November 26, 2014

2009 World Series Preview: Phillies vs. Yankees

Phils WS

The Champs vs. The Yanks

You want star power? East coast bias? Classic franchises? Intriguing match-ups? Crazy fan-bases? This World Series has got about anything you could want as a fan – unless of course you are a Mets fan.

As I said before the NLDS: Until the Phillies lose, I will not be changing the format of my previews. So, in the same format as last year’s preview, here’s my 2009 World Series rundown.

The Aces

Cliff Lee / Cole Hamels

vs. CC Sabathia / A.J. Burnett

I’m going to call CC and Lee a wash. Lee has been slightly better in the playoffs (0.74 ERA vs. 1.19 ERA) and in the regular season (3.22 ERA vs. 3.37 ERA) but has been doing more of it against teams not playing a DH. They are friends and might face each other in Games 1, 4 and 7. We don’t even know who is going for the Phillies in Game 2, but chances are it will be Hamels, and it will likely be Burnett for the Yankees. Neither pitcher has been great in the post-season, but Hamels and his 6.75 ERA are in real danger of getting lit-up by this Yankees line-up. Edge to the Yankees.

The Mids

Joe Blanton / Pedro Martinez / JA Happ / Cliff Lee on 3 days rest

vs. Andy Pettitte / CC Sabathia on 3-days rest

We know Pettitte will go in Game 3, and I am going to assume we will see Pedro there for us with Blanton or Happ ready in reserve. Pettitte has turned it on in the playoffs per usual (2.37 ERA) but hasn’t exactly seen a line-up quite like ours. Also, surprisingly, lefties hit 40 points higher off him than righties on the year, which helps us out as well. Pedro’s only start this postseason was brilliant, giving up only 2 hits in 7 IP in LA. Like Pettitte, he also tunes it up for the playoffs. There is some uncertainty with Pedro, but his numbers when he has pitched, in the regular season and playoffs, are better than Pettitte’s, so I’m giving him the edge.

Since the Yankees are likely to go with a 3-man rotation, CC appears here as well. However, I am going to assume that he won’t be quite as good as he was in Game 1 (see Game 2 of the NLDS last year for comparison). The Phillies could also go with the 3-man rotation, but we don’t know  how Lee would perform in his first time on 3-days rest. The point here is that the Phillies have options in Lee, Blanton and Happ, while the Yankees are banking on Sabathia continuing to be sharp on 3 days rest when last year, after pitching on 3-days rest several times in a row, he was chased out in 3 2/3 innings after giving up 6 hits and 5 runs to this same Phillies team. Edge to the Phillies

Leadoffs

Jimmy Rollins / Shane Victorino

vs. Derek Jeter / Johnny Damon

If you add defense fully into this equation, this comparison becomes drastically different, but let’s see if we can settle this on offense first. The Phillies and Yankees are unique at the top of their line-ups in that both of their top-2 guys are HR threats and run producers. Jeter has been ripping up the post-season (1.029 OPS) and after a silver slugger type regular season, he certainly get the advantage over Rollins – though I do think Rollins will step up in the spotlight, as he usually does. The difference is just as big in the 2-spot, with Victorino sporting a 1.161 OPS to Damon’s .677. Let’s see how the combined pairs playoff stats have looked to date…

WS leadofff

The Phillies pair is slightly ahead of the Yankees duo in every category except HR. Add the fact that Rollins and Victorino are the superior baserunners and fielders, and I’m giving the slight edge to the Phillies. Hopefully that’s not too tough for some Yankees fans to deal with, as they tend to be unaware there are many other players who play well in the spotlight besides Captain Jetes.

RBI Guys

Chase Utley / Ryan Howard / Jayson Werth

vs. Mark Teixeira / Alex Rodriguez / Jorge Posada

There is little doubt that we are dealing with the 2 best middle-of-the-orders in all of baseball. A-Rod and Ry-Ho are having historic postseasons, and you could make the argument that the 3-hole hitters on each squad are actually the better baseball players. Like the first category, let’s start by looking at the post-season stats for the trio’s so far.

WS Trios

Once again, the Phillies trio looks better across the board, even with A-Rod’s insane 1.516 OPS. Lost in all the A-Rod hype (and there is no denying that he has been the best player in the playoffs), is that Tex is sporting a Pedro Feliz-esque .580 OPS so far in the playoffs and that Jayson Werth (1.207 OPS) has been just as dominant as Howard. A-Rod is the best player, but for this group, the slight edge goes to the Phillies.

Bottom Feeders

Raul Ibanez / Pedro Feliz / Carlos Ruiz

vs. Hideki Matsui / Robinson Cano / Melky Cabrera

Why stop now? Let’s compare the post-season stats of these guys.

WS bottom

I’ve got to say, I’m surprised at how mediocre the Yankees line-up has been this post-season outside of A-Rod and Jeter. The numbers for this group is pretty even, but I’m giving the slight edge to the Yankees because I’m not sure Carlos Ruiz can keep up being as good as he has been so far (1.000 OPS).

Middle Relief

Ryan Madson / Chan Ho Park / Scott Eyre

vs. Joba Chamberlain / Phil Hughes / David Robertson

This has been a trouble spot for both teams in the regular season and the playoffs. Here are the bullpen numbers for each team in the playoffs (removing the closers).

WS mid

Both squads have clearly gotten themselves out of a lot of trouble, and those comically high WHIPs infer that the ERA’s should be much higher. Again, we have a category where you could make a fully valid argument for each squad, but I am going to give the slight edge to the Yankees here because I just don’t trust our bullpen against a deep American League line-up.

Closer

Brad Lidge

vs. Mariano Rivera

This might be your key to the entire series. So far this postseason, Rivera has pitched 10.2 innings (more than 1 per game), giving up only 7 hits and 1 ER. If he is on, he is impossible to hit, and when we get down to the end of the series we could see him for 2 innings at a time. Without him, this series would have a completely different feel. Lidge’s renaissance has been great, but Rivera is the greatest ever. Edge to the Yankees.

Bench/DH

Ben Francisco / Greg Dobbs / Matt Stairs

vs. Nick Swisher / Brett Gardner / Jerry Hairston Jr.

Obviously we will be using a DH in any games played in Yankee stadium. Hopefully it will be Ben Francisco, who has been underused by Charlie this post-season. After that, our bench has been awful. The last time Greg Dobbs got a hit was October 4th. The last time Stairs got a hit was…wait for it… September 19th. Gardner gives the Yankees a very good defensive replacement and pinch runner and Hairston gives them some pop off the bench. Edge to the Yankees.

Manager

Charlie Manuel

vs. Joe Girardi

Manuel has the ring on his finger and Girardi has had the finger pointed at him for quizzical moves in many of the Yankees losses this postseason. The Angels and Twins seemed scared of the Yankees, with Charlie at the helm, you know our guys won’t be. Edge to the Phillies.

Intangibles

  • Yankees have home field advantage
  • Phillies have league’s best road record
  • The Phillies have slightly better team defense
  • Phillies are better baserunners as a team (0.27 vs. -0.87 EqBRR average)
  • The Phillies have had a lay-off
  • The pressure is on the Yankees, not the Phillies
  • Once again, the majority of the “experts” have picked against the Phillies, as they have in the last 4 series the Phillies have won
  • We won 2 of 3 (and should have swept) in the Bronx this summer

Once again, the Phillies are the better defensive team, and better base-running team. Slight edge to Phillies.

Prediction

If this isn’t the ultimate Good vs. Evil battle, I don’t know what is. On one end, you have the scrappy Phillies team led by a group a home-grown charismatic talents and a rag-tag manager. On the other end, you have the Yankees, a team full of (mostly) bought talent, led by a player who in addition to frosting his hair, admitted to steroid use earlier this season and is cheered on by fans who (mostly) think that a World Series title is their birthright.

