“The only thing that matters is what happens on the little hump out in the middle of the field.” Earl Weaver
A. J. Burnett dominated the Phillies in Game 2
Last night we were treated to one of the best pitching performances in the history of the World Series. Phillies start Cliff Lee who has had an incredible playoff run. In four games he has pitched 33.1 innings, winning 3 games, two of which were complete games. In those games he pitched 30 strikeouts and on 3 walks and only given up 2 earned runs. His ERA through game one of the World Series is a minuscule 0.54. Last night was a fantastic demonstration of pitching as Lee controlled the game from start to finish defeating his former teammate C.C. Sabathia who was good but not good enough giving up 2 solo home runs to Chase Utley before being pulled after the 7th. One can compare his performance against the best hitting team in the Majors to the greats Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson and Don Larson. I remember seeing Gibson’s game back in 1968 on TV and I am forever amazed at his intensity as hit mowed down batter after batter. On the other hand Lee was the epitome of the “just another day at work” that was so evidenced in his lackadaisical catch of a pop up to the pitcher’s mound and his quick behind the back grab of a pitch hit behind him.
Honestly I was surprised but not disappointed. I do not have a dog in the fight so to speak since the Giants, Orioles, A’s or Angels are not in the series. However I appreciate a great performance even when it cuts down my well thought out statistic based prediction. Lee was until last night a career 4-4 against the Yankees but had, again until last night a whopping 5.02 against them. I predicted that it would be a close game but that I thought it would be Lee who gave up the key hits or have mistakes committed behind him which would in turn bring on the bullpen which the Yankees would demolish. Instead it was 180 degrees out as Sabathia gave up the key hits and the Yankee bullpen melted down. To top it off the Yankees were completely baffled and shut down by Lee almost being shut out save a Jimmy Rollins throw into the bullpen which allowed Derek Jeter to score the Yankees only run of the game with one out in the bottom of the 9th. I’m watching another pitcher’s duel tonight, at least through 7 innings between Pedro “I’m the most influential player to play in Yankee Stadium” and A.J. Burnett. Burnett dominated the Phillies big guns and Pedro has like Sabathia last night given up 2 solo home runs to Mark Teixeira and Hideki Matsui and was pulled with 2 on and no out in the bottom of the 7th. Mariano Rivera came on to get a six out save and the Yankees won 3-1. The amazing thing to me is the dominance of pitching so far. The fact that Ryan Howard stuck out 4 times tonight and Alex Rodriguez 3 times last night shows just how dominant the pitchers have been. Both were having an amazing playoff run and at least the first two games have had their fires extinguished.
Mariano Rivera got a 6 out Save
The first two games give me some hope. I would prefer a 7 game series that is a well played drama filled classic for the ages. That is my hope anyway as they are the best teams in baseball and it would be fitting for the series to live up to that status.
I just got over a bout with a stomach bug yesterday, on Monday I was doubled over in pain and the stuff lingered a couple of days. Turns out that this is going around and a lot of folks are going down with it as well as Influenza A, B and H1N1, the Swine Flu. I personally know several people who have been hammered by the Swine flu and am seeing a lot more influenza related cases in our ICU including a number of young people on ventilators. A cursory look around the news shows a lot of kids getting sick and so far at least 100 schools being closed due to influenza outbreaks and it is only October. Look for a long and difficult flu season. This may not be as bad as 1918 but anyone is a fool to make light of it or efforts to keep people from getting it. I think such people are damned fools who jeopardize their lives as well as the lives of their families, friends and co-workers, from what I see in my little corner of the world this will not be fun.
Speaking of not fun I am going home to go assist my mom and brother with some of my dad’s affairs. He remains in the nursing home and continues his slow downward trend defying the doctors who said that he would be dead months ago. The emotional cost on my mom, brother and to a lesser extent I because I don’t have to deal with this up close every day has been exacting. It is painful. I received a e-mail from an old friend this week who described what his family went through as his dad wasted away in mind and body before their eyes. I will be glad to see everyone and will spend as much time with dad as I can, hopefully I will have him with me for at least a few minutes. I am not looking forward to having to go through belongings or some of the administrative or banking tasks that will need to be done.
