NOSTRADAMUS_250.jpgQuatrain 23? Don Mattingly’s number. What number did Mattingly wear when he began his Yankee career? 46. It ends tonight.

Sights, Sounds and Nuggets from the field, pre-game: WS Game 5

Biff Henderson from the David Letterman show interviewing our own Kenny Singleton and former Yankees General Manager Bob Watson … he also interviewed Joe Buck.

Johnny Damon continues to be my new BFF because whenever we ask this guy for an interview he is, dare I say, Johnny on the spot. Joe Auriemma is busily editing it and it will be up on the site later, as well as my interview with Kenny Singleton.

I asked a lot of beat reporters, radio hosts or just people here working for various media outlets what their gut feeling was for tonight — about 80-85 percent of the people I asked thought this Series was going back to New York for Game Six. This is not exactly a Quinnipiac or New York Times poll, but still a good one.

Brett Gardner starting in center field tonight. Melky is done. Ramiro Pena is now on the roster.

Kenny Singleton’s 1983 Baltimore Orioles were the last team in World Series history to lose Game One and then win the next four. They did it about 300 yards away from where we are sitting right now, at Veterans Stadium.

Four times a team lost Game One and went onto take the next four games.

1983 Orioles (vs. Phillies)
1969 Mets (vs. Orioles)
1942 Cardinals (vs. Yankees)
1915 Red Sox (vs. Phillies)

Will this be the third time the Phillies surrender that fate?

Also interesting to note: the Yankees have been up 3-1 in the World Series eight times. They are 8-0. They have won Game Five six times and Game Six twice.

Year       Opponent     Game 5 Result 

2000       Mets           Won 4-2
1977       Dodgers       Lost 10-4 (Won Game 6)
1961       Reds           Won 13-5
1949       Dodgers       Won 10-6
1943       Cardinals     Won 2-0
1941       Dodgers       Won 3-1
1937       Giants         Won 4-2
1936       Giants         Lost 5-4 (Won Game 6)

27 outs away from 27

clifflee_250_110209.jpgTen down, one to go. The Yankees are on the precipice of winning their 27th World Championship, but they are going to have to go through the Phillies’ best pitcher in Cliff Lee to wrap things up tonight.

Lee’s only postseason experience has been this season with the Phillies and he’s made the most of it. He is 3-0 in four starts with a 0.54 ERA and the opposition is batting just .171 against him. Those are the best numbers by a pitcher with at least 30 innings in the postseason.

The lefty has proven to be a playoff sure thing so far, but can he can be due for a clunker? Over his last seven starts of the regular season Lee was 2-4 with an ERA over six. In fact, his last loss came in his last start of the regular season against Houston back on October 1. Lee hasn’t tasted defeat since. Cue fictional Indians manager Lou Brown from the Major League movies, “I have a hunch he’s due.”

The series may not end tonight, but if the Phillies do extend the Fall Classic their patchwork pitching staff after Lee will come into question in the next two possible games.

Game six, if necessary, at Yankee Stadium will be Pedro Martinez. Game 7 if necessary will be putting three names in a hat and seeing who Charlie Manuel picks out of it. All hands would be on deck in a Game 7 we know that, but the starters would be a choice of J.A. Happ, Joe Blanton on three days’ rest, or Cole Hamels (who said he can’t wait for the season to end). Hamels by the way was loudly booed in his Game 4 introduction for those postgame comments after Game 3. What competitor begs for the season to be over when his team is down 2-1 in the World Series after he implodes on the mound?

By the way, this is how quickly “The biggest game in your life” is overtaken by the next “biggest game of your life” as A.J. Burnett will toe the rubber in the possible clincher here in Philadelphia. Like Lee, it’s also Burnett’s first postseason experience on the mound. He does have a ring with the 2003 Marlins; he was injured during that time though. How about that? Beating the Yankees in 2003 with the Marlins, but not playing, and Burnett tonight could pitch the Yankees to their 27th World Series Championship. If Burnett indeed pitches well in the next biggest game of his life, he can walk away with the World Series MVP.

