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Ken Rosenthal on D&H 10/29

10.29.09 at 5:50 pm ET
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FoxSports’ Ken Rosenthal made a guest appearance on the D&H Show on Thursday afternoon to talk about Game 1 of the World Series, a 6-1 Phillies win over the Yankees, and his prediction for how Pedro Martinez will fare in tonight’s Game 2 match-up.

Click here to listen to the full audio and read below for some highlights.

That was quite a performance by Cliff Lee last night, wasn’t it?

That was one of the great performances that I’ve ever seen in person and how he carved up the Yankees, how they had no chance, how he came to be — as [Fox broadcasters] Tim McCarver and Joe Buck said — performing as if he was getting his work in for Spring Training. The whole package was just frankly unreal.

How did you see the series playing out before Game 1? What your take? What was your prediction?

I picked the Yankees in 6. And, obviously, now you look at it and if they lose tonight they are in trouble. I have a hard time believing that Pedro is going to hold them down the way that Lee held them down. And I will say this, that the difference tonight is Charlie Manuel can go to the bullpen whenever he wants to. If Pedro is stinking it up — and I’m not saying he will — but if that scenario takes place, you got J. A. Happ, you got Joe Blanton, you have a group of relievers who haven’t pitched in eight days. So, they can practically turn this into a bullpen game and I will not be surprised if they do if they need to.

I don’t agree with Manuel pitching Pedro in Game 2…having said that, the drama for tonight is off the charts.

Well, I don’t think Manuel is thinking about that but I’m with you. I can’t recall the last time exactly when I was this excited to go to the ballpark. And it’s not just because of Pedro, although he is a huge part of that, it is because the Yankees lost Game 1 and they’re in a situation tonight where they definitely need to win and the Phillies are not like the Angels, they’re not like the Twins, they’re not like any other team really. They can stand up to the Yankees and it’s going to be really great theater tonight and very interesting to watch.

What’s your take on [Pedro] saying he’s the most influential player to perform in Yankee Stadium?

I think what he meant, and I don’t want to put any words in his mouth, is that he influenced the most emotion. Certainly he has influenced quite a bit of emotion. I don’t know that even Pedro would say he is a more influential person than Babe Ruth or any of the other Yankee greats. But, that press conference yesterday was absolutely fascinating. I know people in Boston are well aware of this; Pedro is not just one if the greatest pitchers in history, but one of the most intelligent players I’ve come across, one of the most well-spoken, and that thing yesterday was just a tour de force. And he had some points he wanted to make, and he got them out there about the New York media, about the confrontation with [Don] Zimmer. There are very, very, very few players I can count on one hand who can have that kind of press conference and speak so eloquently on a number of issues whether you agree with him or not.

Where would you put him [on the all-time great pitchers]?

He’s right there at the top. And we’re talking right now about Pedro in his prime in this discussion that we are having. In that aspect, yeah, I don’t know anybody better. Certainly [Roger] Clemens had his moments, Randy Johnson had his moments, there are a whole host of pitchers, [John] Smoltz. You can go right down the line. Roy Halladay for that matter. In terms of electricity, sheer stuff, and the ability to win, he dominated.  Pedro was the guy. I remember one year, I can’t recall which season it was exactly, it might have been 1999, but it was an MVP-type year. I remember writing a column, “Hey, he should be the MVP,” because not only does he impact the one game he pitches, but he impacts the other four because he saves the bullpen and he has this mystique about him. He was and to some degree he still is a transcendent figure. People have their opinions about him and that’s fine. He’s certainly angered people over the years, but he was absolutely brilliant in his prime. There aren’t many pitchers who I would get as excited about seeing.

I have more questions about the other starting pitcher tonight. A.J. Burnett has more to prove than Pedro does.

That’s fair and even if the atmosphere will be charged tonight, and it will be charged, he is going to be that much more tested because he is an emotional guy, he does get pumped up and carried away at times and he really actually has pitched very well in the postseason. You could even make the case in the last start he should have been out of the game before he was. Yeah, I see what you are saying, but my question is how is Pedro’s stuff going to match-up against the Yankees? Not only an American League line-up, but the DH, the highest scoring team in the majors, a team that generally abuses guys with that kind of stuff.  He has to know how, if his breaking ball is good, that will be an advantage. The other thing that we don’t know is how tight are the Yankees going to be? If they are tight and if they are stretching a little bit at the plate, then it plays right into Pedro’s hands.

