Brad Lidge gave up three runs — all with two outs — in the ninth inning. Game over.
The Story/The Turning Point
Lidge allowed Johnny Damon to battle back from a 1-2 count. With two outs and nobody on base, Lidge kept firing fastball after fastball — completely neglecting his slider — until Damon finally whacked one to the outfield for a base hit. That opened the door for the Yankees…
Damon stole second base and kept running to third. Nobody was covering third because Feliz was manning second base as Jimmy Rollins was on the other side of the bag, playing the shift against Mark Teixeira. Lidge SHOULD have ran to third to take the place of Feliz. Instead, Damon made it to third uncontested.
Teixeira walked and Alex Rodriguez delivered the big blow — a run-scoring double to left field. Jorge Posada put the nail in the coffin with a two-run single.
Trailing 4-2 in the seventh inning, Chase Utley smashed a solo homer off CC Sabathia to cut the deficit to one. Pedro Feliz hit the game-tying homer off Joba Chamberlain in the eighth.
It was at that moment you thought the Phillies would pull it out and even the series. Even more encourgaging was seeing Lidge breeze through the first two batters in the ninth.
Those damn Yankees are good.
You can hate them all you want, but you got to respect them. They’ve had an answer for everything in this series, sans Game 1.
You can question what the hell Lidge was doing throwing Damon fastball after fastball when his slider was working so well. But, at the same time, the Yankees find ways to get it done, much like the Phillies had done earlier in the playoffs.
Also, you can question why Joe Blanton started in place of Cliff Lee. I wrote on Saturday that Charlie Manuel opting to go with Blanton over Lee could result in a short series. It sure is turning out that way.
To his credit, Blanton kept the Phillies in the game. He allowed four runs over six innings. Not Cliff Lee-like, but he was solid. Sabathia was there for the taking, but the Phillies did not capitalize. One too many guys were left stranded on base …
Again, I can’t give enough credit to the Yankees. They are a championship team and are the better team right now. There’s nothing wrong with admitting that and it doesn’t mean we can”t make an epic comeback.
The Next Game
Lee pitches against AJ Burnett in Game 5 Monday night. I would love to see one last dominant performance by Lee to send the series to New York. I can’t stand the thought of seeing them win it on our home turf.
Then again, I’m not ready to count out the Phillies. This is a resilent team. Maybe Lee can take the life out of the Yankees’ bats.
There’s no sense in giving up now.