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Archive for October, 2009

World Series Gameday: Yankees at Phillies, Game 3

Posted by Amanda Orr, Sat, October 31, 2009 06:55 PM Comments: 479

YankeesNew York Yankees (1-1) at Philadelphia Phillies (1-1)

Andy Pettitte, LHP vs. Cole Hamels, LHP

Time: 7:57 p.m at Citizens Bank Park
Weather: Few Showers, 69 degrees
TV: FOX
Twitter: Phillies Nation

When asked if this year felt “more like a World Series” compared to last year’s, Jimmy Rollins responded: “when we get to Philly, it will.”  The Fall Classic moves to the city of brotherly love with the series split at a game apiece.  The Phillies are 11-1 at home in the postseason since 2008.  “It makes it a lot more fun, because you know they’re your fans, and you know how that sound can echo off your ears when they’re not your fans,” Rollins said.

Cole Hamels starts defending his World Series MVP award tonight, but he isn’t going to win back-to-back MVPs unless he has an outstanding start tonight.  His 2008 postseason heroics are almost forgotten with his 1-1, 6.75 ERA during this year’s playoffs.  Cole has allowed 20 hits in 14.1 innings, but has only allowed two walks.  Not only does he need to limit the hits, but Hamels needs to keep the ball in the yard.  In his career against the Yankees, Hamels is 0-1 with a 2.77 ERA.

Hamels will be opposed by Andy Pettitte, the all-time leader in postseason wins and career pickoffs.  Pettitte is a finesse pitcher, not overpowering;  however, he has stretches where he lacks command.  In all of his starts this postseason, the lefty lasted 6.1 innings and did not allowed more than three runs.  In May, Pettitte allowed four runs over seven innings against the Phillies.  He hasn’t pitched at Citizens Bank Park since 2006.

On Thursday, A.J Burnett was magnificent, and there wasn’t much that the Phillies could do.  Today, the right-handed bats will need to step it up, as Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Raul Ibanez are a combined 8-for-37 against Pettitte.

Phillies lineup: Rollins (SS), Victorino (CF), Utley (2B), Howard (1B), Werth (RF), Ibanez (LF), Feliz (3B), Ruiz (C), Hamels (P).

Greg Dobbs is available after recovering from the flu.

Yankees Lineup: Jeter (SS), Damon (LF), Teixeira (1B), A-Rod (3B), Posada (C), Cano (2B), Swisher (RF), Cabrera (CF), Pettitte (P).

No DH tonight, Yankees.

Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin PorterYour Gameday Beer – Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter

On a night like tonight, this is the beer you need. Brewed by Midnight Sun Brewing out of Alaska, this thick dark beer pours like melted chocolate. However neither the chocolate nor pumpkin flavors are overwhelming. The scents of molasses, gingerbread, and roasted malts help to polish this brew into something delicious. It goes well with BBQ, but tonight have it alongside the candy intended for trick-or-treaters. – By Brian

GO PHILLIES!

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Happy Halloween from Phillies Nation

Posted by Brian Michael, Sat, October 31, 2009 02:36 PM Comments: 8

Phanatic Jack-o-latern

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Phillies Nation Podcast: Episode 16

Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, October 30, 2009 02:31 PM Comments: 3

Welcome to the Phillies Nation Podcast!

On yet another special WORLD SERIES podcast, Pat is joined by two amazing guests.  First up is Amy K. Nelson from ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine to break it down.  Amy picks the Yankees to win the series in six, but give Phillies fans hope saying she is normally wrong.  We’re gonna hold her to that.

Joining Pat for the second half of the podcast is Scott Lauber, Phillies beat writer for the Wilmington News Journal to give his insight on the umpiring situation, the great performance by Pedro, and what to expect this weekend.

