Larry went to Blondie’s with the collective Yankees blogosphere. I went to Tonic with some deranged Giants and Yankee fans.
I’d never been to Tonic before. I usually watch sports in claustrophobic dive bars with bartenders who’ve been in New York for 35 years but have managed to keep their Irish accents (by the way, ladies, I’m still single). Tonic seemed right out of Texas, a 3 story sports Mecca with more flat screens than PC Richards. There’s an open air balcony on the third floor, making the bar an excellent spot to watch a sporting event.
And what a game!
The Yankees finally got some offense, on a night when they needed it. Andy Pettitte didn’t have good stuff, but he was better than Cole Hamels, who was terrible. When the opposing pitcher knocks a run in against you, you probably don’t have all your pitches working.
The group at Tonic started to get lively after A-Rod’s homer. After that everyone in the bar felt the Yankees were going to get something going. It was almost as if the umpires got together underneath Citizen’s Bank Park, decided they wanted the Yankees to win instead of the Phillies, and then came out signaling a round-tripper.
Which brings us to game 4. I posted about this earlier, and I’m sticking to my guns. Charlie Manuel is committing Baseball malpractice starting Joe Blanton. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled he’s doing it, but it’s a stupid decision.
Hands down, tonight’s game is the most important of the season for Philadelphia. Why not start your worst pitcher? Don’t think even for a second about starting this guy.
I’ve read a couple of pieces online suggesting that Manuel isn’t starting Cliff Lee because he doesn’t want the left hander’s first short rest start to follow a game in which he threw 122 pitches. This doesn’t elevate Manuel in my eyes. It is precisely his job as Phillies manager to take the ball away from his starter to save his arm for games later in the Series.
If Manuel isn’t starting Lee tonight because of how many pitches Lee threw on Wednesday then Manuel made the wrong decision keeping him in for so many innings in the opener. Cliff Lee is a big boy. He’ll need to pitch on short rest eventually. I guess Manuel feels its important to have Lee fresh for the opponent the Phillies will face in the next round of the playoffs.
Don’t get me wrong. Under no circumstances do I want the Phillies to start Cliff Lee … again, ever. If I had my way the Yankees would get 6 outs each inning and the opposing starter would throw every pitch from 2nd base. I don’t believe a victory is somehow better if it comes against the best competition. I just can’t help but point out that Manuel is handing the Yankees a strong advantage in the Series. Instead of matching Sabathia’s starts with Lee, Manuel is countering with an inferior pitcher, and removing any possibility that Lee will be able to start a potential game 7. Tell me again why this guy is considered a good manager?