2009 World Series
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|2009 World Series|
|New York Yankees
103 - 59 in the AL
|4 - 2
93 - 69 in the NL
|2009 MLB Postseason|
|AL||NYY - MIN||LAA - NYY||NYY - PHI|
|LAA - BOS|
|NL||LAD - STL||LAD - PHI|
|PHI - COL|
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The 2009 World Series matched the Philadelphia Phillies, winners of the National League pennant and defending champions, against the New York Yankees, American League pennant winners. The series was a rematch of the 1950 World Series, won by the Yankees in a sweep in the middle of the storied franchise's greatest run of success.
The Yankees held home field advantage for the Series by virtue of the American League winning the 2009 All-Star Game; it was the the 7th straight year the American League had held home field advantage, following the decision to link this to the result of the mid-season All-Star Game. The series was also notable for having the latest starting date in history - October 28th - a result of a calendar quirk which made the regular season start on an unusually late date, and of extra off-days in the two League Championship Series.
The Philadelphia Phillies
The Philadelphia Phillies team that played in the 2009 World Series was very similar to the one that had won the 2008 World Series. The heart of the batting order remained unchanged: SS Jimmy Rollins (.250, 21 HR, 77 RBI, 100 R, 31 SB) leading off, followed by CF Shane Victorino (.292, 102 R), 2B Chase Utley (.282, 31 HR, 93 RBI, 113 R), 1B Ryan Howard (.279, 45 HR, 141 RBI) and RF Jayson Werth (.268, 36 HR, 99 RBI). The main change over the previous year's team was in left field, where one defensively-challenged left-handed slugger - Raul Ibanez - replaced another - Pat Burrell. However, Ibanez had a scorching first half, on his way to a seasonal line of .272, 34 HR, 93 RBI, while Burrell slumped badly after moving to the Tampa Bay Rays. The starting line-up was completed by 3B Pedro Feliz and C Carlos Ruiz both of whom were adequate hitters whose strength was really on defense. The bench was little-used in light of the outstanding starting line-up. It included mid-season acquisition OF Ben Francisco, 40-something pinch hitter Matt Stairs, and veteran role players Greg Dobbs, Eric Bruntlett, Paul Bako and Miguel Cairo.
In contrast to the hitting, the Phillies' pitching staff had undergone a significant overhaul in one year. Cole Hamels had been the ace on the way to the previous year's title, but had slumped to 10-11, 4.32. Joe Blanton posted a 12-8 record, but his overall statistics made him a fourth starter. Jamie Moyer and Brett Myers had both missed large chunks of the year with injuries, with the former still unavailable, and the latter just coming back to fill some bullpen duties. To shore up the starting rotation, the Phillies had made a big mid-season trade, acquiring the 2008 American League Cy Young Award winner, lefthander Cliff Lee from the Cleveland Indians, and he had pitched like an ace over the season's last two months (7-4, 3.39) and the first two rounds of the postseason. Also brought in was veteran Pedro Martinez (5-1, 3.63), no longer a world beater but able to pitch decently in choice situations. J.A. Happ, who had pitched very well as a starter in his rookie season (12-4, 2.93), was targeted for the bullpen.
The bullpen in fact was more problematic. Closer Brad Lidge, impeccable in 2008, had gone through a horrendous season, going 0-8 with a 7.21 ERA. However, he was still given the ball often enough in close games to rack up 31 saves, and remained Charlie Manuel's main option to finish games in spite of his troubles. His two set-up men, Ryan Madson (3.26) and Chan Ho Park (2.52 as a reliever), were solid, but the rest of the bullpen was unreliable, with Scott Eyre taking over as the main left-hander in place of the injured J.C. Romero, a key member of the previous year's staff, and Chad Durbin rounding the staff alongside the two converted starters, Myers and Happ. The absence of Clay Condrey (3.00 in 45 games) was a concern.
The New York Yankees
The 2009 New York Yankees were a solid team with very few holes. Propelled by a high-octane offense which set a team record by hitting 243 home runs, they won 103 games in the regular season, finishing well ahead of the Boston Red Sox and breezing past the Minnesota Twins and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the first two rounds of the post-season.