Amy K. NelsonAmy K. Nelson is an award-winning journalist who covers major league baseball for and is part of the site’s Enterprise team. Born and raised on the north shore of Massachusetts and a graduate of Hampshire College, Nelson has been covering professional sports for close to 10 years. She writes both investigative and long-form pieces for the site, and among her recent highlights is a piece on the timeline of death of Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart and a breaking news story and in-depth feature on Alex Rodriguez’s infamous cousin who allegedly provided him steroids.

Scott LauberShe also served as a moderator for ESPN’s First Take program, chatting with fans online and relaying their comments live on the show, and has appeared on SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, and Outside the Lines for ESPN.

Scott Lauber is the Phils beat reporter for the Wilmington News Journal and is a fixture in the Phillies clubhouse throughout the season.  For some of the most up-to-date Twitter action regarding the Phillies, you can find Scott here (@ScottLauber).

Click here to listen Phillies Nation Podcast – Episode 16

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Burnett Burns Phils, Yankees Even Series

Posted by Jason Bintliff, Thu, October 29, 2009 11:41 PM Comments: 171

They say sports make for great theatre. There’s drama and nail-biting action. Perhaps the element that makes baseball the most entertaining are the story-lines that highlight each game. When Charlie Manuel announced that Pedro Martinez would get the nod in New York, the script was written, it was just waiting to be performed.

Unfortunately for the Phillies, Yankees starter, A.J. Burnett wanted the lead role and seized the spotlight from the flashy Phillies veteran.

In a game that featured a pitchers duel of duels, Burnett and the Yankees finished on top, beating the Phillies 3-1, evening the series at one.

Despite surrendering three earned runs, Martinez pitched a solid game, keeping the Yankees off balance most of the night by sneakily mixing in his change-up. Ironically it was that same change-up that got him into trouble in the fourth when Mark Teixeira took one deep into the short right-field porch, tying the game at one.

The Phillies jumped out to the early lead, thanks to an opposite field double from Raul Ibanez, followed by an opposite field, R.B.I. single from Matt Stairs, in the second inning. The Phillies looked to have had Burnett figured out, but the righty settled in nicely, smothering the Phillies line-up, thanks in large part to the generous outside corner of the plate. He finished with nine K’s in seven innings, while walking only two.

Pedro Martinez finished the game with a quality line, six-plus innings pitched, eight strikeouts, two walks and three earned-runs. New York broke the dead-lock in the sixth off the bat of Hideki Matsui, a solo-shot to right. They would add and insurance run in the seventh off of reliever Chan Ho Park, credited to Martinez.

Yankees turned the ball over to Mariano Rivera in the eighth. The Phillies threatened in the inning, with two on with one out, but Chase Utley grounded into the twin-killing, ending the prospect of a rally off of baseball’s all-time best closer.

All of the hype surrounding Martinez’s return to New York and “Who’s Your Daddy,” and what not, Pedro came out unfazed. He made two mistakes that were rightly hammered for long-balls. However, everywhere Martinez goes, a show is sure to follow. For six innings, Phillies fans got exactly that.

Both teams will enjoy an off day before resuming action Saturday night at Citizens Bank Park.

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World Series Gameday: Phillies at Yankees, Game 2

Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, October 29, 2009 05:57 PM Comments: 443

YankeesPhiladelphia Phillies (1-0) at New York Yankees (0-1)

Pedro Martinez, RHP vs. A.J. Burnett, RHP

Time: 7:57 p.m at Yankee Stadium
Weather: Clear, 50
TV: FOX
Twitter: Phillies Nation

That couldn’t have gone much better.  Cliff Lee was superb in a complete-game six hitter against the Yankees in Game 1 in New York.  Not many pitchers can pull off a feat as monumental as that, but Lee was focused from the get go after striking out Derek Jeter to begin the festivities.

Pedro Martinez takes the ball in Game 2.  If you said in April (hell, even July) that Pedro Martinez would be starting in the second game of the World Series AGAINST THE YANKEES, someone probably would have smacked you.  My how the baseball world turns.

