Heartbreaking 9th Sends Phils to 3-1 Series Deficit

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, November 02, 2009 01:19 AM | Comments: 343
2009 Recaps, Posts, World Series 2009

This one is hard to write.

As the Phillies now sit on the brink of elimination – the season truly hanging in the balance – there are several what-if’s to look back on that occur throughout an at bat, a game, and even a series.  There were many throughout this gut-wrenching Game 4 loss that now has the Phillies in a 3-1 series hole.

What if Brad Lidge throws Johnny Damon a 3-2 slider after two consecutive foul balls on fastballs?  What if Lidge or Carlos Ruiz cover third as the rest of the Phils infield was in a shift?  What if – before this game even starts – Charlie Manuel tabs Cliff Lee to start this game?

All of those what-ifs are completely moot as the Yankees demolished any sort of hope the Phillies had of regaining momentum in this series by winning 7-4.

In the eighth inning, with the Phillies trailing 4-3, Pedro Feliz gave hope that this would again be the series everyone thought before it began by hitting a solo home run off of Joba Chamberlain.  With a tie game going into the ninth, and spirits high, the old Brad Lidge struck again.

Damon would come to the plate in that ninth inning following two quick outs; a pop out by Hideki Matsui and a strikeout by Derek Jeter.  Lidge found himself up in the count 1-2, but Damon waited out two pitches that were overthrown by the Phils closer, and the count was 3-2.  The Yankees left fielder then fouled off two pitches into the seats before finally catching up to a 94-m.p.h. four-seamer that dropped into left for a base hit.

Mark Teixeira came to the plate, and the shift was on for the Phillies defense.  Damon capitalized by stealing second base, then taking third after Lidge and Ruiz failed to cover the base.  Teixiera reached base after being plunked by Lidge and Alex Rodriguez stepped up in a most crucial position.

Rodriguez jumped on an 0-1 fastball and bounced it off the left field fence to score Damon.  The Feliz home run became a distant memory.

Jorge Posada followed that up with a two-run single of his own, and was thrown out at second base, although the damage was more than evident.  The Yankees took a 7-4 lead, and just like that, there was no air left to breathe.

The greatest closer of all-time, Mariano Rivera, came in to finish things off in the ninth inning as he has done so many times before.  Three straight putouts by Teixeira at first base ended things for the Phillies late on Sunday night, and possibly for the 2009 season.

Lost in the crushing defeat was the ballsy effort put forth by Joe Blanton.  Big Joe went six innings, giving up four earned runs while striking out seven batters.  He was not unhittable by any means, however, he kept them in the game, which is all you could ask for.  Chase Utley continued his domination of CC Sabathia, but in the end his solo home run was not enough.

Lidge’s meltdown is another perplexing reminder of just how quickly things can go south.  One day ago, we saw the same sort of disintegration from Cole Hamles.  The two darlings of the 2008 postseason have proven to be two of the Phillies Achillies Heels this year.

It’s not over, but it sure is close.  The Phillies pride themselves on being a resilient club, but games like these are daggers.  Do they have a three-game winning streak left in them?  The comeback begins tonight at 7:57.

Avatar of Pat Gallen

About Pat Gallen

Pat Gallen has written 1710 articles on Phillies Nation.

Pat is Editor-in-Chief of Phillies Nation. He also covers the Phils for 97.5 FM in Philly.

  • Posts: 0 3peatbeginsnow

    Dodgerfan – That kind of simplistic analysis of the financial system in baseball is laughable and should be dismissed. Do the Yankees have resources? Yes Do the Yankees spend money? Yes. The yankees spend money that other teams who could spend that amount don’t. The Steinbrenners have operated at a loss over several years because they reinvest a ton of money back into the Yankees whereas ownership like the Wilpons or the Tribune Company in Chicago could spend more money, but choose not to.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    someone tell Howard that it’s OK to hit the ball to Left Field tonight when Burnett throws curveballs on the outside corner ..

  • Posts: 0 j reed

    Nicely done CZ…Bob the yankee got some typical baseball breaks but their not playing Jeff Spicoli baseball right now, we are, much to my horror. Still we know what happens when they wake up…

  • Posts: 0 j reed

    Yeah Don M. – the one night we should have been aggressive we weren’t…played it to safe…some of those were cookies. We didn’t adjust to the umps’s strike zone.

