There are those who say the Yankees where pinstripes because they make the opposing batters dizzy. The fact is, however, that on Thursday night it was the pitching of A.J. Burnett that kept the Phillies batters off balance. In the biggest game of his career, Burnett put on quite a show as he held the Phillies to one run through seven innings in a game that the Yanks ultimately took 3-1.
It was his curveball--which started outside and seemingly at the last moment would drop down and over the outside corner of the plate--that gave many of the Phillies batters trouble. This nasty curve helped him strike out slugger Ryan Howard four times leaving him 0-for-4 for the game. Burnett stayed in control and ahead of most of the Phils' batters by throwing first pitch strikes to 23 of the 26 batters he faced. He only gave up one run, an RBI single by Phillies designated hitter Matt Stairs.
For the Phillies, Pedro Martinez put in a solid six-inning, 107 pitch performance. Without the power he possessed before arm injuries and surgeries, Martinez mixed up pitches and relied on a good change up to keep batters off balance. He began the game by striking out 3 of the first 4 batters. He struck out Yanks sluggers A-Rod and Jeter each twice in the game. Yet, despite Martinez's precision, Mark Teixeira and Hideki Matsui were still able to send two lingering pitches into the bleachers to give the Yanks their first lead of the series. The third and final run charged to Martinez came as Jorge Posada hit an RBI off of Chan Ho Park sending pinch runner Brett Gardner across the plate.
Just as Phillies fans can thank Cliff Lee for a Game 1 win, New Yorkers can ultimately thank Burnett and his stellar pitching for their Game 2 victory. Yankees fans are no doubt glad to have taken Game 2 and have avoided going to Philly in an 0-2 hole. And, Phil's fans can feel confident that their team was able to go into Yankees Stadium, win a game on the road and return to Philly with a home field advantage. It appears this World Series is turning into the knock-down, drag-out battle that many predicted it would be, and fans on both side are in for a wild ride!
Game 2 of the World Series will be Played at Citizen's Bank Park in Philadelphia on Saturday October, 31, 2009 at 7:57 pm EST. Probable starting pitchers are Andy Petite for the Yankees and Cole Hamels for the Phillies. The series is tied 1-1.