Lights out on Philadelphia?by Eric Schwartz
It wasn’t a blown save, it was something much worse.
Bard Lidge allowed three runs in the ninth inning and the New York Yankees beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 7-4, to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the World Series, Sunday night.
Pedro Feliz hit a solo home run in the bottom of the 8th off Joba Chamberlain to tie the game at 4-4 and give the Phillies the momentum heading in to the ninth. Lidge came in and got the first two hitters out, as it appeared his postseason reconciliation was going to continue.
Then it all fell to pieces.
Johnny Damon hit the blooper of all bloopers to keep the inning alive. Damon, not the fastest runner these days, stole second and third on the same play as the Phillies were playing a shift against Mark Teixeira, as no one was covering third.
This was Lidge’s first big mistake. With Feliz accepting the throw down to second, there was no one to cover third except for Lidge who never even attempted to get over there. From there he hit Texeiria, let up a double to Alex-Rodriguez, a single to Jorge Posada and it was all over.
While Lidge will take most of the heat for this loss, there is plenty to go around.
- The Phillies hit two home runs, again solo shots, as the team had trouble getting men on base.
- In the fifth inning Chase Utley tried to toss the ball to Rollins with his glove in an attempt to start a double play instead of taking his time to transfer the ball and just get one out. As a result he got no outs and the Yankees would score two runs that innings.
- Joe Blanton pitches OK, but took the crowd out of the game early by allowing two runs in the first inning.
- What is going on with Raul Ibanez?
- Ryan Howard had a broken-bat single, but again looked helpless against the breaking ball.
It is now desperation time in Philadelphia as the Phils must win three straight to defend their World Series title. It can be done, certainly, but the Phils will need to play a lot better than they have through four games. Cliff Lee takes the ball tonight against A.J. Burnett.
The Phillies have been a team that plays well when their backs are against the wall, but this is bigger than any test they have had this season.
We will see if there is any magic left, or if it is “lights out” for the Phils.