Tagged: Charlie Manuel

Power Shifts In A.L. East But Yankees Still Reign

Today marks the beginning of the 2012 season for the New York Yankees. After a 33-game spring schedule, the team took shape. How will they finish in the American League East? What about the other teams in the division? How will they do this season? Let’s take a look.

Last season marked a titanic shift in the division.

After the Boston Red Sox recorded the biggest implosion in major-league history in September, they are no longer looked upon as an elite in this division. The loss of general manager Theo Epstein and the decision to blame Terry Francona for the team’s demise were bad enough.

But the real shock was to watch the Red Sox take a different approach to trying to fix the team this winter. Instead of just going out and aggressively signing the best free agents available and making bold trades to infuse new blood, the Bosox actually started a coupon-clipping method of solving their problems.

The big names that could have helped them went elsewhere and the Red Sox found that their once-vaunted minor-league system was bereft of immediate-impact talent.

They begin the 2012 season with one of the most important positions on the team left n the hands of someone inexperienced.

If ever this was a microcosm of the Red Sox problems this is it. They allowed Jonathan Papelbon to walk away via free agency. Maligned for his foibles and his occasional blown saves, Papelbon was still an important piece of the success of the franchise. The fans and the press treatment of him bit the team in the rear end.

To replace him the Red Sox traded for Andrew Bailey of the Oakland A’s, a competent closer who at the same time has had a series of arm ailments that have slowed his development. At the end of spring training, Bailey came up with a thumb injury that will require surgery to repair. He will miss two months – at least.

The Red Sox also traded for Houston Astros closer Mark Melancon. The conventional wisdom was Melanco would replace Bailey. After all, why trade for a closer if he is not going to close? But new manager Bobby Valentine announced that jack-of-all-trades (and master of none) reliever Alfredo Aceves would close instead.

Welcome to Red Sox Nation’s worst nightmare. On Opening Day, Aceves coughed the winning run in a non-save situation.

If there is anyone out there who honestly believes this team can win the A.L. East, I want to know what you are smoking.

There are only two elite teams in this division and they are the Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Rays had an interesting spring where they played a lot like the some of the teams in 1960s like the Dodgers and White Sox, who were so deep in pitching talent they shut out any team. However, at the same time, the offense is so bad that scoring runs is going to take some real effort.

Don’t get me wrong. The Rays and manager Joe Maddon have ways of scoring. Carlos Pena may struggle to keep his average around .190 but he will likely hit 30 home runs. Evan Longoria, surrounded by lightweights, will be pitched around and his average will suffer also. But he will win his share of 2-1 games with home runs.

Desmond Jennings, B.J. Upton and the rest of Rays also use their feet to create havoc on the bases. That will get them their share of runs at times. But the old adage “You can’t steal first base” comes into play. The Rays have to reach base in order to steal bases. This team also lacks the athleticism past teams had when Carl Crawford was here.

How many bases will catcher Jose Molina steal? I rest my case.

No, the Rays’ sole means of winning comes with their starting rotation. James Shields, David Price, Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore and Jeff Niemann are the center of the ballclub. The Rays have attempted to build a bullpen around them but they begin the season with their closer, Kyle Farnsworth, on the disabled list with a sore elbow.

That is huge red flag to me.

Could you say that the Yankees would be favored to win a championship with Mariano Rivera on the DL and expected to miss two months like Bailey? How about if Rivera complained he had a sore elbow?

Nope. No matter how stacked your pitching staff is you have to have a closer and Farnsworth is the best the Rays had in 2011. If he is lost for a long period of time, it puts pressure on Maddon to “shorten” his bullpen. That means keeping his starters on the mound longer than most managers would allow.

That exposes them to possibly losing close games because starters do run out of steam at some point. While a manager like Charlie Manuel might take Cliff Lee out after 121 pitches because he has Papelbon and a deep bullpen, Maddon may say let’s let Price get out of this in the eighth because I do not think J.P. Howell has been effective lately.

It becomes a slippery slope and you start lengthening and lengthening your starters until they begin wearing down.

