Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The World Series Starts Tonight

Weather at game time, 50^ and cloudy.
The Yankees host the Philadelphia Phillies to start the 2009 World Series promising two of the most exciting teams coming face to face that baseball has had to offer. For those who were hoping for an all Los Angeles World Series, get over it! If you wanted to see Joe Torre get a shot of redemption against the Yankees, the team that let him drift away after all he had accomplished for them, forget about it! You got the two big bad north east cities with the big attitudes to match. You got a problem with that?

Hey, if you can’t appreciate a Philly cheese steak or a New York strip steak, there’s something wrong with yah! It’s that kind of series, big, beefy, and full of attitude.

Look no further than the starters for game one, just two seasons ago, they were buddies on the Cleveland Indians. CC Sabathia starts for the Bronx Bombers while Cliff Lee takes the mound for the Phils. They represent the team with the most World Series appearances and victories against the team that’s the defending champ from 2008. New York and Philadelphia were major cities before Felipe de Neve first put LA-LA land on the map.

Who’s on first? Try Mark Texeira for the Yankees or Ryan Howard for the Phillies. They had 84 homers combined during the regular season, Texeira 39 and Howard 45. At second, the Yanks field Robinson Cano versus Chase Utley for the Phils. These guys are stable, dependable double trouble.

The Yankees start Derek Jeter at shortstop. His accomplishments in post season are legendary. Surely, the Phillies can’t offer much except their shortstop is Jimmy Rollins who hit 43 doubles and 21 homers with 31 stolen bases en route to scoring 100 runs.

At third base, doesn’t it seem weird that this will be Alex Rodriguez’s first World Series? For a fellow who has been snake-bitten in past post season appearances with the Yankees, he’s sure turned that around in 2009. Pedro Felix might find his work cut out for him to measure up to the well-known Yanks star.

The Yankees staff the outfield with Johnny Damon, Melky Cabrera, and Nick Swisher, all better than average hitters though Swisher has struggled so far in this post season and Damon struggles in the field. The Phillies counter with Raul Ibanez, Shane Victorino, and Jayson Werth. Victorino’s the Phils second best hitter for average with above average speed allowing him to stretch out 39 doubles with 25 stolen bases. Werth hits for power with 36 homers while Ibanez hit 34. If the Phils have a clear edge on offense, it’s from their outfield.

Behind the plate, the Yankees deploy Jorge Posada, their regular catcher since 1998 returning to career form after missing much of 2008 with injuries. Carlos Ruiz is a dependable stopper for Philadelphia.

Games played in the Bronx will feature DH’s with Hideki Matsui, still a major power threat ready to hit. The Phillies have a fine bench of hitters ready to add a 9th hitter to the lineup. Ben Francisco will be the likely Philadelphia DH unless he starts in left field and Raul Ibanez serves as a batter only.

A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte are likely game two and three starters for New York with Pedro Martinez, perhaps looking for post-season redemption from his last encounter with the Yankees and Cole Hamels who has not lived up to his 2008 performance countering for Philadelphia.

The Yankees would appear to have the deeper and more versatile bench. The Yankees would also appear to have the superior bullpen though the Phillies pen has been very effective in the post season so far.

Sum it all up, this writer would rather have a steak dinner than a steak sandwich, so it looks like the New York Yankees should win the 2009 World Series. They won ten more regular season games than their National League counterparts in a tougher division. While Philadelphia did beat the Yankees 2-1 games in interleague play, the Yankees were still getting their 2009 act pulled together before becoming the beast of the east during the long stretch of the season.

One sad note for Philadelphia, last year the aged wonder, Jaime Moyer, at 46 years old played a major roll in their 2009 championship. He started 12-10 for the Phils this year before suffering a career ending groin injury. For all the aging population, who would not have loved to have seen Moyer possibly take on the Bronx Boys at age 47. No one will be surprised, though, if he reports ready to play for Spring Training in 2010.

Play ball, and see who might be Mr. November when the series is over.

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