  • Posts: 0 3peatbeginsnow

    What this says to me is that the Yankees did not buy their recent championships as much as people think they did. The Yankees fiscal insanity has pretty much come since the World Series years. During the championship years, the team was much sloer to the pack, and in 1998, the 114 win year, was outspent by the Orioles.


  • Posts: 0 3peatbeginsnow

    A large part of the huge increase, especially in the past five years, has to do with the YES Network. The Yankees generate massive revenues from the network that are probably unparalleled in any sport.

  • Posts: 0 Mr. Calm

    I don’t agree that other teams can spend what the Yanks do. They built the model for the sport with their ground-breaking yesnetwork. That gives them a huge income stream in the #1 market to buy the very best talent, which feeds the yes machine, it becomes a self-sustaining process. The Wilpons and the Tribune or the McCourts cannot afford a $200m++. Nobody can other than the NYY. And I don’t think they’re losing money at it. But the good thing is it does take more than money to attain a championship . . . but enough money can get you close.

    The NYY are just playing by the ‘rules’ . . . the business rules. There’s no cap, and they have positioned themselves to take the most advantage of it.

  • Posts: 0 Mr. Calm

    BTW, I think the big turning point was not last night with Lidge. It was Saturday night, the moment that Hamels walked Teixeira and threw a hissy fit. Up to that point, Hamels had been staked to a 3-0 lead and all the momentum. As usual, Hamels let a small slight shake him, he promptly gave up the camera shot, and he then imploded, losing the game. Had he not gone haywire, I think they would have won game 3. The Phils have been on their heels since.

    Hopefully, there is another turning point tonight.

  • Posts: 0 3peatbeginsnow

    The same people who are complaining about the Yankees are the same people complaining about Obama turning this into a socialist country. Either you love capitalism or you don’t. There is no middle ground. I love capitalism, and the Yankees are breaking no rules in doing what they are doing. Let those hwo are too big to fail, not fail.

  • Posts: 0 Francisco

    That’s right everyone goes to the team with the best intentions to win regardless how much they spend and furthermore everyone seems to forget for a few years there they had all the money and they didn’t won then

  • Posts: 0 j reed

    3peat – your not getting it….it’s like someone who was born into money and despite his success which he earned he will never get the same props as the guy who came from very little and goes far. You can’t have that…that’s price you pay. No one in your organization will ever get Connie Mack status. Look 26 rings. Grown men wept when Mickey Mantle died, I can’t watch Lou Gerhig’s Farewell address without getting alump in my throat, the Sultan of Swat, Roger Maris, joe dimaggio and his 56 consecutive hits.. the one record that will probably never be broken to name just a few….what else do you want… i wish the shoe was on the other foot…we, one of the oldest teams in baseball live with the 10,000 losses over our head.

  • Posts: 0 Harry Kalas

    Win or lose tonite Philadelphia we have to keep this thing in it’s proper perspec.

    -No one wins every year. No one. Not the Redsox, Not the Cards, Not the Angels and not the Yankees. But these teams get the same fan support every year for the most part.

    -The worst thing Phillies fans can if we go on to lose this WS is to aban. our team.

    -I’m sure most of us diehards on here won’t, but I hope the rest of the City follows suit. Our success current/future depends on the continued fan support. Please don’t go all fickle on us Philly. That’s all I ask.

  • Posts: 0 Mike Schmidt

    You can argue what team is better all day long. But .235 avg and a 4.00 ERA are not World Championships numbers. In fact, they are the worst World Championship numbers of all-time.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Very true….the Yankees indeed are “breaking no rules in doing what they are doing.”…But there’s an underlying arrogance…..to the point of shoving it in everyone else’s faces…with how they are doing it….

    So….in a way, 3peat, you’re right. Technically, you’re not acting like an ass like I said earlier….you’re just pompous and arrogant….much like the organization you support….

    Again…..Friday morning you either 1) come on here and congratulate us and take whatever we dish out to you or 2) come on here and act a bit less pompous and arrogant..