Not only did the Yankees hit home runs, but they also had a lot of men on base when the balls left the friendly confines of New Yankee Stadium. LF Johnny Damon (.282) and SS Derek Jeter (.334) were among the best table-setters in the business, both scoring 107 runs. They were followed by the power bats of 1B Mark Teixeira (39 HR, 122 RBI), 3B Alex Rodriguez (30 HR, 100 RBI) and DH Hideki Matsui (28 HR, 90 RBI). The bottom of the line-up was just as hard on pitchers: 2B Robinson Cano hit .320 with 25 HR; C Jorge Posada was healthy all year and hit .285 with 22 HR; RF Nick Swisher added 29 long balls and drew 97 walks. Even CF Melky Cabrera, who usually hit 9th, drove in 68 runs and scored 66. Not that they needed much help from the bench, but the back-ups included some good bats in Eric Hinske and Jerry Hairston, an excellent defensive outfielder who could run like the wind and handle the bat well in Brett Gardner, and a very good defensive catcher in Jose Molina.
The pitching, at least the Big Three, was also outstanding. Free agent signees CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett both proved to be worth their large salaries, going 19-8, 3.37 and 13-9, 4.04 respectively. Lefthander Andy Pettitte (14-8, 4.16) continued to be quietly efficient. Things got hairier in the back end of the rotation, as Joba Chamberlain was inconsistent, going 9-6, 4.75, and rekindled questions about whether he should start or relieve; also, manager Joe Girardi was unable to find a reliable fifth starter all year. However, under the special circumstances of the postseason, he decided to only use his Big Three to start games, and the decision would pay dividends.
The bullpen was composed of the great Mariano Rivera (1.76, 44 saves) and a number of question marks. Young Philip Hughes had done well as a set-up man after being pulled from the starting rotation and would be teamed in the post-season with Chamberlain, who had had previous success in the role. Young David Robertson and Alfredo Aceves had been up and down during the year, but had good arms. The rest of the pitching staff, veterans Damaso Marte, Brian Bruney and Chad Gaudin represented more of a question mark because of a lack of consistency, but they were not relied on to play significant roles.
Following a number of umpiring controversies in the first and second round of the postseason, Major League Baseball decided to use an all-veteran umpiring crew for the World Series. The practice in recent years had been to use at least one new umpire each World Series, in order to increase the basin of umpires with World Series experience. The decision was even more ironic in light of the fact that the controversial decisions that had prompted the change had been made by veteran umpires, not by novices.
|1||New York Yankees 1 Philadelphia Phillies 6||October 28||CC Sabathia (0-1) Cliff Lee (1-0)||7:57 p.m.|
|2||New York Yankees 3 Philadelphia Phillies 1||October 29||A.J. Burnett (1-0) Pedro Martinez (0-1)||7:57 p.m.|
|3||Philadelphia Phillies 5 New York Yankees 8||October 31||Cole Hamels (0-1) Andy Pettitte (1-0)||8:20 p.m.|
|4||Philadelphia Phillies 4 New York Yankees 7||November 1||Joe Blanton (0-0) CC Sabathia (0-1)||8:20 p.m.|
|5||Philadelphia Phillies 8 New York Yankees 6||November 2||Cliff Lee (2-0) A.J. Burnett (1-1)||7:57 p.m.|
|6||New York Yankees 7 Philadelphia Phillies 3||November 4||Andy Pettitte (2-0) Pedro Martinez (0-2)||7:57 p.m.|
Game 1 @ New Yankee Stadium
|WP: Cliff Lee (1-0), LP: CC Sabathia (0-1)|
|Home Runs: - PHI: Chase Utley 2 (2)|
- Attendance: 50,207
The Phillies won Game 1 by a 6-1 score as Cliff Lee outpitched CC Sabathia of the Yankees. The pitching match-up was the story of the game: the two starting pitchers, both lefthanders, had been teammates for years with the Cleveland Indians, had both won the Cy Young Award in recent years on the shores of Lake Erie, and had both been dominant in three starts in the early rounds of the postseason. In addition, the two had been the starters for the first game ever played in New Yankee Stadium earlier this season, before Lee was traded to the Phillies, with Lee winning that game. In this game, Lee would again be the clear winner, although Sabathia did not do badly himself in spite of the final score. The game was played under an intermittent drizzle.