Martinez will look to win his seventh postseason game tonight against A.J Burnett.  Pedro called himself “the most influential player” to ever play at Yankee Stadium, and now he must back up that claim.  For his career, he has face New York six times in the postseason (five starts) and has allowed 18 earned runs over 35 1/3 innings of work (4.60 ERA).  Pedro has called the Yankees “his daddy” before, but let’s hope the roles are reversed tonight.

A.J. Burnett is not as familiar with the spotlight as Pedro Martinez, and has had his ups and downs during his first trip to the postseason.  Burnett got knocked around by the Angels in his latest start, going six innings while allowing six earned runs over eight hits.  The 32-year old throws hard, but has been known to miss the plate a time or two.  In the regular season, Burnett had 17 wild pitches, the most in the American League, and in the playoffs he has already walked 10 batters in 18 1/3 innings.

With that said, the Phillies need to use the same patience they showed with C.C. Sabathia last night.  Burnett’s pitch counts will spike if he’s wild from the get go, which could very well happen in this high pressure situation.  With the Yanks down a game already, Burnett has some weight on those shoulders.

Chase Utley gave the offense a shot last night, belting two home runs off of C.C., who had previously given up just three jacks this whole season to lefty hitters.

For the Yankees this evening, you will not see right fielder Nick Swisher in the starting lineup. Late word out of New York is that Swisher has been benched in favor of Jerry Hairston Jr. Jose Molina takes over for Jorge Posada at catcher, as he normally does with A.J. Burnett.

According to the twitter of Andy Martino, Greg Dobbs was sent back to Philadelphia with the flu, giving the Phillies one less bench option.

Matt Stairs is your DH tonight, taking over for Ben Francisco with a right hander on the hill for N.Y.

Phillies. Yankees. Game 2. Let’s do it.

Phillies Lineup: Rollins (SS), Victorino (CF), Utley (2B), Howard (1B), Werth (RF), Ibanez (LF), Stairs (DH), Feliz (3B), Ruiz (C).

Yankees Lineup: Jeter (SS), Damon (LF), Teixeria (1B), Rodriguez (3B), Matsui (DH), Cano (2B), Hairston Jr. (RF), Cabrera (CF), Molina (C).

PresidenteYour Gameday Beer – Presidente
In honor of tonight’s Phillies starter, we’re serving up the Dominican Republic’s most popular domestic beer. Like other Caribbean beers, Presidente has the appearance of an American Light Pilsner. The taste is that of a macrobrew with corn and grain being the predominant flavors and skunked being the predominant aroma. However, if you have a cold Presidente on a hot Dominican day, there are few things finer. Eat it with as much shrimp as you can get your hands on. – By Brian

GO PHILLIES!

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Photos from Game 1 Watching Party in DC

Posted by Brian Michael, Thu, October 29, 2009 03:22 PM Comments: 1

Last night the Nation descended upon Ventnor Sports Cafe in Adams Morgan, DC. Both floors were packed with rowdy Phillies fans and Scott the owner had pretzels shipped down from Philly. A lone Yankees fan was there to witness the mayhem and he was the only one with a camera, so hat tip to Corey.

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Keys to the Game One Victory

Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, October 29, 2009 11:59 AM Comments: 20

The apparent answer to every key to last night’s impressive 6-1 Phillies victory would start with Cliff Lee. The man was on a mission from pitch number one as he mowed down Derek Jeter to start the proceedings. From then on, it was a clinic unlike anything ever seen in Phillies history. Forget what you know about Cole Hamels and the ridiculous postseason he had a year ago – this is much bigger and badder.

New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez looks back at the scoreboard after striking out to Philadelphia Phillies' Cliff Lee in the ninth inning of Game 1 of the Major League Baseball World Series Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009, in New York. The Phillies defeated the Yankees 6-1 to lead the series 1-0.  (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)Smothering A-Rod:

Cliff Lee was motoring from the minute he sprinted out to the mound.

