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Return of Bad Brad dooms Phillies

Nov 2, 2009, 12:08 AM EDT

It was fun while it lasted.
Lidge opened the postseason with five straight scoreless appearances. He put together that kind of streak just once during the regular season, when he saved five in a row from May 26-June 1. Of course, he finished the regular season 0-8 with 11 blown saves and a 7.21 ERA.
It looked like Lidge might be on his way to another flawless inning Sunday in a tie game against the Yankees, as he retired Hideki Matsui on a popout and struck out Derek Jeter to begin the top of the ninth. A Johnny Damon single and then one of the oddest double steals you’ll ever see followed. With Mark Teixeira up and the shift employed, Damon swiped second and kept on going, reaching third easily since third baseman Pedro Feliz had been covering second.
Damon’s presence on third as the go-ahead run appeared to make Lidge nervous about using his slider. He went on to hit Teixeira and then give up a go-ahead double on a fastball to Alex Rodriguez that caught too much of the plate. Jorge Posada followed with a hard two-run single to the gap, and Lidge only got out of the inning because one of the game’s worst baserunners chose to continue on to second and was thrown out by 20 feet. Mariano Rivera finished from there, and the Yankees won 7-4.
It was another well played game until the ninth. CC Sabathia was fine on three days’ rest, surrendering three runs in 6 2/3 innings. Joe Blanton overcame a poor first to keep the Phillies in it by allowing four runs over six innings. Chase Utley homered off Sabathia, and Pedro Feliz tied the game in the eighth with a solo shot off Joba Chamberlain. The Yankees got their runs without hitting a homer. It helped that they really bunched together their hits. All seven runs and eight of their nine hits came in three innings (the first, fifth and ninth).
That the Phillies have gotten so little from the first, fourth and sixth spots in their order has made it very difficult for them to sustain rallies. Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez are all struggling mightily right now. Ibanez was particularly awful tonight. His first at-bat, a strikeout against Sabathia with two on and two out in the first, was the worst that any hitter had all night, and he ended up 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
The Phillies now face a big uphill climb to come back in the World Series. They’re the definite favorites in Game 5, with Cliff Lee pitching at home against A.J. Burnett on short rest. Still, even if they prevail then, taking two in a row in Yankee Stadium, without having Lee to fall back on, will be extremely difficult.

  1. Cru11 - Nov 2, 2009 at 1:02 AM

    I said it ever since I heard that Lee was not starting game 4. Loss for the Phils. Now they’re in a hole 3-1 with their only bright spot being Cliff Lee. They can’t rely on Lidge because he’s pissing his pants because Damon is on third base. Youre a big league pitcher with a big leage catcher behind the plate and you cant throw your “best” pitch because a runners on third? Going back to vintage form, huh Brad?

  2. Robert - Nov 2, 2009 at 1:58 AM

    You can either blame Lidge, or give Arod his due, Arod is the greatest
    player of this era.

  3. Khyber Jones - Nov 2, 2009 at 2:26 AM

    Lidge cracked a little under the pressure put on by Damon, but everyone on the Phillies failed to make adjustments to Damon’s improvisation at the plate and on the base paths.
    Anyone who has watched the Yankees this year knows that even with 2 out and nobody on, a rally is still possible. They have been alert and opportunistic all season and it showed today. They don’t make as many little mistakes as Utley did when he failed to make a put out at second in the 5th inning which led to a 2 run inning. They also cover up for the errors of their teammates and manager. Girardi made a mistake by leaving Sabathia to pitch to Utley in the 7th inning after Rollins/Victorino had hit the ball hard for outs and Utley already had a RBI double in the game. Marte would’ve been a stronger matchup, as he did end up getting Howard out. Joba also made a bad pitch to Feliz (and Posada mismanaged the pitch sequence), but the team picked them both up.

  4. Gary Ray Betz - Nov 2, 2009 at 2:31 AM

    So, how do yawl figure a self-admitted steroids laden cheater like A-Rod is “the greatest player of this era”? Sorry, but I’ve other genuine role models of integrity that my children can look up to, and not some sleazy cheater.