The 1st inning was a reflection of the difference between the two pitchers. Neither gave up a run, but Sabathia labored, loading the bases with two walks and a double to Ryan Howard before forcing Raul Ibanez to ground out to end the threat, while Lee retired the side in order, baffling the Yankees with his outstanding assortment of breaking balls and well-placed fastballs. The Phillies opened the scoring in the 3rd when Chase Utley hit a home run typical of this ballpark, the ball falling in the second row of the right field seats, just beyond the reach of RF Nick Swisher. Utley then doubled the lead in the 6th when he hit another long ball, this one a no-doubter that traveled almost 400 feet to right field. Those were the first two homers that Sabathia had given up to a left-handed batter at home this season, and they were the only blotches on an otherwise outstanding 7-inning pitching effort.
For his part, Lee was just rolling along, keeping the Yankees from making solid contact, and adding some great fielding plays to his magnificent pitching. There was a little umpiring controversy in the 5th inning, when Hideki Matsui led off with a single and Robinson Cano followed with a short flare that landed in SS Jimmy Rollins' glove, just off the ground. Rollins acted as if he had caught the ball on the bounce, stepping on second base, and then throwing to first, where his throw pulled Howard off the bag. At first, the umpires appeared unsure what to call, but all six of them conferred and made the correct call as confirmed by television replays: Cano was out as Rollins had caught and not trapped the ball, and Matsui was out as well because Howard tagged him before he could return to the first base bag. Joe Girardi came out to argue as a matter of principle, but the umpires had learned from botched calls in previous rounds and made the effort required to ensure a correct call.
In the top of the 8th, the Phillies were still ahead, 2-0, when Girardi brought in young Philip Hughes to pitch, Sabathia having already made 113 pitches. However, Hughes was wild, walking Rollins and Shane Victorino around a stolen base by Rollins. Damaso Marte relieved him to face the next two batters, both left-handers, and belied his awful results over the regular season and postseason by striking out Utley and getting Howard on a short fly to right. His work, done, he gave way to David Robertson, but the hard-throwing youngster was wild as well, walking Jayson Werth before giving up a two-run single to Ibanez. After Lee pitched a perfect 8th, the Phillies increased their lead again in the 9th, putting what had been a tight ballgame out of reach. After one out, Carlos Ruiz doubled off Brian Bruney, who had just been added to the Yankees' roster for the World Series, Rollins singled and Victorino singled in the 5th run, chasing Bruney. Phil Coke came in to retire Utley, but then gave up a double to Howard, scoring Rollins with the 6th run, although Victorino was thrown out at the plate to end the inning. The Phillies were now up 6-0, and even though Lee lost his shutout on a pair of singles and a throwing error by Rollins, he struck out Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada to end the game, notching an impressive complete game victory in which he walked none and struck out 10.
Game 2 @ New Yankee Stadium
|WP: A.J. Burnett (1-0), LP: Pedro Martinez (0-1), SV: Mariano Rivera (1)|
|Home Runs: NYY - Mark Teixeira (1), Hideki Matsui (1)|
- Attendance: 50,181
The Yankees tied the series with a 3-1 victory in Game 2, in another game marked by excellent performances by the starting pitchers and two solo homers. This time, the duel on the mound featured veteran Pedro Martinez, a pitcher Yankee fans loved to hate, who had only been signed by the Phillies after the All-Star break after sitting idle at home in the Dominican Republic for the first few months of the year, and free agent signee A.J. Burnett for the Yankees. Charlie Manuel changed his designated hitter, inserting the left-handed hitting Matt Stairs in the line-up and moving Raul Ibanez back to LF in place of Ben Francisco, while Joe Girardi once again used Jose Molina as Burnett's designated catcher, and benched the slumping Nick Swisher in favor of Jerry Hairston. The moves would pay dividends for both managers.