That is my concern with the Rays.

In addition, they do not have the money and means to ever go to a Plan B. What they have on the roster has to work or they fall.

One team that intrigues me is the Blue Jays.

They already have Jose Bautista. You add to that third baseman Brett Lawrie and a bunch of guys who hit the ball hard and you have the makings of a great offense. Too bad the Rays do not have this offense.

The Blue Jays will put a lot of runs on the board. They have a lot of power and line-drive hitters top to bottom in the lineup.

However, their pitching revolves around Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow. Brett Cecil has been sent to the minors and Dustin McGowan’s comeback has been slowed by injury.  Their bullpen does have a closer in Sergio Santos they stole from the White Sox and a former closer in Francisco Cordero they signed from the Reds.

If manager Jon Farrell can piece enough starters to go six, the Blue Jays just might have what it take to pass the Red Sox in third place in this division. Stranger things have happened.

The one given in the division is where the Orioles will finish. Mismanagement, bad luck and foolish spending have really derailed this franchise.

Buck Showalter is a good manager but this team is mired with problems. The young pitching the Orioles counted on has failed to take the big leap forward they expected.

They made big bets on players like Brian Roberts, Nick Markakis and Adam Jones and they have underwhelmed. They lack a big bopper like a Bautista who can change a game. Instead, they can build around emerging star catcher Matt Wieters.

That just about sums up the Orioles.

Now we come to the Yankees.

They won 97 games last season despite the fact Alex Rodriguez played in 99 games, only Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano had good seasons with the bat and their rotation contained Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon.

How many will they win when they get a healthy season out of Rodriguez, more of their hitters have better seasons with the bat and a rotation that now has Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte, a healthy Phil Hughes to go along with ace lefty CC Sabathia?

Their bullpen even without Joba Chamberlain is loaded with Rivera closing like he always has at age 42 and David Robertson and Rafael Soriano shortening games to six innings.

The team has closed the pitching gap with the Rays and their offense is simply the best in the division. Add to that the division’s best bullpen and a veteran bench and you have the makings of another A.L. East title for the team in the Bronx.

I have not seen evidence that would contradict the premise. The only thing that could derail the Yankees is the age of the team. Injuries also are a great equalizer. But, other than a bad spate of injuries there is nothing that will stop this team in 2012.

Here is the predicted order of finish:

1) New York Yankees 

2) Tampa Bay Rays (Wild Card)

3) Toronto Blue Jays

4) Boston Red Sox

5) Baltimore Orioles

If this order holds up, look for Valentine to be scanning the help wanted ads in October. He already has the team hating him. If it gets much worse he might be scanning those ads in July.


Yankees Get Work In Beating South Florida 11-0

The New York Yankees got some game-condition work in on Friday with a 11-0 exhibition victory over the University of South Florida at George M. Steinbrenner Field at Tampa, FL.

Right-hander Adam Warren pitched two scoreless innings to pick up the victory. Warren, 24, gave up one hit and walked none while striking out two as part of a group of seven Yankee pitchers who limited the Bulls to four hits, no walks and struck out 10.

Manager Joe Girardi started all his regulars with the exception of second baseman Robinson Cano and catcher Russell Martin and the regulars were given only one or two at-bats.

Girardi was pleased with the hitting of outfielder Zoilo Almonte (2-for-2, two RBIs) and second baseman David Adams (1-for-2, one RBI). Outfielder Colin Curtis and Infielder Ramiro Pena added two hits apiece as the Yankees pounded out 14 hits against USF pitching.

The USF Bulls are coached by Lelo Prado, the brother-in-law of former Yankees first baseman Tino Martinez, currently a special assistant to general manager Brian Cashman. USF is in fourth place in the Big East standings with a 4-4 record.

The Yankees are 3-0 against USF in spring exhibitions by a combined score of 31-5. Proceeds from the game benefitted the USF baseball program.