The Yankees are favored to win this series, and until I really looked at the numbers, I agreed. It’s an incredibly tough series to call (5 to 5 on the above categories), but here are my reasons why either team could win…

5 Reasons Why the Phillies could win

  • CC don’t scare me, and he don’t scare the Phillies. Including last year’s playoff game, our players have a career .278 average against Sabathia and rocked him in the playoffs last year. He was clearly rattled in CBP. I expect him to pitch well in Game 1, but perhaps struggle in Game 4.
  • Regular season numbers don’t carry over. When you look at the Yankees line-up 1-9, the regular season numbers are staggering. But as I said earlier, aside from Jeter and A-Rod, they have struggled in the playoffs against better pitching. If you take A-Rod and Jeter out of the equation, their team OPS is .660. Or the same as David Eckstein had during the regular season.
  • Joba and Phil. Young, hard throwing righties who have a tendency to lose control of their pitches and can be rattled by loud crowds? Our lefties vs. these two guys in the 7th and 8th could play a big role.
  • Fundamentals. The Yankees got a ton of breaks in the first 2 rounds with terrible defense and base running by the Twins and Angels (not to mention a ridiculous umpiring call or two). I don’t expect that to happen again.
  • Under Pressure. The Yankees gargantuan payroll and vicious media make this a win-or-get-smeared-all-winter series for the Yankees. The Phillies meanwhile, are in a place where we are behind them no matter what.

5 Reasons Why the Yankees could win

  • Rivera, Rivera, Rivera. The #1 weapon in this entire series is Mariano Rivera. The Phillies had 9th inning comebacks in both the Rockies and Dodgers series. I wouldn’t count on that again.
  • The light turns on. As I said above, most of the Yankees line-up has been hitting poorly this post-season. But that doesn’t mean they will. If a couple more guys get hot, no pitching can stop their line-up.
  • Home Field. I think this is a big deal, not because we can’t win on the road, but because our crowds have shown they can really shake up the opposing players in CBP. Perfect examples are the crowd willing CC Sabathia into a huge Brett Myers walk last year, and the “unnamed” Rays player telling Jayson Werth he was terrified to play in Philly during the series last year.
  • Our 8th and 9th? Last year, the 8th and 9th innings were easy for the Phils, this year they have been more of an adventure, and I still think we are very vulnerable there.
  • $210 million. A payroll like that usually buys you pretty good depth (but only 3 starting pitchers apparently), which the Yankees have on their bench.

I think the Yankees are being played up a little too much by the media (shocking). They beat a non-playoff team in the ALDS and had the Angels forget how to play the game in the ALCS. The Phillies will be, by far, the best team they have faced this post-season. The Yankees will also be, by far, the best team the Phillies have played.

We know that anything can happen in a 7-game series. There is no clear favorite here and a good argument can be made for either squad, as is usually the case in the playoffs. In the end, I don’t think that Yankees starters are good enough to hold us down, and our solid fundamentals won’t give them any easy wins. The Phillies are looking to become one of the greatest teams of all time, while the Yankees are simply looking to be the most recent Yanks squad to do what they are supposed to do. Phillies repeat and cement a legacy while the Bronx burns.

Final prediction: Phillies in Six

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Comments

  1. jjg says:

    Pete,  I just posted (“Believe It … “, #41) on this topic, the upcoming Series.  Please insert it on this thread, add it to the conversation.  Thanks!

  2. Ken Bland says:

    I agree that home field is important here.  For the Yanks to win this Series, they would do well  to defend home field in the first 2 games.  Their edge slips for the next 3, and while neither club figures to go down in a short series, the Phils could end this matchup in a short time with the advantages of the would be middle 3 at home, or at least have a bird’s eye view of the finish line.

    Consider – - –

    1/ CC Sabathia is an excellent pitcher.  Indisputable.  He is as good as it gets among current day pitchers on short rest.  Indisputable.  That said, he will find some real challenges in succeeding in this situation.  He will face the same club in consecutive starts, which in and of itself is tougher, let alone a good one, that he is already familiar with him, and hardly intimidated by him.  Not to mention the hostility of the road. 
    It’s not impossible that he do it, but its not likely.    

    2/ Mo Rivera could pitch multiple innings on consecutive days of games 1 and 2.  But he virtually has to miss a game in Philly if the schedule stays true with games 3 days in a row, or at least not come in early. 

    Nice edges to play off of for the middle 3 games.

    The drama of a clinching game speaks for itself.  But the way I am looking at it, it is highly, highly advntageous to the Phils to win 1 of the first 2 minimum.  I thnk the pitching edge goes to the Yanks (Lee-Sabathia, AJ-Pedro is my expectation), a rested Mo, who could go 2 in a row, multiple innings, but that does not mean the Phils won’t win.  Should they, they might wind up making  an emphatic point in the way history views them.  I have no urge to predict  winner, or length in this one.  Just a real sense of urgency about game 1, and even if the Phils win, about game 2.  WFCX2.

  3. Ken Bland says:

    <<But you have to admit that the Phils, for the first time, are facing a group that is better than them, even though not by much IMO. I keep breaking it down in my head the categories of strength and it seems the Yanks top them in all except maybe defense and intangibles. Either the Yanks get exposed as the overhyped, undertested and overpaid group that they are or the Phils as a team play just far better than the Bomber; those are the only situations where I can envision a Phillies win.
    Well its all about who plays better anyway.>>

    I’d be hard pressed to disagree with the closing comment originally posted on the back to back pennants board.  But I would hardly understate the importance of defense and intangibles.  And as mirror image as the clubs are in a lot of ways, explosive, powerful, great comeback ability, the only great edge that I feel compelled to give the Yanks on paper is starting pitching and Mo.  I think the Phils in a position by position comp score well, holding edges at catcher, second, and all 3 OF slots.  The Yanks are so top heavy.  Their producers are impactful (both pitching and position), but the Phils have better balance.  Both clubs are facing their strongest competition of the post season, and I can’t rule it out because of studs in CC, AJ and Petite, but I have a hard time envisioning he Yanks taking the Phils out of their game the way they did the Angels.  One thing for sure, this is not the Dodgers pitching we’re facing this time.    No matter who wins this matchup, these are 2 terrific clubs that are worthy of their spots in the Series.  Neither one inspires great confidence in projecting a winner on talent considering the opponent.

  4. jjg says:

    In my opinion, 3rd Base and Closer are the only positions in which Yankees have DECIDED edges.  Intangibles – club comraderie, grit/fighting attitude (exemplified ridiculously by “Nitro” Victorino’s desperate crab walk and dirty, infield leg grab during pick-off rundown vs. Dodgers), confidence of more recent post-season play and success – are in Phils’ favor.  Home field advantage, Yankees.  Pitching staffs, slight edge to Yanks.  (IF Phillies’ middle relief – Park, Durbin, Eyre – remains effective, team should be tough to beat.)  Gonna be an extended Series, 6 or 7.  Flip a coin for your winner.  [Humble reminder:  I picked Dodgers in 7.]  Since Charlie’s keeping Game 2 pitcher under his hat, my guess is Martinez will follow Lee.  If Manuel trusted Hamels for that important slot at Yankee Stadium, I believe he’d have named him by now.

  5. Ken Bland says:

    Since Charlie’s keeping Game 2 pitcher under his hat, my guess is Martinez will follow Lee.  If Manuel trusted Hamels for that important slot at Yankee Stadium, I believe he’d have named him by now.>>

    Agree 100 per cent. 

  6. jjg says:

    Appreciate the inclusion, Pete.  Thanks for obliging.

  7. jjg says:

    The one number that jumped out at me today was Yanks 90-44 record this season when A-Rod was in line-up.

  8. jjg says:

    Technically 2 numbers but read together 1 tale.

  9. jkay says:

    i doubt that home field advanage will matter much in this series. The way i look at it, both offenses are so explosive and both relief corps so questionable that anyne could topple the home team. If the Phillies were to take a 2-0 lead, i would not be relaxed at all.

