MLB: New York Yankees-Philadelphia Phillies World Series Preview

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MLB: New York Yankees-Philadelphia Phillies World Series Preview
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Well folks, we are finally here; the World Series.  This has been a long season that has been filled with some pretty interesting moments.  Whether it was Alex Rodriguez admitting to steroid use, Randy Johnson winning his 300th game, or Ichiro collecting his 2,000th hit in only 1,402 games, it has been a great season.

Now that all is said and done, we have our two remaining teams: The New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies.  The Yankees will try and continue to re-write history as they go for their 27th World Series Championship.  The Phillies, on the other hand, will try to make history by being one of the few teams to win back-to-back World Series Championships. 

I decided to do a position by position analysis for both teams to see who has the upper hand.  I did this last year for the Rays/Phillies series and I thought it would be a great idea to keep up with the tradition.  So let's get started.


Catcher

Jorge Posada - One of the four remaining Yankees from the Championship days of the '90s and 2000.  Posada had a great bounce-back season after his 2008 season was cut short due to shoulder problems.  Jorge will be making his sixth World Series appearance and has plenty of postseason experience.  He is only a .238 hitter in the postseason, but does have 11 home runs; so while his average is not great, he can still hurt you with the long ball.

Carlos Ruiz - What a surprise Ruiz has been for the reigning World Champs.  He is currently hitting .346 this postseason and has come up with numerous clutch hits.  There are a couple drawbacks with Ruiz in the postseason: inexperienced in comparison with Posada, and does not have the pop in his bat that the Phillies would probably like.  While the postseason experience is kind of irrelevant in the sense that every player has to start somewhere, the lack of power could become an issue.

Advantage - Yankees


First Base

Mark Teixeira - The Yankees scored big with the offseason signing of Teixeira.  After a slow start, he got hot fast once A-Rod came off of the disabled list.  Tex has provided gold glove defense, but has not been the big bat in the postseason that the Yanks hoped for. 

He is hitting an abysmal .205 this postseason, but has come up clutch when the Yanks have needed it.  He hit a walk-off home run against the Twins and had a bases-clearing double against the Angels in Game Five.  It is just a matter of time before Tex gets the bat going, but until then it is hard to give the Yanks the advantage here.

Ryan Howard - The Phillies slugger has been a beast this postseason, as he is hitting .355 with two home runs and 14 RBI.  He was so good that he was named the NLCS MVP and in the process tied a major league record for most consecutive postseason games with an RBI (8).  Howard is a .295 career postseason hitter and has more experience in the playoffs than Tex. 

Advantage - Phillies


Second Base

Robinson Cano - Where to start with Robbie Cano?  Some days this kid looks like The Natural, other days he looks like Tony Womack (when he was with the Yankees).  Cano is only a .238 hitter in the postseason throughout his young career; however, we all know he is capable of hitting about 100 points higher.  His defense was always a question mark, but this year he greatly improved his play in the field.  It will be interesting to see how Cano plays in his first World Series.

Chase Utley - Utley has become the best all-around second baseman in the game.  Whether you want defense or offense, he delivers.  While he is only a .245 career hitter in the postseason, like Cano, we know he is capable of much more.  The thing that concerns me is that Utley has more protection before and after him in the lineup.  Cano generally hits in the seventh spot, so he has Posada and Swisher around him, which at times can be great, but not always the case.

Advantage- Tied


Third Base

Alex Rodriguez - Is this the same guy at third base from the last few postseasons?  A-Rod has been on a tear in the playoffs and has been the hero for the Yanks, who have needed several clutch hits.  A-Rod is much more relaxed with Tex in the lineup to take some pressure off of him.  He is hitting .438 this postseason, with five home runs and 12 RBI.  A-Rod will be making his first World Series appearance and hopes to finally exorcise his demons and help the Yanks win a championship and finally become a ''Yankee."

Pedro Feliz - .161 postseason average thus far, enough said.

Advantage - Yankees


Shortstop

Derek Jeter - The Captain is a career .308 hitter in the postseason and has been the face of the Yankees franchise for well over a decade now.  Jeter had a great bounce-back season and even made a case for AL MVP this year.  He is hitting .297 this postseason and has surprised many by adding in three home runs.  Jeter is one of the remaining four from the glory days and will try to get his fifth World Series ring.

