(Note - preivew/comparison posts by Mike and Joe will be posted tomorrow as well)
I know we're all still pumped about last night's game in which the Yanks won their 40th AL Pennant, but with just 2 days until Game 1, I'm gonna take a shot at previewing which very may be an exciting World Series between the Yankees and Phillies.
As we all know, the Bombers are coming off a thrilling 5-2 win last night to eliminate the Angels and head to the World Series for the first time since 2003. Andy pitched great, Mo got a 6-out save, and it was all fun and games following the last out. But the Yanks will have to get back to business quickly, as Game 1 is right around the corner, and the Yanks are poised to finally capture the elusive 27th ring.
And right down the Turnpike we see Philadelphia, the defending champs, and after winning the NLCS almost a week ago, the Phillies were resting up to see who they would face in the Fall Classic - now they know, obviously, and as I speak are having a workout at Citizens Bank Park. Last year the Phillies waited 6 days until playing the Rays in last year's WS, and this year it will be 7 days until first pitch is thrown. As you know, they showed no signs of tiredness after resting for such a long time last fall, but 2008 was 2008. It's 2009 now, and you never know what Philly might be feeling.
Let's get to the comparisons. First, let's get to first. Both Mark Teixeira and Ryan Howard had huge years for the Yanks and Phillies in the regular season, but as soon as the playoffs started, Howard jumped way in front of Teixeira by driving in 14 runs combined in the NLDS and NLCS, while Teix struggled and drove in only 4 combined. But, while Howard may be a bit better offensively, Teix provides much better defense at first, and after hitting that big 3-run double in Game 5 and then after picking up a couple hits in Game 6, Teix may be on the verge of a huge World Series. But on the verge, isn't the same as actually doing it. Right now, I go with Howard.
Now, let's move to 2nd base. Both Chase Utley and Robinson Cano are slick fielding, power hitting, RBI machines, and both of them proved that in the regular season as Cano knocked 25 out of the park and drove in 85, and Utley slammed 31 out and drove in 93. Defensively, Cano has a better arm, but other than that, they're pretty much even.
Now, 3rd base. I don't think this really needs to go into specifics, but I'll do it anyway. Alex Rodriguez is having the postseason of his life, as the slugger has finally gotten out of his playoff slump. ALCS and ALDS stats combine show A-Rod is hitting .438 with 5 home runs and 12 RBIs. Hopefully he can continue his dominance in the World Series, and if he does that, the Yanks have a very good chance to bring home #27. But there is another 3rd baseman on the other team. His name is Pedro Feliz, and he is having the complete opposite of the postseason that A-Rod is having. He's batting .161 with just 1 walk in all 9 playoff games. This is a tough one, but I'm gonna have to go with...
Now let's discuss the shortstops. Derek Jeter had an MVP-caliber year for the Yanks during the regular season, and Jimmy Rollins didn't do that much worse for the Phillies. They're both pretty even, regular season stats wise. But in the playoffs, Rollins has failed to pick up an RBI, while the Captain has drove in 5 and hit 3 long balls. Even if Rollins played better than Jeter this postseason, Jeter would get the edge, because of his postseason experience. Sure, Rollins won last year, but Derek has won 4 and has made the playoffs 12 of his 13 year career.
Let's go behind the plate and discuss Jorge Posada and Carlos Ruiz. Jorge has more experience and is having a good postseason, hitting a couple homers and driving in 3 RBIs. The only bad thing - 7 strikeouts. He needs to swing at more pitches, and needs to actually make contact when he does swing. Fixes that, and he's all good. Ruiz is in his 4th year in the Bigs, and had a pretty nice year. He hit 9 homers, drove in over 30 RBIs, and is a pretty good defensive catcher. He also had a big NLCS. But like with the shortstop comparison, its the experience that plays a factor, and Jorge has much more experience and really, is a better player overall.
Instead of comparing every Yankees outfielder to every Phillies outfielder, I'm just gonna put the Yankees and Phillies' respective outfielders together and compare them as a group. For the Yankees, Johnny Damon, Melky Cabrera, and Nick Swisher, is good - offensively, at least. Defensively, Damon, even though he's one of my favorite players, plays a terrible outfield, as we all know, and Swish is right about average defensively if not a bit below average. Melky really is the only really good defender out in the outfield, but thanks to the power of Johnny Damon and Nick Swisher, putting them out there inning after inning isn't a bad thing at all. For the Phillies, you got Raul Ibanez in left, Shane Victorino in center, and Jayson Werth in right. Ibanez has power and plays an average outfield, Shane Victorino "The Flying Hawaiian" has speed and plays a very good outfield, and Werth is a big home-run hitter and plays a good enough outfield to get by. Here I give the edge to the Phillies because they have slightly more power in the outfield, plus defensively, they're a better outfield. But then again, not by much.
Sorry this is so long, but now on to the Pitching Rotations. CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and Andy Pettitte have all shined tihs postseason, and rightfully so have been tabbed as the best rotation in the World Series. CC was the ALCS MVP, A.J. tossed a couple nice games before allowing 6 runs in Game 5, and Andy has been his normal postseason self. The Phillies' have Cliff Lee, Cole Hammels, and Pedro, yes, Pedro Martinez. Cliff Lee has been great as expected, Cole Hammels, well, he's been okay, and Pedro, in his only playoff start, allowed a run against the Dodgers in Game 2 of the NLCS. Besides CC against Cliff Lee in Games 1, 4, and 7, it doesn't look like the other matchups will be THAT intriguing, ya know. The edge goes to the Yanks here.
Next, the guys after the rotation - the bullpens. I'm don't know that much on the Phillies 'pen, but after watching maybe 10 Phillies games, and that includes the series vs the Yanks back in June plus the two playoff series, I've seen that they're pretty good. And even though Brad Lidge blew 11 saves this season, he's regained his form as well. But he does not compare to the best closer in baseball in Mariano Rivera, and I believe the rest of the bullpen as well has a slight advantage over the Phillies.
And last, but certainly not least, the managers. Charlie Manuel, coming off his first World Series Championship last year, has been the Phillies manager since 2006, and since then has lead the Phillies to 3 straight NL East titles. Obviously, he has more experience than Joe Girardi, and know when I think about, there's really no need for this paragraph.
Now I know I gave the edge to the Yanks in most of the catergories, but to me the teams are pretty even. It's just that when you really go into the stats and stuff, you find a slight edge int he Yanks favor. So, after thinking about it for a good 45 minutes, I've come to my conclusion. And I beleive, that this Fall Classic, the Yankees will finally capture their 27th World Championship by beating the Phillies in 6 games. I think the series will be one of the most exciting in a while, as both of these teams are worthy of the ring, but in the end, I believe the Yankees will beat the Phillies and will be the 2009 World Champions. And hopefully, I'm right.