  10. The Real Rob says:

    I noticed that for every category, each team has a slight edge over the other team.  However, I think the Phils can have the heavy advantage in quickness and base stealing.  With the Phillies runners in scoring position, along with their quickness and base stealing, that could really get the Yankees’ pitchers rattled and then make falter (like Sabbathia did last year with the bases loaded).  If the Yankees give the Phillies an inch and keep walking them, then the Phillies will win in 6.

    Another question is: What will the Phillies do with A-Rod?  How afraid are they of A-Rod?

    But this will be the most interesting World Series with viewer ratings skyrocketing, unlike last year. 

    Tell your NY friends to bring the Cheesecakes, while us Philly fans bring the Cheesesteaks!  It’s time to raise the steaks and the cakes!

    GO PHILLIES!!

  11. judas_priest says:

    Ah, but the Phillies have an edge.  Lidge hasn’t given up a run in his last 8 appearances;  Rivera has.
    Who’d have thought, 4 weeks ago, that that statement would be true? Baseball is a crazy game.

  12. Ed R. says:

    Though it is indisputable that the Yankees have bought most of their talent but to say the Phillies are a home grown team is inaccurate. Especially when you consider that of the Yankees current 25 man play off roster, 13 are home grown(may not have played for them their entire career such as Pettitte) and 12 are acquired via trade and free agency. 13 of 25. Not bad. Of the Phillies current 25 man play off roster…9 are home grown while 16 are acquired via trade or free agency. Of the Phillies starting 8, 5 are home grown, of the Yankees starting 9, including the DH, 5 are home grown if you include Matsui. He may have started in Japan but has played his entire MLB career with the Yankees. 

    Other than that little quip I do love this preview, well written and full of great information. GO PHILLIES!!

  13. Ed R. says:

    Charlie just said on the radio that Pedro was going game 2.

  14. Pete says:

    Ed R. -

    Fair enough. I was focusing more on the Phillies core being home grown…

    Rollins, Utley, Howard, Hamels were all drafted by the Phils.

    But you are right that the Yanks have several home grown guys in Jeter, Posada, Pettitte and Rivera.

    Should have focused on the other end, the “bought” players – A-Rod, Tex, Sabathia, Damon, Matsui, Burnett (the 6 of them made a combined $108.5 million this season)

  15. Pete says:

    So here is what we know about the pitching match-ups…

    Game 1: Lee vs. Sabathia
    Game 2: Martinez vs. Burnett
    Game 3: Hamels vs. Pettitte
    Game 4: _____ vs. Sabathia

  16. Ed R. says:

    Agree with you completely Pete. The Yankees have definitely, paid, mostly over paid for a big bit of their team. I am hoping for the Phillies to win the series for two reasons. Most obviously because I am a fan but also, if I were not a fan of either team I would want the Yankees to lose just so they can see yet another example of how you can not buy a title. When the Yankees were dominate in the early part of the decade it was with home grown talent and stud pitching. Not a line up full of bought HOF’ers. Losing it all this year would be yet another reminder that the one thing you can’t buy, determination is the deciding factor in sports.

  17. Jason says:

    As usual, great analysis and opinion writing by Pete.

    My 2 cents…
    The two most important factors of this series are:
    1) Can the Phillies win one of the first two at NY; preferably game 1
    2) Can the Phillies minimize Rivera’s presence by taking early leads and holding them in the 8th and 9th.

    I just have a feeling that this goes to the Phillies in 6.

  18. Pete, why have the Phillies completely given up on Happ in the postseason?  Didn’t he win the most games for the Phillies out of any starter? and at best he gets 1 or 2 batters during a game or even a series.  Strange.
     
    Also so strange to see the (March-June)  potential League MVP Raul Ibanez in the bottom feeder category.  Is he still hurt, because he’s never been the same.  Chase looks hurt or worn out as well.  Maybe all this rest will help us out.

  19. bski says:

    Checked in on the NY Daily News Yankees blog, Blogging the Bombers, looking for news.  Found a couple things:

    I don’t expect many changes, but I would be surprised if Eric Hinske wasn’t back on the roster in place of Freddy Guzman. With three games in Philly without a DH, they’ll need the extra pinch-hitter.

    Minor roster move, I know, but a good omen (Hinske vs. Lidge), don’t you think?

    Also:

    We know that CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte will start the first three games. After that? It’s anybody’s guess. My guess is that Chad Gaudin starts Game 4 if the Yankees are leading in the series, while Sabathia gets the call on short rest if the Phillies are ahead. I can’t see Girardi using each of his top three on short rest, which is what you would have to do in order to use Sabathia three times and Burnett/Pettitte twice each. I’m thinking we’ll have “TBA” listed as Game 4 starter until after Game 2 at the earliest.

    Nothing concrete or revelatory here, although reading into it a bit gets me thinking.  Getting out to a 2-1 series lead could be huge for us.  For one, obviously, we would give ourselves a chance to win the series at home in 5 games.  Beyond that though, since I doubt that the Yankees would trust Gaudin to pitch on the road in a series in which they are behind, by maintaining a lead in the series, we could compel them to go with three starters and pitch each one of them on short rest, with CC doing it twice if the series ends up going 7 games.  CC is one thing, but doing that with both Burnett and Pettitte could be advantageous to us. 

    I know it sounds stupid, and it’s easier said than done, but getting out to a lead in the series and maintaining it could end up being the key in setting things up in our favor.  Girardi has made some questionable decisions, and needing to chase after wins would undoubtedly force his hand.

  20. Alex says:

    I’m a Yankees fan and I think this series should be a whole lot of fun. I can cite reasons both teams can win, but would like to just point out the faulty things mentioned above.
    First off, Arod – while the Yankees were one of only a handful of teams that could afford him – was acquired via a trade. The Yankees parted with Alfonso Soriano, at the time – an outstanding and inexpensive talent.
    It’s easy to criticize the Yankees for their lack of starting pitching depth, but losing Chien-Ming Wang was certainly a substantial blow. Take your 2nd or 3rd best pitcher off your roster and see how your rotation shakes out. I’d argue that if the Yankees had Pedro Martinez on their roster CC would still pitch on 3 days rest and the Yankees would continue to use their current 3 man rotation. While Chien-Ming Wang was hurt last year, I doubt that the Yankees came into the season assuming he was going to be worthless and in fact one of the worst pitchers in baseball.
    As for the Yankees middle relief, it has been fantastic since Phil Hughes was moved back into the bullpen around June. He was a lock down 8th inning guy and did a fantastic job in is role there since assuming the role. However, since he got to the playoffs he has been more than shaky. If the argument presented were that the Yankees bullpen has been weak in the postseason it would be valid, but to call a bullpen with no problems in the season a “trouble spot for most of the season” is simply unfair. In 51 innings this year as a reliever, Phil Hughes has sported a 1.40 ERA with 65 strikeouts and only 13 walks. While the season doesn’t count, Hughes and Mariano have been lights out for 4 months…it’s not out of the realm of possibility to imagine them having 1 more good week.
    Another thing I find interesting is how Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon can be put behind Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino. You are giving way too much emphasis on a small sample size. Are we going to assume Johnny Damon is not a clutch playoff performer because he has struggled this postseason? As a Yankees fan I watched him torch us in 2004 – I know he can play big. Not to mention he did have a huge bases loaded hit in Game 6 of the ALCS to drive in 2 runs. Derek Jeter is one of the most clutch players of all time…are we really going to say that Jimmy Rollins is better? 40 ABs a piece is a not a sufficient way to evaluate these 4 players. I love the way Rollins and Victorino play, but there is no way they give the Phillies an edge on the Yankees Jeter and Damon. You are weighing this postseason too heavily and ignoring this season’s numbers, career numbers and and careers playoff numbers…if you really want to pump up this postseason’s numbers you could at best argue a wash.
    The series should be really exciting, but I have to (and I’m biased I know), go with the Yankees in 7. To me, both lineups are extremely talented and can make even good starting pitching look silly. If this comes down to a battle of the bullpens, only one team has Mariano. I think Mariano being so steady gives the Yankees the one game edge.

