As I flip between the Eagles – Redskins game, MSNBC programming, Battleplan on the military channel, and C-Span, with Rep. Louie Gohmert speaking, I find myself thinking on the upcoming World Series. My read on this is really pretty simple.
It’s gonna be a tight series.
There is strong pitching on both sides of this equation. There is strong hitting on both sides as well. Let’s start with pitching. Watch a Yankee viddy, showing nothing but walk off wins. I’m not a big fan of the music in the 1st half, but this isn’t about the music. The Yankee – Phillies highlight begins at the 2:26 mark.
Cliff Lee has been outstanding in these playoffs, giving up just 2 runs and 14 hits in 24.1 innings for 2 wins and 1 no-decision, and Pedro Martinez is well known to the Yankees and the Yankee faithful from his years in Boston. He is a tough and motivated pitcher… though it must be admitted that the Yankees seemed to get the better of him in the end most days, and he has seen better days. Cole Hamels has been the exception for the Phils, and has not been the same guy he was last year by any stretch of the imagination. His pitching in the postseason has been less than spectacular, 11 earned runs and 20 hits in 14.2 innings, and he has gone less than 7 innings in each of his last 5 starts , and hasn’t had a game where he has given up less than 2 runs since he faced the Nationals on September 17th.
C.C. Sabathia has been nearly as impressive as Lee, and has done much to push back against the thought that he wasn’t a big game pitcher, giving up 17 hits and 3 runs in 22.2 innings on his way to getting 3 wins, including a game 4 win in the alcs on 3 days rest. A.J. Burnett had, prior to his start in game 5, settled down after a somewhat shaky year. That game 5 start saw him come out shaky and give up 4 runs in the first, settle down, then give up a walk and a single in the 7th, then watch the bullpen crumble and let those baserunners in. 9 runs in 18 innings looks bad, but most in New York think that 1st inning was an anomaly. Andy Pettitte. What can you say? The man is clutch. The most post-season wins in baseball history, and he showed the Angels and the Twins how it’s done, posting a 2.37 postseason ERA this year, and shut down the Angels to win the American League Championship finale.
The Bullpen? There are only 2 words to say here. Mariano Rivera. Both bullpens have been serviceable with a few notable performances specifically from Phil Coke and David Robertson in limited work from the Yankee Bullpen and Chad Durbin and Scott Eyre from Philly. That said, Mariano however, is still Mariano. The Sandman has a career 1.69 era vs. the Phils, and has only given up one run in 10.2 innings during these playoffs. And that run came on a bloop single that ran just over the head of Robinson Cano.
Brad Lidge from the Phillies has done his best to put a disastrous year behind him, and so far has done that well, with 3 saves and no earned runs so far. But the problem with that statement is the last two words. So far. The question running through most Phillys fans minds at this point would probably be ” How long can Lidge keep this up?” The Phillys hope that he can, but doubts remain. We’ll see what happens when he faces the heart of the Yankees order.
Hitting is more problematic, for both teams. The Phillies have a gargantuan hitter in Ryan Howard, the Yankees have their answer in Alex Rodriguez. Both teams have guys who simply aren’t hitting, with Phillies Chase Utley and Raul Ibanez joining New Yorks Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher on the suck list. But there is one common denominator, despite the holes. There is a LOT of power in these lineups.
The Yankees were #1 in the league in Homers with 244, The Phillies were 4th with 224. The Yankees had 881 RBI’s, good for 1st overall, while the phillies were 4th with 788 RBI’s. There is, despite all the excellent pitching in this series, the potential for some EXPLOSIVE run scoring. If ever there was a world series that had the capacity to break the record for most runs scored, both in a series and in a single game, this is it.
The difference in this series may well be plate discipline. Here the Yankees have a commanding advantage. The Yankees as a team struck out only 1014 times this year, 4th fewest in baseball, while walking 663 times, which is the MLB’S best mark in that category. The Phillies cannot match the Yankees there.
But then again those numbers are regular season, so to be fair, we’ll also look at postseason numbers as well. Both teams have hit 14 home runs, The Phillies have 9 more RBI’s than the Yankees, but the Yankees are #2 in RBI’s for the postseason. Both teams are hitting equally well, They Yankees hitting .262 to the Phillies .261. Both teams struck out about the same amount, which is surprising, seeing the Yankees had Melky Cabrera and Nick Swisher striking out like they were paid to do exactly that. The Yankees struck out 68 times so far this post season, to the Phillies 63.
The Phillies also faced the Rockies In Coors field, and the Dodgers served up some gopher balls. The Yankees faced much tougher competition all the way through, even with the series sweep of the Twins.
I told you all of that to tell you this. I think all these things, while important, miss one thing. This is as much about heart as anything. And both of these teams have heart, but New York’s is stronger. Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte have been the heart and soul of this team for years and have each been among the best players this league has seen at their respective positions. Jimmy Rollins is good, Ryan Howard is good, Chase Utley is good. But this phillies team has nothing to match these 4.
Nothing. Yankees in 6.
A second viddy. This one from Keith Olbermann tonight. It has some politics in it, so for those of you allergic to that, disregard the first 80 seconds of it. The bit you baseball fans want to watch is the #1 best person in the world. It is a simple analysis of Ryan Howard, one well worth a second look and second thought. Viddy changed when i found the original was taken down. My apologies. Done on 11/9/09.
That’s it from here. Later!
Today’s Nuggets, Via wikiquote: If you don’t have outstanding relief pitching, you might as well piss on the fire and call the dogs. Whitey Herzog
I walk into the clubhouse and it’s like walking into the Mayo Clinic. We have four doctors, three therapists and five trainers. Back when I broke in, we had one trainer who carried a bottle of rubbing alcohol and by the seventh inning he had drunk it all. Tommy Lasorda
God watches over drunks and third baseman. Leo Durocher
Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard for all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence: in other words it is war minus the shooting. George Orwell