The two pitchers started off strong, with the sometimes wild Burnett exhibiting very good control, and Martinez baffling his opponents with his great change-up. The Phillies broke the ice in the 2nd inning when Ibanez hit a double and Stairs drove him in with a hard hit ball that went under Alex Rodriguez's glove at 3B and was ruled a single. The score stayed thus until the 4th when Mark Teixeira tied the game with a solo home run. In the 6th, Hideki Matsui also hit a solo home run to give the Yankees their first lead of the Series, 2-1. One of the other highlights of the game came in the 4th when Jayson Werth led of the inning with a single for Philadelphia, then was picked off first base by a strong and accurate throw from Molina.
Manuel may have made a mistake in asking Martinez to come back to start the 7th inning. He had already made 99 pitches, and his 6 solid innings of work against the Bronx Bombers' dangerous line-up were as much as could reasonably have been expected. As it turns out, he was greeted in the 7th by a single by Hairston, followed by another single by Melky Cabrera on a hit-and-run. Brett Gardner was now running for Hairston, 90 feet from home, and he came in to score when Jorge Posada, pinch hitting for Molina against reliever Chan Ho Park, hit another single. With a big inning threatening to break out, the Phillies got out with no further damage when Derek Jeter struck out when he failed to lay down a two-strike bunt, and Johnny Damon lined into a double play against Scott Eyre. That play was controversial, as replays showed that 1B Ryan Howard may have trapped the ball before throwing out Posada to complete the twin killing.
After the poor performance by his bullpen in Game 1, Girardi took no chances in preserving the 3-1 lead. He called on his closer Mariano Rivera to pitch the last two innings, as he had done in Game 6 of the ALCS. The master was flawless, putting on the golden sombrero on Howard when the slugger struck out for the fourth time of the game to start the 9th, then struck out Stairs to end the game with Ibanez on second base after a two-out double. The two teams were headed to Philadelphia with the series tied at 1.
Game 3 @ Citizens Bank Park
|WP: Andy Pettitte (1-0), LP: Cole Hamels (0-1)|
|Home Runs: - NYY: Alex Rodriguez (1), Nick Swisher (1), Hideki Matsui (2); PHI: Jayson Werth 2 (2), Carlos Ruiz (1)|
- Attendance: 46,061
The Yankees took the lead in the Series with an 8-5 win in a Game 3 that was a real slugfest. On the mound were two left-handed pitchers who had known a lot of postseason success, Cole Hamels, the NLCS and World Series MVP last year for the Phillies, and Andy Pettitte, owner of the career record for postseason wins, for the Yankees. The start of the game was delayed for over an hour by rain and the game itself was played in an intermittent drizzle.
In the game's first few innings, the Phillies appeared to be solidly in control. Hamels was mystifying Yankee hitters with his fastball and change-up, while Pettitte ran into serious trouble in the 2nd inning. Jayson Werth led off with a solo home run, then after one out, Pedro Feliz doubled against the right field wall. Pettitte then walked Carlos Ruiz to face Hamels. Hamels laid down a bunt which both Pettitte and catcher Jorge Posada stared at without picking up. The Phillies' pitcher was credited with a single and the bases were loaded. Pettitte pitched carefully around Jimmy Rollins and walked him to force in a second run, then threw a fastball in the middle of the plate to Shane Victorino, who just got under the pitch and lifted a fly ball to deep left for a sacrifice fly. The Phillies were up, 3-0, but Pettitte, who was perhaps one pitch away from being removed from the game, escaped the inning by striking out Chase Utley.
The Yankees finally got their attack moving in the 4th, when Mark Teixeira drew a one-out walk. Alex Rodriguez, whose bat had been deadly quiet until then, sliced a pitch high into the right field corner. It seemed to hit the wall and fall back on the field for a double, but after use of instant replay, the umpires determined that it had hit a television camera in the first row of stands for a two-run home run. With their first hit of the game, the Yankees had pulled to 3-2. There would be no stopping their offense from that point. In the 5th, Nick Swisher also emerged from a slump with a key hit, a double to the wall. After Melky Cabrera struck out, it was Pettitte's turn to make his bat count: he lifted a pitch from Hamels into center field for a game-tying single. The floodgates were opened. Derek Jeter also singled, then Johnny Damon drove a ball to the wall in left-center to score both runners and it was 5-3 Yankees. They added a 6th run in the following inning as Swisher blasted a solo home run.
