CompleteLee Dominant Phils lead 1-0by Joseph Birmingham
Wow. How was that for a game one folks ? I have waxed rhapsodic about Cliff Lee since the trade. Even tolerated his brief slump after a 5-0 start with the Phitens where he looked mortal. He reverted to previous form last night and absolutely dispatched with extreme prejudice a Yankees team that is a lot better than he made them look.
He did a couple things that will stay with you as well, not just Phillies fans, but all of those who watched this game. In 54 minutes on the mound, he threw 122 pitches and lowered his career postseason ERA to .54 as he threw a complete game win. He allowed no earned runs or walks, and struck out ten. That has never been done in the World Series. He was in charge of the pace spending less than 20 seconds between pitches and sprinting to and from the mound as he has done all season.
He nonchalantly fielded a pop up to the mound, barely moving or lifting his glove to do so. He fielded a ground chopper in front of the plate and made the glove tag to the rear end of the Yankee baserunner for an out. He fielded a comebacker behind the back and threw to first for the out. He was WAY cool.
Take Derek Jeter out of the box score and he allowed three hits, no runs, 2 of them bloop singles, and struck out 10 allowing the remaining Yankees to hit .098. He is now 3-0 this postseason and the obvious choice for MVP. He should get MUP as well, Most Unflappable Pitcher, as he acted like nothing that happened out there on the mound bothered him. When JRoll overthrew first after planting on the wrong foot and allowed a run and lost the shutout, instead of getting the double play, instead of throwing up his arms, as Hamels did earlier, Lee stifled a yawn, then proceeded to dispatch the next two Yankees and do his customary sprint from the mound.
I would rank this in the top three pitching performances in the World Series in my lifetime, and probably in the top ten of all time. Meanwhile, the Phillies got the job done at the plate. Utley nailed two solo homeruns, Howard, Victorino and Ibanez all contributed RBI hits to give Cliff some breathing room which he SO did not need ! CC Sabathia pitched a decent game and never had a chance to win. Even the umpires brought their A game, conferring on a double play ball to make sure they got the call right.
Now it is time for “Who’s your daddy Martinez” to come in and try to follow up his 7+ innings of shutout postseason pitching with a similar performance in tonight’s game. Home field has already switched to Philadelphia with the game one victory. A lot has also been made of the fact that 11 of the past 12 game one winners have gone on to win the World Series. The Phillies are on a 17-4 postseason tear in 2008 and 2009, the best 2 year postseason winning percentage in the National League EVER. Utley has reached base in 26 straight post season games, the best streak EVER, Howard has had an RBI in all but 2 postseason games in the last two years, the most consistent run producer EVER, Cliff Lee has a .54 postseason ERA, the best EVER for a pitcher with three or more decisions, and the Phillies are poised to be the first National League team to win back to back World Series since 1975 by beating the team that has the most WS wins, EVER !!
I am thinking it might be time to believe. The 6-1 game I watched last night leaves no doubt in my mind, that these Phillies are for real, and are not going to be beat at this stage of the postseason, with momentum and history and intangibles and home field advantage now all on their side. Come on game 2, I can’t wait to see how these guys follow up last night’s performance, but I bet it is going to be good !