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A tale of two No. 3 hitters

Nov 2, 2009, 11:56 PM EDT

When the showdown against the Yankees began, it looked like Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth were the Phillies poised to make postseason history. Howard matched a record by driving in runs in eight straight games to begin the postseason. Werth, meanwhile, hit five homers in nine games against the Rockies and Dodgers.
In the World Series, though, the Phillies’ best player has taken over. Chase Utley had his second two-homer game against the Yankees on Monday and drove in four runs to lead the Phillies to an 8-6 victory. He has five homers in all, tying Reggie Jackson (1977) for the World Series record.
Utley is now batting .314 with six homers, 11 walks and 14 runs scored in 14 postseason games. He’s been limited to 10 RBI, mostly because neither Jimmy Rollins nor Shane Victorino has done a very good job of getting on base. However, he might well be the best choice for World Series MVP even if the Phillies go on to lose in New York.
Mark Teixeira, on the other hand, has only been drawing accolades for his defense. He struck out as the tying run to end Monday’s loss, dropping him to 2-for-19 for the World Series. He’s batting .175 with two homers, seven RBI and a 16/6 K/BB ratio in 57 at-bats for the postseason. Saving him from criticism is that both of his homers have been big: he delivered a walkoff shot to end Game 2 of the ALDS against the Twins and he tied Game 2 of the World Series with a solo shot off Pedro Martinez. He’s struggled throughout, though.
Still, no one is really going to point the finger at Teixeira for this one. A.J. Burnett, working on short rest, gave up six runs in two-plus innings. Phil Coke, brought in to face the lefty-heavy portion of the Philadelphia lineup after largely being avoided of late, gave up solo homers to Utley and Raul Ibanez while recording just two outs. Those are the two players manager Joe Girardi will be asked about over the next 24 hours.
Getting to start on normal rest, Cliff Lee was merely OK for the Phillies. He didn’t show up with his best stuff, but he limited a depleted lineup to two runs and four hits over seven innings before allowing the first three batters to reach in the eighth. He was knocked out of the game by a two-run double from Alex Rodriguez that should have been caught by Raul Ibanez. Fortunately, Chan Ho Park finished the eighth without much trouble. Ryan Madson had big issues in the ninth, but he escaped largely thanks to a double-play ball from Derek Jeter.
The World Series will shift back to New York now. Neither manager has officially announced a Game 6 starter, though the assumption is that Martinez will face Andy Pettitte, who would work on three days’ rest. It is noteworthy that the Phillies again bypassed J.A. Happ in relief tonight, opening up the possibility that he could start Game 6 if the Phillies don’t want to go with Cole Hamels in Game 7.

  1. John - Nov 3, 2009 at 12:01 AM

    The comeback has begun, led by Mr. Utley! One down two to go. PHILLIES IN SEVEN!!! MARK MY WORDS!!!

  2. Bruce - Nov 3, 2009 at 12:49 AM

    Considering the juvenile remark by R.J. (about who’s playing with the “varsity as you’ll recall), it seems only fair to remind all that while Reggie Jackson hit his five homeruns in six games of a World Series in the seventies, Chase Utley hit his five homeruns in five games…and he may still have yet two more games for even more. Not to mention the Rogers Hornsby/Lou Gehrig stuff which he also doesn’t think about, thank you very much.

  3. Cannuck - Nov 3, 2009 at 12:49 AM

    YANKEES IN SIX!!!MARK MY WORDS!!! and if they lose game six, YANKEES IN SEVEN!!!MARK MY WORDS!!! That’s my prediction and I am sticking to it….

  4. John - Nov 3, 2009 at 1:00 AM

    Canadians aren’t allowed to make predictions and even if they do it doesn’t count. PHILLIES IN SEVEN!!! MARK MY WORDS!!!

  5. John - Nov 3, 2009 at 1:02 AM

    I feel an apology is in order Cannuck for Canadians can make predictions… but only regarding hockey. PHILLIES IN SEVEN!!! MARK MY WORDS!!!

  6. TC - Nov 3, 2009 at 6:13 AM

    Question to Joe Giradi? Why let your pitchers pitch to Chas Utley. Hoping he can hit a grand slam against your team in Yankkee stadium, hence 2004 game 7 ALCS. History does repeat it’s self if you let it!!!!

  7. TC - Nov 3, 2009 at 6:15 AM

    Question to Joe Giradi? Why let your pitchers pitch to Chas Utley. Hoping he can hit a grand slam against your team in Yankkee stadium, hence 2004 game 7 ALCS. History does repeat it’s self if you let it!!!!

  8. Dre - Nov 3, 2009 at 7:39 AM

    John – What happened to Angels in Six???Mark my words??? What happed to Angels in Seven???Mark my words??? What happened to Phillies in Six???Mark my words??? Your crystal ball must have a crack in it. Yankees will win tomorrow night. 7-3. Martinez will be knocked out in the fifth. #27 is here……….