  21. Pete says:

    Alex,

    Thanks for the stopping by.

    Good luck sugar-coating A-Rod’s contract. The one he currently has is a free agent contract, not the one he signed with Texas.

    Fair enough on the Yankees middle relief. You are right that it wasn’t a big issue once Hughes stepped up.

    The Rollins/Victorino vs. Jeter/Damon debate is a great one. Jeter is certainly the best of the 4 – but Phillies’ fan know that Rollins and Shane have stepped up in clutch situations just as often the last couple years as Jeter and Damon have. I think you will be hard pressed to find a Yanks or Phils fan who thinks the opposing pair is better.

  22. Pete says:

    Let’s hope Hamels’ WS performance mirror’s Jamie Moyer’s from 2008. Moyer entered Game 3 of the WS with a 13.50 ERA in his 2 starts in the LDS and LCS. He went 6.1 innings, giving up 3 runs on 5 hits against the Rays.

  23. Alex says:

    So Pete,
    Are you saying the Yankees are not allowed to retain their own players? Derek Jeter was bought too then. So was Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera…etc. The Yankees traded for Arod and have since resigned him to a new contract. Not bought, but rather retention. I don’t like his contract but in the end, it’s not my money and chances are good he will be an outstanding player for 3-4 more years with his decline years being still considerably better than the average player.
    As for the Rollins/Victorino, Jeter/Damon debate, if you compare their numbers this year – there is no debate. Jeter and Damon had superb seasons while Rollins struggled. To credit the Phillies with an edge, albeit a slight one, based on 40 ABs is not fair. Look at the stats:
    Jimmy Rollins: http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/R/jimmy-rollins.shtml
    Derek Jeter: http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/J/Derek-Jeter.shtml
    Shane Victorino: http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/V/shane-victorino.shtml
    Johnny Damon: http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/D/johnny-damon.shtml
    Damon and Jeter had a combined .203 point advantage in OPS over Victorino and Rollins in 2009. Since the original comparison justifies Victorino and Rollins over Damon and Jeter offensively, I’d like to see how that was rationalized…outside of 40 ABs each.
     

  24. Alex says:

    This series hinges on AJ Burnett and Cole Hamels in my opinion. The team to get productive outings out of their inconsistent starters will probably come out on top. I hate AJ Burnett so I’d put my money on Hamels based on past histories…but I’d imagine most Phillies fans have found Hamels to be obnoxiously inconsistent this year. Coin flip?

  25. Pete says:

    Alex –

    Jeter and Posada were drafted by the Yankees, came through their farm system, and were retained by them. A-Rod was traded to the Yankees because they (and the Red Sox) were the only team that could assume his absurd salary. When he was a true free agent, they re-signed him because they were the only team that could assume his absurd salary.

    A-Rod is a Yankee because they have more money to use than any team in baseball. Jeter is a Yankee because they drafted him. If the Pirates had the most money in baseball, A-Rod would be a Pirate.

    To your Damon/Jeter argument. I don’t disagree with your points, but I’ll tell why I choose to do it this way. If I was doing a 2010 preview and wanted to see how I thought a player would perform for an entire season, I would look at their entire season because it would cover all of their ups and downs. And you would be right that Jeter and Damon had better 2009′s as a pair.

    But the World Series is only 4-7 games. What Rollins did from April – August means absolutely nothing. Maybe September performance matters, but what really matters is how they are playing right now. Take Cliff Lee for example. In his last 7 starts before the playoffs, he sported a 6.13 ERA. Is anyone on the Phillies or Yankees thinking about that right now? No, they are thinking about his 0.74 ERA. Is anyone talking about the .934 OPS of A-Rod in the regular season? Do you think he is a .934 OPS hitter right now? I certainly don’t. It’s a small sample size, sure, but it’s not so small that it is irrelevant and the data is more relevant, in my opinion, than what happened in the regular season. Players play differently in the playoffs, as you said, so I’m looking at those numbers first.

  26. phillyfan says:

    the yankees pitching is being overestimated, just like the rockies and dodgers were this year and last.  The Phillies are unique hitting team.  They are labelled as high-powered and mashers – which wthey are.  But they are also disciplined at the plate.  that is a very unique combination.  The latter part is what Charlie has taught them (except Rollins who is unteachable).  They will not get themselves out by swinging at bad pitches.  All great pitchers rely on hitters chasing.  The Phils will not chase and CC and Brunett will need to throw strikes.  No pitcher can survive agains this lineup throwing fastballs for strikes.  The Twins and angels chased bad pitches.  the Phils are the most disciplined hitting team, possibly of all time.  That is why they can hit .235 in a series yet pummel the other team.  They will frequently win games with 5 hits and 8 walks.

  27. Alex says:

    Pete,
    I know what you are saying, but the Yankees played by the rules and parted with an incredibly talented player in acquiring Arod. While not many other teams could afford to assume his contract, trades happen out of economics all the time. If people went to Indians games would Cliff Lee or CC Sabathia be on their respective teams?
    Phillyfan,
    You could certainly argue that the Yankees pitching staff is overrated, but discounting them as the Rockies or Dodgers is absurd. The Rockies and Dodgers don’t have a pitcher as good as AJ Burnett or Andy Pettitte let alone CC Sabathia or Mariano Rivera.
     

  28. bski says:

    Found a head-to-head comparison by Tim Brown on yahoo sports. 

    Catcher: Tie
    1B: Howard
    2B: Utley
    SS: Jeter
    3B: Rodriguez
    LF: Damon
    CF: Victorino
    RF: Werth
    DH: Yankees
    Bullpen: Yankees
    Starters: Yankees
    Bench: Phillies
    Manager: Manuel

    Also found one by Jon Heyman, analyzing the key matchups, on si.com.

    The Aces: Lee vs CC
    The Sluggers: Howard vs A-Rod
    The Manager: Manuel vs Girardi
    The Concerns: Phillies vs Yankees (they have more concerns overall)
    The Recent Games: Phillies vs Yankees
    The Intangibles: Phillies vs Yankees

    Just thought I’d pass along a couple more viewpoints, for what it’s worth.

  29. Pete says:

    Alex-

    The Yankees certainly played by the rules, no arguing that. But they do have more money to play with than any other team, by a good margin. And it’s not just because people go to their games (and pay their ridiculous prices). They have the advantage of the largest city in America. They have the advantage of their own TV network and the revenue streams associated with it. They have the advantage of charging more for tickets due to the economic climate (read: NYC inflation) in their city. They have more merchandise revenue than any other club (this is earned from their long history of winning). They have an owner who doesn’t care about money (unlike some who see it as a business). Some of these things other teams can do (generous owner), some they cannot (TV station, ticket prices, population).

    Once again, they do play by the rules, but for them it is a different set that others simply can’t get to. You can’t spend money you don’t have. It’s fine, and it’s probably good for the game when they are good (as the TV rating for this series will show) – but when Yankees fans think that other teams could play at their monetary level if they wanted to, it is not based in fact.

  30. Pete says:

    Alex is correct that we haven’t seen a pitcher like CC yet.

    We have seen one like Burnett (Ubaldo Jimenez) and Pettitte (Kershaw and Wolf)

  31. Pete says:

    I don’t mean to pick on you Alex, because you are clearly a nice guy who has his head on straight and I appreciate you bringing a Yankee fan perspective over here.

    But you just did the one thing that drives me absolutely crazy about a lot of Yankees fans. You didn’t fully do it, so don’t take this as critical of you, or ALL Yankees fans for that matter, but MANY Yankees fans.

    Yankees’ fans, more than any other fan base, operate under the idea that the Yankees are the only team in baseball. My favorite examples of this are usually in ESPN chats, which ALWAYS have questions from Yankees’ fans like “could we trade Melky Cabrera and Nick Swisher for Matt Cain?” and “What would it take for the Yankees to get Joe Mauer? Austin Jackson and Brett Gardner?” Rarely, if ever, do they consider that the other team is a real team that doesn’t just operate to send their good players to the Yankees. Many times the host of the chat will comment on this phenomenon.

