Yankees Team Report

As good as he has looked for most of the World Series, manager Joe Girardi could be banished to New York infamy if things go wrong.

As much as A.J. Burnett helped save the Series in Game 2 and kept things light all season with his whipped cream pies for teammates, the right-hander blew a chance to cap the biggest celebration of all.

“Oh, I mean, it’s the worst feeling in the world,” Burnett said after coughing up six runs in two-plus innings — along with an early lead against Cliff Lee — in the Yankees’ 8-6 loss in Game 5. “I let 25 guys down, I let the city down. Pretty much says it all.”

The complexion changes again now, of course, and the Yankees will most likely bank on the 37-year-old arm of Andy Pettitte on three days’ rest back in New York.

It’s a rather interesting situation considering Pettitte had to take a pay cut to return thanks in part to Burnett’s $82 million contract. But Pettitte did so because he wanted another World Series ring, so while Girardi said he’d have to check with Pettitte to make sure he felt OK physically, the veteran’s arm would have to suddenly dangle loosely from his side for him to say no.

Pettitte likely will battle Pedro Martinez, who yet again will get a shot at walking off the Yankee Stadium mound in a postseason game without having to call the Yankees his daddy.

If Martinez finally bests his old nemesis and Pettitte falters, the Yankees will again turn to a pitcher trying to battle through on short rest, ace CC Sabathia.

And the questions will come all day Tuesday in New York, where reminders of the Yankees’ epic playoff collapse against Boston in 2004 once again will reverberate. So will talk that Girardi should have thrown Chad Gaudin against Lee in Game 5 to keep Burnett rested for Game 6 and Pettitte fully charged for a possible relief role in Game 7.

The Yankees had plenty of chances Monday night, getting to Lee a lot more than they — or anyone else — previously had this postseason. But a late rally was squashed when Derek Jeter grounded into a double play in the ninth, and the second-guessers were lined up with some valid questions.

Why didn’t Girardi start Gaudin and keep everyone on track? How could he start Burnett and his personal catcher Jose Molina in the National League park, where the Yankees would have to be without Hideki Matsui and Jorge Posada?

How will Pettitte’s elbow hold up throwing on three days’ rest for the first time in years, especially after battling through 95 pitches in his last start and admitting he didn’t have his best stuff?

Girardi had hit all the right buttons in the first four games of the Series after plenty of questions in the earlier rounds.

He now has to hope he didn’t hit a couple too many.

PHILLIES 8, YANKEES 6: Chase Utley hit two home runs, giving him a record-tying five in a single World Series, and Philadelphia held off a late rally to stay alive and force Game 6 in the Bronx on Wednesday.

Utley struck immediately, smacking a three-run homer off A.J. Burnett in the first inning, erasing the 1-0 edge the Yankees had managed to take off Phillies ace Cliff Lee. Burnett exited in the third, having given up six runs after manager Joe Girardi gambled by pitching him on three days’ rest.


Despite the early hole, the Yankees got to Lee more than they had in his dominant Game 1 performance and closed within 6-2 before lefty Phil Coke gave up Utley’s second homer as well as another solo shot by Raul Ibanez.

The Yankees threatened in the late innings, closing to 8-5 and putting runners on first and third with no one out for Derek Jeter in the ninth. But the captain grounded into a double play against Ryan Madson, who later struck out the slumping Mark Teixira to end the game.

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1B Mark Teixeira continued to exude an even keel nature after another disappointing playoff performance as he struck out to end Game 5 when he represented the tying run, dropping his World Series average to .105. “Every game is a new game,” he said. “You try to chip in every single game, a new opportunity.” Teixeira had an opportunity to wipe out the memory of his struggles in the ninth when he stepped up with two outs, Johnny Damon on first and the Yankees trailing the Phillies 8-6. But he looked badly fooled by Phillies reliever Ryan Madson’s off-speed stuff. “He threw a fastball away first pitch—perfect pitch, got a strike,” Teixeira said when asked to recount the at-bat. “Threw three good changeups, (I) swung at two.”
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LHP Andy Pettitte will be the Yankees’ Game 6 starter as long as he says he feels all right physically, manager Joe Girardi announced after the club’s Game 5 loss to Philadelphia. Girardi would not commit to starting Pettitte on three days’ rest for the first time in several years, but given his aversion to starting RHP Chad Gaudin in the less-pressurized Game 5, it’s obviously his preference.

