It took nine years, which admittedly is nothing by the standards of this Cubs fan (they haven’t even REACHED the World Series in my PARENTS’ lifetimes, and both are nearing 60). But that’s an eternity for Yankees fans. Last night, their “wait” ended when the Yankees clinched their 27th championship with a 7-3 win over the Phillies in Game 6 of the World Series.
Hideki Matsui won MVP honors after getting three hits and six RBIs in the clincher. I wish he would have ditched the translator when he got the MVP trophy and for once sounded human. But he had a truly incredible night and is a class act.
Andy Pettitte started on three days’ rest and got the win – his third series clincher in this year’s playoffs. Mariano Rivera got the final five outs. Pettitte, Rivera, Jorge Posada and Derek Jeter – the core remaining from the group that won four titles from 1996-2000 – got their fifth titles. And Alex Rodriguez, who finally had a very good postseason (albeit with a mediocre World Series), got the first title of his 15-year career.
I’m no Yankees fan. But I do have ties to the organization from covering the Yankees’ Double-A affiliate – the Trenton Thunder – from 2005 to 2007. Congratulations to Dave Eiland (pitching coach from 2005-06), Brett Gardner, Melky Cabrera, Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, Phil Coke and everyone else in the organization who I had the pleasure of working with. I’m happy for those guys.
Only 3 1/2 months until pitchers and catchers report and we start the long slog known as baseball season all over again.
The 2009 World Series begins tonight at Yankee Stadium. And I believe the two best teams in baseball are playing for the title.
I also believe the Yankees will end up winning that title.
If the Phillies’ pitching staff were the same as last year, I’d really like their chances. But right now, they have only one reliable starting pitcher (Cliff Lee), and he’s going to be matched up against the Yankees’ best pitcher in C.C. Sabathia. In other words, a Phillies win there is anything but a sure thing. And the rest of the Phillies’ rotation? Cole Hamels has been very ordinary all season and has continued that in the postseason. Pedro Martinez was great against the Dodgers in a day game in warm Los Angeles. I doubt he’ll be nearly as effective in colder weather at night against the Yankees’ lineup. Joe Blanton certainly isn’t going to scare the Yankees’ lineup. And while the Phillies’ bullpen (especially closer Brad Lidge) has pitched better in the playoffs, it still hasn’t improved enough to make me think it can shut down Jeter, Texieira, A-Rod and company late in the game.
For the Yankees, while A.J. Burnett has also been rather ordinary in the playoffs, Andy Pettitte is solid and steady, and we all know about Sabathia. Lefty relievers Damaso Martie and Phil Coke will likely play big roles in this series – both will have to get late-inning outs against Phillies sluggers Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Raul Ibanez.
The Phillies are no pushovers and have proven their toughness over the last three seasons. They won’t self destruct the way the Twins and Angels did in big spots. But the Yankees are a bit deeper in the starting rotation, have a much more reliable closer and will be a little too much offensively.
Yankees in 6.