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A lot of questions stand unanswered regarding the Yankees and the World Series, such as: who is pitching games 4 and 5; who is starting in right field in games 3-4-5 and what to do with Hideki Matsui in games 3,4 and 5.

Matsui is the Yankees full-time DH.  A former outfielder, Matsui has not played in the field since injuring his knee in 2008.  He has been either the DH or on the bench.  It seems as if Matsui will remain on the bench while the series is in Philly, despite his good bat.  Even though going with Brett Gardner, Nick Swisher, Jerry Hairston, Jr, or Eric Hinske means a worse bat at the plate, it does mean a better defensive player in the field.

Which leads me to who starts in right.  Nick Swisher was the everyday starter in the regular season, but has struggled greatly at the plate this postseason.  He is hitting .114 (4-35) with 3 walks and 1 RBI.  He has struck out an amazing 12 times in 10 games before being pulled after Game 1 of the World Series.

I would want to choose Brett Gardner, but it seems as if skipper Joe Girardi wants Gardner’s speed off the bench.  I am torn.  I can appreciate how much his speed can make the difference as a pinch-runner, but couldn’t he impact the game more with his speed in center field (move Melky Cabrera to right) and his speed as a batter with 4+ chances to get on base?  Gardner is also 2-4 in his 4 AB this postseason

Hinske and Hairston provide some veteran experience in the field and at the plate AND both were acquired in trades from National League teams mid-season – so they both have experience against Philly and national league teams in general.  I want to resist Hinske as a starter because he was a beast as a pinch-hitter this season and with no DH in games 3-4-5, I would want him available to pinch-hit for the pitcher when needed.

Finally, what to do about the starting pitching.  With no day off between games 4 and 5 like there was in the ALCS, the Yankees can start CC Sabathia in Game 4 on 3 days rest and then Burnett and Pettitte in games 5 and 6, also on 3 days rest (which I am sure both can handle) and then CC again for game 7 (if needed) on 3 days rest.  This is probably the least likely scenario.  If a Game 7 is needed, you don’t want to have tired out CC as much.

The most likely scenarios are Game 4-Sabathia, Game 5- Chad Gaudin, Game 6 Burnett, Game 7 Pettitte with Sabathia in relief or Game 4 – Gaudin, Game 5- Sabathia, Game 6 – Burnett, and Game 7 Pettitte with no Sabathia available.

My predictions?  Hideki Matsui stays on the bench.  Gardner should start in CF, Cabrera in RF, with Hinske, Hairston and Swisher off the bench and the first pitching scenario (Sabathia, Gaudin, Burnett, Pettitte/Sabathia.)


The Hardball Times posted what they feel are the Top 10 Yankee prospects going into next season.  Notables are catcher Jesus Montero (1st), 2009 first-round draft pick Slade Heathcott (6th) and outfielder Austin Jackson (9th).

2010 top 10 prospects: New York Yankees

1. Jesus Montero: His bat has all the makings of a perennial All-Star. The only question is what position he eventually ends up playing.
2. Manuel Banuelos: As an 18-year-old, he has an attacking approach beyond his years. With some refinement and added velocity he could be an ace in the making.
3. Jairo Heredia: After battling an injury for most of 2009, he posted some respectable numbers in a short period of time. His 2010 Double-A excursion will be the first true test for his mid-90s fastball.
4. Austin Romine: The Yankees are developing him with a one-level-at-a-time approach, to fine success. A solid all-around catcher could be in the works.
5. Kelvin De Leon: The five-star potential is very real, and the Gulf Coast League got a taste of it in 2009. Patience is the key with this terrific young man.
6. Slade Heathcott: This first-round pick has a full toolbox to work with, and he has the ability to be a .300 hitter with a good power/speed combination. But he has a long way to go.
7. Arodys Vizcaino: His fastball touches the mid-90s, and his change-up/curveball secondary combination has Yankee fans excited. Keep an eye on this kid.
8. D.J. Mitchell: While there isn’t much upside left in his right arm, he sports strong command, a good ground ball ratio and an eye-popping low home run rate.
9. Austin Jackson: His power and plate discipline may be his downfall, but there is still time for development. His speed could be a weapon at the next level.
10. Zach McAllister: His best asset is the consistency that he brings to the mound. His low-90s fastball and heavy sinking action have all the makings of a back-of-the-rotation starter at the very least.

Hat tip to Sliding Into Home.

For only the second time in Major League History, a World Series game will be played on October 31.  The only other time it happened was 2001 – when the Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks faced off in the Bronx for Game 4 of their series.  Blame the late start to the 2009 season (April 6) and what feels like the longest postseason ever (because of all the days off between games) but the 2009 series is going to Game 3 in Philly on Halloween.

Coincidentally enough, the last time a game was played on Halloween the Yankees were involved and Derek Jeter earned his title of Mr. November.  The Oct. 31, 2001 game went late into the early morning of Nov.1 and Jeter’s late game heroics (opposite field solo home run in the 10th) tied the series at 2-2. went around interviewing Yankee and Phillies players as to their feelings about this combo day.  “I’d normally be home waiting for kids to knock on the door,” Yankees backup catcher Jose Molina said, “but this time, I’ll be here. I’ll take this a million times before being home waiting for kids to knock on the door.”

The best story of all comes from Phil Coke, via


“I used to like trick-or-treating as a boy. Up until the age of 9 or 10,” Coke said. “And then this person scared the crap out of me so bad. He went crazy in his front yard. He had all these little hiding spots that, in the daytime if you’d see it, it’s like, ‘OK, that’s not a big deal.’ He had path lights going up to his door. Well, he had them turned off, and the little section of hedges, there were all these spots in there that you could hide in.