“We’re going to check with Andy tomorrow,” Girardi said of the club’s workout day Tuesday. “If Andy physically feels good, he’s gonna go on Wednesday.”

Starting Pettitte on short rest poses even more risk than Girardi’s failed decision to start RHP A.J. Burnett on three days’ rest in Game 5. Pettitte is 37 with a history of elbow issues and is coming off a 95-pitch outing in which he acknowledged he had to battle through without his best stuff. The flip side of the debate is Pettitte’s penchant for big-game success. He is the all-time postseason victory leader with 17.
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SS Derek Jeter has often thrived on the postseason stage and earned the nickname Mr. November for a game-winning home run in the 2001 World Series, but he ended up killing the Yankees’ rally on this November night in Game 5. Jeter hit into a double play with runners on first and third, no one out and the Yankees down three runs in the ninth inning Monday.

“I can’t do anything about it now,” Jeter said. “I would have loved to have gotten a hit, but it’s over with. We’re going home with an opportunity to win, so I like the position we’re in.”
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LHP Phil Coke hadn’t gotten much work lately as veteran LHP Damaso Marte had effectively pitched against lefties out of the bullpen, taking over the role Coke had for most of the regular season. When Coke got his chance Monday, he all but ensured he will not get another one unless there’s an emergency, giving up Chase Utley’s World Series record-tying fifth home run—and second of the game—as well as another blast to Raul Ibanez. The homers came in the seventh and turned a four-run Phillies lead to six in a game Philadelphia would win 8-6.

Coke declined to elaborate on Utley’s home run other than to say he didn’t want to take away from his historic performance, and said his pitch to Ibanez “floated back over the middle. … I want the ball again (in Game 6). That’s the only thing I’m thinking about.”
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C Jorge Posada again did not start with RHP A.J. Burnett on the mound, severely altering the Yankees’ lineup in a move that will surely lead to a lot of second-guessing of manager Joe Girardi after Burnett coughed up six runs and exited after two-plus innings in an 8-6 loss Monday night. The Yankees were already forced to go without DH Hideki Matsui since they were playing under National League rules in Philadelphia. Girardi said he opted to again start backup C Jose Molina despite weakening the lineup by having to bat slumping RF Nick Swisher fifth behind Alex Rodriguez against Phillies ace Cliff Lee. “(Posada has) had some big hits for us, but that relationship has been working,” Girardi said of Burnett and Molina. “A.J. has been pitching very well. Sometimes, this time of year, it’s about pitching and defense, and we just don’t want to break it up right now.” Posada replaced Molina in the fifth inning and went 1-for-3.

By The Numbers:

2-9—The Yankees’ record in their last 11 postseason games when they had the opportunity to close out a seven-game series.

Quote To Note:

“Oh, I mean, it’s the worst feeling in the world. I let 25 guys down, I let the city down. Pretty much says it all.”
—RHP A.J. Burnett, on blowing a chance to clinch the World Series by giving up six runs in two-plus innings in the Yankees’ Game 5 loss to Philadelphia.