With the game getting out of hand, the Phillies tried to mount a comeback in the bottom of the 6th, started with another solo home run by Werth, his second of the game. Ruiz drew a two-out walk and Charlie Manuel sent Eric Bruntlett, author of a pinch home run in 2008, to pinch hit for pitcher J.A. Happ, but he struck out. The game was still within reach for Philadelphia at 6-4, but the Yankees drew more blood in the 7th when Posada drove in a 7th run against Chad Durbin. It was now up to the Yankee bullpen to hold the lead until Mariano Rivera could come in if needed, and this time they did it well. Joba Chamberlain pitched a scoreless 7th, and Damaso Marte followed with a similarly solid 8th inning. In the meantime, Hideki Matsui had added to the lead with a solo home run pinch hitting for Chamberlain in the 8th. Philip Hughes came in to start the 9th for the Yankees, but he again found trouble. After one out, he gave up a home run to Ruiz. With pinch hitter Matt Stairs coming up, Girardi took no chance. He brought in the great Rivera, who ended the game by retiring the final two batters. It was not a save situation, but clinching a 2 game to 1 win for the Yankees was reason enough to have the Sandman in the game.
Game 4 @ Citizens Bank Park
|WP: Joba Chamberlain (1-0), LP: Brad Lidge (0-1), SV: Mariano Rivera (2)|
|Home Runs: - PHI: Chase Utley (3), Pedro Feliz (1)|
- Attendance: 46,145
The New York Yankees took a commanding lead in the Series by defeating the Phillies 7-4 in Game 4, putting the resilient Phillies away with a three-run outburst with two outs in the 9th after the Phillies had twice rallied from two runs down to tie the ballgame. The pitching match-up appeared to be a mismatch, with the great CC Sabathia making his second start for the Yankees, on three days' rest, against the Phillies' fourth starter, Joe Blanton. Manager Charlie Manuel never seriously considered bringing back Cliff Lee to face Sabathia again, as Lee had never pitched on short rest during his career to that point.
In the 1st inning, it looked as if Blanton's night might be very short. The game's first batter, Derek Jeter, singled and Johnny Damon followed with a double. Mark Teixeira grounded to Ryan Howard at first base to drive in the game's first run, then Alex Rodriguez was hit by a pitch for the third time in two games. The umpires warned both benches in order to prevent tempers from flaring. Jorge Posada followed with a fly ball to Raul Ibanez, on which Damon came in to score for a 2-0 lead. However, the Phillies replied almost immediately. After one out, Shane Victorino doubled off Sabathia, then Chase Utley, who had hit two long balls off CC in Game 1, drove a pitch to the top of the right field fence for a double, cutting the lead to 2-1. Both pitchers settled down after that, especially Blanton who proceeded to retire 10 straight batters. The Phillies tied the game for the first time in the 4th when Howard led off with a single, then surprised everyone by stealing second base standing up. Pedro Feliz singled with two outs to drive him in even though replays showed Howard never touched the plate, something the Yankees missed.
The Yankees almost broke the game open in the 5th, when they had Blanton in the ropes. Nick Swisher led off with a walk and Melky Cabrera folowed with an infield single. The Phillies caught a break when Sabathia was unable to lay down a bunt and was called out on strikes, but Jeter and Damon both followed with singles to make it 4-2. However, Blanton was able to retire Teixeira and Rodriguez on fly balls to keep the Phillies within reach. They tried to reply immediately when they placed their first two batters on base in the bottom of the inning, but Sabathia escaped the jam without giving up a run. Relievers Chan Ho Park and Ryan Madson kept the Yankees off the scoreboard until the middle of the 8th, which allowed their teammates to tie the game for the second time with a couple of solo homers. First, Chase Utley hit his third long ball of the series - all off Sabathia - to chase CC in the 7th, then Feliz hit a solo shot off Joba Chamberlain with two outs in the 8th to tie the score at 4-all. The huge towel-waving crowd at Citizens Bank Park was ecstatic, as the Phillies seemed on the brink of equaling the Series.
