New York Yankees at Philadelphia Phillies 10-31-09

October 31, 2009

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Saturday, October 31st (All times eastern)

New York Yankees (8-3) at Philadelphia Phillies (8-3), 7:57 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: New York – Andy Pettitte (2-0, 2.37) Philadelphia – Cole Hamels (1-1, 6.75)

(Sports Network) – Cole Hamels tries to put a shaky postseason behind him this evening when the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees play a pivotal Game 3, as the World Series shifts to Citizens Bank Park.

Nine of the last 10 teams to win Game 3 when the World Series was tied 1-all went on to take the title.

Hamels was sensational last postseason, posting a perfect 4-0 mark with a 1.80 earned run average in five starts, while taking home MVP honors in both the NLCS and World Series.

However, it has been a different story this time around, as he has followed up a subpar regular season with an even more inconsistent postseason, going 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA in three starts, none of which have seen him last past the sixth inning.

“Cole Hamels his pitched some good games this year,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said on Thursday. “The biggest part I would say is the consistency. When he’s on, he’s very capable of beating anybody. I’m hoping when he pitches that he’s on.”

The 25-year-old left-hander, who threw a total of 262 innings in 2008, was 10-11 with a 4.32 ERA in 32 starts during the regular season.

New York, meanwhile, will counter with the winningest pitcher in postseason history in left-hander Andy Pettitte. Pettitte pitched his team to the AL Pennant and picked up his 16th career playoff win in Game 6 of the ALCS on Sunday, as he held the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to a a run and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings.

“What can you say about him?” Derek Jeter said after that pennant-clinching victory. “He’s a guy you want to see on the mound in that situation. He’s pitched in every big game. He’s had a lot of success. You never see him fazed by anything. We have a lot of confidence in him.”

Pettitte has been tremendous this postseason, going 2-0 with a 2.37 ERA, while pitching into the seventh inning in each of his three outings.

As good of a postseason pitcher Pettitte has been, though, he has struggled at times in the World Series, as he is just 3-4 with a 3.82 ERA in 11 starts. This will be his first start in the Fall Classic since pitching for Houston in Game 2 against the Chicago White Sox in 2005.

“This is what we play for,” Pettitte said. “This is what we set out for in Spring Training. Obviously, to be able to get there and to accomplish that, it’s awesome. I just feel very fortunate and very blessed to be on this team.”

New York evened this best-of-seven set at a game apiece on Thursday, as A.J. Burnett outdueled Pedro Martinez while Mark Teixeira and Hideki Matsui each homered, helping the Yankees to a 3-1 victory.

Philadelphia used a superlative effort from Cliff Lee to take Wednesday’s opener, 6-1, at Yankee Stadium.

Burnett (1-0) countered with a gem of his own in his first career start in the Fall Classic, surrendering just one run on four hits and two walks in seven frames. The hard-throwing righty also struck out nine against the team that roughed him up for five runs in a six-inning start back in May.

“After last night I wanted to come out and set the tone early, be very aggressive,” Burnett said following the game. “I went out tonight with confidence and the game just rolled by.”

Jorge Posada added a pinch-hit RBI for the Yankees, and Mariano Rivera closed it out with a six-out save, highlighted by an inning-ending double-play ball off the bat of Chase Utley in the eighth.

Martinez (0-1), the longtime Yankees rival and lightning rod for media attention, turned in a quality outing for Philadelphia, ending with a line of three runs on six hits and two walks with eight punchouts in six-plus innings.

“He wasn’t afraid to throw inside to hitters. He got hurt by the longball by their left-handed hitters,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said of Martinez. “It was a close game and we couldn’t pull it out.”

Matt Stairs knocked in the lone run for defending champion Phillies, whose 1- through-4 hitters went 1-for-13 with three walks and six strikeouts, four coming from Ryan Howard.

With an intentional walk in the third, Utley extended his postseason record by reaching base for the 27th consecutive game for the Phillies, who are attempting to become the first repeat World Series champion from the National League since the Cincinnati Reds in 1975-76.

Entering this series there were no two hotter hitters at the plate than Alex Rodriguez and Howard, the NLCS MVP. However, the two sluggers have combined to strike out 12 times through the first two games.

Both players are in position to top the World Series record that Royals outfielder Willie Wilson set in 1980, when he struck out 12 times against the Phillies in 1980.

Things don’t figure to get any better for the two on Saturday, as Rodriguez is 0-for-4 lifetime against Hamels, while Howard has just one hit in 11 at- bats against Pettitte.

Now the series moves to Philadelphia, where the Phillies are 11-1 over the last two postseasons.

These teams have a limited history against one another, but did square off once in the World Series back in 1950 when the Yankees swept the series in four games from the Whiz Kids of Philadelphia.

The Phillies also took two of three from the Yanks earlier this season at Yankee Stadium. Philadelphia won the opener, before New York rallied off of Lidge in the second contest. The Yankees got to Lidge again in the finale, but Philly managed to pick up an extra inning win in that one to capture the series but the Yankees will not lose this game!! Yankees will win. Yankees will win!!
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