Most of Friday’s news surrounded two former Yankees. Former Yankee right-hander A.J. Burnett underwent successful surgery to repair an injury to his right-eye orbital bone in Pittsburgh and the Pirates announced that he will miss about eight to 12 weeks. Bunrett sustained the injury fouling a bunt off his eye during a bunting contest at the Pirates spring training complex in Bradenton, FL.  . . .  Former Yankee catcher and designated hitter Jesus Montero took two foul shots off his jaw in the fifth inning of the Mariners’ spring Cactus League opener against the Oakland Athletics and had to be removed from the game. Up to that point, Montero, 22, was 1-for-3 at the plate with two runs and two RBIs in the game in Phoenix, AZ. The Mariners have already announced that Miguel Olivo will open the season as the team’s starting catcher and that Montero would be a candidate to DH and develop as a catcher as a backup to Olivo.


The Yankees will open their 33-game spring training schedule on Saturday against the Philadelphia Phillies at Bright House Field in Clearwater, FL. Ivan Nova, a 24-year-old right-hander who was 16-4 with a 3.70 ERA in his rookie season, will start for the Yankees. Girardi also said that Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, Cesar Cabral, Michael O’Connor and David Phelps will pitch for the Yankees. The starting outfield of Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher along with Martin will start for the Yankees.

The Phillies will counter by starting left-hander Cole Hamels, who was 14-9 with a 2.79 ERA for the Phillies last season. David Bush, Jonathan Papelbon, Dontrelle Willis, Raul Valdes, Chad Qualls and Mike Stutes are also slated to pitch. The Phiilies willl open their spring slate without three of the top regulars available to play on Saturday. First baseman Ryan Howard has an infection in his left Achilles tendon and has not reported to camp. Second baseman Chase Utley and third baseman Placido Polanco are also being held out of action by manager Charlie Manuel. Utley suffers from a chronic knee condition and Polanco is recovering from sports hernia surgery.

Game-time will be 1:05 p.m. EST and the game will be broadcast nationally by the MLB Network.


