PHILADELPHIA -- It wasn't more than one week ago that one NL scout claimed it looked like Yankees manager
If it's possible to manage a perfect game, Girardi may have done that in Game 3 of the World Series, and after the Yankees' 8-5 victory, they hold a 2-1 lead in games and an excellent chance to move Sunday within a game of their 27th world championship. For Game 4 Sunday night, Girardi is calling upon ace
Girardi managed his bullpen perfectly in Game 3, employing
Girardi's best move, though, might have been to stick with
Girardi's faith never wavered in Swisher through a strong of sickly swings. Yankees GM
Girardi has the advantage of a star-studded $200 million roster at his disposal, but he and the Yankees aren't brawn over brains. One scout credited
Swisher made an even more dramatic adjustment on the off day, deciding to apply a new wider hitting stance batting coach
But Long, a consistent A-Rod cheerleader who's connected with the superstar slugger, said, "He's had a helluva postseason. To panic after two games is asinine. He believes in his ability. There was no panic. He looked at things and determined he was chasing (pitches) in. He wanted to make sure he got pitches that were outside to hit.''
The result was a two-run homer in the fourth that broke up Hamels' no-hitter and cut the Phils' lead to 3-2. The hit -- initially ruled a double but reversed on review -- changed the momentum of the game ... and perhaps that of the Series.
Urbon sees Bay and Holliday as ranking high in all five major categories plus clubhouse presence but says the "seventh category'' -- the proven ability to thrive in the toughest division, the AL East -- gives Bay the edge. "Jason first succeeded on a sparse team in a spacious ballpark with no pressure and he did even better on an intense stage in the most difficult division,'' Urbon said.
Boras provided statistical data Sunday to back up his claims and contended that the more apt comparison for Holliday is
In the comparison of Holliday and Bay, while the power and production numbers are close (Holliday is averaging 30 home runs, 110 runs and 112 RBIs over the past four years to Bays' 31, 98 and 103), Holliday has a distinct advantage in batting average (.325 to .272). Holliday was also the cleanup hitter on a playoff team while Bay sometimes batted sixth for one (though he's good enough to bat in the more treasured 3 or 4 spots). The small knocks on Holliday are that he played most of his career in Coors Field (though he actually hit better in Busch Stadium) and wasn't as good his first two months in Oakland before adjusting to playing for an also-ran in an expansive ballpark. But Holliday's .357 second half, most of it as Albert Pujols' lineup protection in St. Louis, makes a great boost heading into free agency.
Holliday carries a sabremetric defensive edge, as well, with a UZR (ultimate zone rating) of plus 5.3 compared to minus 13.9 for Bay. Urbon discounts the defensive metrics, which he said are difficult to counter since they are based on "proprietary information'' and he believes may be biased against players manning Fenway Park's small left field. He pointed out that Bay was the first outfielder to since
Urbon's comment about Bay doing it on the big stage is a worthwhile observation after a productive season and a half in pressure-packed Boston. But to imply he beats Holliday on this score may be a reach. While Holliday's 2009 postseason included a memorable error, he was the main face of the youthful Rockies' incredible late 20-1 run in 2007 run (his all-out, head-first slide that got them into the playoffs is an indelible picture), and he did carry that young team to the World Series as an LCS MVP, something Bay has yet to accomplish.
It's fair to say both stars should benefit from a market where they are by far the two best everyday players (
Holliday would rather be compared to Teixeira and his known market value of $180 million. Perhaps a more apt comp for Bay could be
"Matt and Jason are going to give you the biggest bang for the buck because they are the least risk,'' Urbon said. "They are multidimensional, consistent, durable productive everyday players who are great in the clubhouse.''
Urbon contends it's not a stretch or a strategy to keep comparing Bay to Holliday. But it certainly can't hurt.
• There is progress being made in talks to return GM
• Manuel is taking a big risk by going to Blanton Sunday night in Game 4. "That's good for us,'' one Yankees person said. "We killed him when (Blanton) was in Oakland,'' another noted. Manuel explained that Lee had never pitched in short rest before and that Sabathia is bigger (plus, Sabathia pitched on short rest many times). But the call to bypass Lee until Game 5 would feel better if Manuel had a better option for Game 4. One Phillies person said early Saturday he could see Blanton splitting Game 4 with rookie left-hander
• Hamels' rep has taken a hit this postseason, a year after he was World Series MVP. Not only has he posted four mediocre or worse performances, he looked foolish complaining about having to pitch during the day in the NLDS (he happened to be 0-6 in daytime games this year) and throwing a mini on-field fit after an errant