The Lighthouse is beaming with confidence. The Yankees are just 27 outs away from their 27th Championship. Glass half empty Yankee fans get your cups ready. They are just one win away from overflowing with champagne.

Preaching from the Pulpit … (well, the media cafeteria)

All season long, the Lighthouse of Hope has been trying to guide the ships full of glass-half-full Yankee fans through their Sea of Negativity and to solid ground. All season long, the negativity, much like the mood slime from Ghostbusters 2, has been trying to overtake the Lighthouse, and all season long it has failed.

Whether it be monsoons, tsunamis, hurricanes, or water spouts half full of hope, the Lighthouse has remained sturdy and hasn’t faltered. The Lighthouse is always here to flip the script from negative to positive. Even in times of despair and deficits, the light always shines through. Through the fog, through the choppy waters, through a critical Game 6 tonight. Can I get an amen?!

As fans, this isn’t a time to be timid and shake in a corner. As fans, this isn’t a time to think of 2004. No, brothers and sisters, as fans this is a time to stand up as one. This is a time to stand up and have confidence in a team that won 103 games. A team that has 52 comeback victories. A team that exorcised their Red Sox demons. A team that always seems to come through when it needs to get the job done. A team that has lost just eight games at home since the All-Star break.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, tonight is the night where you take pride in your pinstripe affiliation. Tonight is the night where instead of worrying about the past, you concentrate on the present and future. Tonight is the night where you all stand as one, stand as one collected and confident group, and watch as the Bronx Bombers go after their 40th trip to the Fall Classic.

Let us Pray. And let’s go Yankees.

Today in Postseason History:  The New York Mets rally from three runs down with two outs in the 10th inning to win Game 6 of the World Series.
 
Karma is on New York’s side on this night.

2009 or 5 AD

If you look at your calendars you will clearly see the year we are in is 2009, or for “The sky is falling” Yankees fans, 5 AD.  That would be five years After Devastation. 
Last time I checked this year’s roster was a little different from the roster in 2004.  Last time I checked the starting pitching wasn’t as shaky as the San Andreas Fault.  Last time I checked the lineup was about as solid as its been in quite some time.  Last time I checked, I weighed 195 pounds.  I need to get back to the gym.
Look, I know as well as everyone else that the spector of 2004 popped into every Yankee fans head as soon as Nick Swisher’s pop out with the bases loaded was squeezed at shorstop on Thursday night.  The difference between 2004 and 2009 fans?  Pitching and defense. 
Mark Teixeira doesn’t have the numbers with his bat.  Although he has hit a walk off home run, and helped the Yankees claw their way back in Game 5 Thursday night with his bases clearing double in the 7th.  The intangible that Tex brings to this team more than his hitting right now, is his glove.  He has saved more than a handful of games during the regular season and a couple of post season games as well.  
Now the pitching.  Game 6 in 2004 you starter was Jon Lieber.  Game 6 in 2009 is Andy Pettitte.  Advantage 2009.  Game 7 if necessary your starter will be CC Sabathia.  Game 7 in 2004 was Kevin Brown with Javier Vasquez on deck.  Yuck. 
The bullpen has been unreliable as of late, but the thing you have to remember is, the Angels are a great team.  Phil Hughes will get big outs.  Joba Chamberlain will get big outs.  They got big outs all season long, and there time will come again in Game 6 and Game 7.
Sure the Yankees could have wrapped this up in four.  Sure the Yankees could have wrapped this up in five.  They didn’t.  We are here for a Game 6.  The past is the past. 
By the way, all you Yankee haters, and you know who you are, why not succumb?  Join the Darkside.  Resistance is futile.  Wait, that was Star Trek: The Next Generation.  Great, now I’ll have the Trekkies as well as everyone who hates the Yankees on my case.  Such is life.
Also for the non-believers 2009 playoffs (thanks for the research YES Research staff):