Bloop Single Sinks Yanks In Opener As ‘Boss’ Honored

TAMPA – Reserve catcher Dane Sardinha’s two-run bloop single to left with the base loaded in the eighth inning gave Philadelphia a 5-4 victory over the New York Yankees in the 2011 spring training opener for both clubs on Saturday.
Brian Schlitter (1-0), who blew a 4-3 lead in the seventh inning, was credited with the victory. Eric Wordekemper (0-1) was tagged with the loss.
  • Joba Chamberlain was clearly the buzz after the game with his impressive one perfect inning of relief. The 25-year-old right-hander just needed 11 pitches (nine of them strikes) to retire the side in order in the third. He was clocked at 93 miles per hour. 
  • Francisco Cervelli drove in the Yankees’ first run of the spring with a two-out double off Phillies starter Cole Hamels in the second inning to score Robinson Cano.
  • Mark Teixeira drove in the second run with a ringing line-drive triple off wall in left-center to score Eduardo Nunez in the fifth.
  • Alex Rodriguez has two great at-bats but only had a double to right-center to show for it. His long blast to center in the first was caught at the wall by Ben Francisco.
  • Backup first baseman Jorge Vazquez temporarily became the big hero of the day with a two-run blast over the batters’ eye in center in the seventh inning gave the Yankees a 4-3 lead. But the Yankees lost the lead the following inning.
  • Reserve outfielder Justin Maxwell made the defensive play of the day with a diving shoestring catch of a line drive off the bat of Ross Gload in the seventh inning with two men on base, saving at least one run. Maxwell was acquired in a trade with the Nationals.
  • Starter Bartolo Colon did not look sharp in his spring debut. In two innings he gave up two hits, a walk and one run on 36 pitches. The 37-year-old former Cy Young Award winner did not have his sharp sinker today. However, Cervelli said he was encouraged because Colon was able to locate his fastball and keep the ball down. Colon is auditioning for a spot in the back end of the rotation as a non-roster invitee.
  • David Phelps was the Yankees best minor league pitcher last season but he looked a bit rusty in his spring debut. He was nicked by three consecutive hits after two were out in the fifth inning. That allowed the Phillis to take a 3-1 lead.
  • Wordekemper also looked shaky in his one inning of work. After allowing back-to-back hits to begin the eighth, the right-hander retired the next two batters. However, he walked Jeff Larish to load the bases and Sardinha hit a breaking pitch that echoed like a wet newspaper but the ball escaped the glove of a diving Colin Curtis and two runs scored.
  • The Yankees had many chances to come back on the Phillies and win the game. What did not help was the team was 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and they left 10 runners on base.
The Yankees paid a poignant tribute to late principal owner George M. Steinbrenner before the game. A video tribute was followed by a laying of three roses at the interlocking NY behind home plate by Steinbrenner’s late wife Joan and his two daughters. The marching band from George M. Steinbrenner High School in Lutz, FL entertained the crowd before the ceremony and Steinbrenner’s granddaughter Haley Swindal performed the national anthem. During the anthem there was flyover of two F-18 Hornets from the Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, VA. The day marked the first spring game since the death of “The Boss” last July at age 80. Fans who entered the stadium at the home=plate entrance were greeted with a huge statute of Steinbrenner erected in his honor.  . . .  The opener was attended by 11,122 and was played under perfect weather conditions. It was 77 degrees and sunny with just a slight breeze at game-time.  . . .  The Yankees fielded their entire starting lineup for the game except for starting catcher Russell Martin, who is easing back into catching this spring because he is recovering from surgery on his right knee. Cervelli started in his place. Manager Joe Girardi said Martin should begin starting behind the plate next week, barring any setbacks.  . . .  Phillies manager Charlie Manuel held shortstop Jimmy Rollins out of the game Saturday because he missed two workouts attending a Motown tribute in Washington, D.C. Manuel previously announced second baseman Chase Utley would not play because of sore legs. Manuel said he is not concerned but Utley ducked questions about it on Saturday. Rollins will play against the Yankees on Sunday at Bright House Field but Utley will remain sidelined indefinitely.
The Phillies will return the favor to the Yankees and host them for their home spring opener on Sunday. The Yankees will start 24-year-old right-hander Ivan Nova, who is in the mix for the back-end rotation spot. Rookie catching prospect Jesus Montero will start at catcher. The Phillies will start right-hander Joe Blanton.
Game-time is schediled for 1:05 p.m. EST and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network. The MLB Network will broadcast the game nationally on tape-delay at 8 p.m.