Closer Brad Lidge came in to pitch the 9th, his first outing of the Series. He had been one of the Phillies' heroes in the conquest of the world title in 2008, but had fallen upon hard times in the regular season before recording three saves in the first two rounds of this year's playoffs. He started off well, retiring pinch hitter Hideki Matsui on a pop-up and Jeter on strikes. He then settled into an epic battle with Damon, who finally hit a single to left on the 9th pitch after fouling off a number of nasty sliders. With the Phillies in a defensive shift against the pull-hitting Teixeira, Damon took off for second, and arrived ahead of Carlos Ruiz's throw to 3B Feliz, covering the second base bag. Damon then noticed that no one was covering third base and cheekily continued to run as Feliz could do nothing to stop him. The flustered Lidge then plucked Teixeira with a pitch, bringing up Alex Rodriguez. After being the Yanks' best hitter over the first two rounds of the postseason, A-Rod had only one hit so far in the Series, although it was a key two-run home run in Game 3. This time, he lined a clutch double to left field to score Damon for the lead. Jorge Posada followed with another hit to the gap in left-center, scoring both runners before he was retired trying to stretch the hit into a double.
The crowd was now deathly quiet. The Yankees were up 7-4, and the great Mariano Rivera was coming to pitch. He made short work of the Phillies, retiring pinch hitter Matt Stairs, then Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino in order, to end the game. The Yankees were now up 3 to 1.
Game 5 @ Citizens Bank Park
|WP: Cliff Lee (2-0), LP: A.J. Burnett (1-1), SV: Ryan Madson (1)|
|Home Runs: - PHI: Chase Utley 2 (5), Raul Ibanez (1)|
- Attendance: 46,178
The Phillies sent the World Series back to New York by taking an early lead in Game 5 and holding on for an 8-6 win. Following CC Sabathia in Game 4, A.J. Burnett was pitching on short rest for New York after his excellent performance in Game 2, while Cliff Lee, who had been absolutely dominant in the Series' opener, was back on the mound on normal rest for Philadelphia. The Yankees did not have their best line-up on the field: CF Melky Cabrera had to be put on the disabled list prior to the game after pulling a hamstring in the previous game and was replaced by Brett Gardner, and light-hitting Jose Molina was in the line-up in place of Jorge Posada at catcher. Lee would once again be a winner, with a lot of help from Chase Utley.
The Yankees opened the scoring in the 1st inning, when Johnny Damon hit a single after one out and Alex Rodriguez doubled him in. The early run against their ace could have deflated the Phillies, but they replied immediately. Jimmy Rollins singled to lead off the bottom of the inning and Shane Victorino squared off to lay down a bunt. Burnett's first pitch hit him on the knuckles of his right hand, causing serious pain and putting two men on for Utley, who blasted Burnett's next pitch into the right field stands for a three-run homer. Burnett then walked Ryan Howard before finding his bearings and getting out of the inning with no further damage, but already down 3-1. Lee also settled down, but in the 3rd, the Phillies' bats spoke up again. Utley walked to lead off the inning, then stole second. Howard walked too and Jayson Werth singled, scoring Utley. Raul Ibanez followed with another single, scoring Howard and moving Werth to third with none out. That was it for the ineffective Burnett, who gave way to David Robertson. He got Pedro Feliz to pop out and Carlos Ruiz to ground into a force out, but the latter scored another run, making it 6-1. Lee then came to bat and blooped a single to center before Robertson struck out Rollins to end the inning.