    You only kind of did it by saying “The Rockies and Dodgers don’t have a pitcher as good as AJ Burnett or Andy Pettitte” – ignoring that Ubaldo Jimenez has a far better ERA, more wins, more K’s and a far better WHIP than Burnett while pitching in Coors’ Field. And that Clayton Kershaw had an ERA 58 points lower than Sabathia’s and 137 points lower than Pettitte’s, while striking-out more than a batter an inning, something neither did. Burnett and Pettitte are good pitchers, but they finished 48th and 58th, respectively, in the majors in ERA this season.

     

  32. Alex says:

    Pete,
    Comparing Andy Pettitte to 20 year old Clayton Kershaw and journeyman Randy Wolf is a bit rough don’t you think? You have faced pitchers with better stuff than Andy for sure, but you haven’t faced someone with Pettitte postseason experience or guile. Andy is not nearly as likely to crumble like Wolf or Kershaw if put into a hostile environment or situation…I’ll give you the Jimenez and Burnett comparison for sure.
    Comparing Andy Pettitte to Kershaw and Wolf is like saying the Yankees don’t have to worry about Cliff Lee, because they beat Joe Saunders.

  33. Alex says:

    Pete,
    I considered putting Kershaw in that post but thought better of it. Kershaw is 20 years old. Game 7 I’ll take my AJ Burnett coin flip over such a young kid. Are you telling me you would rather have Clayton Kershaw for game 7 than Andy Pettitte? Same for Jimenez, would you really rather have him than Pettitte?
    I’m not simply stuck in my Yankees world, but odds are not always in favor of talent in the playoffs.  JA Happ has more talent than Andy Pettitte right? Would you put money on Happ against Pettitte in a start in the playoffs? The Rays might have had the more talented team last season but their inexperience did them in…that’s what I was saying.

  34. Alex says:

    Pete,
    To quote you – on your Rollins/Victorino > Jeter/Damon idea based on postseason statistics how can you discount what Pettitte has done in the postseason by comparing him to Wolf and Kershaw? Bringing to the table ERA’s from the season does nothing to justify your point (as you told me). Kershaw was impressive and he certainly looks to have a great career ahead of him, but his ERA was probably in large part attributable to the putrid offenses in the NL West outside of the team he played for and a few guys on the Diamondbacks…do you think he would have had that ERA in the NL or AL East?
     
    Pettitte seems to deliver more times than not in big games. Has Kershaw? Wolf hasn’t been the same since he left Philly. He had a nice year, but come on – Randy Wolf?

  35. Pete says:

    haha. Randy Wolf is good! 3.23 ERA in 214.1 IP! Only Greinke, Lincecum, Javier Vazquez, Dan Haren and Wolf pitched 210+ innings this year with a WHIP of 1.10 or lower. That’s a good list!

    Understand your point about Pettitte. I was pointing out that other pitchers were as “good” as him, but I can’t argue that they are “poised” and “experienced.”

    Like I said, you only “kind of” did the Yankee fan thing I hate, but it was reason enough for me to bring it up.

  36. Alex says:

    Wolf had a nice year. But again, season stats don’t matter – you said it, not me. I’d take a rotation fronted by Andy Pettitte into the postseason any year.
    Esteban Loiza once competed for an AL Cy Young against Roy Halladay…but to quote Sesame Street, “One of these things is not like the other”. Randy Wolf had a great year…but to imagine him or Vicente Padilla to continue their successes under pressure was probably too much to ask of journeymen pitchers.

  37. pg says:

    Alex,

    I do not think Pete is comparing the pedigree of a Randy Wolf/Clayton Kershaw to Andy Pettitte (and I don’t want to speak for Pete, so I will speak for my own comparisons).  Andy Pettitte’s resume speaks for itself, no question.  The top three pitchers the Phillies will face in the Yanks will certainly be better as a package experience/big game-wise.  (I think the comparison between Jimenez and Burnett is not a bad one though).  I just think that Pettitte has some similarities in approach that Wolf and Kershaw have (probably more Wolf).  Both will rely on the corners, get ahead of hitters, and mix up their breaking pitches with fastballs that are in the high 80s and low 90s.  It’s not like it’s an entirely unreasonable comparison or that it is rocket science.  9/10 hitters know what the approach of that pitcher will be; it comes down executing pitches and hitting those pitches.
     
    Has Pettitte been better in the postseason (also faaarrrr more exposure)? Of course.  Would I feel more comfortable because of that to send Pettitte out in a big game than Wolf?  Of course.  The point I would make is that yes, the Phillies have seen a pitcher like Burnett and Pettitte.  Does that mean it will result in the same outcome as the game against Wolf and Jimenez?  That’s why they play the game.
     
    The Yankees are the best team the Phillies will have seen throughout the playoffs; nobody in their right mind is disputing that.  That is also because of the fact that the Yankees have no glaringly obvious holes.  I just happen to think that there are some reasons that the Phillies should come in confident, one of them being that the Yankee starters are not entirely unhittable.  The same reason, by the way, the Yankees should come in confident too.

  38. Tim says:

    “the yankees pitching is being overestimated, just like the rockies and dodgers were this year and last.  The Phillies are unique hitting team.  They are labelled as high-powered and mashers – which wthey are.  But they are also disciplined at the plate.  that is a very unique combination.  The latter part is what Charlie has taught them (except Rollins who is unteachable).  They will not get themselves out by swinging at bad pitches.  All great pitchers rely on hitters chasing.  The Phils will not chase and CC and Brunett will need to throw strikes.  No pitcher can survive agains this lineup throwing fastballs for strikes.  The Twins and angels chased bad pitches.  the Phils are the most disciplined hitting team, possibly of all time.  That is why they can hit .235 in a series yet pummel the other team.  They will frequently win games with 5 hits and 8 walks.”

    Not quite sure what all that means.
    Just some random number for you here.

    Team total walks
    NY- 644
    Phi- 589

    Team OBP
    NY- .362
    Phi- .334

    Team HR
    NY- 244
    Phi- 224

    Team SB/CS
    NY- 111/28
    Phi- 119/28

    Runs Scored
    NY- 915
    Phi- 820

    Team Avg
    Ny- .283
    Phi- .258

    I think you can see the trend.  If the phillies are the most disciplined team of all time what does that make the yankees?  the one area i keep hearing about is the phillies ability to run wild on the yankees.  If the yankees had the ability to keep the angles running game in check, what makes anyone think that they don’t have the ability to keep the phillies running game in check.  not saying the phillies can’t steal bases, but so can the yankees as shown above.  The phillies have a great offense and no one is saying otherwise, but lets not forget that the yankes were supperior to the phillies in just about every catagory with the exception of SB.  i don’t mind breaking things down but lets not forget the 162 games played throughout the year. 

    By the way, what is the obsession with jimmy rollins?  he is not having a stellar post season and does not possess good on base skills apparent by his .296 OBP in the regular season and his .279 OBP in the post season.  My how one big hit can change the perspective of fans. 

  39. Pete says:

    Tim -

    not to be a smart-ass, but did you take out all the pitchers numbers in the Phillies’ numbers?

  40. Pete says:

    and the DH for the Yankees’ numbers

  41. Pete says:

    also,  he was comparing the Phillies to the teams that the Yankees have face (Twins, Angels) not the Yankees themselves.

  42. Pete says:

    “run wild” doesn’t mean just basestealing, it means 1st to 3rd, 2nd to home type stuff as well. Rollins, Victorino, Utley and Werth are some of the best in baseball at that.

  43. Ed R. says:

    and the bias in the Yankees numbers?

  44. Ed R. says:

    And its easy to hold the Twins and Angels in check when neither team gets a hit, or when they do get a hit its called a foul ball…just saying…

  45. Alex says:

    Ed,
    On the same logic you just used, it must be nice facing no pitcher better than Randy Wolf or Ubaldo Jimenez…Just saying.
    And while that ball was still clearly fair, the Twins did have the bases loaded and no one out in that inning…while they might blame that call, they should blame themselves.