Matsui, Yankees Thump Phillies For 27th Crown


It took nine seasons, 177 games and nine innings on Wednesday night for the New York Yankees to become the world champions of baseball again.
The Cadillac of all baseball franchises collected their 27th World Series trophy in front of a sellout crowd of 50,035 in the Bronx to put an exclamation point on a season characterized by gutty starting pitching, a potent offense, an experienced bench and a dominant bullpen.
All four elements were on display in Game 6 as Hideki Matsui drove in a World Series record-tying six runs in what could be his last game in pinstripes and Andy Pettitte pitched a solid 5 1/3 innings on three days rest as the Yankees defeated the defending champion Philadelphia Phillies 7-3.
The World Series victory brought a successful curtain down on the team’s inaugural season in their new $1.5 billion ballpark and justified a massive $423.5 million investment in free agents CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira.
Matsui, who did not start three of the first five games because designated hitters do not bat in National League ballparks, powered the Yankees offense starting with a two-run home run in second inning off 38-year-old Yankee nemesis Pedro Martinez (0-2) to break the seal on the Game 6 scoring.
After a walk to Alex Rodriguez to open the frame, Matsui battled Martinez through seven pitches and a full count before ripping a fastball high down the rightfield line and into the bleachers for a 2-0 Yankees’ lead, a lead they would never give up.
As if on cue, Yankee partisans broke out the “Whose your Daddy” cheer to serenade the most-hated pitcher in Yankees’ history.
Matsui added a bases-loaded two-run single in the third inning off Martinez to make it 4-1. 
In his five at-bats in the World Series off the former Dominican dandy, Matsui had a walk, two singles and two home runs and five RBIs. Whose your “poppa-san,” indeed.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was ready for Matsui in the fifth inning. With two on and one out, he summoned rookie lefty J.A. Happ from the bullpen. But Matsui proved he was just as ready for Happ when he greeted him a two-run double high off the wall in right-center that scored Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez, putting the Yankees up 7-1.
Pettitte (2-0) took over the game from there. Though he did not dominate the Phillies and his command was somewhat off (five walks), Pettitte pitched into the sixth inning and gave up only four hits and three runs in winning his 18th postseason game, the most in major-league history.
Pettitte, who was not re-signed by the Yankees as a free agent until late in the winter, also won all of the three series-clinching games for the Yankees in this postseason and ended up with a record of 4-0 and 3.52 ERA in five starts.
Matsui, who has only worn Yankees pinstripes since he made his stateside pilgrimage from Japan in 2003, was appropriately named the World Series Most Valuable Player for going 8-for-12 (.667) with three home runs and eight RBIs.
Matsui, nicknamed “Godzilla” in his native Japan, became the first Japanese player to ever be named a World Series MVP.
After his Game 6 performance that put away the Phillies for good, one writer said Philadelphia must now know how Tokyo felt like when the fictional monster Godzilla destroyed it.
The Phillies had rested their Game 6 hopes on some momentum from having won Game 5 at home and on the surgically repaired right shoulder of Martinez. However, Martinez did not show any of the velocity he showed in Game 2 and struggled with his command early.