President Obama Honoring the Fallen at Dover
Late last night President Obama did something that earned my admiration. I know some will see his action as cynical or opportunistic but as a career officer and Iraq Veteran who has served under five Presidents I saw it differently. I think it is the first time that a President has greeted and rendered honors to the fallen at Dover in my career. I could be wrong but I don’t think that any of the President’s that I have served under have ever met an aircraft bearing 18 fallen Americans. He didn’t have to do it, but it is my opinion that any wartime leader who has not experienced the enormity of the loss of Americans that he has sent into combat has not fully assumed the mantle of leadership. Part of that mantle is to be there in the times of suffering. One source close to the President told ABC News reporter Jake Tapper that meeting with the families at Dover and seeing the return of the fallen was was “one of the most profound experiences of Mr. Obama’s young presidency.”
“It was a sobering reminder of the extraordinary sacrifices that our young men and women in uniform are engaging in every single day, not only our troops but their families as well,” Obama said later Thursday, hours after his return to the White House. “The burden that both our troops and their families bear in any wartime situation is going to bear on how I see these conflicts, and it is something that I think about each and every day.”
I do appreciate all that President Bush did in visiting the wounded and caring for the families of the fallen, there is no disrespect intended by me toward the former President as he had to make many tough and often unpopular decisions during his presidency including the surge in Iraq that along with the Anbar Awakening that helped turn the course of events in that unfortunate land. He took heavy criticism from the Left and parts of the Right for that decision as well as scaling back efforts in Afghanistan. I do hope and pray that the President’s decision, whatever it ends up being will bear success and help the security of the region and peace to Afghanistan and I certainly do not want him to be like Lyndon Johnson in Vietnam and commit us deeper into to a war without counting the cost ahead of time. That is a tall order, but for the sake of our troops is something that we should be able to pray will happen. To quote one commentator: “No matter what your political views are or your position on the wars, we should never forget those making the ultimate sacrifice.” Thank you Mr. President for remembering these men, Ten men were lost in the crash of an MH-47, 7 Army Soldiers and 3 DEA agents and 8 soldiers killed when an IED destroyed their Stryker Light Armored Vehicle. I close with their names:
1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Washington
Staff Sgt. Luis M. Gonzalez, 27, of South Ozone Park, N.Y.
Sgt. Fernando Delarosa, 24, of Alamo, Texas.
Sgt. Dale R. Griffin, 29, of Terre Haute, Ind.
Sgt. Issac B. Jackson, 27, of Plattsburg, Mo.
Sgt. Patrick O. Williamson, 24, of Broussard, La.
Spc. Jared D. Stanker, 22, of Evergreen Park, Ill.
Pfc. Christopher I. Walz, 25, of Vancouver, Wash.
From the 3rd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Regiment (Airborne), Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia
Chief Warrant Officer Michael P. Montgomery, 36, of Savannah, Ga.
Chief Warrant Officer Niall Lyons, 40, of Spokane, Wash.
Staff Sgt. Shawn H. McNabb, 24, of Terrell, Texas.
Sgt. Josue E. Hernandez Chavez, 23, of Reno, Nev.
Sgt. Nikolas A. Mueller, 26, of Little Chute, Wisc.
From the 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, North Carolina
Sgt. 1st Class David E. Metzger, of San Diego Ca
Staff Sgt. Keith R. Bishop, 28, of Medford, N.Y.
From the Drug Enforcement Agency
Special Agent Forrest N. Leamon, Woodbridge Va.
Special Agent Chad L. Michael, Quantico Va
Special Agent Michael E. Weston, Washington DC
Rest eternal grant to them, O Lord; and let light perpetual shine upon them
May their souls, and the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen