Thursday, October 29, 2009

Report From New York City

I live in Kips Bay- an area of Manhattan blessed with a fair degree of thirtysomething nightlife- exciting bars/restaurants such as McCormick’s and Coppola’s. Man, was the crowd stumbling out of such joints a little worse for wear last night. Walking around, you could almost drink the frustration. Smelled not yet like panic- more like trouble. Except for the Mets’ fans, who wore smug expressions of “I told you so”.

Much work needs to still be done. For one thing, the Phillies' bullpen door swings open tonight. But, let’s face it, the Phillies needed that one. I find the series a toss up- but must admit I felt, before the first pitch, a certain wisdom in the status quo. An even match-up for the most part- but the Yankees probably in six and seven, largely because of the extra home game at the end.

To erase that equation, the Phillies needed to get one or two they shouldn't. And last night falls into that category: on the road versus the Yankees' ace lefthander. A Game One victory probably means the Phillies, at a minimum, get it back to the Bronx.

In fact, it is hard, with three games still left in Philadelphia, to see the Yanks winning this short of the full distance. Down one, and a bullpen that- outside of the closer- might be imploding faster than the Phillies, makes it hard to imagine the Yankees ripping off four out of five. Particularly with another Lee start to come (I’d save him for Game 5), three games in Philly left to play, and a clear shot at some point at the Yankees problematic fourth starter.

I'll take a Game 7 crap shoot with CC making his third start. Frankly, this moves the Phillies chances to slightly better than 50-50 from 1-2 against.

Now we move into the tricky part- the Phillies have a real answers at both the top of their rotation (Lee) and bottom (Happ and Blanton). In the middle, Pedro and Hamels- maybe not trouble, but mysterious. If it were a map- it would be real “Here Be Dragons” territory.
Nevertheless, thanks to Lee, you could argue tonight is a stone free one: maybe Pedro has one more great start in a big spot in him? You know he'll be fearless and jacked. But a two-love lead on these characters would be immense- and Burnett is not untouchable. This is the Phillies one chance to keep this from being a series that hinges on single starts and lucky at-bats- seize the day sort of stuff. So, I am off the free one- this isn’t the NBA where you can assume by default that great teams defend home court.

Must step on Yankee throats now- another 0-for-8 from A-Rod and Texiera would go a long way to putting a lot of doubts and pressure on some guys who might not handle it real well.