Phillies-Yankees World Series Preview

Bruce BeaverContributor IOctober 26, 2009

A position-by-position detailed analysis of the World Series matchup between the:

Philadelphia Phillies vs. New York Yankees

First Base

NYY-Mark Teixeira may be the second-best all-around first baseman in the game. He is a .290 hitter with a lot of pop. Teixeira is a Gold Glove quality fielder with loads of athleticism.

While he had a MVP-caliber season, he has struggled mightily in the playoffs at the plate, although he has made more hen his fair share of run savings plays in the field to help his team reach the World Series.

PHI-Ryan Howard is the best power hitter in baseball over the last four years. He has the most HR’s and RBI in baseball during that span.

Despite his defensive shortcomings, in the last four years he has finish in the top 5 in MVP voting three times, including winning it once and one runner-up. Due to being much fitter this year he has improved his defense to average.

  • OFFENSE:           TEIXEIRA-[][][][]            HOWARD-[][][][][]
  • DEFENSE:             TEIXEIRA-[][][][][]         HOWARD-[][]1/2
  • INTANGIBLES:      TEIXEIRA-[][][]              HOWARD-[][][][]1/2
  • OVERALL:            TEIXEIRA-[][][][]           HOWARD-[][][][]1/2

These two first basemen were both MVP candidates this year. But with Howard’s experience from winning last years World Series and the fact that he, along with A-Rod, is the hottest hitter in the postseason, the over all edge goes to the power hitter from Philly.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

Second Base

NYY-Robinson Cano is going to be a future all-star for years to come. He hits for a great average and puts the ball over the fence 15-20 time a year.  While he has a nice arm, he has limited range and has his share of errors. That said he has improved his defense year after year and is by no means a defensive liability.

PHI-Chase Utley is the best second-baseman in baseball. If he continues his offensive pace he will go down as the greatest slugging second-baseman of all time. Despite limited athleticism, he has willed himself into an excellent fielder. 

  • OFFENSE              CANO-[][][][]                     UTLEY-[][][][]1/2
  • DEFENSE:             CANO-[][][]                        UTLEY-[][][][]1/2
  • INTANGIBLES:        CANO-[][]1/2                     UTLEY-[][][][][]
  • OVERALL:             CANO-[][][]1/2                    UTLEY-[][][][]1/2

As good as Cano is, Utley is the best there is. Along with the fact he is clutch, he is also the clubhouse leader of his team and has come to represent what the Phillies are all about, much like the shortstop on the Yankees.

Shortstop

NYY-Derek Jeter, aka “The Captain”, is one of the most clutch player in postseason history. He is a career .419 hitter against left handers in the playoffs, a stat the Phillies are surely aware of.

While he has lost a step when it comes to running the bases, and fielding range, he still excels at being a  leader and a winner, two things he may have done better then any other player of his generation.

PHI-Jimmy Rollins is not your prototypical lead off hitter. He strikes out and pops out at a much higher rate then you want from your leadoff guy.

That said, when Rollins scores, the Phillies been almost unbeatable. He has good power and great speed. Defensively he is the two time defending Gold Glove winner, and looks to keep adding more to the trophy room for years to come.

  • OFFENSE:            JETER-[][][][]1/2             ROLLINS-[][][][]
  • DEFENSE:            JETER-[][][]1/2               ROLLINS-[][][][][]
  • INTANGIBLES:       JETER-[][][][][]              ROLLINS-[][][][]
  • OVERALL:            JETER-[][][][]1/2             ROLLINS-[][][][]

Both player are perennial all-stars. While it is had to pick between them, the slight edge has to go to Jeter for all he has accomplished, and what he represents to his team.

Third Base

NYY- Alex Rodriguez, scandals aside, is unarguably a top 5 player in baseball. He excels in every aspect of the game, his only flaw being his struggles in the postseason.

But so far this postseason, it seems he has put that behind him. Whether he is able to keep up the hot hitting in the World Series remains to be seen, but as of now he is a power to be reckoned with.

PHI-Pedro Feliz is a good third baseman who excels defensively. When he was with San Francisco, he had a bit more pop and hit for a higher average. Still, he is very consistent and does have his moments at the plate.

The Phillies depend on him to defend the hot corner, and he does just about as well as anyone in the league.

