Tuesday, October 27, 2009

From 30 to 2: Yankees vs Phillies In 2009 Fall Classic

Tomorrow night, the 2009 Fall Classic gets underway. And on paper it looks like it could be a classic, but then again they don't play baseball games on paper. They play them on a diamond n a park. Two very good and very talented teams will square off. In my preseason predictions I had neither team even making the playoffs. I had the Red Sox winning the AL East and the Tampa Bay Rays winning the AL Wild Card. I thought the New York Mets would win the NL East and the Brewers would take the NL Wild Card. My World Series was the Red Sox over the Mets. Wow, was I way off! But clearly as the season played out the Yankees were the best team in all of baseball and the Phillies were not far behind. Both teams have high powered offenses who can hit the long ball, both have very good starting pitching with an ace. But the Yankees clearly have a better and more consistent bullpen. And it could very well come down to the bullpens. Here is my position by position breakdown and who has the advantage. I have also posted each players WAR next to their name.

1B: Mark Teixiera (5.2) vs Ryan Howard (4.9)

Two of the best 1B in the game right now, the only two that might be better are Pujols and Fielder. Both were fantastic in the regular season. Teixiera is better defensively, but Howard is hitting better in the postseason and the only player that might be hotter is A-Rod.

Advantage: Push

2B: Robinson Cano (4.3) vs Chase Utley (7.7)

Cano is a top 10, maybe even top 5 2B in MLB right now. But Chase Utley is the best at the position and has been for a few years now.

Advantage: Phillies

3B: Alex Rodriguez (4.6) vs Pedro Feliz (1.2)

This really isn't even a question. And for the first time ever, A-Rod is producing at a very high level in the postseason. He has been the best player hands down this October.

Advantage: Yankees

SS: Derek Jeter (7.4) vs Jimmy Rollins (2.4)

Rollins is a former MVP and one of the best and most exciting players in the game. But he has had a down year. Jeter keeps plugging away and had a fantastic season. And even though I hate throwing "intangibles" around, Jeter has them all.

Advantage: Yankees

C: Jorge Posada (4.0) vs Carlos Ruiz (2.2)

I would love to have a catcher like Ruiz on the Brewers. Good defensively, handles the pitchers and has a little pop in his bat. But I would really love to have Posada. Does the same things as Ruiz but better.

Advantage: Yankees

LF: Johnny Damon (2.8) vs Raul Ibanez (4.1)

Damon had himself a nice contract season, and was heavily aided by the short porch in RF at New Yankee Stadium with his power numbers. I guess some could say the same about Ibanez at Citizens Bank Park. It's pretty close, but Ibanez better fielder and arm.

Advantage: Phillies

CF: Melky Cabrera (1.6) vs Shane Victorino (3.4)

Pretty similar players if you ask me. Cabrera with a little more power, Victorino with a little more speed. Victorino also the better overall hitter and defender.

Advantage: Phillies

RF: Nick Swisher (3.7) vs Jayson Werth (4.7)

I was surprised to see Werth's WAR was only 1 point higher then Swisher's. Both have power, Werth the better hitter for average and has more speed. Pretty even defensively. If someone said I could have either on my team, I'm taking Werth.

Advantage: Phillies

Bench: Matsui, Hinske, Hairston, Molina, Gardner vs Bruntlett, Stairs, Francisco, Bako, Dobbs

Matsui will DH in New York. Not sure who Philly will use, I would assume Stairs. Hairston and Bruntlett are both solid utility guys and you can't go wrong with Bako or Molina as your #2 catcher. I like both teams benches. Too close to call.

Advantage: Push

Starting Pitching: Sabathia, Burnett, Pettitte vs Lee, Martinez, Hamels

Each team has their legit #1 ace in CC and Cliff the former teammates in Cleveland. Burnett and Hamels are #2's that could be #1's on a lot of teams. Pettitte and Martinez are the gritty veterans who have been here and done this plenty of times before. I think the Yankees will stick to a 3 man rotation but the Philles may use Joe Blanton or JA Happ in game 4.

Advantage: Push

Bullpen: Rivera, Hughes, Chamberlain, Coke, Marte, Gaudin vs Lidge, Madson, Park, Eyre,Durbin

I think this is a no brainer. The Yankees pen has pretty much been money all year long, Rivera is an ageless wonder who is probably the best ever at what he does (with all respect to Trevor Hoffman) and has the two young flame throwers Hughes and Chamberlain setting him up. Lidge and Madson have been very erratic a season after they were as good as you could get for a closer and setup man. I also would take Coke, Marte and Gaudin over Park, Eyre and Durbin.

Advantage: Yankees

Final Tally's: Yankees 4, Phillies 4, Push 3

As you can see, these two teams are about as evenly matched as two teams could be. As a fan of baseball I think we are going to be in for a real treat of a World Series. After seeing the last three World Series end so quickly (5 games in 2006, 4 games in 2007 and 5 games in 2008), I think we are in for a 7 game classic. I just believe that these teams are too close together in talent to have one team just roll over the other team. I can't wait.

Final Prediction: Yankees in 7
MVP: CC Sabathia

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