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Too early for Yankee fans to panic?

Published October 29. 2009 05:00PM

NEW YORK - Well that didn't fare out too well if you're a New York Yankees fan.

The Pinstripe followers left Yankee Stadium shaking their heads on Wednesday night after watching the Phillies cruise behind Cliff Lee to a 6-1 victory in Game 1 of the World Series.

All of a sudden they're in a panic mode in the Bronx and they shouldn't be. The last time I looked, the World Series was a best-of-seven series.

Lee was just untouchable. He pitched a gem.

There was even mention of putting his performance up with past World Series gems thrown by Don Larsen, Bob Gibson and Sandy Koufax

A complete game with 10 strikeouts and he gave up just six hits. He never gave the Yankees a chance.

"He can't pitch every day," said Yankee skipper Joe Girardi.

It all starts with what he did to Alex Rodriguez.

A-Rod goes 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. And the whiff in the ninth inning when he took a healthy cut and missed was the "icing on the cake" for Lee.

After the game Lee admitted he put a lot of thought into how to pitch to the hottest Yankee hitter in the postseason.

"Yeah, I don't know if there's any one way to get him out," he said. "Really this whole lineup, you've got to be unpredictable, you've got to show them stuff they haven't seen before and just kind of be unpredictable.

"That offense is pretty potent and if they get a clue on what you're trying to do and you actually do it, they're going to make you pay."

For the most part, the New York media was quick to point out after the game that the Yankees lineup has been very patient through the playoffs and that has led to their success.

They couldn't be patience against Lee, however, since he doesn't waste a lot of time between pitches.

"You've got to be careful, you can't be too patient all the time," said Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter. Jeter, by the way, had three of the team's six hits against Lee. "If the guy's throwing strikes, you're coming from behind all the time. He mixes it up. It's not like he sits back and throws every pitch down the middle."

After seeing the hitters struggle and the bullpen implode in the eighth inning, Joe Girardi's roster moves were under the microscope already.

Five Yankee relievers combined to give up four runs, two apiece in the eighth and ninth innings, thwarting any hopes of a comeback.

Phil Hughes continued his post-season struggle. He walked the only two batters he faced to begin the eighth inning.

David Robertson and Brian Bruney also looked lost.

Bruney, who was placed on the postseason roster for the first time and Yankee fans are wonder why, gave up three hits to the only three batters he faced in the two-run ninth inning by the Phillies.

"I just got a little excited and started throwing fastballs," said Bruney. "A good team like this will take advantage of that. I don't have any excuses. I felt more than ready. I know they're searching for late-inning help. Hopefully, he'll (manager Joe Girardi) put me back in there. When he calls on me again, I definitely will be ready."

That call may come sooner than you think.

The Game 1 loss puts a lot more pressure on tonight's Yankees starter A.J. Burnett.

The Yankees can't afford to lose both games at home before heading to Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia for Game 3 on Saturday.

Burnett has gone 13-9 with an ERA of 4.04 in the regular season. His start in Game 4 of the ALCS where he surrendered four first-inning runs to the Angels wasn't exactly what the doctor ordered.

Hopefully he won't dwell on the thoughts of the poor performance he had against the Phillies back in May. Burnett lasted six innings, giving up eight hits (three of which were home runs) and allowed five earned runs in a 7-3 loss.

This are just heating up in this Fall Classic.

Stay tuned.

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