The World Series start tomorow night as the Yankees are looking to win their first since 2000 and the Phillies are looking to repeat. Game one features two former Cy Young award winners in CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee. Lets look at the position by position battle before the Series begins.
First Base: Mark Teixeira vs Ryan Howard
Mark Teixeira tied for the American League in HR with 39 and led the American League in RBIs. Texeira bring also a gold glove with him. Post Season Teixeira has struggled but has may have found the grove with big hits in game 5 and 6 in the ALCS.
Ryan Howard clubbed 45 HRs and drove in 141 RBIs for the defending champs. His defense is questionable at best with limited range and poor glove. Post Season Howard is on fire. Hitting .355 and with 2 HRs winning the NLCS MVP
EDGE: PUSH Howard gives you in offense and Tex saves you in defense.
Second Base: Robinson Cano vs Chase Utley
Cano finally had his breakout power year hitting 24Hrs and hitting over .300. Cano is an above average defensive player. Postseason Cano is batting .229 with 5 RBis.
Chase Utley smashed 31 HRs and drove in 93 RBIs while hitting .282. Utley is an above average defensive player. Postseason Utley hit well in the NLDS but struggled in the NLCS. Utley also has struggled defensively with throws turning the double play.
Shortstop: Derek Jeter vs Jimmy Rollins
The Captain batted .334 with 18HRs and 66 RBIs. While questioned the last couple of years Jeter's defense improved to average player. Postseason Derek is one of the few Yankees that hit with 3 HRs and .297 average.
Jimmy Rollins had an off year at the plate batting .250 with 21 HRs and 77 RBIs. Defensively Rollins is a gold glove SS. Postseason Jimmy struggles continue with .244 average, scoring only six runs.
Third Base: Alex Rodriguez vs Pedro Feliz
After missing a month of the season Alex Rodriguez batted .288 with 30 HRs driving in 100 RBIs. While his range is limited with his hip problem he makes up with a strong arm. Postseason there is no one hotter than AROD. Hitting .438 with 5 HRs and 12 RBIs.
The 10 year veteran Pedro Feliz hit .262 with 12 HRs with 82 RBIs. Pedro is an average fielder but makes the occasion throwing error. Postseason Feliz has struggled batting only .161 with 1 HR.
Catcher: Jorge Posada vs Carlos Ruiz
Jorge Posada recovered from last season shoulder surgery to hit .285 with 22Hrs and 81 RBIs. He only played in 111 games this year missing sometime with a hamstring injury. Jorge is a poor defensive catcher but does a decent job throwing out baserunners. This Postseason Posada is hitting .258 with 2 HRs.
Carlos Ruiz is the #1 catcher for the Phillies hitting .255 with 9HRs and 43 RBIs. Ruiz is an above average defensive catcher who does great job in throwing out baserunners. Ruiz and Howard have carried the Phillies offensively in the postseason hitting .346 average and a .500 OB%.
Leftfield: Johnny Damon vs Raul Ibanez
Both leftfielder started out pounding the baseball but struggled in the latter part of the year and end up with very good years. Damon batted .282 with 24 HRs and 82 RBIs while Ibanez finished with .272 average with 34 HRs and 93 RBIs. Both are below average outfielders with Ibanez having the better throwing arm.
Centerfield: Melky Cabrera vs Shane Victorino
Melky Cabrera battled to regain his starting job from Brett Gardner. Melky finished the year with .274 average with a career high 13 HRs and 68 RBIs. Cabrera is an above average outfielder who can play all three positions with a strong throwing arm.
The Flying Hawaiian batted .292 with 10 HRS and 62 RBIs. Shane is an excellent outfielder with a strong throwing arm who will probably win a gold glove this year. Victorino is setting up Howard to drive him in this postseason hitting .361 average and 3 HRs.
Rightfield: Nick Swisher vs Jayson Werth
Swisher led the majors in pitches seen which allowed him to have a .371 OB% with 29 HRs and 82 RBIs while hitting .250. Swisher is an average outfielder who can also play first base. Nick has struggled in the postseason having only 3 hits through 9 games.