  46. phillyfan says:

    From Alex   ”I think you can see the trend.  If the phillies are the most disciplined team of all time what does that make the yankees?”

    I see a team with a DH.  Youhave to divide the total homers, etc. by yanks by 9 and by the Phils by 8.  When you do that you see it is even.

  47. phillyfan says:

    Alex,  you seem to attribute alot of the Yanks advantage to the history of Pettite, Jeter, Posada, etc. – to the fact they have been there.  I do not dispute that.  but how can that be such an advantage over a defending champ – who has been there and done that.  I can see if it was the Phillies first series, but they are embracing this challenge.  Also, that experienced core of yours that won those titles is getting long in the tooth.  The Phillies core is in their prime.  Jeter is not the defensive stud he used to be.  Posada can’t throw anymore.  We will see if they hold up in their old age.

  48. Pete says:

    I think it’s time Yankees’ fans calmed down a bit about the “greatness” of Andy Pettitte. All of his records for postseason pitching are due the quantity, not quality of his starts.

    Consider…

    In 7 World Series appearances – Pettitte has a losing record (3-4) and an ERA of 3.82

    For his postseason career, he has a 16-9 W-L record, an ERA of 3.83 and a WHIP of 1.33.

    For those scoring at home, John Lannan had a 3.88 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP this season. Not exactly dominant.

    In 37% of his starts, he gave up 4 runs or more

    Only 31% of his starts have been “dominant” (7+ IP, 2 ER or less)

    He’s solid – but greatly overrated by Yankees’ fans.

  49. Tim says:

    also,  he was comparing the Phillies to the teams that the Yankees have face (Twins, Angels) not the Yankees themselves.

    Why would i compare the yankees to the yankees?  just trying to get the point accross that the phillies offense is not superior to the yankees.  In my opinion they are very similar.  The yankees are though so much of as a hr hitting team that people fail to realize that they can steal bases when needed.  Phily fan put so much emphasis on the disciplin of the team to historic proportions.  just wanted to let him know he was exagerating a little. 

    “run wild” doesn’t mean just basestealing, it means 1st to 3rd, 2nd to home type stuff as well. Rollins, Victorino, Utley and Werth are some of the best in baseball at that.

    i am very aware of what run wild means, and was stating the obvious point the the angels are one of,  if not the best team in baseball at “running wild” on teams and the yankees worked very hard at keeping them in check and were successful. 

    I am not sure why everyone  is under the dillusion that the angels were not a very good team.  What it came down to is that the yankees executed and the angels did not.   

  50. phillyfan says:

    Regarding Post 28 – Anyone who would look at this series and take Texeira over Howard must be from New York.  This isn’t for the season – but for this upcoming series!  Tex can’t hit the ocean right now, has never done anything in the playoffs, and now the pressure is only ramped up.  While he is a better fielder I can’t imagine any manager coming into the series having a chance to pick either one and choosing Texeira over Howard.  howard is locked in right now.

  51. Pete says:

    he was saying that the Yankees pitching is being over-valued because they faced teams that didn’t hit as well as the Phillies. Therefore the appropriate comparison would have been Phils vs. Angels.

    I do think he would be surprised how good the Angels hitting was this year though.

    IT’S NOT ABOUT THE YANKEES!

  52. phillyfan says:

    Tim, the Angels has 8 errors in 6 games and a lousy RISP average.  They were clearly not the same team they were in the regular season because of the bright lights.  They were tight, it was very clear watching it.  It is not the greatness of the Yankees that forces a team to watch a popup drop in front of them.  And yet the Yanks struggled to oust them.  6 of the nine yankies batters really struggled.

    That is what this is all about.  Phils will not be tight.  The general public continues to assume that the Phils will curl up in a ball like other teams.  If people would wake up they would realize the Phils are much more like the Boston teams that whipped the yankies.  The Phils have nothinig to lose.  Really only Ibanez and Lee are new to the stage and so far both, at least Lee, as embrace it. 

  53. Alex says:

    In regards to Pettitte, I understand that he’s not a dominant pitcher. I’m not trying to sell him as that whatsoever. Andy seems to find a way to keep his teams in the game. Some pitchers struggle in big spots because they put too much pressure on themselves and they blow up. With the Yankees offense, Pettitte’s 3.8 something ERA looks that much better. If he can get through 6 innings and 3 or less runs the Yankees have a great chance to win those games. I’d rather have a rotation of 4 Andy Pettitte’s than the Yankees current staff of CC, Burnett, and Pettitte. I love CC and think he has the potential to win this series himself (same with Cliff Lee), but I would dump the feast or famine Burnett for Andy’s consistency. Yes, Andy has had his bad games in the postseason for sure, but he does seem to give you what you need more times than not…and that’s all you can really ask for.
    And Howard and Teixiera are closer than people might think. I think Howard’s .274 self is a much better player – but if he hits his .240 self I think Tex makes a better case to be comparable. Howard’s power and ability to drive in runs is 2nd only to Albert Pujols.

  54. phillyfan says:

    Pete,
    I know the Angels hitting was good, no… great. IN THE REGULAR SEASON.  They had like 8 guys hit over .300.  And Broxton was unhittable.  And Kershaw has a 2.?  ERA with unhittable stuff.  That is my point.  The post-season is a new ball-game.  First, how much of those stats get built against bad teams/pitchers?  Second, harnessing the moment.  Angels face better pitching but they also were not mentally up to the challenge.  They were pressing – it was clear.

  55. Pete says:

    Does anyone know what that plan would be if they have to postpone Game 1? Would they skip the off-day or move everything up? Skipping the off-day would pretty much guarantee we see the Yanks #4 starter at some point.

  56. phillyfan says:

    “And Howard and Teixiera are closer than people might think. I think Howard’s .274 self is a much better player – but if he hits his .240 self I think Tex makes a better case to be comparable.”

    But they are not close AT THIS MOMENT and this is all that matters.  People keep bringing up lifetime stats.  If we were doing next years fantasy draft I agree, dissect the season average, K’s etc.  But nobody in their right mind would select Tex over Howard for the upcoming 7 days (as the guy from yahoo did when breaking down the WS), given their very recent performance of hitting for power, aeverage, and in the clutch.  In fact, if the Yanks win and Tex continues to struggle at the plate – that is where the fingers will be pointed. 

  57. Alex says:

    I feel like hot streaks and cold streaks get overblown for consistent players. It’s just as possible Teixiera comes out of his hole as it is Ryan Howard/Arod goes into one. We are basically debating nothing…

  58. The Greek says:

    Joe Blanton / Pedro Martinez / JA Happ / Cliff Lee on 3 days rest
    vs. Andy Pettitte / CC Sabathia on 3-days rest

    edge phillies???????????????????????

    Keep on drinking that cool aid Pete!!!!!!
    Yanks in 6, good luck though


  59. The Greek says:

    Kool aid, man I can’t spell but I can promise you that Pettite has an advantage over every single Philly starter not name Lee.

  60. Q says:

    The Phillies in 5.  It will be lights out if they win the first one on the road.

  61. Tim says:

    The Phillies in 5.  It will be lights out if they win the first one on the road.

    That would be if your assuming the the phillies are a great home team and would be a lock to win all three. That would be kinda backwards as the yanks play .700 ball at home and .567 ball on the road.  the phillies play .555 ball at home and .592 on the road.  That does not bode well for them.  The yankees are very tough to beat at home, not saying that it won’t happen, but you would like to go home feeling extremely confident if you win one on the road and as a philly fan you can’t be as they do not play as well at home.

  62. The Real Rob says:

    PEDRO MARTINEZ WILL PITCH GAME 2!  “Who’s ya daddy?”

    Is it me or does it seem like Charlie Manuel is actually listening to his fans in Philadelphia?  Keep pushing those buttons Charlie.  If it works, then do it!

    GO PHILLIES! 

