Studs & Duds: World Series Game 1
This was not a pleasant evening, but even the most lackluster game can be counted on for two things (no, not death or taxes): studs and duds.
Cliff Lee -- No team was more active than the Phillies this season, and it's paying off in astronomical ways. Cliff Lee continued his celestial run, holding the once-vaunted Yankees' lineup to six hits and one unearned run while boasting a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 10/0, which you may recall as infinitely undefined according to the rules of arithmetic. Let's not forget that he also made a spectacular behind-the-back grab, performed with the kind of emotionless nonchalance that makes one wonder whether he's actually a robot from an Asimov novel. Both Lee and Game 2's anticipated starter, Pedro Martinez, were midseason acquisitions. Perhaps this trophy ought to go to the Phils' front office as well.
Chase Utley -- Utley took immediate advantage of the friendly porch in right, blasting home runs in his second and third at-bats. If Yankees fans were previously unaware of Utley's talent, they have been put on painful notice. These Phillies are for real. If the Yanks want to get back in this series, they will have to find a way to stop the sagacious Utley, who has quietly snuck up on the all-time greats at his position.
CC Sabathia -- Lost amidst the brilliance of Lee and Utley was CC Sabathia, who turned in another fine performance. Two runs over seven innings is nothing to sneeze at, and it's as much as the Bombers should expect. Lee may have outdueled Sabathia, but it should not lessen anyone's opinion of the Yankees' ace, who has seized the call and lived up to the hype throughout the postseason.
Honorable mention: Derek Jeter, Damaso Marte, Jayson Werth, Raul Ibanez
Alex Rodriguez -- A player as talented and polarizing as A-Rod seems almost destined to make this list every game, whether for virtue or vice. On this night, he was a fairly solid dud, striking out three times while failing to reach in all four plate appearances. The only saving grace for A-Rod is that his colleagues didn't fare much better. Look for Kate Hudson to give him a nice pep talk tonight, leading to a breakout performance in Game 2.
Mark Teixeira -- I could have awarded this defamation to any one of Robinson Cano, Melky Cabrera or Nick Swisher, but Teixeira has the biggest target ($$$) on his back. The Yanks' prized offseason pickup has held his own through this point, so it would be foolish to hold one bad game against him. That being said, New York will need production from his spot or they're in serious trouble. "What have you done for me lately" never mattered so much, especially when "lately" happens to be the World Series.
Dave Robertson -- Robertson is an amiable guy, but he let his affability extend to the Phillies today. After Marte came in and expertly navigated through two outs of a jam, Robertson proceeded to walk Jayson Werth and surrender a two-RBI single to Raul Ibanez. Good-natured Dave should offer to do CC Sabathia's laundry for a week after muddying what had been a detergent-fresh start.
Dishonorable mention: Phil Hughes, Robinson Cano, Melky Cabrera, Nick Swisher, Pedro Feliz