The most powerful bat of the last decade, Alex Rodriguez, looked like a fool from the second he stepped into the batters box.

A-Rod struck out three times last night, making contact on four foul balls total throughout the night. The Almighty One also managed a soft groundout to Pedro Feliz at third base. Prior to Rodriguez’s first World Series, he had been on a plateau shared by only Ryan Howard. Five home runs, 12 RBI, and a .400 average through the opening two rounds had people believing the old clutch-less A-Rod was just a memory. Last night’s opening act has to have the five boroughs wondering, “are we back to square one?”

The hope here is that a performance like this can snowball into a downward spiral for the duration of the World Series. But as awful as Rodriguez looked, he can’t be held down for long. The slugger is just too talented and too powerful not to be heard from. Let’s see how Pedro deals with the heart of this Yankee order.

In C.C.’s head:

This isn’t the first time the Phillies have played Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em with CC Sabathia in the postseason. Many pundits also believed that Sabathia was the better pitcher going into the match up with Lee. Excuses were made about Lee going up against “lesser talent” in the NL for his first few playoffs games.

Bull. Everyone jumped on the Yankee bandwagon because of who they are, and forgot to respect the Phillies in the process. That blew up in some faces. Now, it looks as though the Phillies have C.C’s number. Overall, he pitched a solid game. On many occasions, however, he allowed base runners, worked in hitters counts, and had difficulty locating his pitches. Here’s to hoping we see this again if we see him in Game 4.

Patience My Dear:

The Phillies as a whole saw 170 pitches on the evening, an average of nearly 19 pitches per player. Chalk it up to patience at the plate, and a will to work favorable counts. Even Jimmy Rollins managed to see 21 pitches in five plate appearances, although he did try to bunt his way on with the first pitch of the night.

If the Phillies can continue this grit at the dish, it’s going to be a long series for the Yankees and their bullpen. A.J. Burnett, tonight’s starter, has been known for his wild streak, so let him throw as hard as he wants. The Phils need to show that same fortitude of last night.

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One Win Closer

Posted by Corey Seidman, Thu, October 29, 2009 07:00 AM Comments: 27

I meant to write a World Series preview that would be available to read on Tuesday night, but unfortunately, life gets in the way. With that said, maybe it was a blessing in disguise, as this series will be much easier to break down following Cliff Lee’s absolutely dominant performance in Game One.

The Phillies prized mid-season acquisition continued his unreal 2009 postseason by pitching a complete game in a 6-1, statement-making Phillies win. Unfortunately, his shutout was lost in the ninth inning due to an error by Jimmy Rollins, who prolonged the Phillies streak of throwing into the opposing dugout rather than first base. All told, Lee allowed six hits and NO WALKS, while striking out ten. He hasn’t allowed a free pass in three of four postseason starts, leading to a ridiculously low 0.60 WHIP. The most impressive aspect of Lee’s outing was his superiority over Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez, who went a combined 0-for-8 with five strikeouts.

Best Ever?

No writer should ever have to say this, but Cliff Lee’s performance in these playoffs has transcended words. His 0.54 ERA is the lowest ever recorded by a pitcher with 30 or more postseason innings. That’s right, the lowest in the history of this sport, which has been played since the presidency of Chester A. Arthur.

Looking Ahead

Before the World Series started, I was ready to pick the Phillies to win in six games. Needless to say, that didn’t change after Game One. No, Lee will not be available to pitch again until at least Game Four, but that does not change the fact that the Phillies lineup came to play Wednesday night, scoring twice off Yankees ace CC Sabathia, twice off setup man Phil Hughes (both runs were inherited by AL K/9 leader David Robertson), and, for good measure, twice more off of Brian Bruney in the ninth inning.