  63. bski says:

    I know I’m late to this, but since I’m the one who posted #28 I feel the need to set things straight.
    The guy from yahoo (Tim Brown) did choose Howard over Teixeira, and the guy from sports ill (Jon Heyman) was comparing the sluggers, Howard vs A-Rod, (not the first basemen) and he chose A-Rod.

  64. Ken Bland says:

    Pete, why have the Phillies completely given up on Happ in the postseason?  Didn’t he win the most games for the Phillies out of any starter? and at best he gets 1 or 2 batters during a game or even a series.  Strange.>>

    I don’t think Pete answered that, unless that was more expression of frustration than question.  If it was a question, the answer seems to me to be 2 fold.  Now, he hasn’t started a game in a month, so there’s some risk there.  And when he’s come in from the pen, he has fallen behind in counts with runners on. 

  65. Adam says:

    Phillies in five, I think we win the first two games at Yankee Stadium and go win loss win at home to clinch in Philly. Start the SETPA-less parade!! CC honestly doesn’t scare me against our lineup, and I think AJ will fold big time in game two (with Pedro pitching huge again). So yes, I am saying the Phillies will be up 3-0 on Halloween Night.  Wow, I just realized how stupid that sounds. HOMERRRR
    I really think that our lefties and switch-hitting top of the order will kill Joba and Hughes. Joba has a tendency to walk a lot of batters, bad idea against the Phils.
    By the way, Tim, those statistics you gave for the regular season are a joke. Didn’t you once think of the DH before you put those up?  I bet Phillies pitchers batted about .09 this year….

  66. bski says:

    I went on mlb.com to see what the schedule will be if tonight’s game is rained out.  While I was there I found an article that listed the world series picks of numerous baseball “experts”.  Since Pete put up a post with picks for the NLDS, I thought I would pass this one along.

    I’m going to post the article next, but I can’t get it to format correctly and I’m afraid that it will post all jumbled up.  I’ll provide the link to the article here and give a brief summary just in case. 

    19 experts were polled. 

    9 picked the Phillies
    , with only 4 of those (Hal Bodley of mlb.com, Chip Caray of tbs, Mark Cuban–yes, the Mavs owner, and Joe Sheehan of baseball prospectus) were non-Philadelphia based sports reporters. 

    10 picked the Yankees and none of them were NY-based.  Almost all were from mlb.com

    (btw, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports is picking the Yankees in 6.)

  67. bski says:

    Hal Bodley, MLB.com
    Phillies

    Six

    On paper, the Yankees should win this World Series. On paper, the Los Angles Dodgers should have won the National League pennant. The Phillies have an uncanny ability to defy the odds, to win games that seemingly are lost. Because of that and the fact they have such determination, I think they’ll knock off the mighty Yankees and retain their title.

    Mitch Williams, MLB Network
    Phillies
    Five
    Phillies win in five, as they take all three at home. Both teams are evenly matched, but I think the Phillies’ offense is on a roll right now and can’t be stopped.

    Fred Claire, Former GM, L.A. Dodgers
    Yankees
    Six
    Too many guns for the Phillies on both offense and in the pitching depth. The Yankees have paid for the best team in baseball and that’s exactly what they have — quality players who are ready to take on the title as the best team in baseball, in addition to the most expensive team in baseball.

    Cory Schwartz MLB.com
    Yankees
    Six
    The Phillies are among the few teams with the firepower to match the Yankees, though their weak lower third puts additional pressure on their offensive core. The Yankees’ superior plate discipline may tax the Phillies’ inconsistent bullpen, and in Rivera, the Yankees enjoy the most dominant edge of any positional matchup.

    Chip Caray, TBS
    Phillies
    Seven
    I think anybody who thinks the Yankees are going to roll over the Phillies is sadly mistaken. I think if there is an edge with the Phillies, it’s with their speed.

    Joe Sheehan Baseball Prospectus
    Phillies
    Seven
    These two teams are closely matched up front, and the Yankees’ bullpen edge is negated by the guy holding the keys. Starting five lefties in the series helps, but the Phillies’ speed and left-handed power will be enough to win a very close series.

    Michael Smerconish, 1210 WPHT Radio, Philadelphia
    Phillies
    Six
    The best infield in baseball combined with stellar starting pitching (Lee, Pedro, Hamels) will be too much even for the storied Yankees. This will be the series that cements Charlie Manuel’s rightful place in the annals of baseball.

    Lyle Spencer MLB.com
    Yankees
    Seven
    The Phillies are proud champions, but the Yankees have that look of destiny’s darlings — and the home-field advantage, which is huge in this World Series given how both clubs are built for their yards.

    Mark Cuban, Owner, Dallas Mavericks
    Phillies
    Six
    I think having been there last year takes a lot of the pressure off the Phils. They can just do their jobs. The Yankees, on the other hand, see the pressure go up and that could be tough to overcome.

    Jim Duquette MLB.com
    Yankees
    Six
    The Yankees are too well-rounded at almost every position, and the starting staff plus the back end of the ‘pen has too much quality for the Phillies to repeat as champions.

    Mike Missanelli, 97.5 The Fanatic, Philadelphia
    Phillies
    Seven
    Putting aside the advantages the Yankees may have in the starting rotation (though I’m not sure that all the Yanks starters can go on just three days rest) and the closer (I think the Phillies are better in the middle relief area), the Phillies have shown a requisite toughness in these playoffs that you just can’t ignore. In addition to that, I just think the Phils are better in more positions than the Yankees.

    Ken Gurnick MLB.com
    Yankees
    Six
    Last year was no fluke. The Phillies are good, they know it and they play like it. They have the ability to turn it up a notch when the pressure is on.

    Phil Sheridan, Philadelphia Inquirer
    Phillies
    Six
    This team has a swagger and yearns to beat the mighty Yankees. Expect an unexpected hero to emerge.

    Mike Siano MLB.com
    Yankees
    Six
    In spite of their manager, the Yankees’ edge in starting pitching is the difference, and the decision by Manuel to start Pedro in Game 2 comes back to haunt him. Alex Rodriguez will win the MVP, but there will be some nights where you will think you are watching beer league softball.

    Jeff Nelson, MLB Network
    Yankees
    Six
    A-Rod will have a big series, and CC, Pettitte, Coke and Marte neutralize the big lefty bats of Philly.

    Jorge Ortiz, USA Today
    Yankees
    Six
    Too much firepower and enough left-handed pitching to neutralize Philly’s offense. Plus, they were the best team in the better league.

    Dylan Hernandez, Los Angeles Times
    Yankees
    4 or 5
    There’s no way the Phillies bullpen won’t get pounded by the Yankees’ lineup.

    Bob Ford, Philadelphia Inquirer
    Yankees
    Six
    NY lineup is like new hosiery. No holes. Phils finally pay for phiddling with rotation.

    Pat McLoone, managing editor, Philadelphia Daily News
    Phillies
    Four
    That will make it fo, five, fo, once again one game short of the number that would have made Moses Malone’s coolest prediction ever come true. Plus, there are a lot (OK, a few) fans of the 1950 team still around rooting for the ultimate payback.

  68. bski says:

    I guess it posted ok after all.

    Forgot to mention that Bob Ford of the Inquirer was the only local reporter in this survey to break ranks and pick the Yankees.

  69. bski says:

    Wow, just checked espn.com.  22 of their reporters gave their picks and only 2 (Pedro Gomez and Eric Karabell) picked the Phillies.

    The main reasons everyone is picking the Yankees:  CC, Mariano, deeper Yankee  lineup, and concerns about our bullpen holding up.

    Rob Neyer (Yankees in 5) was the most dismissive, imo:
    “The Yankees would have won 110 games if they had played in the NL East.”

  70. Pete says:

    Rob Neyer might have picked the Phillies once in the last 3 years. He’s not a fan.

  71. Dannie says:

    BSKI - Correction, the main (real) reason the “experts” are picking the Yankees is because they are the Yankees and the favorite.  It’s easier to pick the favorite, easier to explain, less to justify.

