Lee Stymies The Yankees In Opener

Steve O Speak

Now I think the Yankees can and will win the World Series, but boy did the Phillies put New York on notice last night. Cliff Lee was just dominate, in complete control against the best lineup in baseball. The Yankees managed just one extra base hit and one unearned run in 9 innings against Lee. Lee has been in the zone this entire postseason, but last night’s start was brilliant for many reasons. He out dueled his former Indians teammate, CC Sabathia, who has always been considered the better pitcher. Lee didn’t allow a single walk, and had 10 strikeouts, setting the tone of the game in the very first at bat, striking out Derek Jeter. And the biggest reason Lee’s start was brilliant last night was the attitude he brought to the mound.

Lee was not affected by the history, prestige, or hoopla surrounding the Yankees going for their 27th title, nor was he affected by the 50,000+ screaming New York fans. Instead Lee simply went out there and pitched Game 1 of the World Series like it was any other ball game. And no matter what the pundits or bloggers said, Lee knew that he was the better pitcher last night. Lee made some interesting defensive plays that just showed how much he was in the zone; catching balls behind his back, catching balls without getting under them. It was incredible to see how much Cliff Lee was cool and collected in his first ever World Series game. Lee’s attitude seemed to carry over to the rest of the Phillies as they were able to get Sabathia in some trouble early. While Sabathia got out of the early jam, it showed that he was fallible, and Chase Utley took advantage hitting two big home runs last night off the Yankees starter.  After Sabathia was pulled the Phillies took advantage of the Yankee’s bullpen and took a 6-0 lead that was too much for New York to overcome.

With the Game 1 win, the Phillies took away the Yankees home field advantage and now can wrap up the series at home in either Game 4 or 5. The pressure is now on the Yankees to win Game 2 tonight against Pedro Martinez to even the series before it heads back to Philadelphia. This is a big blow for New York as the Phillies neutralized their best pitcher, Sabathia. Now the pressure is on Burnett tonight and Pettitte on Saturday to right the ship and help the Yankees win number 27. Tonight’s game should be a good matchup for the Phillies since Burnett can be susceptible to the long ball, but I think the Yankees professionalism will come through in the end tonight and get them their much needed first win. Either way the Phillies showed that they will not be walked over in this series and that they are more than capable of beating the vaunted Yankees.

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