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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

World Series Preview

The Bronx is host to the World Series for the 38th time (in 1921 and 1922 the Yankees played at the Polo Grounds), starting tonight at 7:57 pm. In what is a Mets fan's nightmare-come-true, the Yankees and Phillies are the last two teams standing.

This postseason the Yankees have yet to be tested by a team as defensively impervious to distraction as the Phillies are. Philadelphia, meanwhile, has yet to face an offense as daunting as New York's.

Neither team has ever had to face the horror of commuting through New Jersey (buh-duh-bum).

BNN's position-by-position breakdown of the two teams...

Catcher - Edge Yankees - I gave the edge to the Yankees in the championship, too...but that was back when Jeff Mathis was a nobody backup catcher, yet to wreak havoc on Yankee pitching for six straight games. So there's no reason to trust me here. However, the catchers on both the Yankees and Phillies have hit well during these playoffs.

First Base - Edge Phillies - The first basemen that you would take over Mark Teixeira is a rarity — but Ryan Howard absolutely qualifies. While Teixeira finally began to come around at the end of the ALCS, notching a few RBI in the last two games, his batting average is .205 for the postseason. Meanwhile, Howard has been Philadelphia's A-ROD. Howard has 14 RBI in Philly's nine playoff games, with a .462 obp.

Second Base - Edge Phillies - C'mon we're talking about Chase Utley here. The best second basemen in Major League Baseball.

Third Base - Edge Yankees - Take what I said about Chase Utley, and replace his name with Alex Rodriguez. A-ROD has been untouchable throughout this postseason.

Shortstop - Edge Yankees - Philadelphia's Jimmy Rollins is no louse, but he has been playing like one. Meanwhile Derek Jeter has hit well consistently (except with runners in scoring position).

Left Field - Edge Phillies - Neither Johnny Damon nor Raul Ibanez has been terribly impressive this postseason, but Ibanez was better throughout the regular season and has had more big hits during these playoffs.

Center Field - Tie - Wait, Melky Cabrera is tied with the Shane Victorino? Cabrera has been the Yankees quiet star this postseason. He has been held hitless in only two of the Yankees' nine games and his strong arm helped to eliminate the Angels' first-to-third base-running strategy.

Right Field - Edge Phillies - While Nick Swisher has been suffering through an almost unsightly slump, Jason Werth has been hitting home runs left and right. That said, Swisher has been sporting some of the best glove work of his entire career this postseason.

Starting Pitchers - Tie - Both teams sport verifiable aces, in the forms of C.C. Sabathia and Cliff Lee. They both have shaky second men — A.J. Burnett and Cole Hamels (I'd take A.J. though). Then each team hits you with their 'Ol Reliables — Andy Pettitte and Pedro Martinez. Finally, the absolute wild cards: For a fourth pitcher, the Yankees will either go with Chad Gaudin or Joba Chamberlain (most likely Gaudin), little can be expected from either. The Phillies will throw either J.A. Happ or Joe Blanton. Both have made one start this postseason, neither was impressive.

Relief Pitchers - Edge Phillies - Who knows if it's because of management or guts, but these two bullpens have done complete 180s this October. Philadelphia came into the postseason with the weakest of all surviving 'pens, and yet their relievers have delivered reliably. Meanwhile, the Yankees were supposed to have had the perfect three inning lockdown, and it has been anything but.

World Series Edge - PHILLIES - This doesn't mean the Phillies will win. The wild card here is that the Yankees, once again, have C.C. Sabathia scheduled for three starts. Philadelphia has not said that they are prepared to work Cliff Lee for an extra start.


  1. The Phillies are being treated in the mainstream media the way the Bronx often gets treated -- no respect. Kudos to the Bronx News Network for not falling into that trap. This is a much fairer appraisal than you'll find at ESPN, for example.

  2. i don't disagtree with most of what you have here, except:

    as a diehard Mets fan, i can tell you that Shane victorino has the edge over Melky by far. he can be a game-changing offensive player with all the things he can do. nothing against Melky, but Shane's a legitimate all-star.

    also, Posada's the better offensive player and big-game threat, but he also can pass the ball in a big spot and ruiz is much more reliable. with both teams stocked offensively, the guy with the better arm and glove behind the plate may be more improtant in this series.

    also, i think the Yankees have an edge in starting pitching. and the phillies bullpen may be deeper, but mariano gives the yankees an advantage... unless you can be really sure of lidge, and i don't think you can.

    i think the phillies ability to come from behind and be a late-inning team will surprise the yanks and the difference... and so i think it'll be philly in 6 or 7... at least that's the way i'm rooting!

  3. Gary,

    I understand what you're saying with regards to catching, but I think that Jorge actually calls a good enough game, and that his bat makes up for a lot of what he loses behind the plate.

    Lidge is definitely no sure thing, but Hughes/Chamberlain/Marte/Coke have been remarkably unsteady this month.


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