For All The Marbles…
Friend or Foe?…
Unfortunately, when Cliff Lee faces CC Sabathia on Wednesday night, they’ll have to put their close friendship aside and wage a battle of Champions. Lee and Sabathia were teammates in Cleveland and are very close.
When the new Yankee Stadium opened on April 16th, the winning pitcher was Lee in a matchup against Sabathia. On that day, Sabathia struggled with his command and was gone long before the bullpen imploded by allowing 9 runs in the 7th inning. Lee wiggled in and out of trouble but avoided any damage in the 9-2 victory by the Cleveland Indians. Jose Veras (remember him?) was the loser, so there are no chances of a repeat performance by the same guys. But note to Joe Girardi, stay away from Damaso Marte…far away!
So, Cliff Lee gets the honor of being the starting pitcher for the opposing team in the new Yankee Stadium for both the first regular season and first World Series. This will definitely be a future trivia question on Julia‘s website!
This will be a very tough World Series. The Philadelphia Phillies have a very strong rotation, led by mid-season acquisition Lee. The staff also features former Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez, last year’s ace performer Cole Hamels, and former A’s pitcher Joe Blanton. And, oh yeah, there’s a young guy in the pen who’s not too bad, J.A. Happ. So, clearly, the Phillies are loaded with starting pitching and long relief. Fortunately, the bullpen is vulnerable so they do have an Achilles heel.
The bats, up and down the lineup, are strong. I like the way you can mention Jimmy Rollins as an after-thought…um, not really. That’s scary to think that if you managed to get by Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, you still have guys like Rollins, Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth, Raul Ibanez, and others ready to do damage. There aren’t really any weaknesses in the lineup, and if the Yankees had trouble trying to get the Angels’ Jeff Mathis out…
The Yankees will see former adversary Pedro Martinez in Game 2. The decision apparently came about given the history that Martinez has in New York against the Yankees, whereas Cole Hamels, the Game 3 starter, has been better at home this year. Still, at the beginning of the year, I never dreamed that Pedro would be starting the second game of the World Series…of course, I sure that he didn’t either. Nevertheless, this is no longer Pedro in his prime, but the question will be which A.J. Burnett shows up. Hopefully, we’ll have a classic pitcher’s duel, with the game decided in late inning, walk-off, pie-in-your-face fashion!
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
I am glad that the Yankees have home field advantage for this one. I guess I’ve never been so glad that the American League won the All-Star Game as I have this year. I never dreamed when I moved from Wilmington, DE to the Bay Area in California in July that the Yankees would be facing the “local” team in the World Series. It would be a very exciting time in Wilmington at the local sports bars. I was there last year when the Phillies won the World Series against the Tampa Bay Rays, and it was a very exciting time for the Philly fans. But this is a new year and it’s time for the Yankees’ 27th World Championship!
Why was former Washington Nationals manager Manny Acta in such demand? Granted, I don’t know much about Acta, however, his record in Washington wasn’t exactly stellar and of course, he lost his job for a reason. However, that didn’t stop the Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians from actively pursuing his services. The winner, ultimately, was the Cleveland Indians. The Astros, in turn, went with their second choice, Boston Red Sox bench coach Brad Mills. No offense but I think the Astros got the better end of the deal. Plus, it’s always a good thing to see Red Sox losses! J
Brett Comer/Houston Chronicle
If 2010 is truly the final year for Dodgers manager Joe Torre (the end of his contract), I wonder if he’ll move hitting coach Don Mattingly to the bench or at least third base if he is the likely successor.
Well, how many hours until the first pitch?…