  5. Peter - Nov 2, 2009 at 3:50 AM

    Fun to watch the Philies and Yanks to go head to head. I’m sure those who bought the Series tickets got their moneys worth. Philies is a great team but they just seemed to crack under pressure, and Utley’s mistakes in the earlier part of the game which did not count as error will cost the Philies dearly. I am not crazy about the Yankees but don’t like Philies after how Cliff Lee behaved in game one like a little league player who only works for himeself and not for the team. I hope Cliff Lee cracks under pressure in game 5.

  6. Micheil - Nov 2, 2009 at 3:54 AM

    I’m pretty sure you’d probably deny it here, however I strongly doubt you’d be tremendously upset if your children did anything in their power to make $500 million dollars, and create a historical legacy that lasts for a century. Just a hunch.

  7. Kate S. - Nov 2, 2009 at 4:46 AM

    Mr. Betz…
    First of all, A-Rod didn’t sign up to be your or your children’s role model. Second of all, I certainly hope that you and you children have much better role models to follow than sports figures, whose lives rise and fall on performance. When people live and die via their performance, let me tell you – THEY ARE BOUND TO CHEAT. Third, this is America, where just about EVERYTHING is performance based, and just about everyone cheats. Come on, be honest and realistic, particularly for the sake of your children. You would teach them more if you address the causes of cheating, and how best to position oneself to avoid the necessity of it.
    Last, but not least, I would like to see YOU, or anyone, turn out the same performance and A-Rod, or any other professional athlete, even while taking performance enhancing drugs! I am NOT a fan of A-Rod at all, however, you cannot take away his OBVIOUS TALENT. Whether or not he is THE BEST is certainly debatable, but it is CERTAIN he is a magnificent player, with or without drugs!

  8. zorro36 - Nov 2, 2009 at 6:27 AM

    Did I hear “Yankees Suck” from the Philly fans in the background as I was watching the game on t.v.? Those Philly fans are great sports fans! Who “sucks” now?

  9. JonPeter - Nov 2, 2009 at 7:07 AM

    I’m not a big fan of either team, but give A-rod a break. Yes, he cheated and he admitted his mistake. So did Pettite and Giambi. The guys who deserve derision are David Ortiz, Barry Bonds, Manny Ramirez, Roger Clemens and others who got caught, but to this day are in denial. If you want to teach your children something, teach them people make mistakes and to earn forgiveness you have to admit the mistake and work hard. A-Rod has done that.

  10. wreckanize - Nov 2, 2009 at 8:29 AM

    Can someone get a hold of Rollins and ask him if Phillies in 5 is still gonna happen? He’s not picking up his cell.

  11. NYguy - Nov 2, 2009 at 9:01 AM

    Did you read the article this morning from Mike Celizec about Philly and its fans? It was spot on and confirmed what I have been seeing the past two games. Being poor role models does not just mean taking steroids. Thank you, Mike. If A-rod struck out, instead of doubling in the winning run, would you still have posted your whine? Thank goodness Philly has such better role models of integrity for children to admire, like Mike Vick. Of course, anyone who uses ‘yawl’ in a sentence should not be taken seriously, anyway.

  12. willmose - Nov 2, 2009 at 9:05 AM

    The biggest mistake of the Series (umpiring included) happens tonight. Starting A.J. Burnett on three days rest is a BIG mistake. Being down 3 to 1, it is hard to say that it sets up the series in the Phillies favor, but it sure comes close.

  13. KimG - Nov 2, 2009 at 9:06 AM

    Can everyone just stop about the steroids? When A-Rod and the rest of them were doing steroids, steroids were NOT banned from baseball. Who wouldn’t take them to be better if they were allowed? Call for the head of the Commissioner for turning a blind eye. People act like they were cheating and they weren’t. They were doing what would make them better players. Just stop about the steroids – you still need great hand eye coordination to hit the ball and steroids aren’t going to make you catch the ball. Get a grip. And A-Rod may not be the best, but the fear he puts into a team when he comes up to bat has to say something.

