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I don’t think anyone expected this.

And by this I’m talking about two things: Cliff Lee’s pitching gem, and the Yankee bats whimpering throughout the night.

Cliff Lee, facing his former teammate, CC Sabathia, was brilliant last night, pitching a complete game one-run victory over the vaunted Yankees lineup. He struck out Jeter on a high fastball to start off the game and ended with 10 strikeouts on the night.

CC on the other hand labored at times, loaded the bases, and allowed two runs, both solo homers to Chase Utley. In between laboring, CC was brilliant and matched Lee at times. It just happened Lee was better.

The only brilliant spot in the Yankees’ offense was Derek Jeter’s offense. He went 3 for 4, with a double, and two singles. He also averted the possibility of the Yankees’ only shutout in Game 1 history by scoring in the bottom of the 9th off an error by Rollins that Mark Teixeira hit towards.

Tex and A-Rod struck out five times. This is something we cannot afford. This cannot happen in the next four games we need to win to get number twenty-seven.

Once CC exited in the seventh inning, the bullpen imploded. Phil Hughes walked the only two batters he faced and wasn’t man enough to stay in the clubhouse for the reporters. Damaso Marte followed Hughes and pitched slightly better. Then came Dave Robertson who allowed a hit and walked one. He finished the eighth to let Brian Bruney in. Bruney, in his first postseason appearance, was pathetic. Bruney allowed three hits and two runs in 1/3 of an inning, then Phil Coke came in finish the frame.

Simply put, the Yankees cannot keep doing this. If they do, this will be a quick series.

It’s AJ Burnett on the mound, with “Who’s Your Daddy?” Pedro Martinez on the opposite end. We all know who we’re rooting for.

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With the Fall Classic slated to start tonight, here’s the preview from Generation Third.

The Bombers are coming off a thrilling 5-2 win in ALCS game 6 to eliminate the Angels and head to the World Series for the first time since 2003. Andy Pettitte pitched great, Mariano Rivera got a 6-out save.

And right down the Turnpike is Philadelphia, the defending champs, and after winning the NLCS almost a week ago, the Phillies were resting up to see who they would face in the Fall Classic. Last year the Phillies waited 6 days until playing the Rays in last year’s WS, and this year it will be 7 days until first pitch is thrown.

Let’s get to the comparisons.

First Base: Both Mark Teixeira and Ryan Howard had huge years, but as soon as the playoffs started, Howard jumped in front of Teixeira by driving in 14 runs combined in the NLDS and NLCS, while Tex struggled and drove in only 4 combined. But, while Howard may be a bit better offensively, Tex provides much better defense at first, and after hitting that big 3-run double in Game 5 and then after picking up a couple hits in Game 6, Tex may be on the verge of a huge World Series. But it isn’t the same as actually doing it.

Edge: Phillies

Second Base: Both Chase Utley and Robinson Cano are slick fielding, power hitting, RBI machines, and both of them proved that in the regular season as Cano knocked 25 out of the park and drove in 85, and Utley slammed 31 out and drove in 93. Defensively, Cano has a better arm, but other than that, they’re pretty much even.

Edge: EVEN

Third Base: Alex Rodriguez is having the postseason of his life, as the slugger has finally gotten out of his playoff slump. ALCS and ALDS stats combine show A-Rod is hitting .438 with 5 home runs and 12 RBIs. Hopefully he can continue his dominance in the World Series, and if he does that, the Yanks have a very good chance to bring home #27. Pedro Feliz is having the complete opposite of the postseason that A-Rod is having. He’s batting .161 with just 1 walk in all 9 playoff games.

Edge: Yankees

Shortstop: Derek Jeter had an MVP-caliber year for the Yanks during the regular season, and Jimmy Rollins didn’t do that much worse for the Phillies. They’re both pretty even, regular season stats wise. But in the playoffs, Rollins has failed to pick up an RBI, while the Captain has drove in 5 and hit 3 long balls. Even if Rollins played better than Jeter this postseason, Jeter would get the edge, because of his postseason experience.

Edge: Yankees

Catcher: Jorge has more experience and is having a good postseason, hitting a couple homers and driving in 3 RBIs. The only bad thing – 7 strikeouts and leaving 10 men on base in ALCS game 6. He needs to swing at more pitches, and needs to actually make contact when he does swing. Fixes that, and he’s golden. Carlos Ruiz is in his 4th year in the Bigs, and had a pretty nice year. He hit 9 homers, drove in over 30 RBIs, and is a pretty good defensive catcher. He also had a big NLCS. But like with the shortstop comparison, its the experience that plays a factor, and Jorge has much more experience and really, is a better player overall.