Yankees                                                                    Opponent

 

Wins                       6                                               2

Runs                     43 (5.4 /G)                                  23   (2.9 /G)

AVG                     .257 (76-296)                              .241 (71-295)

HR                          14                                               4

 

ERA                       2.52 (22 ER – 78.2 IP)                   4.60 (39 ER – 76.1 IP)

 

California Dreamin’

All the leaves are turning brown, but the sky is anything but gray with the Yankees’ postseason run. Just one loss so far, and with one more win tonight out in Anaheim, the Bombers will be back in the Fall Classic for the first time since 2003.

You should all know A.J. Burnett’s story by now. Last year he was in bed with his wife watching postseason baseball wondering what it would be like if it were him pitching in a big game. Tonight, Burnett doesn’t have to wonder. Tonight, Burnett can pitch his team to his second and the teams 40th World Series appearance.

So far in the postseason, with the exception of being a little wild, Burnett has given the Yankees two solid starts. He’s pitched 12.1 innings, allowed a combined three runs on six hits, and the Yanks have won both games by the final of 4-3. As fans you would probably like to watch games without wearing out the leather on the edge of your seat. However, regardless of how they did it, they won both starts and are just one win away from baseball Shangri-la.

Five more wins. Coincidentally for Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera, five more wins equals FIVE GOLDEN RINGS! Calling birds, french hens, turtle doves, and partridges in pear trees sold separately. Christmas is just a little over two months away you know. I couldn’t help myself.

A half dozen

Have you ever ordered six bagels? Six donuts? Six geese a laying? Six anything? Well how about we all order six more Yankee wins?

Did you know you can almost count to six on one hand. If you’re Antonio Alfonseca, you actually can count to six on one hand. Google him if you don’t know him, or if you’re too lazy, he was a relief pitcher in the bigs and he has six fingers on his right hand. Much like Count Rugen from “The Princess Bride,” but Alfonseca didn’t kill Inigo Montoya’s father.

“HELLO, MY NAME IS INIGO MONTOYA, YOU KILLED MY FATHER, PREPARE TO DIE!”

Sorry couldn’t help myself.

phillies_200_101909.jpgSo just six more wins and the Yankees will be parading down the Canyon of Heroes. It won’t be easy though. If the Yankees get past the Angels, they will have to deal with the Dodgers or Phillies. By the way, let me just say right now, I am hoping the Phillies win the NL pennant. Are you asking, “Why Chris?” Well if you are, here’s why. If the Dodgers and Yankees make the World Series, it’s not going to be about the Dodgers and the Yankees. It will be about Joe Torre and his return to the Bronx, and if he can be beat the team who let him go.

I don’t want that.I want the games to be the story. I don’t want Torre being the story. So “Access Hollywood,” “Inside Edition” and all you entertainment shows drooling over the possibility of this happening, I boo you. Stick to Jon and Kate, it’s what you do best. Leave sports to the people who cover it all season long. Leave the Yankees to the people who are there for Baltimore in April and the Nationals in June. Thank you.

Now, even with a 2-0 lead over the Angels in the ALCS there is still some cause for concern. This is a good team. They have a great manager. The Angels aren’t going to just let the Yankees walk in to their house and let them walk right over them.

The temperature in Anaheim is much more baseball friendly; the forecast is 71 degrees and sunny. There won’t be any ski masks, or any hats with ear flaps, unless Elmer Fudd decides to make an appearance. That’s his normal wardrobe. The next three games are on the left coast. Game 3 this afternoon, Game 4 tomorrow night, and Game 5, if necessary, on Thursday.

I’d rather not see pinstripes again until October 28th.