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CF Melky Cabrera was lost for the rest of the World Series due to a strained left hamstring, the Yankees announced Monday. INF/OF Ramiro Pena replaced him on the roster. Cabrera injured the hamstring running out a groundball in the sixth inning of Game 4 and was replaced by Brett Gardner, who started Monday. Cabrera had a comeback season after seemingly getting buried during a sub-par 2008 season that included a demotion to the minors. Cabrera lost the starting center field job to Gardner in spring training, but regained it with clutch hitting and several walk-off hits in the regular season.
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INF Ramiro Pena was added to the World Series roster as an injury replacement for CF Melky Cabrera, who was removed due to a strained left hamstring suffered in Game 4. Major League Baseball had to approve the petition, under the guidelines that a player must be unable to play the remainder of the series and that a position player replaces another position player. Pena, a rookie with excellent defensive skills who surprised the Yankees by hitting .287 in 115 at-bats in the regular season, was picked over OF Freddy Guzman and C Francisco Cervelli. Veteran Jerry Hairston Jr. likely will be the fourth outfielder, leaving Pena to be used as a pinch runner and emergency infielder.
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CF Brett Gardner started for the injured Melky Cabrera and showed off one of the skills that helped him beat Cabrera out for the job in spring training. Gardner made a spectacular catch of a flyball in left-center, utilizing his speed to catch up to the blast before crashing into the wall. Without another pure center fielder on the roster due to Cabrera’s absence, the Yankees got a scare when Gardner was slow to get up, but he stayed in the game after a quick visit from the trainer.
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PH Eric Hinske made World Series history when he walked and scored a fifth-inning run Monday. He became the second player to appear in three consecutive Fall Classics for three different teams. Hinske played for the Red Sox in 2007 and the Rays in 2008. He joined Don Baylor (1986 Red Sox, 1987 Twins, 1988 A’s).
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RHP A.J. Burnett has been a fan favorite on days he hasn’t pitched this season, famous for his celebratory whipped cream pie tosses after walk-off wins, but after giving up six runs in two-plus innings of the Yankees’ Game 5 loss, he knows just how unpopular he could be if the Yankees lose the World Series. “Oh, I mean, it’s the worst feeling in the world,” Burnett said after the 8-6 loss. “I let 25 guys down, I let the city down. Pretty much says it all.”

Manager Joe Girardi made one of his biggest gambles of the postseason by starting Burnett—and along with him, his weak-hitting personal C Jose Molina—on three days’ rest against Phillies ace Cliff Lee. After the Yankees broke through for a run in the first off Lee, Burnett gave it right back on a three-run homer by Chase Utley. The lack of rest wasn’t an issue, insisted Burnett, who was 4-0 with a 2.33 ERA in four career starts on short rest.

“I didn’t throw strikes,” Burnett said. “Everything was up. … I felt strong, (it was) just a matter of locating pitches, and I didn’t do that.”

Asked if he could be available later in the Series after throwing just 53 pitches, Burnett said, “I would love that.”

Medical Watch:

OF Melky Cabrera (strained left hamstring) left Game 4 of the World Series, and he was removed from the roster before Game 5.

RHP Chien-Ming Wang (right shoulder strain and bursitis) went on the 15-day disabled list July 5, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on July 31. He had season-ending surgery July 29.

OF Xavier Nady (sore right elbow) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 15, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on July 21. He began a rehab assignment with Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on June 24, but he experienced a setback June 25. He had season-ending Tommy John surgery July 8.

Rotation:

Lhp Cc S

abathia

RHP A.J. Burnett

LHP Andy Pettitte

Bullpen:

RHP Mariano Rivera (closer)

RHP Phil Hughes

LHP Phil Coke

RHP Dave Robertson

RHP Alfredo Aceves

RHP Joba Chamberlain

LHP Damaso Marte

RHP Brian Bruney

RHP Chad Gaudin

Catchers:

Jorge Posada

Jose Molina

Infielders:

1B Mark Teixeira

2B Robinson Cano

SS Derek Jeter

3B Alex Rodriguez

INF Ramiro Pena

Outfielders:

LF Johnny Damon

CF Brett Gardner

RF Nick Swisher

DH Hideki Matsui

OF/INF Jerry Hairston Jr.

OF/INF Eric Hinske

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