Jayson Werth finally put it all together as he hit .268 with 34 HRs and 99 RBIs. Werth is an above average outfielder with strong arm that no one runs on. Jayson has brought his power to the post season adding another 5 HRs in 9 games.
The Yankees will probably go with a three man rotation of CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett and Andy Pettitte. CC has been enfuego in the post season winning all three starts and holding the Twins and Angels 3 earned runs in 22.2. Burnett while wild has kept the Yankees in the games he has pitched and Andy Pettitte has won 2 more games and setting a record of 16 wins in the postseason. Chad Gaudin or Joba Chamberlin might get a start depending on how the series goes.
The Phillies will match the Yankees 3 man rotation with Cliff Lee, Cole Hammels and Pedro Martinez. They havent decided on a fourth starter who could either JA Happ or Joe Blanton. Happ is the rookie of the year canditate and Blanton has made one start for the Phillies in the post season. Cliff Lee has pitched to a 0.74 ERA this postseason in his three starts. Pedro Martinez shut down the Dodgers in his only start and Cole Hammels has been inconsistant in his starts.
Mariano Rivera is the game's best closer. The bridge to Rivera is stronger with the addition of Phil Hughes. Hughes was the best reliever in baseball after being placed in the bullpen. David Robertson, Brian Bruney are fireballers. Alfredo Aceves won 10 games out of the bullpen and it included one start during the year. Lefty specialists Marte and Coke struggled during the year but have been effective in the postseason. Chamberlin role has yet to be determined while Gaudin could start or be the long man for the Yankees.
Brad Lidge struggled during the regular season but has looked solid in the playoffs. Ryan Madson is one of the best setup man in the game today. Chan Ho Park can work as a long man or set up man, Chad Durbin hasnt allowed a run and won two games for the Phillies. Scott Eyre and JA Happ will be called upon to get lefties out. Brett Myers will fill out the bullpen.
DH and Bench:
Matsui has been only able to be the Yankees primary DH this year because of two bad knees. Matsui finished with a .274 average with 28 HRs and 90 RBIs. The postseason has been a mix for Matsui with some key hits and some bad games. Overall he is hitting .233 with 1 HR and 5 RBI. Brett Gardner is the speed on the bench who will be used in pinch running situations. Jerry Harriston will be the primary backup infielder and will also be used as a pinch runner. Eric Hinkse will provide the power off the bench. Jose Molina will be the backup catcher who will catch AJ Burnett starts.
Matt Stairs is a professional hitter. The veteran will be the Phillies primary PH vs the Yankees and will be the DH in game two against Burnett. Ben Francisco will be the Phillies backup outfielder and probably get a start at DH against CC Sabathia. Gregg Dobbs is another power bat off the bench for the Phillies. Eric Bruntlett will fill the utility role and speed of the bench. Paul Bako is the backup catcher who will have the best seat in the house
Joe Girardi leads the Yankees to the World Series for the first time since 2003. Girardi is in his second season with the Yankees and third overall in the majors. After missing out on the playoffs last year he guided the Yankees to the best record in majors. He is a "by the book" manager like Tony LaRussa. Looks at numbers and has over managed in the playoffs like in game 3 in the ALCS.
Charlie Manuel is now in his fifth year as manager for the Phillies and has never finished worse than second in his tenure. He has guided the team to its third straight playoff appearance and second straight league pennants. He is a feel manager who goes more with his gut then what the numbers tell him. Noone will have defined roles in the bullpen as anyone can be called upon at anytime.
I see this as a seven game series with the Yankees coming out on top in the end. Both lineups are deep and powerfull. Both can create runs through the running game as well. The series will be decided by Cole Hammels and AJ Burnett. If Hammels pitches like he has this year advantage Yankees. I dont know what to expect from Pedro in his matchup against AJ Burnett but I think AJ will keep the Yankees in the ball game while being is wild self. In the end it will come down to the bullpens where the Yankees have an edge. If the Yankees get a lead in the Eigth inning look for Rivera to be comming in to get anywhere from 4 to 6 outs.
WS MVP: Mark Teixeira