If a car had 25 cylinders, it probably wouldn't drive very far if it were only clicking on 23. And let's face it, Brad Lidge and Cole Hamels were actually the main drive shaft behind the 2008 World Championship, and without them it's almost impossible for this team to win. You already knew that before this heartbreaking weekend. You know, right up until about 10 o' clock Saturday night, I was so convinced we were watching a repeat of the 2008 Series, with the Utley HRs and the ace pitching in Game 1, the obligatory weak-hitting loss in Game 2, and even the rain delay before Game 3. Then the channel changed to a Halloween horror flick of the worst kind, a repeat of 1993. When Lidge entered the game last night, you knew you weren't really getting the "Lights Out" dude from last year -- but the second coming of Mitch Williams. Does this means that 15 years from now, Lidge will be a beloved geezer ex-Phil on Comcast and 'PHT every 10 minutes, just like "the Wild Thing"?
It is over? No, it's not over. I think either one of two things will happen. On paper, the pitching matchups the next two nights are the most favorable of the series for the Phillies. You would think that a rested Cliff Lee has the edge over A.J. Burnett, who might not have the command he displayed in Game 2 when he pitches in Philadelphia on short rest. If the Phillies win tonight, I think Pedro could pitch the game of his life in Game 6. Two problems, if that happened it's hard to imagine the Phillies beating Sabathia in Game 7, when I think Charlie Manuel would start J.A. Happ out of desperation with Lee standing by on 2 days rest in an emergency. The bigger problem is that's how it plays out on paper; in the real world, the all-too-human Phillies may be too demoralized by their lost weekend to muster anything for Game 5. Yes, it's baseball, and odd things have happened before. The 2004 Red Sox came back against these Yankees from a deeper hole and won the last two in a very quiet Yankee Stadium. I'm also old enough to know that lightning rarely strikes twice.
If I had to pick, I predict the Phillies take the Series back to New York. We're Philadelphia. This is what we do.