He left after four innings, giving up four runs on three hits, two walks and a hit batsman. In two games against the Yankees — both of the losses — Martinez was tagged for 10 hits, four walks and seven runs in nine innings.
Chad Durbin took over for El Pedro to start the fifth and promptly gave up a double to Derek Jeter. After a sacrifice bunt to move Jeter to third by Jerry Hairston, who entered the game after Johnny Damon pulled a calf muscle scoring a run in the third, Teixeira singled to score Jeter. Durbin then walked Alex Rodriguez and Manuel summoned Happ and Matsui zapped Happ and much of the sap left in the “Fighting Phillies” bats.
Though a tiring Pettitte was tagged in the sixth inning by a Ryan Howard two-run homer, the Yankees’ bullpen shut down the Phillies the rest of the way.
Joba Chamberlain got the Yankees out of the sixth and veteran lefty Damaso Marte got Chamberlain out of a two-on, two-out jam in the seventh by striking out Chase Utley, who would not add to his World Series record-tying home run total of five.
Marte, who recorded all eight outs he was asked to get in this World Series, also fanned Howard swinging to open the eighth inning for his fifth strikeout of the Fall Classic. The Yankee fans in the crowd, who had booed Marte much of the regular season, stood and cheered as he left the mound.
Manager Joe Girardi, who joins Billy Martin and Ralph Houk as the third former Yankees player to also win a championship as a manager, then went to the all-time leader in postseason saves, Mariano Rivera, to get the final four outs.
Though Rivera gave a two-out double to Raul Ibanez in the eighth and a one-out walk to Carlos Ruiz in the ninth, he shut out the Phillies to complete 5 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball in the series with two saves. 
Rivera lowered his career World Series ERA to 0.99.
With Ruiz at first and two outs, Rivera battled Shane Victorino through nine pitches and a 3-2 count. On his 10th offering, Victorino swung at Rivera’s characteristically deadly inside cutter and rolled an easy grounder to Robinson Cano at second.
Cano carefully got in front of the ball and watched it as it bounced into his glove. He turned and flipped the ball to Teixeira at first to beat Victorino and the Yankees players, coaches and fans erupted in a thunderous roar as the Yankees, the best team in the American League this season, had beaten the Phillies, the best team in the National League this season.
Now the Yankees have laid claim to the crown as the best team in baseball for 2009.
Though it never gets old for veterans like Jorge Posada, Jeter, Pettitte and Rivera, who won four rings with the Yankees from 1996-2000, it was particularly a special victory for players like Matsui, Damon, Cano and A-Rod, who have waited a long time to win their first title with the Yankees.
Not to mention the feelings of the free agent stars Sabathia, Burnett and Teixeira and first-year Yankees like Nick Swisher, Phil Coke, Alfredo Aceves, David Robertson, Phil Hughes and Hairston. A total of 17 members of the Yankees’ World Series roster won their first championship.
But the proudest Yankee of all of them is Mr. George M. Steinbrenner, the longtime managing general partner, principal owner and chief financier of Yankees resurgence back to prominence after he bought the team in 1973.
In the 36 years since then, the Yankees have now won 12 pennants and seven world championships. The Yankees dedicated this 27th title to the man who rebuilt the Yankee Empire and gave this 2009 team its new home in the Bronx.
Knowing Steinbrenner and his sons Hank and Hal,
the victory is sweet but the drive to win the 2010 world championship begins today. Anything less in the Bronx is a failure.