  • Posts: 0 Georgie

    3peat, are you trying to convince US or YOURSELF that it’s ok to buy a championship? You doth protest a bit too much, it seems. And although much of what you have said on here is true, your attitude is exactly what I find so annoying about the Yankees and their fans. Think about it, you have been on a Phillies blog most of the day extolling the virtues of a team that unabashedly spends money like there’s no tomorrow, the day after our team lost in a heart-breaker. If that isn’t arrogance, I don’t know what else to call it. Yes, you speak very intelligently and make some good points, but I didn’t see anything even remotely humble in any of your posts. Why don’t you try asking Orioles or Pirates fans how they feel, year after year of losing records because they can’t compete with the bigger markets?

    The thing that bothers me the most is that you seem to think that the Phillies have absolutely NO chance to win because the Yankees paid more for their players, and therefore are the better team and can’t possibly lose. ANYTHING can happen in three games, and after reading all of your crap today, I hope more than ever that our “scrub” team beats your snotty a$$es!

  • Posts: 0 Mike Schmidt

    If you lose to the Yankees, the best team of all-time and hold them to the worst batting average by a ws champ ever at .235 there is no reason for the Phillies to feel dissapointed by how the Yankees played against them. .235 & 4.00 ERA numbers for a world champion just flat out stinks.

  • Posts: 0 Harry Kalas

    The worst of all-time…… Come on dude. Even if true so what….. Stop being so depressing. There’s a Phillies game tonite. It may be the last one of year. Just try to enjoy it. Even if only a little… sheesh….

  • Posts: 0 Harry Kalas

    Sorry Mike. I read your post all worng. Sorry again…

  • Posts: 0 Jonathan

    Hamels & Lidge, Hamels & Lidge, Hamels & Lidge…

    Might make for a nice karaoke bar.

  • Posts: 0 3peatbeginsnow

    I don’t need to convinjce myself of anything. I’m just trying to get the facts out there. The Yankees were in line with everyone else up until they got the YES Netwok in 2002.

    Mike Schmidt – I read your posts yesterday after the game. What the hell are you talking about? What is the Phillies’ batting avg. and era in the Wold Series? Are they playing championship caliber baseball, but through a series of unfotunate events are down 3-1? You keep posting those numbers. What do they mean if that kind of paltry performance is beating your team.

    Don’t worry. My homeboys in Philly just turned me on to this site. I will be here tomorrow morning no doubt. Again, I don’t understand how I am being pompous? I give the Phillies the utmost respect and will continue to do so. I don’t think we are the better team because we spent more money. We are the better team because we have better players. If you go through the lineup and both pitching staffs, it’s eally quite obvious. If the Yanks can win this in 5, daddy will be buying himself a new pair of shoes and can maybe take the old lady on a vacation pre Thanksgiving.

  • Posts: 0 JBP

    @ 3peat

    Whoa…you don’t think you are the better team because you’ve spent more money? That’s EXACTLY why you’re the better team. Now, maybe you’re getting tired from posting so much and therefore you lost your train of thought but c’mon man. I don’t blame the Yankees for fielding the team they do. They’re playing by the rules. But, your #3 hitter and #1 and #2 starters–that you bought–made your very good team great and lead you to where you are now.

  • Posts: 0 Mike Schmidt

    It means exactly what it means a .235 avg would be the worst of all-time for a world series champ. When you look at history and it says worst hitting ws champ of all-time and it says 2009 Yankees, it isn’t an impressive way to win. It doesn’t mean the Phillies are better, it means the Yankees would have won playing some of the worst baseball a Yankees ws team that won has ever played.

  • Posts: 0 Mike Schmidt

    Neither team is playing world championship calliber baseball that is the point. .235 AVG, 4:00 ERA and a 329 foot home run those are the stats for the team that is supposed to be the greatest of all-time. Those numbers are not impressive.

  • Posts: 0 Mike Schmidt

    The Celtics beat the Lakers, one of the greatest franchises ever, 131-92 to win the title.
    That is impressive.
    If the Yankees beat the Phillies, who up until 2008 were one of the least winning franchises of all-time, with a .235 AVG, 4:00 ERA and a 329 foot home run it isn’t impressive.
    Beat a team by putting up numbers and playing some of your best baseball. Don’t beat a team by setting records with some of the lowest numbers ever, because if you do it proves the series came down to inches and close calls, not one franchise and one team supposedly being superior and on a much higher level.

