In case you were unaware, this year’s World Series features two of the toughest baseball clubs. The New York Yankees coming in with their classic Bronx Bomb-ing hitting and the Phightin’ Philadelphia Phillies, whose power hitting lineup is unmatched with any team in the National League.
This World Series is expected to be an offensive show case with two of the best offensive clubs in baseball. Philadelphia bringing Ryan Howard (45 HR’s), Jayson Werth (99 RBI’s), and Jimmy Rollins (100 Runs scored and 31 Stolen Bases) and New York, who powered through the playoffs, with Mark Teixeira (39 HR), Alex Rodríguez (100 RBI’s), and Derek Jeter (107 Runs scored and 30 Stolen Bases). Not to mention both teams with some old veterans who are known to be clutch, like Philadelphia’s Carlos Ruiz and Matt Stairs or New York’s Jorge Posada and Hideki Matsui.
What’s actually supposed to be a home run show down in the fall classic is actually going to come down to pitching. Both teams are so even in their offense (hitting and base running) that this World Series is going to come down to the few mistake pitches made by either the strong starting pitching or the weak bullpens for both teams.
Though this series will probably be close and every game hard fought, the New York Yankees will probably out last the Philadelphia Phillies. Offense will be equal for both teams, since they both have the best lineups baseball has seen in a while. But regardless of how great Ryan Howard or Alex Rodríguez is in the series, we know that the pitching from both teams is some of the best pitching seen in the World Series for a while. Philly with 2008 Cy Young winning Cliff Lee to match with New York’s 2007 Cy Young winning CC Sabathia, future Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez for the Phillies with New York AJ Burnett, and Philadelphia’s Cole Hamels with one of New York’s toughest veteran’s Andy Pettite.
The New York Yankees have an advantage on pitching over the Phillies though. Cliff Lee (ERA 3.22) who will match up well against Sabathia (ERA 3.37) is Charlie Manual’s (Phillies Manager) smallest problem. With Martínez (ERA 3.63) being an old veteran, he has the know how to beat the best, but his 38 year old body can’t be expected to pitch eight or nine, like Lee. Much like Martínez, Hamels (ERA 4.32) who is young and has the strength to pitch a complete game has been known to run into trouble in the late part of the game. With two pitchers unexpected to go complete games, Manual’s job is going to have to be to manage the bullpen well. His key will be to get to his closer Brad Lidge (ERA 7.21); unfortunately that road won’t be easy and even Lidge doe not look like he did in last years World Series. On their opponents’ bench, Joe Girardi (Yankees skipper), will try to have Burnett and Pettite go seven, eight, or even a complete game if possible. However, Girardi has an ace up his sleeve. If Burnett or Pettite can go at least seven innings, he has Mariano Rivera to turn to.
Without a doubt Sabathia versus Lee will be an amazing game. But with both Martínez versus Burnett and Hamels versus Pettite, Manual will need help from his bullpen. However, the Yankees also have the luxury of Joba Chamberlain out of the bullpen rather than as a starter, which will give the Yankees an even stronger pen.
The Phillies have a chance, but it’s just a feeling that for them to keep up with Sabathia, Burnett, and then Pettite on a three man rotation they will need three games out of the seven from Cliff Lee, and they will need an amazing game from either Martínez or Hamels to get the fourth win of the series.
This World Series is going to be close. Even though the Yankees have an advantage with the bullpen, anything can happen and “anything” has been known to happen from the 75’ World Series with Carlton Fisk to the 2001 Series with Luis Gonzalez’ bloop hit over Derek Jeter, or even the 2004 ALCS with Curt Schilling and the bloody sock. Whatever the outcome, this World Series is going to be a classic!