  9. colin g. morris - Nov 3, 2009 at 7:44 AM

    Yankees will choke and P’s in 7

  10. George - Nov 3, 2009 at 7:56 AM

    I think that, if the Phillies win, Girardi’s biggest mistake will be the three-man rotation. Today’s pitchers aren’t trained to think or perform as three-days-of-rest pitchers. Sooner or later, this catches up to them. If Pettitte fails tomorrow, then it’ll be up to C.C., and he’s not pitching better the deeper he goes into the series.
    The winner of game six will win the Series.

  11. Dre - Nov 3, 2009 at 8:14 AM

    John – forgot to ask. Which team do you follow?

  12. Kevin - Nov 3, 2009 at 8:35 AM

    Philly you lost 2 in a row in your own stadium and took one last night and that was 8-6 win. A comeback? Think again. You only took 1 of 3 in your own park(last game an had to win it), you took 1-2 in our park(the first one) and we have two to go. Daddy will tame Pedro as he will flounder again in New York as he always does whether he is a Red Sox or a Philly.

  13. mario - Nov 3, 2009 at 8:56 AM

    YANKS ON SIX MARK MY WORDS

  14. jonny5 - Nov 3, 2009 at 9:17 AM

    UTLEY IS A STUD!!!!!

  15. MrKase - Nov 3, 2009 at 9:24 AM

    Maybe they won’t ask Girardi about Teixeira, but someone should. He was worse than awful in that last at bat, swinging at ball 2, 3 and 4, all in the dirt
    I groaned when Teixeira stepped into the batter’s box, wishing Girardi would pinch-hit for him with someone who was fast and capable of laying down a bunt in a suicide squeeze. That would have caught the Phillies flat-footed and bring A-Rod to the plate. I don’t believe that old nonsense of “playing the guys that got you there”. If a guy is in a major slump and the game is on the line; “sit down please, thank you very much.” Better to fall in a brave attempt than to watch someone flail away helplessly. No harm in sitting him in the top of the 9th. You won’t need his defense if you don’t score some runs….
    At the very least, I’d move Teixeira from 3rd in the batting order down to 8th. He’s currently a gapping dead spot in an otherwise productive line-up. Like A-Rod had been in previous post seasons, Teixeira has now a rally killer.

  16. nomoregames - Nov 3, 2009 at 9:33 AM

    John, How exactly do you find the time to make 195 posts a day? YANKEES IN 6, FOR # 27, MARK MY WORDS!!!

  17. nomoregames - Nov 3, 2009 at 9:34 AM

    Good point. I dont think he will get a ball to hit for the rest of the series, barring a bases loaded or 2 on no out situation.

  18. John - Nov 3, 2009 at 9:37 AM

    PHILLIES!!! I don’t regularly root for the Angels, only when they play the Yankees. As far as all those near misses they were simply warm-ups, like Nostradamus who had thousands of “visions” which never came to fruition I too miss one or two occassionally. But PHILLIES IN SEVEN!!! MARK MY WORDS!!! will be… afterall the Philadelphia Inquirer said it shall be so!!!

  19. John - Nov 3, 2009 at 9:39 AM

    195 posts? Can’t be more than 186. PHILLIES IN SEVEN!!! MARK MY WORDS!!!

  20. Kage10 - Nov 3, 2009 at 9:43 AM

    I so want the Phillies to win, but it just seems like they are struggling to win. The Yankees wanted to return home so they could care less that they lost last night. The Yankees are playing heads up. Texieira is due…I would not take him out. He isn’t going to slump much longer. MARK MY WORDS!! hahaha j/k

  21. Derek - Nov 3, 2009 at 10:05 AM

    I’m a Yanks fan and even I have to tip my cap to Utley for what he’s done. He clearly deserves it, the fact that he’s in the company of names like Ruth & Jackson shouldn’t be dismissed because they lose the Series.
    While I am absolutely pushing for the Yanks to win #27, I also recognize that Utley has been truly “valuable” in the sense of the word. If he has another stellar game Wednesday, I think it seals it for him.

  22. Dtrock78 - Nov 3, 2009 at 10:05 AM

    New York is a dirty, smelly town with a bunch of miserable people that are obnoxious as hell. Burn in hell Yankee fans.

  23. Frank - Nov 3, 2009 at 10:40 AM

    Yeah… put the crack pipe down son! YOU GOT LUCKY AGAIN!

  24. brian - Nov 3, 2009 at 10:40 AM

    Have you been to Philly…?
    Should change the name to Bigotville….scumbags.
    Manhattan is nice, Philly is a dump.

  25. Frank - Nov 3, 2009 at 10:43 AM

    You communist heathen. You best shut your mouth you Philthy Phan!

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