A.J. Shines As Matsui Victimizes Pedro Again


In Game 6 of the 2003 American League Championship Series a double by Hideki Matsui led to a defeat of Pedro Martinez and the Boston Red Sox. In Game 2 of the 2009 World Series a home run by Hideki Matsui led to the defeat of Pedro Martinez and the Philadelphia Phillies.
As Yogi Berra says, it was deja’ vu all over again as A.J. Burnett pitched seven dominant innings to outduel the Yankees’ Public Enemy No. 1, Martinez, and the Phillies 3-1 on Thursday night and tie this World Series at a game apiece.
Despite what Joe Buck of FOX Sports might have led you to believe, Burnett won his showdown with the cocky Dominican righthander. 
Burnett (1-0) silenced the Phillies in his first career World Series start with a mere run on just four hits and two walks and he fanned nine batters. Burnett threw first-pitch strikes to 21 of the 26 batters he faced and had the likes of Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Raul Ibanez and Matt Stairs flailing at air on his deadly and unhittable curveball all night long.
“I knew it was a big game — it’s no lie,” Burnett told MLB.com. “It was the biggest game I’ve ever thrown in for this team. You can’t let that affect you, and I tried not to let it affect me. I knew I had a big task ahead of me with Pedro on the mound, and I wanted to go out and pitch the best I could.”
Martinez (0-1) was able to fool the Yankees for a time with his assortment of off-speed garbage and slow and even slower changeups until the fourth inning. Pedro let go of one too many slow changeups to Mark Teixeira and Teixeira promptly deposited the badly bruised horsehide some 405 feet away in the back of the Yankees’ bullpen in right-center.
The game was tied at one.
Pedro smiled.
“We hadn’t done much offensively all series, and Pedro was pitching great,” Teixeira said to MLB.com. “We tip our hats to him. But I think the home run got the crowd back in it. It evened the game.
Two innings later, with two out and nobody on, Martinez tried to double up on a curveball to Matsui on a 1-2 count but Matsui went down to get it and drove it high and deep down the line into the rightfield bleachers to the Yankees in the lead for the first time in this Fall Classic.
The Yankees fans who dominated the 50,181 people in attendance rose to cheer the blast and then the partisans restarted a “Who’s Your Daddy” chant that reverberated throughout the new Yankee Stadium. The “Daddy” reference came from a Martinez postgame interview of September 2004 when he said “maybe the Yankees are my Daddy.”
Yankees fans have never forgotten that phrase.
As Matsui ran the bases and the “Daddy” chant started anew, Martinez smiled.
In 2003, a tiring Martinez was beating the Yankees in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series. Then-Red Sox manager Grady Little went to the mound to ask Pedro if he was OK. Martinez said he was and Little left him in to face Matsui. 
Matsui then blasted a double down the rightfield line that gave the Yankees a come-from-behind victory and Martinez ended up 0-1 with a 5.65 ERA in the series. After the Yankees won the series in seven games, Little was fired by the Red Sox — largely for letting Martinez face Matsui.
Matsui made the loudmouthed Latin braggart pay once once again. Perhaps the Yankees fans phrase should now be “Who’s Your Poppa-San?”
“His home run was huge,” Girardi said to MLB.com. “It’s the first lead we’ve had in this series in the two games.”
Surprisingly enough, manager Charlie Manuel, beginning to look somewhat like poor Grady Little, sent Martinez out to pitch the bottom of the seventh despite the fact he had thrown 99 pitches. He would regret it.
Martinez proved he needed to have a huge fork stuck in him because he was obviously more than done after giving up a leadoff single to Jerry Hairston, who was penciled into the lineup over regular rightfielder Nick Swisher by manager Joe Girardi because he was hitting .370 lifetime off El Pedro.
After Brett Gardner was sent in to pinch-run for Hairston, Melky Cabrera then slashed a line-drive single on a hit-and-run that propelled the speedy Gardner to third. Manuel then saw the error of his Grady Little ways in sticking with a gassed Pedro on a hostile Yankee Stadium stage but it was two batters and eight pitches too late.
The Yankee faithful had one last serenade for its favorite villain as he walked towards the Phillies dugout. Martinez again just smiled.
It begs the question: What does Pedro do when he actually beats the Yankees? He obviously smiles broadly when he loses.
Pinch-hitter Jorge Posada greeted reliever Chan Ho Park with a solid single up the middle to plate Gardner to give the Yankees a 3-1 lead with Mariano Rivera warming up for a six-out save in the Yankees’ bullpen.
Martinez ledger showed that he gave up three earned runs in six-plus innings. He gave up six hits and two walks and struck out eight batters. 
My apologies again to Joe Buck at FOX but Martinez’ ERA for this start was 4.50 and Burnett’s ERA was 1.29. I just do not want you baseball fans out there to be confused on who pitched the better game. 
Martinez was hardly humbled by his defeat.