  • Posts: 0 Brad B

    Gotta admit I’m a recent Phillies convert – sorry, born & raised in Michigan. Still, I’ve become quite a fan in the past couple of years – in fact, the Phils have rekindled my interest in MLB. Couple of comments. First – while it was certainly unfortunate for Hamels to make the comment about getting the season over with, I think I understand where he’s coming from. Are there any older fans out there that remember when the October Classic was actually played in October? Early October for that matter. The MLB season is exceptionally long and grueling – and seems to be far more a matter of how much money can be generated than any sporting consideration. These guys (both sides) have been at it since February – they’re tired! There aren’t many off days in MLB – and while the money sure is nice – I imagine the traveling and the grueling 162 game schedule wear you down after awhile. Still, sometimes it’s better to keep your thoughts to yourself.
    Second – I confess I don’t have that much faith in Charley Manuel’s hunches. Pulling Pedro in the NLCS arguably forced the Phils to play an extra game. Pulling Pedro in New York also seemed a dubious choice – he gave up one bizarre homer to Matsui (I mean – no one swings at a ball that low!) – but he still seemed to have his stuff, and I think it demoralizes a team to have a star pitcher pulled when he’s still throwing good stuff. Then – I agree with many of you that Lee should have started last night. Even if things don’t go well – at least you’ve potentially got him available again for a game 7, if needed. Now – if it goes to 7 – who gets the call? Hamels? Well – you gotta wonder if his heart is in it.
    In the end though, I think the bats have to wake up. Werth and Utley have certainly earned their keep – but too many bats have gone quiet to beat the Yankees. Let’s hope the fire gets kindled today, and the bats wake up in support of Lee – and at least get us back to NY. Then – we’ll just have to take it one game at a time!

  • Posts: 0 Mike Schmidt

    3peat You keep saying the Yankees are better than the Phillies. Duh. We know that. The Yankees have 26 titles and the Phillies have 2. The Yankees won those 26 titles by hitting big and playing dominant.
    Now they are winning like the Mets. Hitting .235 and looking to cameras and silly ground rules to win games.

  • Posts: 0 Mike Schmidt

    Gee whiz even the 1969 Mets hit .242., get your batting average up if you are supposed to be the greatest team of all-time.

  • Posts: 0 j reed

    welcome Brad B. – ready for the rollercoaster ride tonight?

  • Posts: 0 Mike Schmidt

    3peat if you want to go on other teams sites and talk about how great the Yankees are, hit over .235 and hit the ball over the fence next time. You think Mantle, Joe D, Gehrig, Ruth & Reggie hit .235 and hit cameras? No.

  • Posts: 0 Charlie Manuel

    Sorry fans, we will lose tonight. The big guys just aren’t producing. I should’ve put Cliff in last night but I got so scared and now we are down 3-1. Maybe next year. As for this year the Yankees are the WFC!

  • Posts: 0 SpankyYankee

    Mike Schmidt you ought to go on comcast sports night with the low life Mike Barcan….or Beer can….he’s always throwing out those losing can’t do a thing about it “stats” …I’ll bet the those cameras were bought by the Yankees …yeah I’ll bet they did that ….and batting average hmmmm ya better look at yours young fella ….I’m trying to count up how many HR’s Cryin Howard has…..hmmmm can you say O or maybe ZIP….or NADDA….hmmm….I-buy-pez aka the FOOL…I meant Raulllllll…haven’t heard that chant lately……maybe tonight ….hey either way it’s over …the parade will be in the greatest city in the world NEW YORK CITY….you might get lucky and get something going tonight,,,,but ya gotta go to the BRONX if you have any chance ….there’s a guy there you could talk to his name is SLIM as in SLIM-2-NUN….hey the trash is in the bag ….we’ll tell you when you’re going to the curb….hey somebody get Mike Schmidt a tissue…….

  • Posts: 0 buddy

    I’m a Red Sox fan rooting for the Phillies like I’m from Philly…here are my questions as an outsider: why were they in the shift? have they been doing that all series? I have been watching but do not recall them being in the shift for Texerira…why was Lidge in the game? they had the pitcher’s spot coming up in the b 9th so he was going to be 1 and done…seems like Madson could have gone another inning and then you had Lidge in the holster if necessary; and for more than 1 IP to boot…why did he abandon his slider? I know the threat of a WP was there, but he was throwing it with authority and Ruiz is really good…on another note I really think this series turned on the Werth pick off in game 2…that being said, the Phillies could still could have won this series if they had won last night…every Yankee pitcher is now on short rest and CC was beatable last night…in the end the Yankee war/cash machine is winning, only they have a 25m player at virtually every position…still only Rivera can be used, their BP sux…Phils are blowing it for all of us…

  • Posts: 0 NYstateofmind

    ”Phillies in 5” – Jimmy Rollings. LMAO what a joke. Next time keep ur mouth shut and let the bats do the talking moron lol. Go Yankees!

