Dino Daddy: Godzilla Chases Pedro As Yankees Even Up World Series

October 29, 2009   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

The strategy when facing Pedro Martinez is always to just wait him out, get his pitch count up, then pounce on the relievers who take over for him in the seventh inning.

In the fourth, everything appeared to be going as planned, as Mark Teixeira’s homer tied the game and the Yankees started getting better swings against the future Hall of Famer.

But in the sixth, the Phillies pitcher settled back down to strike out Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez swinging, and was one pitch away from striking out the side when Hideki Matsui golfed a 1-2 breaking ball into the right field seats to give New York the lead, 2-1.

The entire complexion of the game changed on that one swing, as Pedro was pulled the following inning, leaving to “Who’s your daddy?” chants from the Yankee Stadium crowd, and Mariano Rivera entered in the eighth to close out A.J. Burnett’s brilliant start and even up the World Series at one game apiece.

Here are the grades from the Bombers’ 3-1 Game Two victory.


Joe Girardi, Manager: (A) The bottom of the seventh inning was one of the best of the year for Girardi, as he pushed all the right buttons to get the Yankees an insurance run.

Jerry Hairston Jr., who the skipper correctly started over the struggling Nick Swisher because the former Oriole was 10-for-27 (.370) in his career against Martinez, started the frame with a single off Pedro.

Girardi then pinch ran for Hairston with Brett Gardner, which I thought was a questionable move at the time because Hairston has some speed, and I believed the manager could’ve saved the speedy Gardner to replace a slower runner later in the game.

But it worked out when Melky Cabrera, who squared around to bunt on the first pitch but pulled it back to take a ball, smacked a single to right on a well-timed hit-and-run that sent Gardner to third, beating a throw that might’ve nabbed Hairston.

Girardi then pinch hit for Jose Molina with Jorge Posada, who is 11-for-60 (.183) with an astounding 33 strikeouts against Martinez. But the manager knew Pedro was about to be pulled from the game, which he was, and Posada singled to center off Chan Ho Park to bring home the Yankees’ third run.


Derek Jeter, SS: (C) I agree 100 percent with the captain’s decision to bunt with two strikes in the seventh. With runners at first and second and no outs, the correct play was to sacrifice another insurance run to third with less than two outs. It’s very difficult to just all of a sudden change your strategy with two strikes and try to get a hit. Jeter just couldn’t get the bunt down in fair territory, and he wound up striking out for the third time. He did, however, pick up a double earlier in the game.


Johnny Damon, LF: (F) Damon went 0-for-4 (0-for-2 with runners in scoring position), and in two games has come to the plate four times with Jeter on base without knocking him in. Damon needs to get things turned around because the captain is going to be on base a lot and he needs someone behind him who is going to bring him home.

Damon was robbed of reaching base on his sharp short-hop to Ryan Howard in the seventh. But even if the correct call was made by first-base umpire Brian Gorman, Damon only would’ve been credited with reaching via fielder’s choice. Luckily, that blown call didn’t wind up costing the Yankees, but we’re getting closer and closer to expanding instant replay.


Mark Teixeira, 1B: (A) Teixeira’s long solo shot to right center off Pedro in the fourth woke up the crowd and the New York lineup, which had been dormant up until that point in this series.


Alex Rodriguez, 3B: (F) A-Rod is now the first position player to have back-to-back three-strikeout games in World Series history. He also let a hard grounder off the bat of Matt Stairs go under his glove for the Phillies’ only run in the second.


Hideki Matsui, DH: (A+) In addition to his clutch home run, Godzilla also singled and walked. Look for him to pinch hit in each of the next three games in the National League park.


Robinson Cano, 2B: (C-) Cano singled in four at-bats.


Jerry Hairston Jr., RF: (A-) Hairston singled and struck out in three chances against Martinez.


Melky Cabrera, CF-RF: (A-) Cabrera had that big hit-and-run single in the seventh, but he also struck out once.


Jose Molina, C: (A) Molina once again did a great job catching Burnett and also picked off Jayson Werth at first base. He wasn’t too shabby at the plate, either, picking up a walk in two plate appearances.


Brett Gardner, PR-CF: (B) After pinch running for Hairston, Gardner went first to third on Cabrera’s single and scored on Posada’s base hit. He was 0-for-1 at the plate.


Jorge Posada, PH-C: (B+) Posada had a pinch-hit RBI single in the seventh and closed out the game behind the dish.


A.J. Burnett, SP: (A+) Burnett was outstanding, yielding just one run on four hits and two walks, while striking out nine over seven innings. He threw an incredible 22 first-pitch strikes to the 26 batters he faced, and had his devastating curve working all night.


Mariano Rivera, RP: (A-) Like in his two-inning save in Game Six of the ALCS, Mo bent but did not break. He gave up a hit and a walk in the eighth, but was aided by another bad call by Gorman on an inning-ending double play. In the ninth, he surrendered another hit before closing the door.


Yankees Overall Grade: (A-) Not the greatest offensive display, but they got the big hits when they needed them. And that was enough, because Burnett was absolutely tremendous in Game Two.


Follow me on Twitter at JordanHarrison.

Jordan Schwartz is Bleacher Report’s New York Yankees Community Leader. His book Memoirs of the Unaccomplished Man is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and authorhouse.com.

Jordan can be reached at jordanschwartz2003@yahoo.com. 

Read more New York Yankees news on BleacherReport.com

readers comments

Yankee Tickets

Yankee Tickets

Shop Yankee

Shop Yankee