Martinez will oppose Pettitte in Game 6

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel has confirmed that Pedro Martinez will start Game 6 of the World Series, while Yankees skipper Joe Girardi has said that Andy Pettitte is on track to oppose Pedro in the pivotal game.

Martinez allowed three runs over six innings while striking out eight in a Game 2 loss. With Philadelphia’s backs to the wall trailing 3-2 in the series, Pedro will be expected to save the Phils’ season.

Pettitte’s situation is interesting and worth following because he hasn’t worked on just three days rest in the past two seasons. In four starts this October, he has worked on extra rest so it’ll be interesting to see how he copes with not having an extra day or two to rest his arm.

There has been plenty of offense on display so far in this series, so we could be in store for a Game 6 slugfest as the pitchers start to wear down.

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Utley keeps season alive for Phillies

In the end, it wasn’t Cliff Lee who saved the Phillies’ season, but second baseman Chase Utley. Okay, so Lee definitely helped. But it was Utley who supplied most of the spark.

Utley hit two home runs and finished with four RBI as the Phillies hung on to beat the Yankees 8-6 in Game 5 of the World Series on Monday night. Utley hit a three-run dinger in the bottom of the first inning to kick the scoring off for Philadelphia, and then later added a solo shot in the seventh to give the Phillies a much-needed scoring cushion. Only Utley and Reggie Jackson have hit five home runs in a single World Series.

This is a game that many expected the Phillies to win with Lee on the mound. The ace wasn’t as dominant as he was in Game 1, as he allowed five runs on seven hits, but he did go seven innings to earn the win and only walked three batters.

With two games left, the Yankees are still in a great position to wrap this series up. It’s hard to beat the same team three times in a row, nevertheless twice on their home field. The pitching matchups also favor the Yankees if the series goes seven games, because CC Sabathia would start Game 7 in New York, while Philadelphia won’t have Lee for that potentially pivotal game.

That said, crazier things have happened and I’m sure the Phillies are taking things one game at a time. They needed three before tonight and now they only need two. Utley and Lee have given them a shot to come back.

Can Cliff Lee save the Phillies’ season?

The Phillies acquired Cliff Lee at the trade deadline this season to help bolster their starting pitching and help get the back to the World Series. But now that they’re back in the Fall Classic, the Phillies need one more thing from Lee: To save their season.

Lee will pitch Game 5 against the Yankees tonight in a do-or-die game for the Phillies, who trail 3-1 in the best of seven series. So far, Lee is 3-0 in the postseason and has only allowed two earned runs on 20 hits over 33.1 innings of work. He has also fanned 30 batters, has only walked three and has a sparklingly 0.54 ERA.

But even though he has been masterful so far, the problem is that this is the second time the Yankees will be facing Lee this week. Even though they lost, the Rockies fared a tad better against Lee in Game 4 of the NLDS than they did in Game 1. And Colorado doesn’t have near the offensive firepower as New York does.

If the Yankees are going to be crowned world champions tonight, the top of their order must come through, unlike in Game 1 of this series. Outside of Derek Jeter, who had three hits and scored a run, Johnny Damon, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez combined to go 1-for-12 against Lee in their first outing. While A-Rod has been on fire since then, he looked lost in all four of his at bats against Lee in New York while striking out three times.

Time will tell if Lee can continue his dominance in the postseason, or if A.J. Burnett and the Yankees will put the final touches on their championship run.

Yankees take 2-1 series lead with Game 3 win

Apparently all Nick Swisher needed was a fire lit under his ass.

Swisher, benched in Game 2, homered and doubled in the Yankees’ 8-5 win over the Phillies in Game 3 of the World Series on Saturday night. With the victory, New York takes a 2-1 lead in the best of seven series.

Alex Rodriguez and Hideki Matsui also went deep for the Bronx Bombers. A-Rod’s shot was memorable because it was the first call overturned by replay in the history of the World Series. He finished 1 for 2 on the night with two RBI and a walk, while Swisher went 2-for-4 with two runs and a RBI.

The Phillies got two home runs from Jayson Werth and one from Carlos Ruiz to take a 3-0 lead in the second inning. But the Yankees answered with two runs in the fourth, three in the fifth and one in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings on their way to victory. Philadelphia starter Cole Hamels was touched up for five runs on five hits in just 4.1 innings of work. He struck out three and walked two.

With this win, the Yankees have the Phillies right where they want them because CC Sabathia opposes Joe Blanton tomorrow night. But a win is vital for the Bombers because if they lose, not only will Philly even the series but it’ll also have the momentum with Cliff Lee (who beat the Yankees in Game 1) starting Game 5.

Tomorrow is critical for Joe Girardi, who decided to start Sabathia on only three days rest. If the Yankees can’t take a 3-1 series lead, then Girardi’s gamble could wind up costing his club.

Blanton to start Game 4 for Phillies – not Lee

Philadelphia Phillies manager Charlie Manuel has decided to start Joe Blanton in Game 4 of the World Series instead of ace Cliff Lee on short rest.

What this means is that Lee won’t be available for a possible Game 7 because he’ll pitch Game 5 now. Considering Lee has never started on short rest in his career, Manuel may have had little choice but to pitch Blanton in Game 4.

Blanton started Game 4 against the Tampa Bay Rays in last year’s World Series and combined with four relievers on a five-hitter in a 10-2 Philadelphia win. So he has World Series experience and shouldn’t be fazed by the pressure, although he did allow four runs in six innings against the Dodgers in his only postseason start this season.

It’ll be interesting to see how New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi counters the move. There was talk that CC Sabathia would start Game 4, but Girardi may decide to save his ace to face Lee again in Game 5. Considering several Yankees (including Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez) have had success off Blanton in the past, Girardi might want to save Sabathia in order to go toe to toe with Lee.

The chess game begins…

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