Yankees, Angels, and tangents

Seven more. Yesterday it was eight. Today, the Yankees magic number is seven. To help us all understand a little better, I put my thinking cap on (dusted it off from first grade) and came up with a math problem for the Yankees post season. I guess it would be algebra. I’m not quite sure. Considering I couldn’t decipher an algebra problem if it jumped off a piece of paper, smacked me in the face, and said, “I’m an algebra problem, solve me!” Maybe if I called on Vanilla Ice during my SATs I would have had a better score. Let’s face it, Robert Van Winkle did tell us all, “If there was a problem, yo, I’ll solve it.” I need to seek help. This I know. Follow this logic though, if I make it up, I can understand it. Here we go:

7 W + 7 OL = 27 WS.  I think you can figure it out if I made it up, but for those of you who need me to break it down, seven more wins plus seven more opponents’ losses will equal the Yankees’ 27th World Series title. 

Seems like an easy equation, but to get too geeked over one win, especially my rollercoaster fans on Twitter, who live and die with every pitch in the Yankees season. I give you guys all the credit in the world for being the fans you are, but you are certifiable. Case in point, against the Twins, CC Sabathia gave up a leadoff double to Denard Span, and all of my Twitter Chicken Littles thought the sky was falling.

The Angels are better than what we saw last night. They’re not going to go down without a fight. Even if the Yankees take Game 2, the next three games are in LA, or Anaheim, or in LA of Anaheim, I don’t know ask them. 

Hopefully Mother Nature cooperates with us and we get this in because we have Giants football tomorrow. We’ve gone from rain, to no rain, to chocolate rain, to rain again. It must be nice to be a forecaster. Nostradamus they are not. Hopefully Nostradamus isn’t Nostradamus. However, I have been looking through quatrains to see if the Yankees will beat the Angels. So far, nothing to report. I’ll let you know.

Update:  After reading some of Nostradamus’ Quatrains I found this:

The Royal scepter will be forced to take
that which his predecessors had pledged.
Because they do not understand about the ring
when they come to sack the palace
.

Century 7 Quatrain 23

Ring?  Sack the Palace?  Was Nostradamus a Yankee fan?  I know its a stretch, but it’s pretty cool.

Eight is Enough

Eight wins. Just eight wins stand in the way of the Yankees and their 27th World Series title.

The Bombers won 103 games in the regular season, so eight may not seem like its much.  However, the last eight wins will be the hardest eight wins of the season. It will mean the Yankees would have beaten a very good Angels team four times, and either the Dodgers or Phillies another four.

On a side note, speaking of the number eight, if you’re Dick Van Patten, “Eight is Enough.” There I go dating myself again. Eight is also the number Grover used to paint on the blue bald guy’s head on Sesame Street. Why couldn’t the SATs been more about primetime television from the 80’s, and not Geometry and Algebra? A2 + B2 = Chris is going to a college after he gets good grades at a community college because his SATs were awful.

Me and my tangents.

Anyway, a couple interesting facts for you about the Yankees and this series. This regular season, the Bombers were 15-0 when the score was tied at the end of the seventh inning.  According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that’s the second longest streak in Major League history. Only the 1906 Giants had more wins in a row. They had 16 when the game was tied after the seventh. Why is this important you ask? I think this series will come down to the bullpens. The starting pitching is lights out on both sides, and the Yankees have the edge in the pen. They have the best pen left in the playoffs, hands down. So if the game is close or tied late, Shearn: Chapter 1, Verse 1 of the 2009 ALCS Bible says, “It’s advantage Yankees, boys and girls.”

Another cool stat to keep all of my Twitter followers from committing Chip Caray in the first inning after a lead-off double: The Yankees were a combined 21-14 against the teams in the AL that made the playoffs — 9-9 against the Red Sox (after starting 0-8, by the way), 5-5 against the Angels and 7-0 against the Twins.

If you are an avid reader of, “Off the Wall” or you listen to the “Off the Wall: The Podcast,” you know what I think about things “on paper.” If it’s on paper, it means it’s in the past. You can break down stats all you want. It’s a new season, it’s a new day, and at the end of this series, there will be new heroes to revere.

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