By Ryan of The Sportmeisters
The defending champions are back again, this time after taking the NLCS over the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-1. In two of those games, the Phillies managed to flash their NL leading power, scoring double-digit runs.
In the friendly confines of New York, power hitters such as Ryan Howard and Chase Utley should perform well. The Phillies led all NL teams in road home runs and runs scored on the road.
Howard (.333, 2 home runs, 8 RBIs in NLCS) set the tone, but received contributions from Raul Ibanez (one home run, 4 RBIs), Carlos Ruiz (.385, home run, 4 RBIs), and Shane Victorino (.368, 2 home runs, 6 RBIs).
Defensively, the team will once again rely on mid-season pickup Cliff Lee, who threw eight innings of three hit ball with ten strikeouts in his one start. 2008 World Series MVP Cole Hamels started two games, winning one, but did get roughed up, giving up seven runs in the two starts.
Brad Lidge has taken back the closer role, earning a win and a save in just under three innings of work. Hamel’s struggles is different from the composed pitcher of last season, and Philadelphia will have to adjust, risking some of their bullpen coming in earlier.
About New York:
The Yankees roll into their home-field advantage riding a 7-2 postseason record, including a perfect 5-0 at home. The AL leader in runs scored and slugging percentage, the Yankees know how to work a bat.
They are led this postseason by the formerly struggling Alex Rodriguez (.429, three home runs, six RBIs in ALCS), and have received contributions from Johnny Damon (.300, two home runs, five RBIs), Melky Cabrera (.391, two doubles, four RBIs), and Derek Jeter (two home runs, three RBIs, seven walks).
AL MVP candidate Mark Teixeira has struggled, hitting only .222 with four RBIs. His bat in front of A-Rod is a huge reason he has come on this season.
ALCS MVP CC Sabathia has earned his paycheck, throwing two huge games, going eight innings in both, giving up two runs and striking out twelve. Andy Pettitte is now the all-time postseason win career holder, getting his 16th win in the convincing Game Six.
Joba Chamberlain and Philip Hughes will need to be on top of their game to give Mariano River (two saves, 1.29 ERA. New York has the starters, but it’s the bullpen to keep an eye on.
About The Matchup:
The two teams met in an interleague matchup earlier this season, with Philadelphia taking two out of three. This is expected to be a high-scoring powerful series, so the team with the better pitching, especially in the later innings, should be crowned champions. New York manager Joe Girardi leads the Yankees back to their first World Series since 2003, but he has to keep from his constant overmanaging.
Game one will see CC Sabathia vs. former teammate Cliff Lee. Game two will see Pedro Martinez, the former Boston Red Sox Yankee killer, against A.J. Burnett, and game three will matchup Cole Hamels and Andy Pettitte.
The Broad St. vs. Broadway matchup, but the Yankees end the season where they wanted to at the beginning, as World Series Champions. Yankees in six.