No second guessing [here] on my part regarding Joe Girardi’s decision to pitch A. J. Burnett on three games rest in Game 5 of the World Series against the Phillies. Even though A.J. was terrible in his start … in my view, Girardi, and the Yankees braintrust, made the right move in sending Burnett to the mound because basically: what other options did they have?
Chad Gaudin, the only possible fourth starter for the Yanks in this series, has not pitched in about a month. He would have pitched no more than three to five innings. So, it would have made very little sense in taking a chance with Gaudin on the mound instead of Burnett, especially, with all the ineffectiveness out of the bullpen.
A.J. was brought to the Bronx to pitch big games for the Yanks, and it seems very clear to me: Game 5 of the World Series was a “big” game. Since Burnett was available to pitch on three games rest, then, there really was no other choice for Girardi, but to pitch A.J. over Gaudin. Period.
There is no way to sugarcoat A.J. Burnett’s performance, though — he was awful.
A.J., who had a solid outing in Game 2, lasted only two innings, allowing, six runs, on four hits, four walks, and two strikeouts.
He was replaced by David Robertson with no outs in the third inning, after walking Utley and Howard, and, then, allowing RBI singles to Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez before being taken out of the game. Robertson allowed one more run to score for a 6-1 Phillies lead before getting out of the jam without any further damage.
The Phillies took their first lead, 3-1, in the bottom of the first inning on a three-run homer by Chase Utley after the Yanks scored a run in the top of the inning.
In the seventh inning, the Phillies increased their lead to 8-2 on solo home runs by Utley and Ibanez. Utley’s homer was his fifth of the series, tying Reggie Jackson’s record of five homers in the Yankees victory over the Dodgers in the 1977 World Series.
In the meantime, Phillies starter, Cliff Lee pitched seven solid innings before getting into trouble in the top of the eight inning.
Johnny Damon led off the eight with a single which was followed by a single by Mark Teixeira and a two-RBI double by Alex Rodriguez that cut the Phillies lead to 8-4.
Lee (2-0), was replaced by Chan Ho Park with no outs in the eight.
Park faced Nick Swisher, who advanced Rodriguez on a ground ball out. A-Rod then scored on a sac-fly by Robinson Cano that made the score 8-5.
The Yankees scored their final run in the top of the ninth, before Ryan Madson closed out the Phillies 8-6 victory.
The 2009 World Series now heads to the Beautiful Bronx for Game 6, with the New York Yankees leading the series “three” games to “two” over the Philadelphia Phillies.
Another classic pitching match-up is on tap …
Andy Pettitte, (Yankees) vs. Pedro Martinez, (Phillies).
In my view, I think both starters will pitch well, with Andy out-dueling Pedro into the seventh inning.
But, the key for a Yankees win will be a solid bridge directly from Pettitte, with seven strong innings pitched, to the “Great Mariano” Rivera, closing out the Yankees World Series winning final game by recording a two-inning save, pitching a scoreless eight and ninth innings.
Andy to Mariano is: “THE BRIDGE TO VICTORY” !!!
And, a final note: I look for huge offensive numbers by: Hideki Matsui, Jorge Posada, and Mark Teixeira in tonight’s game.
“GO YANKEES” !!!
ONE MORE WIN FOR #27 !!!
Enjoy the game tonight …
— Jimmy, “BY&L”