Clinching tonight? Well the top of the lineup has its work cutout for it.
The Yankees lead baseball in runs scored this season with 915 in a large part because their offense is stacked one through nine, but the pressure will be laid on the top of the lineup as the Yankees put out one of their weakest lineups in quite some time tonight.
Brett Gardner is in for the injured Melky Cabrera, Jose Molina is catching AJ Burnett instead of Jorge Posada, and Hideki Matsui is bench ridden thanks to the World Series being held in a National League park tonight.
The good thing is most of the top of the lineup does actually have good numbers against Cliff Lee. The Phillies’ numbers against Burnett are not as impressive.
Here are the lineups with OPS against Lee included:
Derek Jeter SS .985 OPS
Johnny Damon LF .221 OPS
Mark Teixeira 1B 1.157
Alex Rodriguez 3B 1.183
Nick Swisher RF .903
Robinson Cano 2B .485
Brett Gardner CF .800
Jose Molina C .909
A.J. Burnett RHP
Jimmy Rollins SS .735 OPS
Shane Victorino CF .667 OPS
Chase Utley 2B .872
Ryan Howard 1B .833
Jayson Werth RF .905
Raul Ibanez LF .627
Pedro Feliz 3B .333
Carlos Ruiz C 3.000 (3-3 w/a HR and 2 RBI)
Cliff Lee LHP
Thoughts: The Yankees are sitting pretty after taking a 3-1 series lead. They have their starters lined up as the Yankees will likely use AJ Burnett, Andy Pettitte, and CC Sabathia all going on short rest the rest of the way. It’s going to be very hard for Philly to win three in a row against them.
At the same time the Phillies have Cliff Lee going tonight, but aren’t putting up the biggest guys after that. Pedro Martinez hasn’t been announced as the game six starter, but is the most likely to take the ball. He pitched pretty well at times against the Yanks in game 2 allowing just three runs over six innings. If the series goes seven Cole Hamels, who said yesterday that he can’t wait for his season to be over, is likely to get the ball. Philly fans would be lying if they said they had faith in a guy who has no faith in himself. Especially one pitching as poorly.
It seems like the decision to use Lee on regular rest tonight could be the thing that ends up killing the Phillies this season. It wasn’t an easy win for the Yankees yesterday and it could have a lot harder if they had Lee going yesterday. If they had been tied at two right now I would say it is anybody series, but down 3-1 I can’t see the Phillies winning three more.
This could be the final game of the season as well. Will the Phillies win tonight? Can they win three in a row?