Tonight the Yankees come back home to New York after a fairly successful stretch in Philadelphia. I am curious as to why the mood has swung in the Phillies favor. The Yankees took two out of three as visitors to Citizens Bank Park and did so with one dramatic victory in game 4 and a sound victory in game 3. They lost game 5 but only because AJ Burnett imploded in the early innings. The Yankees fought back, scored 5 runs off of Cliff Lee who has been the most dominant pitcher this postseason and were in a position to win the game. Not only does this show that the Yankees have regained some offensive prowess that was lacking in the first two games but it also shows that the bullpen was able to hold things together and give the Yankees a chance to win. With Andy Pettitte working on short rest in game 6 the show of strength from the bullpen has got to count for something because it puts less pressure on Pettitte to get directly to Mariano Rivera. So my question is, why all of a sudden does every Yankee fan, anti-Yankee fan, Philly fan, or sports pundit all of a sudden think that the Phillies have the momentum in the series?
The only thing that really should make the Phillies confident is that Chase Utley has been a man among boys and that some, but not all, of the Phillies bats are starting to wake up. But has their pitching, both starting and in the bullpen, been any better? Has Ryan Howard stopped slumping? Did they demolish the Yankees at home and take a lead in the series? All of these questions are answered simply by saying no. Brad Lidge was given a mental health day in game 5. And how confident should the Phillies be if they win game 6? Are they going to start Cole Hamels who apparently doesn’t even want to be playing baseball anymore or are they going to mix and match Joe Blanton and JA Happ? Howard seems to be doing his best to tie the World Series strikeout record. Oh, and by the way, the Yankees lead the series 3-2! For all the questions being raised about the Yankees, shouldn’t there be more about the Phillies? The Phillies have a much tougher task than the Yankees do.
Certainly I would have liked the Yankees to win game 5 and end the series. But for seemingly the entire sports world to suddenly believe that the Yankees should hit the panic button after game 5 is fairly ridiculous. All we need to do, as fans, is have faith in the Yankee’s ability to win the series. And that is pretty easy to do considering the winningest pitcher in postseason history is taking the mound for the Yankees tonight.