This was a lot more relevant two weeks ago when it happened, but I want to say it anyway. I finally was able to wear a red shirt again today...it's been hard because they were so close. Even so, what a great 2009 season!
I hate to say it, but congrats to the Yankees for winning the World Series. They played better in more games, and that was the difference. Also congrats to the Phillies for a season well-done (a full season wrap-up will come at some point later), I enjoyed and suffered through every agonizingly pleasurable minute of it.
Now for some superficial analysis.
First, Why did the Yankees beat the Phillies?
1. Mariano Rivera and game-shortening: The first and most obvious reason. The Yankees only had to get through the 7th inning with the lead. Rivera was usually shaky in the 8th, but in the 9th, he didn't allow anything. Slam the door shut, ballgame.
2. Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon: They both had OBPs above .400 and Damon fouled off more pitches than I care to remember. There was also that double steal in game 4 that I will not mention.
3. Hideki Matsui:6 RBI's in game 6, vastly superior to Ben Francisco as the extra hitter in the lineup at Yankee Stadium, World Series MVP.
4. Not trusting unreliable pitchers: The only pitchers who pitched more than 2 innings: Sabathia, Burnett, Pettitte, Rivera, Marte, Chamberlain. They weren't all stellar appearances, but that's trusting the top of the pitching staff
5. Very few mental errors: Except for the failed Jeter bunt, I don't recall any significant errors by the Yankees. They also allowed zero unearned runs.
Second, Why did the Phillies lose to the Yankees
1. Lack of starting pitching depth: After Lee, there really wasn't anyone to fill the void. Martinez had one great performance, Blanton was his usual self in game 4, and Hamels flamed out.
2. Strange bullpen decisions: Chad Durbin pitched almost as much as Scott Eyre. No one was warming up for Lidge in game 4. JA Happ was used as a short man. THere was very little matching up going on by Manuel in this series after going overboard with it in the NLCS and NLDS.
3. Mental Errors: Utley gave up a run with an errant flip to 2nd instead of getting the sure out at first, the double steal in game 4, of course.
4. In-game batting strategy and approach: Facing Burnett was the prime example. Why was there no in-game adjustment in game 2? Something like 21 of 23 1st pitch strikes with 10 of the 1st 11 on fastballs. Victorino really was hacking up there and Feliz was a black hole in the lineup except for one game. Ryan Howard was turned into a flailer against the parade of lefties. If he never swings, he would walk 50% of the time.
5. Trust and loyalty over performance: Pull Hamels before he gives up 5 runs. Pull Pedro in game 6 after it is 2-1 when the game is still in striking distance in the 3rd inning to have Happ face Matsui (it didn't work later, but it was the right call). Lidge should have only faced righties, if that. Why didn't Ruiz move up in the order? Why didn't Rollins or Victorino move down? Manuel, sometimes you must separate the lefties.
There's more reasons out there, but it's tiring and depressing to think of them all. Now it's time to be positioned to reach the postseason in 2010. It's hot stove fever coming up!