Edge: Yankees

Designated Hitter: Back in May, when in Yankee Stadium, the Phillies used a better fielding outfielder twice and used Ibanez as a DH (Mayberry Jr. as the outfielder). Their DH/OF, in this case Matt Stairs and John Mayberry Jr. went a combined 3/13, with 1 HR, 3 RBI, and 3 Ks. Matsui is the more experienced DH, and obviously has better numbers than Stairs/Mayberry.

Edge: Yankees

Outfielders: For the Yankees, Johnny Damon, Melky Cabrera, and Nick Swisher, is good – offensively, at least. Defensively, Damon, even though he’s one of my favorite players, plays a terrible outfield and Swish is right about average defensively if not a bit below average. Melky really is the only really good defender out in the outfield, but thanks to the power of Johnny Damon and Nick Swisher, putting them out there inning after inning isn’t a bad thing at all. For the Phillies, you got Raul Ibanez in left, Shane Victorino in center, and Jayson Werth in right. Ibanez has power and plays an average outfield, Shane Victorino “The Flying Hawaiian” has speed and plays a very good outfield, and Werth is a big home-run hitter and plays a good enough outfield to get by.

Edge: Phillies

Bench: The Yankees have Eric Hinske and Brett Gardner off the bench. Hinske went on a mini-offensive tear when he was acquired. Brett Gardner, if he had gotten more playing time, might have gotten ROY. For the Phillies, they removed former Yank Miguel Cairo in favor of pitcher Brett Myers. I think having Cario on your bench speaks volumes.

Edge: Yanks

Pitching Rotations: CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and Andy Pettitte have all shined during the postseason, and rightfully so have been tabbed as the best rotation in the World Series. CC was the ALCS MVP, A.J. tossed a couple nice games before allowing 6 runs in Game 5, and Andy has been his normal postseason self. The Phillies’ have Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, and Pedro Martinez. Cliff Lee has been great as expected, Cole Hamels, has been okay, and Pedro, in his only playoff start, allowed a run against the Dodgers in Game 2 of the NLCS. Besides CC against Cliff Lee in Games 1, 4, and 7, it doesn’t look like the other matchups will be intriguing. The edge goes to the Yanks here.

Edge: Yankees

Bullpen: The Phillies have two reliable arms out of the ‘pen. Closer Brad Lidge and Scott Madson. Even though Lidge blew 11 saves this season, he’s regained his form. The Yanks have a potential unstoppable 7-8-9 bridge in Joba-Phil-Mo, along with Dave Robertson, Damaso Marte, Al Aceves, and Chad Gaudin. Lidge he does not compare to the best closer in baseball in Mariano Rivera.

Edge: Yankees

Managers: And last, but certainly not least, the managers. Charlie Manuel, coming off his first World Series Championship last year, has been the Phillies manager since 2006, and has lead the Phillies to three straight NL East titles. Joe Girardi has improved this year, and while I believe he handles the line-up better, he has made some questionable decisions regarding the bullpen. I’m hoping his bench coaches will help him make decisions.

Edge: Phillies

I don’t believe in making predictions ‘cuz I don’t want to jinx anything. It’s obvious, being a third generation fan, who I want to win.

In the hours after the game, I am incredibly pleased with the effort by the Yankees, but I am also concerned about some things that I saw in the game.

With one clutch swing last night , Alex Rodriguez did what several teammates could not: drive in a run in the late innings.

The Yankees left runners at second and third against Kevin Jepsen in the ninth when Cano tapped a dribbler to send the game to extra innings. In the 10th, they left Cabrera at second base when Damon fouled out and Teixeira grounded to short.

In the 10th, Cabrera had reached first on a bloop single and taken second when Aybar failed to tag second while trying to turn a double play. Umpire Jerry Layne made a bold call, clearly Aybar had not touched second base. But the Yankees could not capitalize.

Dave Robertson allowed a two-out double to Jeff Mathis in the 12th, but he struck out Matthews to end the inning.

The entire staff pitched outside of CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte and Chad Gaudin. Phil Coke, Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, Mariano Rivera, Alfredo Aceves, Damaso Marte and David Robertson combined to produced this line: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 5 BB, 6 K. They allowed a few too many baserunners but stranded 12 of them on base.

Rivera pitched 2.1 innings of one-hit ball before leaving after 10. It was his first two-plus inning outing since Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS. It’s a good thing the Yankees have Sunday off before an afternoon game on Monday.

