11/05/09 6:50 PM EST
Disappointment lingers a day later
Phillies left to ponder what went wrong while heading home
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
Swing and a miss
Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard earned National League Championship Series MVP honors when he hit .333 with two home runs and eight RBIs in five games against the Dodgers. He had hit a combined .355 with two homers and 14 RBIs through the first two rounds, but found things much more difficult against the Yankees.He hit just .174 with one homer and three RBIs, as he set a record with 13 strikeouts in a single World Series. "I feel cool. I feel cool," Howard said about his performance. "I think the only thing you can do now is go home and relax and come back for Spring Training." But the Phillies hit .250 with runners in scoring position against the Yankees, who countered with a .301 mark in the same situations. New York came up with the big hits. Philadelphia did not. "Our hitting, we were inconsistent at times," Manuel said. "I look at our team, and I know we led the league in runs scored and home runs, but at the same time, we hit .258. I think we are better than that. I think we definitely can be more productive, and if we are, it's going to mean more wins for us. I think we can be better than we were this year." Right-hander Pedro Martinez pitched well against the Yankees in Game 2, but struggled in Game 6. He looked tired. He indicated afterward he might have been ill. It certainly would have helped to have had designated hitter Hideki Matsui out of the lineup. And he would have been out of the lineup had Martinez pitched in Philadelphia, but the Phillies liked Martinez's experience in New York. Matsui went 4-for-4 with two home runs, five RBIs and a walk against Martinez. Manuel had the chance to replace Martinez with left-hander J.A. Happ in the third inning on Wednesday. He stuck with Martinez, and Matsui hit a two-run single to center to give the Yankees a 4-1 lead. "Pedro, he knows how to pitch," Manuel said. "He's got experience. I had to let him face that guy. We can go down 4-1 and we can definitely rebound there. But I had to let him -- it wasn't the time for me to take him out."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.