“He had these strobe lights going off … spider webs by the door … this creepy music in the background … and he had a fog machine and everything, so the fog was rolling down the front steps.

“And he pops out of the hedges!”

At this point, Coke was doing everything but pointing a flashlight up from the floor onto his face as he continued to tell the scariest story of this World Series.

“He has a skeleton kind of garb, and it glows, when the light catches it right, it really stands out,” Coke continued. “Oh my god — that guy scared me so bad. I couldn’t go trick-or-treating after a certain period of time ever again.  “He tried to come in and apologize to me, and I was all messed up. It was bad. He got me good. I was 9 or 10. It was a very traumatic experience. It was probably 8 o’clock at night, so it wasn’t really late, but he got me. Boy, did he get me.”


A funny twist to this story is that two of Coke’s teammates, Johnny Damon and pitcher Chad Gaudin, are two of those guys who like to jump out of the bushes and scare kids.

“I like to get out with the kids and every now and then hide behind the bushes and scare the kids who actually think it’s going to be an enjoyable treat coming to my house for Halloween,” Damon said.

I have to say that having Halloween the same night as a World Series game is an extra, and fun, twist.  There will be some goofs in the stands all dressed up and people in bars watching the game all dressed up.  Just don’t confuse the Philly Phantatic with a guy dressed for Halloween!

The Philly Phanatic

Alex Rodriguez was the Yankee offense in the first two rounds of the postseason.  Two games into his first ever World Series and he is halfway to the record for the most amount of strikeouts by one player in a World Series.  He was 14-32 (.438) with 5 homers and 12 RBI in the nine games of the ALDS and ALCS.

This must be what the pressure of a World Series can do to a player.

Fortunately, A-Rod is not alone with 6 K’s.  Both Rodriguez and Ryan Howard of the Phillies are tied with 6 strikeouts apiece.  The current record is 12.  For some reason though, I do feel he’ll break out of it soon.

Here is the most interesting factoid: A-Rod has had 4 games with 3 strikeouts this season, including the past two games.  Three of those four games came against the Phillies, the other being a game on May 24.  All three came against different starting pitchers, too – Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee and Pedro Martinez, respectively.

It seems to me that Philly Manager Charlie Manuel and pitching coach Rich Dubee have figured out a way to pitch to Rodriguez and keep him off the base paths.  Or worse, from hitting balls into home run territory.

On a night where the Yankees needed him the most A.J. Burnett delivered a brilliant performance and Mark Teixeira and Hideki Matsui homered to give the Yanks a 3-1 victory.

In his first World Series start Allan James threw seven strong innings, allowed just one earned run on four hits, walked two, and struck out nine.

The lone Phillies run shouldn’t have even scored. With two out in the second Raul Ibanez hit a ground-rule double. Matt Stairs was the next batter and hit a hard grounder to third. Alex Rodriguez allowed it to sneak under his glove and Ibanez scored.

Burnett only got himself into one serious jam and that came in the second when the Phillies put runners on first and second with two out and Ryan Howard at the dish. But Burnett struck out Howard with one of many nasty curveballs. Howard would end up striking out four times on the night, the last a controversial third strike from Mariano Rivera.

For the Phillies, Pedro Martinez was also impressive. He threw his array of pitches between 78 MPH and 91 MPH. In 6+ innings the crafty vet allowed three runs on six hits, walked two and struck out 8.

Here’s what happened: Pedro pitches well, the Yankees starter does too, the Yanks put a couple runs on the board, and they wear him out by the seventh.

Mark Teixeira bombed one into the Yankees bullpen in the fourth, and Hideki Matsui’s shot in the sixth to give the Yankees their first lead of the series.

They added their third run in the seventh on a Jorge Posada RBI single off Phillies’ reliever Chan Ho Park – who now looks like an Asian Geico caveman.

Last night’s umpiring wasn’t efficient. In the seventh, Johnny Damon lined a ball to first. Howard, knowing he didn’t catch the ball on a fly threw to second to try to start a double play. The throw was wide and pulled Jimmy Rollins off the base, everyone was safe and the Yankees had bases loaded with one out. At least that’s how it should have worked out. However, first base umpire Brian Gorman said that Howard caught the ball on the fly and therefore it was a double play, inning over. Howard basically told everyone that he didn’t catch the ball by throwing to second — had he caught the ball on the fly wouldn’t he have just thrown to first to double up Posada? Also, where the hell is the home plate umpire on this play? I can understand the first base ump missing this call, he was behind Howard and couldn’t see what was going on. But what is Jeff Nelson looking at on that play? The umpires had a meeting and apparently nobody was actually looking at the ball.

In the top of the eighth inning, with Mariano Rivera now on the mound, the Phillies had runners on first and second with one out and Chase Utley batting. Mo got Utley to ground a ball to Robinson Cano and the Yankees, thanks to a great turn by Jeter, were able to turn a huge inning-ending double play. The only problem was that replays showed that Utley was safe. At least both teams got freebies from the umps.

Like game six of the ALCS, Mo followed up a rough eighth with a much less stressful ninth. He allowed a two-out double, but that was it a Mo strike out of Matt Stairs on a cutter diving down and in to end the game and send this series back to Philly tied at one. Just another six-out save for the greatest ever.

The Yankees will now look to the all-time postseason wins leader when Andy Pettitte takes the mound in game three. He will be facing another southpaw, the struggling Cole Hamels. First pitch on Saturday will be 7:57 p.m. and as always the game can be seen on FOX.

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