Wednesday, October 28, 2009
WORLD SERIES PREVIEW
The 2009 World Series is scheduled to begin tonight and the New York Yankees are the big favorites against the Philadelphia Phillies, the team which won the World Series one year ago.
The Phillies will not be intimidated by the Yankees, winners of 26 World Series, including three in succession from 1998-2000.
Both teams feature formidable lineups and good starting pitching. The Yankees have the advantage in the bullpen as the Phillies had a roller coaster season with closer Brad Lidge while Mariano Rivera, the Yankees' closer, just may be the best ever in this category.
Game One (at Yankee Stadium) will see two former teammates facing each other on the pitchers' mound as Cliff Lee starts for the Philadelphia Phillies while C.C. Sabathia takes the mound for the New York Yankees.
This will tell a lot regarding the World Series outcome as teams that win Game One generally have success when the dust is settled.
The matchups for Games Two and Three will be intriguing as well as Pedro Martinez, a Yankee nemesis from his days with Boston, will start Game Two for the Phils and A.J. Burnett will start for the Bronx Bombers. Andy Pettitte will start for the Yankees when the Series moves to Philadelphia and hitter friendly Citizens Bank Ball Park while Cole Hamels, last year's World Series MVP, will pitch for the Phillies.
There is the possibility that Sabathia and Lee could square off three times if the World Series goes the entire seven games.
The matchups at the plate has two teams that can flat out hit the stuffing out of the baseball as evidenced by the production they had from their lineups in 2009.
The Yankees (103-59 in regular season) have Mark Teixiera (39 HRs, 122 RBI, .292 BA) in the middle of the lineup along with Alex Rodriguez (30, 100, .286) and Hideki Matsui (28, 90, .274) and Derek Jeter, who seems to have been around forever with the Yankees, leads off after hitting .334 with 18 HRs and 66 RBI to go with 30 stolen bases.
Johnny Damon (24, 82, .282) is the perfect complement in the two-hole behind Jeter and the rest of the lineup is exceptional as well. Jorge Posada (22, 81, .285), Robinson Cano (25, 85, .320), Nick Swisher (29, 82, .249) and Melky Cabrera (13, 68, .274) round out the six through nine slots and the 'Bombers also have Jerry Hairston, Jr. and Eric Hinske off the bench.
The Phillies have Jimmy Rollins (21, 77, .250 and 31 stolen bases) and Shane Victorino (10, 62, .292, 25 steals) at the top of the lineup and these two are as good as any in the major leagues at getting on base and making things happen.
Chase Utley (31, 93, .282, 23 steals) Ryan Howard (45, 141. 279), Jayson Werth (36, 99, .268 and 20 steals) and Raul Ibanez (34, 93, .272) are the muscle in the middle and Pedro Feliz (12, 82, .266) and Carlos Ruiz (9, 43, .255) round out the lineup. When the teams play in New York, the Phillies' Designated Hitter will be either Ibanez or Matt Stairs, a cagey veteran who has been there many times and isn't afraid to swing the bat.
This is looking to be a classic World Series between the Yankees and the Phillies that could very well go the full seven games, something that has not happened since 2002.
Look for the teams to score lots of runs in Philly, and not as much in Yankee Stadium as the pitching matchups between Lee and Sabathia should help to keep the run totals down when they take to the mound.
The prediction here is for the underdog Philadelphia Phillies to repeat as World Series champions in six games.