Finally, I got one right! Well… half right.
I thought last night was going to be a high-scoring affair, but I did predict that the Yankees would win to knot the Series at one game apiece.
The two teams have a day off to travel to Philly. Good thing because it will take them a whopping two hours!
But The Brain never takes a day off. Here’s my take on last night’s game and another look into the future…
Looking Back at Game 2
1. I am a huge Pedro Martinez fan and I thought he pitched extremely well last night. But what is it with managers refusing to take him out of games? Sure, last night wasn’t as dramatic a moment as the 2003 ALCS when Red Sox manager Grady Little left Martinez on the mound with his team five outs from the World Series, only to watch the Yankees tie the game (and then win it). But Pedro is 38 and had thrown 99 pitches when Phillies manager Charlie Manuel let him take the mound for the seventh inning. The Yankees only scored one run, but it gave Mariano Rivera some breathing room for his two-inning save.
2. I hate to rain on the Yankees parade, but has anyone noticed that A-Rod is hitless so far in the World Series and has struck out three times in each of the first two games? In his first Fall Classic, A-Rod is looking more like Mr. Choke-tober than Mr. October. His team can win without him, as they proved last night, but it won’t be easy.
3. The Phillies may have lost last night, but it wasn’t a resounding victory for New York. The Yankees can’t feel great that manager Joe Girardi has no faith in his bullpen, aside from Mariano Rivera. Last night Rivera threw 39 pitches, a lot for any closer, particularly one who is almost 40 years old. And if the umpires hadn’t messed up the double-play call, Rivera would have been faced with runners on first and third with Ryan Howard at the plate. Rivera may be the best post-season closer of all time, but he’s not untouchable.
Looking Ahead to Game 3
1. If I’m a Phillies fan, I’m worried about Game 3. Andy Pettitte, who will start for New York, is 2-0 with a 2.37 ERA so far this post-season. Meanwhile, Phils starter Cole Hamels is 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA. Hamels was last season’s World Series MVP, but he hasn’t been the same guy since. The Phillies may have to score a lot against a very stingy Pettitte to re-take the series lead.
2. Then again, if the Yankees keep hitting the way they have been, maybe Hamels will be fine. I mentioned A-Rod earlier, but he’s not the only one who is slumping. Nick Swisher was 0-for-3 in Game 1 and rode the bench in Game 2. Johnny Damon is batting .125, Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira are at .143, and Melky Cabrera is leading the losers at .167. Plain and simple, the Bombers are bombing at the plate.
3. For me, the real drama is surrounding Game 4, when Phillies manager Charlie Manuel will have to decide if it’s a smart move to start Cliff Lee on short rest, something he has never done in his career. In Game 1, Lee pitched as good a World Series game as I’ve ever seen. If his team is down a game, there will be a ton of pressure on him to do it again. But it’s also tough to make a pitcher do something for the first time ever during the World Series.
Prediction: I have very little faith in Hamels, but I think Andy Pettitte is due for a loss. I like the Phillies in Game 3 by a score of 7-4.