Are the Phillies built like an American League team?

They’re not quite that, but they’re pretty darn good. [Pedro] Feliz and [Carlos] Ruiz are not great offensive players at their position. Ruiz, the catcher, has certainly had a good postseason, done a lot of really good things, a lot of big hits. When [Jimmy] Rollins and [Shane] Victorino are going, and they haven’t always been going this season — especially Rollins, they’re very dynamic. One of the huge differences already in this series is Rollins and Victorino vs. [Chone] Figgins and whoever batted second for the Angels in that series, mostly [Bobby] Abreu. That was a huge thing that the Yankees shut down the Angels’ 1-2 guys and they didn’t do that last night.

Is Charlie Manuel an old school guy?

That is totally accurate. What is inaccurate is the perception of him because of the way he speaks, because he is from North Carolina not West Virginia, is that he is dumb. Anyone who knows him or been around him for any length of time knows he isn’t dumb. He might not speak as polished as some people and whatever, but it bothers me when he went to Philadelphia for the first time [after] they hired him and the people of Philadelphia were all over [him] because of his accent. As if that city or any city for that matter was full of Nobel Prize winners walking the streets. Hey, he is a regular guy who has overcome a lot physically, being in Japan, all kinds of things happened to this guy and the proof is on that field every day. Look at that team, look how they played for him. And, yeah, they’re talented, no question about it, but there are other talented teams that don’t play as well as the Phillies do.

What are the offensive problems going on right now with guys like Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher? What’s going on with them?

I’m not sure with Teixeira. Swisher in the previous series was rushing a bit and just not himself. Teixeira actually in the final two games had kind of come around a little bit. Remember, he had the big bases-clearing triple and a couple of hits in the Game 6 as well. I’m not convinced his problems last night was totally Cliff Lee. Last night, Cliff Lee held Teixeira and A-Rod 0-for-8 with 5 K’s. That’s impressive and I want to see more tonight before I make any judgments.

Any predictions tonight for Pedro?

I think more like 4 1/3 innings, 9 hits, 5 runs. I love Pedro and I was warned last night by a member of the Phillies offense not to bet against this guy and we all know why. He’s brilliant out there and has got the heart of a lion, but I just think the Yankees are going to get him.

Were you buying [Manuel's] explanation for pitching Pedro tonight in Yankee Stadium.

Very simple. Pedro is pitching better than Cole Hamels, so you want Pedro on the mound instead of Cole Hamels. Also, and it hasn’t been talked about that much, Cole Hamels has been very inconsistent all season, you know that. He has been better at home: 3.75 at home ERA, 4.99 on the road. That means something to me and the idea of splitting the left-handers, there is some merit in that because you don’t give the switch-hitters a chance to get comfortable. They’re going left, right, left obviously pacing left, right, left. At the same time, if Pedro goes  2 2/3 tonight, we are going to see J. Happ and it’s going to switch all the switch-hitters around anyway. So, I understood it, it’s a bit of a questionable move , but Cole Hamels has really been an iffy guy all season long, especially in the postseason.

Who wins the managing match-up in you eyes, Manuel or Girardi?

I don’t know. They’re both guys that will leave themselves open for a lot of second guessing and this series will probably end up a second-guesser’s delight. They’re opposites. Charlie goes by his instincts, Joe Girardi goes by information from scouts, from numbers, and yet they still do things that make people scratch their heads and that’s the beauty of baseball.

What did you think of Girardi’s moves out of the bullpen last night?

Well, he has a problem. His problem is that he has so many young relievers that he can’t really put much trust in any of them. None of them are performing that well. So, I didn’t mind [Phil] Hughes starting off the inning. In fact, I said in the broadcast that Hughes is more comfortable in the wind-up or at least didn’t rush that much. I thought maybe that would help him, but obviously that didn’t make a difference. The [Damaso] Marte move was the right move, I didn’t mind David Robertson coming in. You could have had [Phil] Coke pitch to [Raul] Ibanez. It was one of those games where they weren’t beating Cliff Lee no matter what and the disturbing thing is that his relievers are simply not performing.

Read More: Charlie Manuel, Cliff Lee, Joe Girardi, Ken Rosenthal
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