Why the Phillies' Game One World Series Win Was Not "Stunning"
I find headlines like "Phillies stun Yankees in World Series Game One" comical because the Yankees are not the team to beat. It's almost like last year when the Tampa Bay Rays went through the Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox on their way to the World Series.
The Rays were never given a chance to beat the Red Sox after taking out the White Sox. Yet, if you were listening to the broadcast, you would automatically assume that the Rays were the wild card team and that the Red Sox had won the American League East.
In actuality, the situation was reversed in both cases. The Rays were the best team in the American League East in 2008. But they got no respect from announcers because, before that year, the team was a perennial loser and didn't really come close to competing for the division crown.
Well that situation arises again now. It's almost as if the Phillies are the underdog in the series against the Yankees. Maybe it's because the Yankees have home field advantage; that might be a reason.
It's not like in any other sport, where the team with the best record gets the home field advantage; it's the team whose league wins the All-Star game that gets the homefield advantage in baseball.
The Yankees did win 10 more games this year than the Phillies did. So, that's another reason why the win by the Phillies could be considered stunning. Although, it takes away from the fact that the Phillies won the World Series last year.
Now if you look at the teams themselves and ask yourself who really has the better team, then you really have to look at the lineup each team has.
First let's look at the Yankees' lineup for Game One:
1. Derek Jeter-SS
2. Johnny Damon-2B
3. Mark Teixeira-1B
4. Alex Rodriguez-3B
5. Jorge Posada-C
6. Hideki Matsui-DH
7. Robinson Cano-2B
8. Nick Swisher-RF
9. Melky Cabrera-CF
SP: CC Sabathia
The Phillies' Game One lineup looked like this:
1. Jimmy Rollins-SS
2. Shane Victorino-CF
3. Chase Utley-2B
4. Ryan Howard-1B
5. Jayson Werth-RF
6. Raul Ibanez-DH
7. Ben Francisco-LF
8. Pedro Feliz-3B
9. Carlos Ruiz-C
SP: Cliff Lee
What it boils down to though is the third and fourth hitters on the Yankees and Phillies, which team has the tandem and the starting pitcher. Right now throughout the playoffs it's been Ryan Howard and Chase Utley.
Alex Rodriguez has certainly come on for the Yankees, but Teixeira has virtually been non-existent for the Yankees from the three spot in the lineup, and again that was proven tonight.
Teixeira and Rodriguez went a combined 0-for-8 and five strikeouts, while their counterparts, Utley and Howard, went 4-for-9 with two doubles, two home runs, three RBI, a walk, and three strikeouts.
The matchup between starting pitchers was a pretty even one, but again, because the Phillies had the lineup with the most punch, Sabathia got beat giving up the two home runs to Utley and nothing else.
Lee was dominant from the get go, ending up with a complete game and allowing no earned runs, striking out 10 while walking none, and giving up six hits.
Even if you broke down the Phillies' position players with the Yankees' position players, you'd find the Phillies coming out on top as well.
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