Big hits came from all spots of the lineup, as Chase Utley homered twice, Ryan Howard doubled twice and drove in a run, Raul Ibanez had a huge two-out, two-run single, and Carlos Ruiz, Jimmy Rollins, and Shane Victorino all contributed to a few more insurance runs. Just like the previous two rounds, the offensive output was a complete team effort, showing that from top-to-bottom, this Phillies lineup is as good as it gets.

A.J. vs. Pedro

Traditional thinking would give the Yankees the advantage in Game Two, as they have their high-priced number-two starter, A.J. Burnett, on the mound, to face a “past-his-prime” Pedro Martinez. But Burnett does not have a pretty history against this specific Phillies lineup, and Martinez is coming off a seven inning, three hit performance that was easily his best outing with his new team.

Since 2006, Burnett is 1-2 with a 5.89 ERA in three starts against the Phils. He has allowed six homers in those three starts and hasn’t gotten out of the sixth inning in any of them. Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Carlos Ruiz, and Jayson Werth have all homered once off Burnett, and Ryan Howard and likely-DH Matt Stairs have homered off the right-hander twice.

Burnett has struggled against the Phillies because he is precisely the type of pitcher that this team is built to hit – a hard-throwing righty with bad control. Other than 2001, his first full season, Burnett had the worst walk rate of his career in 2009, at 4.22 per 9 IP. Slightly more than half of his pitches, 50.1% to be exact, were out of the strike zone, which won’t bode well against a patient Phillies lineup that includes five players (Ruiz, Utley, Werth, Rollins, Ibanez) who swing at less than ¼ of the pitches they are thrown out of the zone.

Burnett, much like Pedro, will have to rely on the generosity of Game Two’s home plate umpire. If Burnett isn’t getting calls on borderline pitches, his effectiveness will drop significantly, because he is wild enough as it is. If Martinez can’t get calls on the corners, he, too, will assuredly struggle.

Movement and corner-painting are Pedro’s “bread and butter” at this point in his career, and the Yankees lineup will not give in – they’re even more patient than the Phillies. All Yankee regulars not-named-Robinson-Cano swing at fewer than the league-average 25% of the pitches they see outside the strike zone.

Leaving the Past

Much has been made about Pedro Martinez’ history vs. the Yankees, but I don’t see how the transpirations of 2003 will impact his performance in Game Two. The numbers I’ve laid before you concerning Burnett have all been compiled in the last four seasons against a Phillies lineup that has remained the same, for the most part.

But this Yankees lineup is completely different from the one Pedro faced while pitching for the Red Sox, aside from Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada, two hitters that Martinez has held in check in his career. Posada has displayed a bit of power against Pedro, homering four times in sixty at-bats, but he is hitting just .183 off the right-hander. Jeter is hitting .256/.347/.395 off Pedro, with an OPS more than 100 points lower than his career number.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am fully aware that Pedro Martinez circa 2003 contained a different skill set than he currently does. Therefore, all numbers that he compiled against hitters like Jeter and Posada in that span of time should be thrown out the window. Jeter and Posada, in 2009, are better than Martinez, in 2009. If common sense tells you to throw out his outings against the Yankees in 2003, it also tells you to remove the batter-vs.-pitcher numbers Pedro put together during the prime of his career, when he just so happened to be one of the greatest pitchers to ever toe the rubber.

To me, the Game Two pitching matchup is even. If Pedro can maneuver in-and-out of the strike zone like he did against the Dodgers, he should out-pitch Burnett, who, despite his price tag, has never cemented himself as an elite pitcher.

Game Three

In Game Three, the advantage goes to Andy Pettitte, a pitcher the Phillies have only faced twice since 2006. In each outing, the lefty went seven innings and gave up four earned runs. The reason I see the Phillies struggling, however, is because Pettitte, the major-league record holder in pickoffs, will completely neutralize their running game, even with Jorge Posada behind the plate.