  14. NYguy - Nov 2, 2009 at 9:21 AM

    Yes, and Saturday night the Great Pumpkin really did rise up from the pumpkin patch to bring candy and joy to children everywhere, Jimmy Rollins predicted the Phillies would now win in nine games, Ryan Howard discovered he really bats right-handed, and you state it is hard to say, being down 3-1, the series is set up in the Phillies favor. I respect your optimism, but your logic leaves a lot to be desired.

  15. dcfan - Nov 2, 2009 at 9:27 AM

    Great game. But Lidge not being able to throw a down and dirty slider low is why they lost. Damons double steal was huge guys, setting up Arod for that fastball inside which he crushed. Blame Lidge as most of you will, but he was just beaten by a better hitter taking advantage of the circumstances. I hate the Yankees and all they stand for, but they are really good and should clinch tonight.

  16. planktonDisciple - Nov 2, 2009 at 9:40 AM

    Arod is so great he has two hits in the series. Fortunately for him and the Yanks, they drove in important runs. Lidge’s decision not to throw the pitch that no one was even touching was disastrous. The place not to throw a 92 mph fastball to arod is out over the plate. Once he stopped throwing the slider he was a one pitch pony, without enough velocity to challenge anyone. Clap clap for arod. The best player for the Yanks is Jeter. The most important hit of the 9th was by Damon, followed by his steal(s). Lidge was able to throw the slider, but the catcher, pitcher and manager chose to lose instead.

  17. jp - Nov 2, 2009 at 9:55 AM

    I disagree. The Yankees are going to be loose tonight up 3-1 and are good enough hitters that they will make adjustments against Lee tonight after facing him in Game 1. Also, if the Yanks lose tonight, they have Pettite for Game 6 and CC for Game 7 if necessary. Lee, on the other hand, will be unavailable. The post season is replete with great outings on three days rest and no reason why Lee cannot do it. If they had pitched him last night, then they would have him for Game 7. So, Lee wins tonight, and the Yankees go home with a 2 game lead, the Phils best pitcher done for the series, and themselves pitching Pettite and Sabathia. I like our chances

  18. NYguy - Nov 2, 2009 at 10:11 AM

    Your logic is much better than his, however, the lead would be 1 game if the Phillies win tonight. I am sure it was an oversight.

  19. bb - Nov 2, 2009 at 10:28 AM

    if i want my kids to have a role model of integrity, ill pick nelson mandella…not a ball player.

  20. comeonman - Nov 2, 2009 at 10:30 AM

    PEDRO & Gary Ray Betz

  21. bb - Nov 2, 2009 at 10:30 AM

    actually, burnett is money on three days rest. cuts down on his excessive movement on the fastball.
    its the right move.

  22. comeonman - Nov 2, 2009 at 10:35 AM

    HE IS 4-0, AND HE SAID HE CAN DO IT, WHAT IS THE PROBLEM ?

  23. bb - Nov 2, 2009 at 10:36 AM

    to me the story of this series and of the last 14 post seasons (except last year) is that we will never see another pitcher like mariano rivera in our lifetime. he is the difference between these two teams…period. he can give up hits and, very rarely, a walk BUT, the wheels rarely totally come-off as they did with lidge last night (and every OTHER closer in the playoffs this year).
    i actually think it ends tonight.

  24. comeonman - Nov 2, 2009 at 10:38 AM

    JIMMY BUTTER ROLL IS BUSY MAKING VACATION PLANS, JETER WAS GIVING HIM IDEAS DURING HIS BRIEF STAY AT SECOND BASE LAST NIGHT.

  25. Bree - Nov 2, 2009 at 11:00 AM

    If the series should go to game 7, how can we have any confidence in Hamels? He should not have verbalized how he can’t wait for this season to be over as it was “mentally draining”. Losing last night was awful; to think Lidge was 1 strike away from retiring the side and let it get away is pretty painful. It might turn out that Jimmy Rollins named the wrong team in 5 games.

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