Jimmy Rollins - The NL MVP from 2007 seems to take a step backward when the postseason comes around.  He is a career .234 hitter in the playoffs and is hitting .244 this postseason.  Those are not exactly the numbers the Phillies want to see from their leadoff hitter.  It is his job to get on base for the rest of the guys behind him, something he has not done.

Advantage - Yankees


Outfield

Johnny Damon, Melky Cabrera, Nick Swisher - After a terrible ALDS, Damon responded nicely by hitting .300 in the ALCS to go along with two home runs.  The Melk Man has had a great postseason by hitting .314.  He hit an astounding .391 against the Angels and any team will take that from their number nine hitter.  Nick Swisher has been a headache this postseason for the Yanks.  He has hit only .125 and has not even been drawing the walks that he usually gets.

Raul Ibanez, Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth - Ibanez was on pace to win the NL MVP until a groin injury sidelined him for about a month.  He has not been very effective this postseason, as he has only hit .226.  Victorino has been such a boost for the Phillies offense, as he has hit a whopping .361 this postseason along with three home runs.  Werth has hit .281 this postseason with five home runs thus far and has an OBP of .395.  Yankee fans would love to have that type of production from their right fielder.

Advantage - Phillies


Designated Hitter (Only Games in NY)

Hideki Matsui - Godzilla had a great season as he was the full-time DH for the Bombers.  He hit 28 homers and drove in 90 RBI.  He has struggled so far this postseason, but is a career .292 hitter in the playoffs and should turn it around in the World Series.

Matt Stairs - In limited playing time this year, Stairs only hit .191 and has yet to get a hit this postseason.  He is a career .125 hitter in the playoffs and has not been productive at all, to say the least.

Advantage - Yankees


Starting Pitchers

CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte - The Yanks will once again go with a three-man rotation.  Sabathia was almost unhittable in the ALDS and ALCS and was named the MVP of the ALCS.  Burnett has been a wild card all year for the Yanks and it will be interesting to see how he responds to the pressure of a World Series game.  He pitched great in his first two starts this postseason, but was knocked around in his final start. 

Pettitte is now the all-time leader in postseason wins.  He pitched a gem in Game Six against the Angels and will have a chance to cement his legacy as one of the greatest big-game pitchers of all-time this year.  Like Jeter and Posada, he has seen this all before and should step up and be the beast the Yanks need him to be.

Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Pedro Martinez, J.A. Happ - Lee has been unhittable since being traded to the Phillies at midseason.  He has been even better this postseason.  Hamels has struggled so far and it will be interesting to see how he does against a potent Yankee lineup. 

We all remember Pedro calling the Yankees his daddy a few years back when he was with the Red Sox.  Add a few years onto a shoulder that already had quite a few miles on it and let’s see what we get.  Happ was a great surprise this year and will most likely be the NL Rookie of the Year.  He has not pitched well thus far, having an ERA of 7.36.  He could be writing his own death-wish, as he will face a monstrous Yankee offense in the World Series.

Advantage - Yankees


Bullpen

Yankees - The Yanks' bullpen was their biggest strength once they put Phil Hughes in the setup role.  He has struggled during the playoffs to the point where Joba Chamberlain was given the 8th inning spot in Game Six.  Alfredo Aceves was a huge surprise as he won 10 games out of the pen.  The Yankees still have the great Mariano Rivera, who you can always count on for a save in the postseason.

Phillies - With the struggles of closer Brad Lidge this season, you have to think that the Phillies have a backup plan just in case he struggles again.  He does have a great track record in the playoffs, but anything can happen.  Joe Blanton has pitched decent out of the bullpen, but is really a starter; and many starters do not like coming out of the bullpen, as they say it messes with their mechanics.

Advantage - Yankees

From the looks of it, the Yankees have the clear advantage.  While this is just a preview, as we all know anything can happen, it still just seems as if it is the Yankees' year to win it all.  I am looking forward to the start of the series and I also look forward to anyone’s comments or concerns.  I will also make my World Series prediction. 

Yankees Win Series 4-1

World Series MVP: A-Rod

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