Pettitte’s splits are literally the same against righties (.270, 1 HR/45 AB) and lefties (.271, 1 HR/45 AB,) so it’s not as if the Phillies are facing a truly dominant southpaw. But after going up against two flamethrowers in Sabathia and Burnett, Pettitte could spell trouble for this lineup.

Tired of Waiting

Cole Hamels has struggled all season and, quite frankly, I’m sick of making excuses for him. Early in the season, I blamed it on his absurdly high BABIP that would eventually regress. Then, I blamed it on the “Order of Operations” theory, which would explain his struggles as being the result of going “double-walk-homer-strikeout” rather than “homer-double-walk-strikeout.”

None of his peripherals decreased in 2009, which is a good sign, but last year’s World Series MVP just has not shown any ability whatsoever to recapture the magic he once had. More importantly, Hamels hasn’t been able to pitch effectively as a frontrunner. In all three of his prior postseason starts, he’s been handed a big lead and failed to hold his opponents down. If he pitches well against the Yankees, it will be an example of his true talent coming out at the right time.

But don’t bank on it.

No More Bullpen Talk

In my opinion, the one proven fact of the 2009 playoffs has been that bullpen-talk is meaningless. Pitchers who toss fewer than fifty or sixty innings simply cannot be viewed as “shutdown” guys. Rafael Betancourt, Huston Street, Jonathan Broxton, George Sherrill, Hong Chih-Kuo, Ronald Belisario, Phil Hughes, and David Robertson were all touted as great relievers, coming off of strong regular seasons. But all have fallen victim to the Phillies multifaceted offense.

The reason for this? Well, it’s all about the situation. During the regular season, all of these men were used primarily in leads. Facing the Orioles or Padres with nobody on and nobody out in the eighth inning of a game in mid-July is much different than coming in with the bases loaded and 1 out in September. Therefore, it doesn’t matter which team may have a better bullpen on paper. Don’t believe me? Look at Brad Lidge’s 2009 season, then his 2009 postseason.

The situation will always dictate a reliever’s level of effectiveness.

The Impact of Game One

The Phillies have now won the last six opening games of playoff series’ – every round in 2008, and now every round in 2009. The road gets easier from here, as the Phillies now have the same amount of home-games remaining as the Yankees do, AND hold a 1-0 advantage.

Eleven of the past 12 Game One winner have gone on to win the World Series,  and since 1995, teams that win Game One on the road are 4-1.

It sure is nice building an early lead, especially when home-cooking is on the horizon.

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Phillies Dominate Game 1 Versus the Yankees

Posted by Brian Michael, Thu, October 29, 2009 12:44 AM Comments: 22

Cliff Lee Cliff Lee.  That’s all you need to know about Game 1 of the 2009 World Series.  The Phillies ace absolutely shut down the Yankees and he did it with style.  He struck out 10 New York batters including Teixeira and Posada twice and ARod three times while not allowing a walk.  Lee also fielded his position with a coolness rarely seen on the mound.  An effortless pop fly was soon followed by an amazing behind-the-back stab to rob the Robinson Cano of a single.

Often times an early run helps to settle down an offense, but tonight the reverse was true. The Phillies pitcher set the tone for the club and the offense took advantage of opportunities.  Unfortunately the latter did not kick in until after the first inning.  Following two quick outs to start the game, the Phillies loaded the bases only to see Raul ground out to end the threat.  He was able to redeem himself with a bases loaded single in the eighth to tack  on some insurance runs.  Yet, Chase Utley was the only offense the Phillies needed.  The Man opened the scoring with a solo home run in the top of the third and reiterated the point with another in the sixth.

Throughout the game, the Phillies worked counts on Yankees starter C.C. Sabathia and inflated his pitch count from the beginning.  C.C. pitched well allowing just the 2 Utley homers over 7 innings, but he was outmatched by his friend Cliff Lee.  Joe Girardi was forced to dip into his bullpen calling on five  guys to finish the final three innings as the Phillies tacked on 4 runs in the eighth and ninth.  Phil Hughes took the brunt of the damage and lost his cool after being pulled on consecutive walks.

