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World Series lives up to the hype

Leading into this year’s World Series, the story line was a beauty.  The World Champions of 2008, the Phillies, were back in the mix and squaring off against the World Series trophy juggernaut, the New York Yankees.  Both teams featured high powered offense and left handed pitchers that would make teams of yesteryear shake their heads in disbelief.  High profile stars like Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, and CC Sabathia were set to do battle against Cole Hamels, Pedro Martinez and Cliff Lee.  The ingredients were all there to make a World Series classic.

After game one, things looked great for a competitive series of pitching domination.

Then game two rolled around, and three, and four, and suddenly the Yankee’s offense made the Phillies look very vulnerable.  A-Rod, who was pretty much useless in the first few games of the series, came out huge in games three and four, especially in four, and with him clicking with the rest of the offense, the Yankees literally could do no wrong at the plate.

And it wasn’t even just at the plate where they had their success.

The series tone was set in the top of the 9th inning of game four.  Top of the 9th inning and with the score tied and two outs set, it looked like the game was either going into extra innings or the Phillies would have the perfect opportunity to tie the series and shut down the Yankee offense.  Then Johnny Damon stepped up to the plate and delivered one of the most amazing at bats in recent memory, going nine pitches and preventing the inning from ending.  Finally, he connected and made it to first.  Progress had been made.  Then on the next pitch, Damon takes off to steal second, knowing that he had to make a move when it would be least expected.  After snagging second, and seeing that there was no one covering third, Damon took off and outran the only person capable of tagging him out, completing a double steal on a single pitch.

Suddenly, the stadium wasn’t so rowdy.

With Damon’s clutch play, the next factor was A-Rod leading the Yankees on a strong hit and scoring Damon, while putting two runners in scoring position.  Another hit solidified the Phillies 9th inning collapse, giving the Yankees a three-run lead going into the bottom of the 9th with Mariano Rivera playing cleanup, which is almost a 99.9 percent chance of perfection.

Sure enough, Rivera cleaned up three batters in eight pitches, giving the Yankees a 3-1 series lead.

In this post season, we have seen A-Rod beat his demons, Damon come back from mediocrity to have the best moment of baseball genius this year, and watch the Yankees come back to true form and nearly bury the defending World Champions in their own stadium

The Phillies won game five, saving themselves from defeat at home, sending the series back to the Bronx where the Yankees have been extremely successful all year and in this post season.  Whether or not they can close out the Phillies is still up in the air, but if Pedro Martinez plays like he did game two, Andy Pettitte is walking away with the win, and the Yankees with their first World Series since 2000.