Thursday, October 29, 2009

Yankees even up series behind Burnett's gem

(Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
When you are looking for a pitcher to match the masterful performance that Cliff Lee had for the Phillies in Game 1, there would be quite a few names that come up before A.J. Burnett. While Burnett's outing wasn't quite up to par with Lee's, the Yankee pitcher did everything he could to silence the Phillie bats in a 3-1 Game 2 win for New York.

Burnett was on point all night, throwing first pitch strikes to nearly every batter he faced en route to striking out 9 and giving up only 4 hits and 1 run in 7 innings. While he isn't known for his command, Burnett was around the plate all game long and mixed his pitches up just enough to keep Phillie hitters off balance. It was a great performance for a pitcher who is known to implode once things get a little rough; unfortunately for the Phillies, he never had to sweat much on the mound.

Following Burnett's 7 innings, the Yankees turned to Mariano Rivera, the historically great playoff closer. While the Phillies did manage to get guys on base against Rivera in both the 8th and 9th innings, the Yankee closer shut the door by getting the key double play groundout (although the ump blew it and Chase Utley was safe on the play) and the key strikeout when he needed them.

For the Phillies, Pedro Martinez pitched a solid game in his first outing at the new Yankee Stadium. The fans were on him for most of the night but Pedro was about as good as expected, giving up 3 runs in 6 innings. While it took him a lot of pitches, Pedro mixed up his speeds and got the Yankees to flail at some bad pitches on his way to an 8 strikeout game. In all, it was a tough loss for Pedro as he once again didn't get much run support.

No reason to panic, Phillies fans. Yes, the Phillies lost a tough, close game. If you look at the bigger picture, though, the Phillies did just about all you can ask of them: they went into New York and took one out of two against the Yankees. By splitting the road games, the Phils took home field advantage away from the Yankees and now have three games in Philly vs. the two left in New York. While it would have been even better had the Phillies won both games, even the most jaded fan has to be pleased that the Phillies can win the series by taking care of business at home.

Keep your heads up, Phillies fans. A.J. Burnett isn't going to have another game like that. There is still plenty of series left to be played and the Phillies bats still have plenty more hits in them.

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