Manuel, Lidge Get What They Deserve: FAIL

Baseball never fails to astound me, and that includes some of the choices that made in an apparent effort to win. Despite Pedro Feliz' heroic efforts to keep tying the game -- first with a single to make it 2-2 off Sabathia, and then with a dramatic HR to re-tie the game 4-4 with 2 out in the 8th off Joba Chamberlain -- the Phillies seemed determined to put their worst foot forward.

From the beginning, when a game that should have, IMO, been started by Cliff Lee, went instead to Joe Blanton, ensuring that Lee will not pitch thrice in the series -- the only way I foresaw Philly pulling off an upset. Blanton pitched a lot better than the numbers suggest, as he was nickel and dimed to death in the 5th by a well-placed chopper, a seeing eye single, and a flair to right field hit so weakly it hit 3 pigeons and 2 of them didn't even notice.

But Lee should have gotten the call, and on a night when the Phillies' offense had 4 runs in them they might have prevailed behind their ace.

And then there's Brad Lidge, throwing his second best pitch, the fastball, to Alex Rodriguez in the season's most crucial moment to date. Not just a fastball, mind you, a fastball right down the middle with the count 0-1. But the location was probably just an execution mistake. Getting beaten with your second best pitch is what drives managers crazy -- assuming they're not busy messing things up from the beginning themselves.

Maybe Lidge was afraid to bounce a slider with Johnny Damon at 3B. Here's a solution: Cover 3B like you're supposed to and a steal of 2B won't end with the runner at 3B. Here's another solution: Bounce the slider if that's what can get the hitter out. It's the catcher's job to block it.

So now the Yankees are one win away from completing their purchase of a World Series title. Pathetic.

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