With their ace on the mound, the Phillies now just had to nurse this five-run lead until the end of the game, while facing the back end of the Yankees' bullpen. Lee gave up a run in the 5th when pinch-hitter Eric Hinske walked with one out and was driven in by Damon. In the meantime, the Yankees' bullpen was doing its job: both Robertson and Alfredo Aceves pitched two scoreless innings, keeping their team in the game. In the 7th, however, Phil Coke was rocked by another long ball off Utley's bat, his fifth homer of the Series, tying Reggie Jackson's record set in the 1977 World Series. The next batter, Howard, tied a World Series record of his own, but not an enviable one: he struck out for the 12th time, tying a mark set by Willie Wilson in 1980. Then with two outs, Coke gave up another long ball, a huge blast by Ibanez, to put the Phillies ahead, 8-2.
The Yankees made a late attempt at a comeback, but came up short. Against a tiring Lee in the 8th, Damon led off with a single and Mark Teixeira followed with a double. Alex Rodriguez then hit another double, scoring both runners and ending Lee's night of work. Chan Ho Park relieved him and gave up another run on a sacrifice fly by Robinson Cano. It was now 8-5. Charlie Manuel had a choice to make in the 9th, after Park was lifted for a pinch hitter: bring back his closer Brad Lidge after his meltdown of the previous day, or go with someone else to close the game ? He chose the latter, bringing in Ryan Madson. It wasn't pretty, as Posada, who had come in as a pinch hitter for Molina once the Yankees fell behind by 5 runs, led off the inning with a double and pinch hitter Hideki Matsui added a single. Derek Jeter now represented the tying run, but he grounded into a double play, making the score 8-6. With the bases now empty, Damon singled, and again, Madson had to face the potential trying run in the person of Teixeira. He managed to strike him out, ending a game whose final stages were much more tense than they should have been for the Phillies. Still, the crowd at Citizens Bank Park was happy, and for the first time since 2002, the World Series would go to a 6th game.
Game 6 @ New Yankee Stadium
|WP: Andy Pettitte (2-0), LP: Pedro Martinez (0-2)|
|Home Runs: - NYY: Hideki Matsui (3); PHI: Ryan Howard (1)|
- Attendance: 50,31
The New York Yankees won their 27th title by defeating the Phillies 7-3 in Game 6. Back in New York, the Yankees stuck with their initial plan to use only three starters during the postseason, sending Andy Pettitte back to the mound, in spite of some gnashing of teeth in the media over A.J. Burnett's poor performance in Game 5, supposedly the result of inadequate rest. Joe Girardi ignored the naysayers by indicating he trusted his front-line players in key situations. For the Phillies, Charlie Manuel sent in Pedro Martinez, in spite of rumors that he was feeling ill with the flu. That may or may not have been the case, but it is a fact that Pedro did not have his best stuff for the game. His fastballs were too slow to make his change-up effective, and his command was off. As a result, he was hit hard, and struggled to get through 4 innings in which he allowed 4 runs. But, above all, this was Hideki Matsui's night to shine. Back in the line-up after not starting any of the games in Philadelphia - although he did go 2 for 3 with a home run as a pinch hitter - Matsui had a game for the ages.
The scoring started in the 2nd inning, when Alex Rodriguez drew a four-pitch walk to start the inning, then Matsui drove a ball deep into the right field stands after an 8-pitch battle with Martinez. The Phillies came right back with a run in the top of the 3rd, as Carlos Ruiz hit a triple and was driven in by Jimmy Rollins' sacrifice fly, but it would be the last time the Phillies would be within striking distance in this game. In the bottom of the 3rd, Martinez was struggling seriously. After striking out Brett Gardner, he gave up a single to Derek Jeter and walked Johnny Damon. He then hit Mark Teixeira with a pitch to load the bases, but somehow managed to strike out A-Rod for the second out. Matsui came back to bat and this time lined a solid single into center field to drive in two more runs. On the play, Damon pulled a calf muscle and was replaced in LF by Jerry Hairston. Missing two of their regular outfielders, the Yankees could have been in trouble, but they were up 4-1, with Martinez struggling while Pettitte was his usual calm self.
