Pedro Martinez didn't have it.
Not that he was awful. Nor was he the only dud.
But, Pedro was a beaten man right from the get-go. His fastball lacked zip. He fell behind in counts. He couldn’t dazzle his way out of trouble as he had done in prior starts with the Phillies.
In his swan song with the Phillies, Pedro allowed four runs over four innings. Hideki Matsui, the Series MVP, smacked a two-run homer in the second and a two-RBI single in the fourth.
Props to Pedro for gutting it out without his best stuff (by far). I’m proud to say that one of the best pitchers of all-time played for my team.
Matsui, Andy Pettitte and the Phillies’ inability to do anything with the bats.
Matsui tied a 49-year-old World Series record with six RBIs in one game. He absolutely murdered Phillies pitching, particularly Pedro, against whom he hit two homers. He had a ridiculous batting average and he earned MVP honors WITHOUT starting Games 3, 4 and 5. Impressive.
Pettitte showed no ill effects from having only three-days rest. He’s a helluva big-game pitcher. Pettitte, like CC Sabathia and Damaso Marte, completely neutralized the leftys in our lineup. Pettitte wasn’t brilliant in Game 6, but he was crafty and had pinpoint control of his pitches.
Finally, the Phillies mustered no offense whatsoever. It was one of the few times this season that I thought the team wasn’t really in the game. I’ll never question the team’s heart. Never in a million years, actually. But I certainly wonder if they thought they could really do this — come all the way back from a 3-1 series deficit. I thought, to be honest, they hit the wall. Game 5 was the team’s goodbye party. They went out on top AT HOME, and had nothing left in the tank in Game 6.
The Turning Point
Two plays in the fourth inning that changed the complexion of the game: Shane Victorino’s misread and Matsui’s bases-loaded, two-run single.
Victorino completely misjudged a liner to center field. There was one out in the inning and nobody on base. Had Victorino read the ball properly, we’re talking two outs and no baserunners. Huge.
Eventually, Pedro worked himself into a one-out, bases-loaded jam with Alex Rodriguez at the plate. To his credit, Pedro got A-Rod to strike out looking. However, he had Matsui to deal with… and obviously that match up just didn’t work out.
I don’t fault Charlie Manuel for keeping Pedro in the game with Matsui at the dish. Yes, Matsui has killed Pedro this series, but at the same time, Pedro knows how to pitch and get himself out of trouble. I did not have a problem with Manuel entrusting Pedro to get the job done.
First and foremost, congratulations to the New York Yankees for dethroning the defending world champions. They beat us fair and square, no doubt about that. They are the best team in baseball.
It’s been a fun ride. It was a gigantic accomplishment for this Philadelphia Phillies club to get back to the World Series in consecutive years. That just doesn’t happen anymore. Every faithful fan is (or should be) proud of what they have achieved. I am glad to have such a great baseball team in MY CITY. After years and years of suffering through miserable baseball, the sport is alive and better than ever in Philadelphia.
I look forward to being back here next year. We’ve got a National League title to defend again. With a few tweaks to the roster (bench help! bullpen help! starting pitcher!), we can absolutely, positively make more magic in 2010.
Please come back to Phillies Phandom throughout the offseason. We’ll have plenty of features and news updates coming your way!
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