Tonight will decide whether the Commissioner's Trophy is presented to the New York Yankees for a 27th World Series championship, far more than any other team. "We haven't accomplished anything yet," said Johnny Damon, whose remarkable at-bat and then even more remarkable baserunning paved the way for Sunday night's 7-4 victory. "We've won three games, and that's not what we set out to do. We would like the fourth, and when this playoff time started, we set out to win 11 games. We're at 10, and hopefully we can get No. 11." Tonight will decide whether the Phillies and the Yankees both go back to the 30th Street Station and take trains back up to Penn Station for another game or two at Yankee Stadium. "We play as a team and play like every game is our last game," Phillies second baseman Chase Utley said. "So that's not going to change how we go out there." The best-of-seven 105th World Series and the entire 2009 Major League Baseball season have come down to this: Yankees leading Phillies, three games to one, with Game 5 now a possible clincher and scheduled to start at 7:57 ET in front of one last sellout crowd at Citizens Bank Park. Tonight is Cliff Lee back on the mound for the Phillies, who won their only game so far in this series behind his complete-game victory in the opener. "What happened yesterday is over," Lee said. "There's nothing I can do about that now. What can I do today to prepare for tomorrow? I stick with that. I don't really look into, well, this guy did this for this long and now he's doing that, what's the reason behind it? I don't know. I don't think along those lines. I think along the lines of what can I do today to prepare for tomorrow, and then after today is done, it's done. Move onto tomorrow. What can I do now to take care of today?" There is no other option, because today is here. Tonight is A.J. Burnett making his final start of the season for the Yankees -- and it could be a decision that results in the latest title for the Bronx Bombers. Tonight he could be hit with a pie in the face by teammates after all those times he did it to Yankees players who hit walk-off homers. A pie in A.J.'s face would be automatic if he throws a clinching victory.
"It's great. I've waited a long time for it, and I'm going to take it full stride," Burnett said. "I'm going to go out there with everything I've got, and you take nothing for granted. I've seen some crazy things this postseason, and I guess that's why they call it postseason baseball, because anything can happen. "But you've got a great lineup over there, and we're going up against Cliffy. So I'm just going to try to go pitch for pitch against him and keep our squad in it. But I'm looking forward to it and can't wait." Tonight will decide whether the Phillies can stand up and swing when they are pushed back against the ropes late in the title bout. Sunday's game was tied, the World Series could have been tied, and now the picture looks very different. The "Rocky" statue is right there down at the base of 72 steps in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and tonight we will see whether "Gonna Fly Now" is playing and whether anyone is running up the steps. "I think we take a lot of pride on being resilient and the way we bounce back," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "I know that we're going to come out and play to win. I know that. I've seen us go through it before. We've blown 22 games from the seventh inning on or something this year. That's got to tell you something about the resilience of our team. We're in the World Series now. But at the same time, we're down, but you know what, we're still breathing." Tonight there will be plastic covering all the Yankees' lockers in the visitors clubhouse, and a tub of chilled champagne will be waiting for them while they play. Tonight the Phillies can make it even more remarkable if they should go on to repeat as World Series champs. Tonight the Yankees can repeat what Babe Ruth and the 1923 Yankees did, and that is win it all in the first year of Yankee Stadium. Tonight, a massive FOX viewing audience will tune in again, maybe for one last time in this World Series or maybe until the action resumes back in The Bronx. Tonight will be the final baseball game in Philadelphia for the year. Maybe they will come back here for another parade, like the one they treated their fans to a year ago. Maybe the Phillies will just go home after tonight's game, and hibernate until next April.
ONE WIN AWAY
|1969||Mets||Orioles||Mets in 5|
|1970||Orioles||Reds||Orioles in 5|
|1972||Athletics||Reds||Athletics in 7|
|1974||Athletics||Dodgers||Athletics in 5|
|1977||Yankees||Dodgers||Yankees in 6|
|1979||Orioles||Pirates||Pirates in 7|
|1983||Orioles||Phillies||Orioles in 5|
|1984||Tigers||Padres||Tigers in 5|
|1985||Cardinals||Royals||Royals in 7|
|1988||Dodgers||Athletics||Dodgers in 5|
|1992||Blue Jays||Braves||Blue Jays in 6|
|1993||Blue Jays||Phillies||Blue Jays in 6|
|1995||Braves||Indians||Braves in 6|
|2000||Yankees||Mets||Yankees in 5|
|2006||Cardinals||Tigers||Cardinals in 5|
|2008||Phillies||Rays||Phillies in 5|
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.