    Picking the Phillies would be going against the grain and that isn’t people’s (outside of our city) natural tendency.

    I wholeheartedly believe if we were playing an equally as good team that is not Boston or the Yankees I am 100% sure the disparity wouldn’t be as great with those predictions.

    Yankees are very very good – no disputing that.

    But I think how much difference people are putting between them and us has just as much to do with name recognition and what is associated with that as their analysis of the match-up.  Meaning if someone did think it was a toss up – they pick the Yankees because of the name.  The name trumps the fact that we are the defending champs and all the intangibles we have discussed here in favor of our team.

    The name has more weight before the series, our intangibles will be played up to death after the series.

    When we beat them those same experts who picked against us will be at their computers writing articles boasting all the reason’s why the Phillies won the series that they could have easily given before the series in their predictions.

    Time will tell.

  72. bski says:

    I just saw that Neyer had a chat on espn.com yesterday, so I checked it out.  How about these exchanges:

    Andy (Smithtown)

    The LHB heavy lineup of the Phillies is misleading, as Utley and Ibanez, two of the three big left handed hitters, have done better this year against LHP.
     
    Rob Neyer
      (12:05 PM)

    That’s a fluke, my friend. The platoon effect is real and it’s absolute (I exaggerate, of course).

    Joe (Boston)

    Jayson Stark said that certain “baseball people” think that the Phillies are better at every position except 3rd base. Are you one of the baseball people?

    Rob Neyer
      (12:06 PM)

    Let’s just say it’s close at every position except third base, and catcher too. Let’s also say that we’re talking about apples (AL) and oranges (NL).

    Sam (Livingstone)

    You’re really going to bring up the AL vs. NL thing when talking about the two best teams in the league? Honestly, listening to some of you pundits, the Royals would be an 80 win team in the National League.

    Rob Neyer
      (12:19 PM)

    They wouldn’t be? Why not? Have you seen the Royals’ record against National League teams over the last three or four years? It’s real good.

    bebopdeluxe (philly)

    Your Yankees in 5 was SO predictible…you’ve been wrong on the Phillies for two years – why stop now?The question is – if the Phillies win it all AGAIN, will you and Jim Caple co-author a “mea culpa”…or can we just wait to see you pick the Phils to finish 3rd in the NL East in 2010?
     
     
    Rob Neyer
      (12:29 PM)

    Actually, the presence of Cliff Lee will probably lift the Phillies to the top of my 2010 projections. But thanks for asking.

    Nice.  Neyer comes across as an embittered KC Royals fan who is dismissive of the entire NL.  Like Dannie said, time will tell.  I know we’d all like nothing better than for the Phils to make Neyer, and every other expert, eat their words.

  73. jkay says:

    i dont get why everyone is arguing about all these outcomes. going into this series I felt it was the one series that I could not tell if the phillies would win or not. Its not a lack of confidence but just a respect for the other team’s ability and bcos it seems for once it is actually evenly matched and both teams are very similar. I dont see any significant edge for either team bar Mariano Rivera.
    I’m not a big fan of AJ Burnett, erratic pitchers are not reliable. Pettite and CC are solid. Manuel has put Pedro in a situation where he is most likely to succeed; in the sense that he is motivated, i dont think you have to start him at home.
    For once I dont expect the Phillies to win (nothing other than some moral sense of karma against the Yanks strongly supports it), I dont expect anything…. is’nt that exciting? this should be fun.

  74. jkay says:

    everyone knows they would all pick the Yankees anyway. who cares, fuck ‘em.

  75. Ken Bland says:

    When we beat them those same experts who picked against us will be at their computers writing articles boasting all the reason’s why the Phillies won the series that they could have easily given before the series in their predictions.>>

    Included in a lot of this nervous energy rhetoric by the “pros” is a fairly collective conclusion that the best 2 teams in baseball are playing.  A goodly number of them picked the Dodgers to win the LCS.  Hell, some of them picked Colorado since Cliff Lee was off a rough stretch, Hamels was what he’s continued to be, and Lidge was ….hmmm, whats a good word here…oy vey maybe.  Now, they want to say the best 2 teams in baseball are playing.  Well guess what, sports fans.  You may not think so, I may not think so, and the computers may not think so but there is a chance, and it would not be the first time that an expected competitive series resulted in a hot team winning in 5, or as happened in the ALCS, a non competitive 6.  Should that happen, would the Phils not be in the top 2 because the idle Angels at least took NY to 6?  Would the Yanks not be because the Angels would have been better?

    I offer predictions when I see them.  Course I don’t have an editor demanding one.  Better to talk about things to look for, and/or things that might be turning points.  Just my opinion.

  76. jjg says:

    Michael Smerconish – baseball expert?  That’s like calling Jerry Springer a diplomat.
    Cuban can’t predict his own NBA team’s fortunes, let alone this WS.  Mitchy-poo, despite delivering a fateful gasless fastball with Atlantic Refining Company’s “Redball Service” (an anachronistic reference) to consumer Joe Carter back in ’93, remains married to the red pinstriped mob; is fired up for his boys.  Bodley, longtime Cincy Enquirer/USA today writer, perhaps has city or Phillies connections, sometimes shows a soft heart towards ”the Fightins” in his writing.  McLoone, editor of Philly’s Daily News – would you expect anything else as his industry gasps for breath (and local readers)?  Mikey Miss, homey Philly boy Bristol stompin’ in his preferred antagonistic stance towards authority (New York City, Yankees).  Phil Sheridan, another Philly columnist/loyalist.  
     
    On the flip side of the polling, Nelson, former Yankee pitcher; big heaping of bias.  Duquette, canned GM of rival Mets; cousin of Dan, ex-Red Sox GM … objectivity out the window.

    Moral:  While having some passing interest value (thanks, bski), not much to take from that bundle of “expertise.”  19 rooting picks & opinions.  The kind that each of us bloggers carry singularly, with similar degrees of validity and passion, if not inside access and weather-protected stadium seats.  (And Kate Hudson would make 20.)

                                                                         

  77. Alex says:

    I’m actually surprised Peter Gammons didn’t pick the Red Sox to win in 4 and Dustin Pedroia for World Series MVP…

  78. bski says:

    jjg,

    Agreed.  I didn’t get anything out of it either.

    I only posted all of that because I just happened to come across it and, like I said, Pete had posted the picks for the NLCS and I figured I’d continue with it.  (Also because I couldn’t get over the fact that 20 out of 22 espn-ers picked the Yankees) 

  79. Phan in Boston says:

    Go figure ESPN in NY East (CT) would pick the home team.

  80. sofie says:

    Derk Jeter rocks I love the yankees go yankees

  81. jake says:

    what is the phillies yankees 2008-2009 regular season record?

  82. Chuck says:

    How did that prediction work out for you?

    Home grown talent comment:  Out of 25 man playoff roster, the Phillies have just one more home grown player than the Yankees. 

    Your summary is a joke.  Yankees in 6 was the easy pick, as 72% of national sportwriters did.   The 2009 Yankees are better than the 2009 Phillies.  Doesn’t mean they will be better again in ’10…  just means they are better now.

    If Cliff Lee is the only starter that can win a game for you…  you lose.

    - Chuck

  83. Pete says:

    Chuck,

    “Your summary is a joke”

    I am completely baffled that even a moderately intelligent person doesn’t understand the concept of predicitons. They are predictions because they are guesses, not because they are people stating facts.

    As I recall, those same national sportswriters picked the Phillies to lose the Dodgers in the NLCS this year and last year, and lose the division to the Mets this year. But hey, if they say it, it must be true. Way to think for yourself.

    If I knew the future, I would have told you. This was the first series in the last 2 seasons I got wrong.

    Takes a smart man to come back a month after the completion of the series and tell someone they are stupid for not knowing the future.

    Tell me Chuck – who will win the 2010 World Series? And in how many games?

  84. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog and was wondering what all is needed to get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?
    I’m not very web savvy so I’m not 100% positive. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.
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