The Yankees put the game away in the 5th inning. Martinez gave way to Chad Durbin, who was greeted by a double by Jeter which just eluded Ben Francisco's outstretched glove in left field to bounce over the bullpen fence. Hairston then laid down a beautiful sacrifice bunt to advance Jeter, and Teixeira singled for run number 5. After Rodriguez drew a walk, Matsui was up again. Manuel replaced Durbin with the left-hander J.A. Happ, but Matsui continued his titanic evening by doubling to the wall in right center to score two more runs. That gave him 6 RBI for the game, tying the World Series record set in 1960 by Bobby Richardson, and 8 for the Series, also a record. The Yankees were up, 7-1, and could already taste the champagne.
Philadelphia made the score a little more respectable in the 6th when Chase Utley drew a walk, followed by a Ryan Howard drive to the opposite field which landed in the first row of seats for a two-run homer. After Raul Ibanez doubled with two outs, Girardi came out and replaced Pettite with Joba Chamberlain, who ended the threat by forcing Pedro Feliz to ground out. The countdown to Mariano Rivera was now on. Even though Chan Ho Park gave the Phillies another strong performance out of the bullpen to keep the Yankees from pulling away further, Philadelphia could not score any more runs before the great Rivera was summoned into the game. Chamberlain and Damaso Marte combined to blank them in the 7th, then Marte struck out Howard to open the 8th. With the right-handed Jayson Werth up, it was Girardi's cue to pull out his ultimate weapon and Rivera went to work, finishing the inning without a run in spite of another double by Ibanez. In the 9th, he retired pinch hitter Matt Stairs on a line drive, walked Ruiz, then got Rollins on a fly out. Shane Victorino dug in for a long battle with the Yankee closer, but on the 10th pitch, he hit a grounder to Robinson Cano at second. When Cano tossed the ball to Teixeira at first, the Yankees were World Champions.
The Yankees had gone through the decade of the 2000s in a constant state of frustration, after opening it with a win over the crosstown New York Mets in the 2000 World Series. In spite of a series of high profile moves - acquiring pitching great Randy Johnson, trading for Alex Rodriguez, signing the Japanese superstar Hideki Matsui, giving huge free agent contracts to pitchers Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright, coaxing Roger Clemens out of retirement - they had always come up short, often in highly-frustrating fashion: losing the 2001 World Series after entering the 9th inning of Game 7 with a lead, being upset by the upstart Florida Marlins in the 2003 World Series, losing the 2004 ALCS after leading the Boston Red Sox 3 games to none. They could spend money like drunken sailors, earning comparisons to the Evil Empire from their rivals, but the ultimate prize failed them.
However 2009 was different. After a mediocre start to the season, they began to win methodically, with great starting pitching, home run power and the world's best closer - a proven recipe. They were a juggernaut after June 1st, leaving the Boston Red Sox in their dust and rolling over the Minnesota Twins in the ALDS. Only the Los Angeles Angels gave them a run for their money, playing them close in the ALCS, but still losing in 6 games. In the World Series, this Yankee team was dominant. Even with Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher mired in slumps, even after losing their starting center fielder and playing the weak-hitting Jose Molina in two of the games, their offense was poised to strike at any time. They were silenced by a masterful Cliff Lee in Game 1, but after that, they would not be denied. Even in losing Game 6, they scored 6 runs. Manager Joe Girardi had a simple strategy: get a lead, and nurse it until Mariano Rivera could come in to close the books, as early as the beginning of the 8th inning if need be. It worked.
In the end, the Yankees had an unlikely hero. Bothered by injuries, Hideki Matsui was a question mark coming into the season, unable to play the field anymore. But he hit very well as the Yankees' designated hitter, and in the World Series, was a threat every time he stepped up to the plate, be it as the DH or pinch hitting. The Phillies never figured out how to pitch to him. He ended the Series with a .615 average, 3 homers and 8 RBI to earn the World Series Most Valuable Player Award. But it was really a team effort, with Andy Pettite, Rivera, Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon all turning in outstanding efforts as well. The Yankees were clearly the best team in the majors in 2009 and their World Championship against a strong Phillies team was earned fully on merit.
|Modern Major League Baseball World Series
Pre-1903 Postseason Series