Oddly it was once again an opposing hitter who slugged the first dinger in the new stadium's World Series history. This time it was Chase Utley who clobbered the first two home runs (the second lefty to hit two home runs off a southpaw pitcher in a World Series game, the other being Babe Ruth in the 1928 Fall Classic). And while the game shared the further coincidence of Utley's home run with the 1923 inaugural game, it seems unlikely that Mr. Utley will follow in Mr. Stengel's footsteps and occupy the role of Yankees' skipper at any point in the future.
While New York came back to win the World Series of 1923 in six games, the future of the current series is still obviously very much in doubt. And while there would seem to be nothing good that could be derived from the Yankees' dismal performance on Wednesday night, that assessment may not be entirely true.
Because Cliff Lee displayed such awesome superiority over the New York lineup Charlie Manuel — following his old school approach to the game — decided to leave his starter in the contest for the full nine innings, racking up 122 pitches on his arm in the process. If the Phillies had a solid staff or bullpen beyond their ace this might not be cause for such concern but the reality is that those conditions simply don't really exist.
Pedro Martinez will start Game 2 on Thursday and while he has experienced a mini-resurgence during his time in Philadelphia, facing the Yankees lineup is
a whole different level of difficulty than notching a few wins in the NL backed by the best lineup in the league. After Pedro, the horribly ineffective (as of late)
Cole Hamels will take the ball in Game 3 and then either the rookie J.A. Happ, the struggling Joe Blanton or conceivably Brett Myers will throw for the Phils in Game 4. Unless, that is, they decide to follow the Yankees' example and use a three-man rotation, ensuring Lee will face Sabathia in CC's next outing and also in a possible Game 7.
The answer would be far easier had Manuel not let Cliff go well over 100 pitches in a game that was totally out of reach by the bottom of the ninth inning and retrospectively out of reach by the 8th. Pitch-volume is the one factor that can prevent a pitcher from performing effectively on short rest and it also leads to a large increase in the risk of injury. With the strain of such a high amount of pitches thrown Lee may now not be ready or able to pitch out of his usual rotational spot, or at the very least, likely won't repeat his dominate performance of Wednesday night, likely necessary for a win. This could be devastating with Sabathia set to go in Games 4 and 7. And that doesn't even begin to address the issues that a 3-man rotation would cause for the 37 year old, injury prone Pedro Martinez.