“I know they really want to root for me,” Martinez said to MLB.com. “It’s just that I don’t play for the Yankees, that’s all. I’ve always been a good competitor, and they love that. They love the fact that I compete. I’m a New Yorker as well. If I was on the Yankees, I’d probably be like a king over here.”

The only time Burnett was touched for a run was a matter of just two inches after two were out in the second inning. Burnett had a 2-2 count on Ibanez and he was set up perfectly for the pitch du jour, the curve. 
But Ibanez flailed his bat wildly to protect the plate and dropped a dying quail ground-rule double into left for what will go down in Ibanez history as one very lucky hit that kissed the line and kicked into foul territory and into the seats.
Stairs, looking more and more like he never misses a postseason Phillies clubhouse spread, then raked an opposite field single that went an inch under Alex Rodriguez’s glove and skipped into left to drive in the slow-footed Ibanez with the game’s first run.
As it turned out it was the only run for the defending champions this ni
ght. Burnett made sure of that.
“Extremely impressive,” Girardi said of Burnett. “He was great tonight. He gave up the one run, but he gave us seven extremely strong innings and kept his pitch count down. He was able to work in and out with his fastball and throw his good curveball and get some good swings and misses tonight.”
In the third Burnett walked Jimmy Rollins with one out and fell behind Chase Utley 3-0 and walked him with two out to face Howard. But Burnett made the National League Championship Series MVP look like his RBI buddy in that Major League Baseball commercial with another nasty curveball he tipped into Jose Molina’s glove for the third out, one of four strikeouts Howard registered this evening in four at-bats.
Burnett also gave up a leadoff single to Jayson Werth in the fifth but Molina erased the shaggy slugger with a bullet throw to Teixeira that caught the rightfielder taking a siesta al fresco.
Catcher Carlos Ruiz doubled with one in the sixth and it was enough to get Joe Buck really enthused in the FOX booth. But Burnett cock-screwed Rollins with another curve and Shane Victorino popped up weakly to A-Rod to end that threat.
“I think I fed off the crowd,” Burnett told MLB.com. “They were up every time I got one strike, they were up every time I got two and instead of overthrowing, I kind of just stayed within myself and they started to cheer a lot.”
The rest of the contest belonged to Mariano Rivera and first-base umpire Brian Gorman, but not necessarily in that order.
Gorman actually snuffed out the Yankees’ rally that started off Martinez in the seventh inning. After Posada’s single gave the Yankees a 3-1 lead, Derek Jeter bunted foul with two strikes for the first out and Johnny Damon strolled to the plate to face lefty reliever Scott Eyre, who had just been summoned to replace Park.
Damon lined a one-hopper in into the glove of Howard at first and Howard, indicating to all in witness to the play that he had short-hopped it, threw to wildly to second to try to get Posada on a tag play to Rollins covering second. Howard’s throw to Rollins seemed to be aimed towards Queens and Posada pulled in easily and clapped as he thought he safely reached second.
But Gorman, who was positioned behind Howard’s large, bulbous backside, called Damon out on the play and called Posada out on Rollins’ tag to boot – a phantom double play for sure. Television replays showed the reason Howard threw to second was because the ball bounced into his glove but the Yankees fell victim to another sad umpire postseason blunder.
Instead of having the bases loaded and one out with Teixeira up to potentially tack on to the lead, the Yankees were banished to the dugout to collect their gloves for the eighth.
But thank goodness Gorman was at first for the eighth.
Rivera walked Rollins with one out and Victorino followed with a single to rightfield. Yankees fans held their breath as Rivera faced Game One hero Chase Utley with the game on the line. Utley worked the count full and Manuel decided not to start his two fastest runners on the full-count pitch.
Utley then bounced the ball to Robinson Cano at second and Cano flipped to second to get Victorino and Jeter relayed to Teixeira at first to nip Utley. Or did he? Replays showed that Utley beat the throw and the Phillies should have had Rollins at third and Utley at first with two out and Howard up.
But the Phillies found out that Brian Gorman giveth and Brian Gorman taketh away.
This also is another shout out to Joe Buck at FOX. The Yankees were robbed an inning before. Why did you just moan about this play next inning without mentioning the earlier Gorman screwup? Curious!
Oh well, things did calm down in the ninth when Rivera retook the mound.
Howard made a real nice statute as he watched strike three get called and he trudged back to the Phillies’ dugout to don his golden sombrero for the evening. Werth followed with a soft liner that Cano snagged easily while trotting to his right.
Ibanez induced Joe Buck to bust out his Phillies pom-poms again with his second double of the game. But, alas, the Phillies’ Hefty bag for a DH, Stairs, swung wildly at Rivera’s 2-2 offering and missed badly. Game over.
For Rivera it was his major-league-leading 38th postseason save, his 10th in the World Series, and his 18th six-out save in the postseason.
Game 2 is in the books and let it read that A.J. Burnett outpitched the Yankees’ favorite “son.”

“It’s a terrible cliche, but it was a must-win,” Teixeira said. “You don’t want to go [behind], 0-2 into Philadelphia. I know how tough they are at home, especially in the World Series. Their fans are going to be all over us. It’s going to be a great couple of games out there. But if we went in there 0-2, it would have been a tough road for us.”

The scene now will shift to Philadelphia for Game 3 on Saturday with the Yankees’ postseason rabbit’s foot, Andy Pettitte (14-8, 4.14 ERA), will take the mound at Citizens Bank Park with a 2009 postseason record of 2-0 with a 2.37 ERA. He enters the game as baseball’s winningest pitcher in postseason play with a 16-9 record and a 3.83 ERA.
Pettitte will face fellow lefty Cole Hamels (10-11, 4.32 ERA). For Hamels the 2008 postseason was the best of times with his 4-0 record and 1.80 ERA. But like Dickens’ “Tale of Two Cities” the 2009 postseason has been the worst of times. Hamels is 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA and he has not pitched past the fifth inning of any of his three starts.
Gametime will be 7.57 p.m. EDT and our old buddy Joe Buck will have the play-by-play call for FOX.