Ever see a World Series pitching performance like the one Cliff Lee demonstrated with aplomb last night? Nah, me neither. That was special: ten strikeouts, no walks, no Yankee runner reaching third base until Jimmy Rollins' error in the ninth, and Lee's fancy nonchalant catch of a weak pop fly that you see above. That's stone cold, Clifton! Cliff Lee's first World Series start was so damn good it made CC Sabathia's first World Series start look like Woody Williams' first World Series start in comparison. My point? Cliff Lee was a bat-breakin' strikeout-makin' machine.
But Sabathia wasn't bad, not at all. Big fella huffed and puffed his way through seven solid innings, giving up just two runs on two home runs: one a cheap-o pop fly into the right field corner, the other a booming moon shot deep into the bleachers. Sabathia departed in the seventh inning with a 2-0 deficit; he left his team with a chance to win, yet the Yankees bullpen had other plans.
Being at the game is a different perspective from watching the best camera angles from the comfort of one's couch. But no matter how you witnessed the game, you knew that the bullpen collapse in the seventh and eighth innings did two very bad things: killed a chance for a late inning comeback AND stretched out an otherwise tidy game past the three hour mark. As a Yankees fan, I can't say I was pleased with the loss, but yet I am more disenchanted by the four runs allowed by the 'pen than I am by the offensive struggles or two solo tots by Chase Utley.
By the way, Utley now has more tater tots this postseason than Ryan Howard or Mark Teixeira, yet who gets all the ink?
Other observations from The Stadium last night: first, the Yankees organization handled the first World Series game in the new joint quite well. Fifty thousand people were well-behaved for the most part and the crowds were under control. My one complaint was the scattered mess of metal detectors on the field level, intended to scan everyone heading to their seats and protect the First Lady, causing bottlenecks on the entire concourse. But why not put the metal detectors outside the Stadium and scan everyone? They were only checking folks on the ground floor and not higher up in the main level or luxury level. Why? After all, Lee Harvey Oswald didn't need to be on the ground floor.
(animated giffiness courtesy of dmac)