World Series Predictions: Why the New York Yankees Are the Favorites
But now it's October, and while the Phillies are just as good as the hype they received, the Red Sox failed to make the playoffs.
We all know what happened. The Red Sox entered September leading the Yankees in the AL East. They also had a nine-game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays, who trailed the Yankees in the wild-card race.
Then the Red Sox won just seven games in September and completed one of the biggest collapses in MLB history.
Most people didn't even predict the Yankees to make the playoffs! But the Yankees did as they always do, walking right into the postseason like it meant nothing.
Led by the likes of Curtis Granderson who had an MVP year, Robinson Cano, and a resurgent Derek Jeter, the Yankees won the AL East by six games, with a record of 97-65.
The Yankees starting pitching was a weakness when the season started, but you could now call it a strength.
The Phillies boast the best pitching in the postseason for sure, led by a trio of NL Cy Young candidates in Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels.
Still, with C.C. Sabathia carrying the pitching staff on his back, I am confident that the Yankees can overcome the Phillies staff if they meet in the World Series.
The Yankees No. 2 starter, Ivan Nova, greatly exceeded expectations this year, as did No. 3 starter Freddy Garcia. Yankee fans didn't know what to expect from the rookie Nova, but he gave the Yankees exactly what they needed.
Who will win the World Series?
Another Yankees strength is their bullpen. Early on you have Cory Wade and Luis Ayala, each of whom finished with an ERA under 2.10 during the regular season. The postseason bullpen also contains starters Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett. Both were question marks during the season but can defiantly handle an inning or so if called upon to pitch from the pen.
Then we have the three-headed monster of Rafael Soriano, David Robertson and Mariano Rivera. There is no better 7-8-9 relief trio in the postseason. All three had great seasons. Rivera's postseason play is highly regarded as the best ever for a pitcher.
Robertson also had a historic year, with an ERA of 1.08 and an ERA+ of 410.
The bench is also a strength. It contains Eric Chavez, Eduardo Nunez, Chris Dickerson, Andruw Jones and baseball's No. 6 prospect heading into the season, Jesus Montero. The presence of Jones and Montero will strike fear for any pitcher, while Nunez and Dickerson will command the base paths.
Yankees hitters as a whole hit the most home runs during the regular season, boasting the second highest wOBA among playoff teams.
And then we come to Alex Rodriguez. Rodriguez will prove to be a huge factor the Yankees in the playoffs. Coming off a cold September riddled with injuries, Rodriguez will have something to prove. Expect A-Rod to have a few big hits and lead the Yankees to victory.
No team, not even the Phillies, will be able to compete with the Yankees as they continue their quest for their 28th championship.
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