The Yankees lone run came after a JRoll error in the ninth as his timing was off attempting to turn a double play with Chase Utley.  Earlier in the game he executed an intelligent double play on an infield popup that momentarily confounded the six umpires.  Ben Francisco and Pedro Feliz were the only Phils without a hit.

If you missed the pregame festivities at the Stadium, you’re lucky.  Fans were subject to Star Wars-themed introductions and a torturous rendition of the national anthem.  That was the only part of the night that was hard to watch;  witnessing Cliff Lee’s masterpiece was a pleasure.  Phillies lead the World Series 1-0.

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World Series: Phillies at Yankees, Game 1

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, October 28, 2009 05:57 PM Comments: 595

YankeesPhiladelphia Phillies at New York Yankees

Cliff Lee, LHP vs. CC Sabathia, LHP

Time: 7:57 p.m at Yankee Stadium
Weather: Cloudy, 50
TV: FOX
Twitter: Phillies Nation

The wait is finally over.  At 7:57 eastern time, the Philadelphia Phillies will defend their crown against the 26-time champion New York Yankees.  History is at stake in this series, as the Phillies look to become the first NL team to repeat since the Big Red Machine in the mid-70′s.

Cliff Lee is the man to start this thing up.  Lee has been unstoppable in the playoffs thus far, sporting a sub-one ERA.  He has pulled a Cole Hamels this postseason by putting the team on his back when it counts the most. Lee has two wins and just three walks against 20 strikeouts so far.  In this all important Game 1, let’s see how Lee responds to the bright lights of the Bronx.

On the other side is 6’7″, 280-pound, C.C. Sabathia.  He’s been just as unhittable as Lee, dominating both the Twins and Angels in his three starts this year.  He’s 3-0 with an ERA of 1.19, proving that last years blowup against the Phillies in the NLDS with Milwaukee is in the past.  With two lefties on the mound, we could be in for quite the duel.

Offensively, these teams are as close as they come.  Both hit for ridiculous power, play in smallish parks, and boast the scariest lineup in their respective leagues. If your looking for a weakness on either side, keep searching.  For New York, their defense is probably their Achillies heel, if there is one to choose.  They don’t commit many errors, however, their outfielders have suspect arms and catcher Jorge Posada has a surgically repaired shoulder which could mean more Phillies running the bases.

The Phillies downfall is clearly the back end of their bullpen. Brad Lidge floundered through the regular season, but has since picked it up to record three saves and a win in the ’09 postseason.  Lidge has not allowed a run yet either, and the same goes for Chad Durbin, who has seen action in five games without allowing a runner to score.

It’s a series that’s as evenly matched as they come.  Forget about words – there is nothing left to predict or describe when it comes to the Phillies and Yankees.  It’s all up to the players on the field as they battle for baseball immortality.  Tonight, our National Pastime begins its 105th Fall Classic.

Phillies. Yankees.  Game 1.  Let’s rock.

Phillies Lineup: Rollins (SS), Victorino (CF), Utley (2B), Howard (1B), Werth (RF), Ibanez (DH), Francisco (LF), Feliz (3B), Ruiz (C).

Yankees Lineup: Jeter (SS), Damon (LF), Teixeria (1B), Rodriguez (3B), Posada (C), Matsui (DH), Cano (2B), Swisher (RF), Cabrera (CF).

FestbierYour Gameday Beer – Victory Festbier
Phillies fans are ready to party and we’re ready for a victory so tonight’s beer is an easy pick. It also helps that it’s a Philly-area beer in the Marzen/Oktoberfest-style. This full-bodied brew retains an earthy taste to go along with its sweet caramel, toffee, and roasted malt flavors – perfect for the fall weather. Festbier goes well with German food, in which case I think a cheesesteak on a pretzel roll would qualify. – By Brian

GO PHILLIES!

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