Playoff Series: Game 4 of 6

NY Yankees won 4-2

Game 1: Wednesday, October 28
NY Yankees1
Game 2: Thursday, October 29
NY Yankees3
Game 3: Saturday, October 31
NY Yankees8Final
Game 4: Sunday, November 1
NY Yankees7Final
Game 5: Monday, November 2
NY Yankees6Final
Game 6: Wednesday, November 4
NY Yankees7

8:20 PM ET, November 1, 2009

Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

123456789 R H E
NYY 200020003 7 9 1
PHI 100100110 4 8 1

W: J. Chamberlain (1-0)

L: B. Lidge (0-1)

S: M. Rivera (2)

Yankees-Phillies Preview


The New York Yankees wanted a dominant pitcher to lead them deep into the postseason, so they made CC Sabathia the richest pitcher in baseball history. Now, Sabathia can now move them within a victory of their first World Series title in nine years.

The workhorse will take the ball on three days' rest Sunday night when the Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies play Game 4 of the World Series at Citizens Bank Park.

The Yankees turned an early 3-0 deficit into an 8-5 victory in Saturday night's Game 3, claiming a 2-1 lead in the series. Alex Rodriguez, Nick Swisher and Hideki Matsui all homered for New York, with Rodriguez's two-run shot in the fourth inning the result of the first video replay reversal in World Series history.

After watching their 13-year streak of playoff appearances come to an end last fall, the Yankees felt upgrading their rotation was a priority if they were going to challenge for their first World Series title since winning No. 26 in 2000. Landing Sabathia via free agency -- for $161 million over seven years -- has proven to be the right move.

The left-hander's first season in the Bronx was a rousing success, as he went 19-8 with a 3.37 ERA to garner consideration for his second AL Cy Young Award and help the Yankees back to the playoffs.

Sabathia -- the 2007 Cy Young winner with Cleveland -- hasn't slowed in the postseason, posting a 3-1 record and 1.52 ERA and winning AL championship series MVP honors. Now, he'll take the mound on three days' rest, a situation in which he is quite capable. Including postseason, Sabathia is 5-3 with a 3.16 ERA in eight starts when throwing on short rest.

"I hate to throw bullpens," said Sabathia, who took the loss in Game 1 opposite Phillies ace Cliff Lee while allowing two runs on homers by Chase Utley in seven innings. "I don't have to throw a bullpen when I pitch on three days' rest.

"It feels good for them to have confidence in you, especially in these situations. It gives you confidence when your team has confidence and the guys want you out there and everybody is asking: 'Are you pitching today?' and 'Are you pitching tomorrow?'"

Yankees manager Joe Girardi has elected to shorten the rotation to Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte -- Saturday's winning pitcher. Burnett is expected to start Monday.

"There is no baseball after the World Series for four or five months, so there will be plenty of time to rest," Girardi said.

Girardi also used Sabathia on short rest in Game 4 of the ALCS, and the three-time All-Star allowed one run in eight innings of a 10-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel has opted not to ask Lee to pitch on three days' rest for the first time in his career. Instead, Lee is scheduled to start Monday's Game 5 in what could be an elimination contest.

Joe Blanton gets the nod in Game 4 for a second consecutive year. The right-hander combined with four relievers on a five-hitter in a 10-2 win over Tampa Bay last October that gave the Phillies a 3-1 World Series lead. He also hit the first World Series home run by a pitcher since Oakland's Ken Holtzman in 1974.

"It's a big game, but it's another game," Blanton said. "And I think just the experience you draw from last year, just the fact that you've been there before, you've been in that environment, you've been in that atmosphere, you've kind of been in that big game situation -- and you can just kind of draw back and kind of keep your emotions in check."

Blanton hasn't had any success against the Yankees, going 0-3 with an 8.18 ERA in four starts. All of those games came with Oakland, where he spent four-plus seasons before joining Philadelphia last year in a midseason trade.

Blanton has also struggled against Alex Rodriguez, who is 4 for 7 with two homers in their matchups.

The third baseman's homer Saturday was the first of his career in the World Series, and snapped a personal 0-for-8 slump. It was also his sixth homer of this postseason, tying a Yankees record set by Bernie Williams in 1996.

"It was a big hit. I think it woke our offense up a little bit," said Rodriguez, who struck out three times in each of the previous two games.

The Phillies are hoping their marquee slugger, Ryan Howard, can break out of his slump in similar fashion.

The NLCS MVP is 2 for 13 with an RBI and nine strikeouts in the Series, fanning three times Saturday.

"Go home and go to sleep. I'm a simple guy," Howard -- 4 for 12 with six strikeouts against Sabathia including postseason -- said after the Game 3 loss. "We're not going to panic by any means just because we're down in the Series."

It may not be time to panic yet, but history doesn't provide Philadelphia cause for optimism. This is the fourth time the Phillies have trailed 2-1 in a World Series. On all three previous occasions, they went on to lose Game 4 -- and the series.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Gameday Matchup

 New YorkPhiladelphia
Current StreakW1W1
Last 107-34-6

Pitching Matchup

New YorkPhiladelphia
C. Sabathia
2-0, 1.13 ERA

Last Game:
11/1 at PHI
6.2 IP, 3 ER
Dec = ND
J. Blanton
0-0, 6.00 ERA

Last Game:
11/1 at PHI
6.0 IP, 4 ER
Dec = ND

Gameday Lineups

NO.New YorkPhiladelphia
1. D. Jeter, SS J. Rollins, SS
2. J. Damon, LF S. Victorino, CF
3. M. Teixeira, 1B C. Utley, 2B
4. A. Rodriguez, 3B R. Howard, 1B
5. J. Posada, C J. Werth, RF
6. R. Cano, 2B R. Ibanez, LF
7. N. Swisher, RF P. Feliz, 3B
8. M. Cabrera, CF C. Ruiz, C
9. C. Sabathia, P J. Blanton, P