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A Rude Awakening In The Bronx: Lee Edges Sabathia In Phillies Game One Win

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A Rude Awakening In The Bronx: Lee Edges Sabathia In Phillies Game One Win
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

It was pitted as the battle of the former Indians aces and they did not disappoint.

CC Sabathia was "off his game" Wednesday night going seven innings and giving up four hits and three walks.

Two of those hits were costly ones to Chase Utley that found their way over the right field wall. The first one might be regarded as a typical Yankee Stadium cheap pop-up home run, but the second was a missile with two strikes on a fastball left out in the middle of the plate.

Regardless of the nature of the home runs, those two solo shots were enough for Sabathia to lose his first game of the postseason.

Cliff Lee opposite him was sensational, striking out 10 and walking nobody. He came two outs away from throwing the first complete game shutout in the Fall Classic since Josh Beckett did it against the Yankees to clinch the 2003 series. That run came off a throwing error by Jimmy Rollins trying to complete a double play.

It was a final score of 6-1 after the Yankees bullpen gave up some insurance runs.

I was disappointed the Yankees acclaimed lineup couldn't do more, but not shocked. Cliff Lee is a stud, plain and simple. The win was the third this postseason for the 2008 Cy Young winner and his second complete game. It also lowered his ERA in the postseason to a minuscule 0.54.

A lot of fellow Yankees supporters do seem to be shocked though.

This is not meant to be my attempt at being self-righteous, but I was surprised at the number of Yankees fans that were taking the champs lightly. This was far from everyone, but many that I've talked to felt like the best of seven series was merely a formality, that the Yankees had numero 27 in the bag.

Perhaps many of the same people were clamoring for the glamorous Yankees/Dodgers World Series. Somehow, inexplicably, the defending champions of the world were an afterthought for much of the postseason.

They took it personally against the Dodgers, and they're doing it again.

This is the same team with two NL MVPs in their primes. It's the same team that acquired the 2008 AL Cy Young just before the trade deadline.

It's the same team with a closer that went the entire 2008 season without blowing a save and seemed to reclaim that unhittable stuff in time for the playoffs. And it's the same team with three other bats in the lineup that had 30-plus home runs this season.

Rolling through the postseason was nothing new for the Phillies, and they started to do it again. In the division series when the scene shifted to Colorado, they beat Rockies closer Huston Street in both Games Three and Four for the knockout blows.

The next round they listened to ESPN and other networks pray out loud for a Torre homecoming in New York.

Perhaps Manny Ramirez has powers that the rest of us do not possess and knew that the Phillies would beat all-star closer Jonathan Broxton in the ninth inning and proceeded to head for the showers. That comeback put the Phillies up 3-1 and put the series seemingly out of reach.

I can tell you it wasn't a shock to the Phils, one of the most mentally tough baseball teams I've ever seen.

And their mission was far from over. I watched ESPN's First Take this morning. They brought on A.J. Pierzynski for an early segment to break down the series. Near the end they proceeded to ask him how the Phillies can win the series...He struggled to think of anything. I was baffled.

I bet the guys on the Phillies would have had similar reactions if they were watching it.

Many people ate up such talk as the defending champs were inexplicably turned into huge underdogs. Many eyes were even looking ahead to Game Two in anticipation to watch the Yankees embarrass their son Pedro Martinez in the new Yankee Stadium.

While they were waiting it was business as usual for Cliff Lee and the Philadelphia Phillies Wednesday night.

We got our wish.

Pedro Martinez, same Pedro that shut down the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Two of the NLCS is on the mound in the Bronx tonight. This is far from his first time in a big game there, and it's against the shakiest of our three starters this postseason.

And we better hit him, or there may not be a next time for him in Game Six because the Philadelphia will be celebrating.

That being said, the series is far from over. Nice to see that we're all on the same page there now.

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