Which team will emerge victorious in the 2009 World Series between the Phillies and the Yankees? In what follows I’ll give my thoughts on who it looks like will win this battle of two potent offenses.
Phillies: The fourth highest scoring team in the regular season (820 runs), the Phils also hit 224 home runs, tied for second overall with the Rangers.
The Phils boast four 30-homer bats in Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth, Raul Ibanez and Chase Utley. Howard and Ibanez are traditional slugger types whereas Werth (20 steals) and Utley (23 steals) bring a 20/20 game to the party. The Phillies also boast two solid table setters in Jimmy Rollins (100 runs, 31 steals) and Shane Victorino (102 runs, 25 steals). There is no finer group of six offensive weapons in the game in one lineup.
Yankees: The highest scoring team in the regular season (915), the Yankees also led baseball with 244 home runs.
Like the Phillies, the Yankees boast a powerful lineup with two 30-100 guys in Mart Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez. Nick Swisher also went deep 29 times with 82 RBI while Hideki Matsui (28-90), Robinson Cano (25-85),Johnny Damon (24-82) and Jorge Posada (22-81) are all also members of the 20-HR, 80-RBI club. And to think, I didn’t even mention their most important player yet in Derek Jeter.
Both of these teams can bash, and both yards are clearly made for offensive explosions. Given the depth of both lineups this is almost a toss up, but I’ll go with the Yankees who figure to have an advantage when using the DH in the Yankees’ home park for up to four games.
Phillies: Finished eighth in ERA (4.16), 8th in WHIP (1.3520) and tied for 12th in K (1,153) during the regular season.
Cliff Lee is amazing, and Brad Lidge has apparently figured things out at the back end of games. Pedro Martinez has also dialed back the calendar some seven or eight years. Joe Blanton and J.A. Happ can start or relieve at this point, but the key to this unit is twofold. (1) Can Cole Hamels recapture last year’s success? (2) Will that bullpen be able to get leads from the starters into the hands of Mr. Lidge, and will he be able to convert if they do?
Yankees: Finished 12th in ERA (4.26), 7th in WHIP (1.3517) and 4th in K (1,260) during the regular season.
The Yankees didn’t give CC Sabathia the keys to Fort Knox to waste away on the bench, so it looks like he might be asked to go in Games 1, 4 and 7. Andy Pettitte continues to come through in big games, and A.J. Burnett might be erratic, but the man has no-hit stuff every time he takes the mound. There are no concerns here about the bullpen as Mariano Rivera is the all-time playoff reliever, and with Joba Chamberlain on hand to help Phil Hughes to get the ball to Mariano, things are looking pretty good.
The bullpen will likely be the difference here, and as long as the Yanks can get Hughes back on track, they have the advantage.
Phillies: There is little depth here for the Phillies who were lucky enough to have pretty much every offensive weapon suit up for at least 130 games during the regular season. Matt Stairs will likely be called on to try and hit a ball to the moon, and Greg Dobbs and Ben Francisco are also on hand for some added depth.
Yankees: When the game moves to Philadelphia, the Yankees will have a huge advantage with Hideki Matsui, an everyday slugger, able to pinch hit at a moments notice. That gives them the advantage on the road, and at home they will also be in the same position rolling Matsui as DH with the Phillies likely using someone like Dobbs, Stairs or Francisco. That’s not a favorable matchup.
Phillies: 5th in fielding percentage (.987).
Manager Charlie Manuel has a World Series Championship under his belt from last season, but the guy just scares the hell out of me with the use of his pitching staff.
Yankees: 16th in field percentage (.985).
Manager Joe Girardi will look to emulate his former manager, Joe Torre, and return the Yankees to the realm of World Champions.
RAY’s PICK: Yankees in Six
I almost want to puke. In fact, I might if I was picking the Dodgers here. Still, the Yankees are my second most hated club, cue the vomit bags, and given that their player’s salary is something like the GNP of a few countries in the world, it’s hard to like the Evil Empire. However, it looks like they will win their first World Series since 2000 and their 27th overall championship.
By Ray Flowers