Vatz on Game 5— Series Extended—Is Chase Utley MVP Win or Lose?

-Obviously the Phillies needed to win, and they did off a rested Cliff Lee.  This was the easy part of the uphill battle as they return to Yankee Stadium down three games to two to New York.

–Player of the Game: Chase Utley.  Utley’s bat has been big in the Phillies two wins, getting two home runs in each.  His two dingers with four RBIs got them the lead and provided the eventual game winner. Bruce—I could mke a strong case for Utley being the MVP even if the Yankees win. In 1971 the Colts won the Super Bowl but the MVP was linebacker Chuck Howley from the Cowboys. Utley tied the record for HRs in a World Series with his 5th last night.

–The Yankees may have a problem in the pitching rotation.  We all knew that C.C. Sabathia could pitch on three days rest, but this was the first time A.J. Burnett pitched on three days rest in the postseason and he got shelled tonight.  Andy Pettitte has not pitched on three days rest in the postseason either, and could face the same problem.  The plan had been to have a three-man rotation in the ALCS, but all the rain made it seem like normal rotation starts, so Burnett and Pettitte are going off three dyas rest for the first time.  I don’t believe this gives the Phillies enough of an edge to win the Series, but it will mean something that the Phillies are using fully-rested pitchers.

–It is clear that Charlie Manuel has little confidence in his bullpen right now.  He pushed Cliff Lee to his limit in the seventh and went with Ryan Madson in his third straight day and fourth straight game to close instead of Brad Lidge.  I understand Lidge did badly last night, but that was just one game and not even having him ready in the bullpen in case Madson got in trouble was a dangerous risk; if Jeter gets a hit the Yankees would have had a great chance to come back.  Manuel will need to figure out what he wants to do with his bullpen because Cliff Lee is likely done, and it is very doubtful that Pedro Martinez and/or Cole Hamels can shut down the Yankees enough to not have to rely on the bullpen.

–One observation that is easy to see is the top of each lineup.  The Yankees 1-2 of Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon have been money, each hitting .364 and 381 respectively in the series, while the 1-2 for the Phillies, Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino, is hitting .261 and .185 respectively.  Philadelphia sure hopes that Victorino is all right, because it is not clear at all who would replace his fielding or his bat.

–Game 6 sees the return of “the most influential player that ever stepped into Yankee Stadium”  Pedro Martinez for the Phillies fully rested taking on Andy Pettitte of the Yankees on three days rest.  Maybe New York should pray for some rain, though the Phillies might not mind that if it means they could get Cliff Lee back.

Blog from Dave Vatz–09 Terrapin Graduate

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