  • Posts: 0 buddy

    cash is king should be the Yankee motto…will all th yankee cash it is embarrassing that they have not won since 2000

  • Posts: 0 Mike Schmidt

    Spanky I’m from New York stupid. Lived in NYC for 35 years. The camera was 329 feet from home plate. Hit a real home run and be a man.

  • Posts: 0 Mike Schmidt

    Hit over .235 and be a man. When you hit a HR make sure it goes more than 330 feet, not less. Until that happens stay on your own site and make your own stupid comments.

  • Posts: 0 whynow

    the phillies are not quitters = although i must admit i quit on them. who knows. let’s just win this one and worry about gm6 on wednesday.

    as far as a 2nd rate city – no way. i know SpankyYankee proably doesnot remember what a championship parade looks like. last yr – we had well over a million – nearly a million and 1/2 fans at last yrs parade. yes there were some idiots, but i’d say we were classy caring & appreciative fans…

    if you look up 2nd rate – you will not see classy, caring or appreciate in their definition.

    if we win this gm and lose one of the next 2.. the phillies are not quitters.

  • Posts: 0 whynow

    i think they shown alot of people especially themselves they are not quitters.. no matter what the results of the series ends up being.

  • Posts: 0 whynow


    there will be only 1 ‘WFC’ & 1 ‘ the team to beat’ & those honors reside in philadelphia

    yes… & if the NYY win the w/s, they will be only ‘WC” – never ‘WFC”

  • Posts: 0 Benjamin D

    Question for you baseball gurus out there:
    After the phils win game 6 wed night (I have the utmost confidence that Pedro will help pull this off), who do you think should get the ball in game 7? Should it be Happ or Hamels? What do you folks think about Moyer instead of Hamels if manuel does not choose to start Happ? I know Moyer isn’t overpowering with his stuff but I kind of like him as a starter. Any thoughts?

  • Posts: 0 Christa


    Moyers is recovering from surgery, so he is on the roster. I like Happ as a starter. But I don’t think Manuel trusts that he has the mental strength and experience to pitch a “must win” 7th game. Hamels is one of my favorite players, but he is struggling and mentally defeated. Blanton pitched very well last game, but is not the type of pitcher to shut down a team. So, expect him to give up 3-4 runs. He does well, but needs run support from the offense.

    It is going to be a tough decision!

  • Posts: 0 Christa

    Oops… I meant to type that Moyers is “not on the roster.”

  • Posts: 0 Benjamin D

    Geez, I didnt know that he had surgery! Oops….and I call myself a phillies fan LOL….Seriously though, when did this occur? The last i heard about him was when he was upset being moved into the ‘pen during the regular season to make room for Pedro. Oh well, my mistake. I really like moyer though….wild yes, not overpowering….yes. Hamels, in my opinion, has a bad attiude. The game where he shot utley? a nasty look when he goofed the play comes to mind. I cannnot remember if it was against the rockies or dodgers. When he is on, he’s on and when he is off, he’s horrible. I’m going to go out on a limb here with this comment, but I like Lidge as well. He has good stuff but his control has been his demon the whole darn season. The way I look at it is, I cannnot go out and throw a 95 mph fastball….I cannot through a slider so who am I to say that this pitcher or that pitcher is terrible? The lack of control and location seems to plague all of the philly pitchers. This fact, notwithstanding, Im still supporting them 100%. If the yanks pull it off, kudos to them. However, I love the phils and hope they can do it. This gets back to game 7 pitching…the phils need a good, sharp pitcher. Obviously they have the power. Its only a matter of time before howard werth and ruiz snap their temporary “slump” Ibanez is finally coming around. They are all due and when they finally start hitting, they need the pitching to keep it all in check. Hamels has been tenuous at best. I agree, Happ is young and inexperienced, but he has good stuff. Its going to be interesting to see how this all plays out.

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