There's No Place Like Home for the Philadelphia Phillies
Game Three of the 2009 World series shifts today to the new launching pad in the National League, Citizens Bank Park. It's a bit ironic that the Philadelphia "Mashers" at one point in time had a far better record on the road than they did at home. They righted that situation in the second half of the season to finish nine games over .500 at home.
The post-season is a completely different story as the Phillies have lost a grand total of three games over the past three post seasons. They've won 12 games and the only team to beat them at home was the Colorado Rockies.
Today they try to keep that streak going with 2008 World Series MVP Cole Hamels going up against one of the great post-season pitchers, Andy Pettitte.
Game three has always been a critical game in the World Series. In the past 10 World Series where the two teams were tied at one a piece, the team who took Game Three went on to win the World Series nine out of the last ten times. Those are pretty darn good odds for the winner of today's game.
Pitching has dominated in the first two games which is quite usual since outstanding pitching, which we have seen from all four starters, almost always dominates good hitting. Will Game Three change that?
I believe both teams are looking for just that. Right now there seems to be two Cole Hamels. The one who looks like last year's MVP or the other one who has trouble getting to the sixth inning and has been prone to the long ball. Everyone has a reason for Cole's woes this year so I'll throw in mine as well.
He shouldn't have called my Mets choke artists in the offseason last winter. The fact that they very well may be, he should have kept that gem to himself. So I put a slight whammy on him. Today, I officially take the whammy off him because I would like mine and Jimmy Rollins prediction to come true.
The Yankees have other ideas. Derek Jeter says no one should be worried about A-Rod's 0-8 so far. That was said to soothe the nerves of Yankee fans worldwide as their juiced up, lying hero may be diverting back to his previous post-season blues. Anybody seen his cousin recently?
On the flip side, the Phillies big bats haven't hit their stride after the first two games either. Chase Utley has two home runs and Ryan Howard has two doubles, but as said earlier, outstanding pitching has virtually shut both teams down.
I like Andy Pettitte despite my dis-like of most things Yankees. He is a clutch performer whose consistency has kept him in the bigs for over a decade and he has chalked up some pretty good performances over the years in critical games. He has always been the Yankee stopper in the post-season as he has followed a Yankee loss with a win of his own on so many occasions, I've lost count.
Charlie Manuel has already announced that Joe Blanton would start Game Four rather than pitch Cliff Lee on short rest. That shows me how much confidence Manuel has with this team. That's why I picked the Phillies to win the whole thing. This team, almost to a man, played in last year's World Series. They are experienced, very tough at home, and unless the Yankees bats start to explode I still feel there will be no need for a Game Six at Yankee Stadium.
Prediction: I am definitely going to jinx myself right here and now. Since the beginning of the playoffs and only picking in games where the Phillies have been been involved I am 10-1. With that said I'm not going to waiver on my original World Series pick.
Phillies 11 Yankees 6 as the bats explode on a 70 degree day in sunny Philadelphia. Game time temps in the 60's.
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