Here’s something for y’all to read while you chow down on your breakfast this morning.

Here’s a breakdown of the upcoming Yankees-Angels series from Stan McNeal of the Sporting News:

This should be the best series of the postseason: The majors’ two winningest teams feature the two best offenses and also play in two of the nicest ballparks.

ALDS HEROES

Angels: Prepare to hear about Bobby Abreu. Announcers usually have plenty of time to talk about him because his at-bats can take forever. Abreu was at his disciplined best in the first round, reaching base nine times (four via walks in the first game) and scoring four runs. “He was the MVP,” teammate Torii Hunter said. Now Abreu is heading to his first League Championship Series, against a team that deemed him expendable after 2008.

Yankees: There is a reason Alex Rodriguez makes $32 million this season. When he is right, no hitter is more dangerous. He enters the ALCS as right as Yankee pinstripes. A-Rod finished the first round with a .500 OBP and 1.500 OPS. He hit game-changing homers in Games 2 and 3. “I feel great, not only with the game but in my life,” A-Rod said after Game 2. “When I came back in May, I felt like I had a new start, and I wanted to let my play do the talking.”

NEED TO STEP UP IN THE ALCS

Angels: Chone Figgins wasn’t a complete bust against Boston. He made a few highlight plays at third base and saw more pitches than any Angels’ hitter, one of his responsibilities as a leadoff hitter. But the Angels will need more from him to put the fast break in their offense. Figgins reached base only once in the first round, going 0-for-12 with six strikeouts.

Yankees: Phil Hughess aved the Yankees’ bullpen in the regular season after he settled into the eighth-inning role, but he struggled in the first round. Though he recorded two outs in each game, he allowed at least one hit each outing. Overall, he gave up five hits and a walk to the 11 hitters he faced, and was saved further embarrassment by Nick Punto’s baserunning gaffe in Game 3.

Prediction: Yankees in six. The starting pitching is a draw, but the Yankees’ sluggers will produce more offense than the Angels’ balance of power and speed. And never underestimate the importance of having Mariano Rivera.

Can’t disagree with that assessment. I will never make predictions or comment on them.

Here are some other links, thanks to Greg at Sliding Into Home:

Check out this article from Scotty over at More Hardball. He talks about how Mark Teixeira has helped A-Rod.

It’s likely that the ALCS roster will look nearly, if not completely identical to the one we saw in the ALDS.

Television ratings for this year’s ALDS were up from last year. Is this the power of the Yankee brand we’re seeing here? I know it sure wasn’t for Boston and their choke performance.

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When trying to find a ticket seller for baseball tickets, try VividSeats.com. They’re a leading seller of sports event tickets and have reasonable prices for some of the biggest games this year. They offer cheap Yankees tickets throughout the season and you can view the full schedule and seating charts.

This is the first time in the history of this blog that the Yankees have clinched the AL East. This is a first for Trevor and I, and to mark this, I want to address some things regarding the Yankees and how they will prepare the team for the ALDS.

The lineup and bench are deep. The lineup boasts seven Bombers with 20+ home runs and the first time in MLB history that a shortstop and second base tandem had 200+ hits in a season. The bench has speed and the ability to hit for runs.

Outside of a few locks in the bullpen, who will make it? The locks are Mo, Hughes, Aceves and Coke (Robertson if he’s healthy). Gaudin has a good shot because he’s so versatile. Bruney made a strong case with 1.2 perfect innings. Marte has been terrible, but he’s a lefty.

Will Joba start or a relieve? He had a solid game on Friday against Boston. If the Yanks pick the longer LDS series, Joba could be moved to the pen for it. But then, if the Yanks advance, does it screw him up if/when he goes back to starting?

Who should start the second game of the ALDS? Should the Yanks go two straight lefties or put Burnett in between? I’d do the latter.

Should the Yankees do the long or short series? It all depends on who they face – Minnesota or Detroit. If it’s the Tigers, perhaps the Yanks want the shorter series if it means having to face Justin Verlander only twice instead of three times.

Who should be in the outfield, Gardner or Melky? Melky’s got power and an arm. Gardner’s got speed and defense. The best bet is to platoon them. Use them vs. the pitchers they are facing, and situational hitting and base running.

The rest of the roster is up for grabs. I have no idea who will be there. This week will tell.

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When trying to find a ticket seller for baseball tickets, try VividSeats.com. They’re a leading seller of sports event tickets and have reasonable prices for some of the biggest games this year. They offer cheap Yankees tickets throughout the season and you can view the full schedule and seating charts.

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