Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Yanks, Phillies set to showdown at the Stadium

The 2009 World Series, known to bitter Met fans as "the worst World Series ever," will be upon us in less than four hours. And it's difficult to argue that it doesn't pit the American League's best against the National League's best.

The Yankees swept the Twins and jumped out to a 3-1 lead against the Angels, eventually winning the series in six. The Phillies have also gone 7-2 so far in the playoffs, rolling the Rockies in four in the NLDS and dominating the Dodgers in five. Neither team has seen themselves behind in either series or faced a deciding game.

The upcoming series will undoubtedly provide a bigger challenge for both teams than any they've faced so far. The Yankees have not faced a lineup as potent as Philadelphia's, which boasts four 30-home run hitters (Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth, Raul Ibanez and Chase Utley).

However you could say the same thing about the New York lineup, as seven Yankees hit 20-plus home runs during the regular season. Just four teams hit over 200 home runs this season and the Yankees (244) and Phillies (224) were first and second, respectively.

Both lineups are outstanding and will face pitching staffs that have some holes. The Phillies rotation behind ace Cliff Lee is less-than-stellar, as Cole Hamels has been unable to match his performance from last year's playoffs. Pedro Martinez is slated to pitch Game 2 for the Phillies, and he is coming off a seven-inning shutout of the Dodgers in Game 2 of the NLCS. But he is nowhere near the Pedro Martinez of old.

The Philadelphia bullpen has been much-maligned all season and, while Brad Lidge has been lights out in the playoffs so far, he hasn't seen a lineup with as many clutch bats as the Yankees. Ryan Madson hasn't been his dominant self either, and Philadelphia lacks other reliable options outside of Chad Durbin, who has thrown four scoreless post-season innings.

These are just a few reasons why I believe the pitching advantage in this series goes to the Yankees. Both teams have a horse at the top of the rotation in Lee and C.C. Sabathia, but Martinez and Hamels don't match up to A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte, who will start Games 2 and 3 respectively for New York. Burnett was roughed up in his last start, but pitched well in his first two post-season outings, while Pettitte has thrown a quality start each time out and has been a great post-season pitcher throughout his career.

The Yankees also known what they're going to get out of closer Mariano Rivera at the back end of their bullpen. Phil Hughes has had his issues as has Alfredo Aceves, and Joba Chamberlain has allowed seven hits in three-plus innings of work, but the Yankees starters go deep enough into games that Girardi can mix-and-match guys like Phil Coke, David Robertson and Brian Bruney, who was added to the roster for this series.

Overall, the Yankees are deeper both in the rotation and in the bullpen. It's hard to give an advantage to either lineup, so we can call that a push. And the fact is that it's extremely difficult to repeat as champions and the Yankees have been hungry all season, seemingly for the first time in years.

In my book, all this adds up to the 27th world championship for the New York Yankees, although this series will pose more of a challenge to them then either the Twins or Angels could. I was there when the Yankees swept the Braves for their 25th title and I have tickets to Game 6 this time around. Hopefully I will witness yet another title celebration, and I predict that I will.

Prediction: Yankees in six

No comments:

Post a Comment