  • OFFENSE:            RODRIGUEZ-[][][][][]      FELIZ-[][]1/2
  • DEFENSE:            RODRIGUEZ-[][][][][]      FELIZ-[][][][]1/2
  • INTANGIBLES:        RODRGIUEZ-[][][]           FELIZ-[][]
  • OVERALL:            RODRIGUEZ-[][][][]1/2    FELIZ-[][]1/2

Catcher

NYY-Jorge Posada is the long time Yankee catcher. He may not be a defensive stalwart, but he sure has a lot of pop for a catcher.

Posada is no stranger to clutch performances and despite his recent discontent with being sat in the playoffs, the Yankees can always count on Posada to come to play.

PHI-Carlos Ruiz is known in Philly as “Chooch”.  During the regular season Ruiz is a very pedestrian hitter, but does run the bases well for a catcher.

But come October, Ruiz becomes one of the Phillies hardest outs, and that’s saying something. Behind the plate he is as solid as they come and his pitchers completely trust him and love to pitch to him.

  • OFFENSE:            POSADA-[][][][]            RUIZ-[][][]1/2
  • DEFENSE:             POSADA-[][][]              RUIZ-[][][][]
  • INTANGIBLES:       POSADA-[][][][]            RUIZ-[][][][]
  • OVERALL:             POSADA-[][][]1/2          RUIZ-[][][]1/2

Although they are completely different players, the impact they can have on their teams are relatively similar. Both players are uber clutch and are truly apart of the fabric of that is the souls of their teams. Both will rise to the occasion and give it everything they can, there for I see this matchup as a draw.

Left Field

NYY-Johnny Damon is coming off one of the best offensive seasons of his career. While he still has good range, he has the classic “wet noodle” for an arm. Damon does have a ton of experience in the postseason, and has responded in the big moment.

PHI-Raul Ibanez had the best year of his career at the age of 37. After May he was giving Albert Pujols a run for the MVP. After he came back from a foot injury, he never regained quite the same level of play.

Still, he has played well so far this postseason and knows this may be his last, best, only chance at a World Series ring.

  • OFFENSE              DAMON-[][][]                   IBANEZ-[][][]1/2
  • DEFENSE              DAMON-[][][]                   IBANEZ-[][][]
  • INTANGIBLES        DAMON-[][][][]                 IBANEZ-[][][]
  • OVERALL              DAMON-[][][]1/2               IBANEZ-[][][]1/2

This is as close to a draw as you can get. Both players have similar roles for their ballclub. Neither player is depended on to win the series for their team, but both are more then capable. In a series like this, matchups such as these could actually determine who win the series. Both players could be a dark horse or maybe even a dud.



Center Field

NYY-Melky Cabrera may have the least amount of name recognition of the starters on this Yankee team, but he is developing into a pretty good all-around baseball player.

Although he probably won’t win a Gold Glove in his immediate future, he plays a very good center field. His bat does leave a lot to be desired and for a center fielder with some range he does not steal nearly enough bases.

PHI-Shane Victorino is the Phillies mega source of energy. He is known as the Flying Hawaiian for his all or nothing approach in the field, for the havoc he causes on the base paths, and his numerous clutch moments. Simply Victorino the reigning Gold Glove winner and a run scoring machine.

  • OFFENSE:            CABRERA-[][]              VICTORINO-[][][][]
  • DEFENSE:            CABRERA-[][][][]         VICTORINO-[][][][][][]
  • INTANGIBLES:      CABRERA-[][]1/2          VICTORINO-[][][][]1/2
  • OVERALL:            CABRERA-[][]1/2          VICTORINO-[][][][]

Cabrera is a good young player but Victorino has the whole package. Victorino competes as hard as anyone in baseball and may remind many Phillies fans of a player known belovedly as “Charlie Hustle.”

Right Field

NYY-Nick Swisher is nothing if not consistent. He will bat .250, belt 30 HR’s and drive in 80 runs. While he will get you those consistent numbers, he does not contribute much in the field.

If the Yankees did not sign Teixeira, Swisher would be at first base. Whatever the Yankees get out of Swisher this series will come as a bonus, as long as he stays out of trouble in the field and on the basepaths.

PHI-Jayson Werth is a budding superstar. He fills up the box score in all facets of the game. He is coming off a season where he had  just under a 100 runs and RBI as well as 20 stolen bases.

He plays a great right field, has the range to where he could easily be a center fielder, and has a cannon for an arm. The Phillies may not be able to afford keeping Werth after this World Series, but for now he is one more weapon for the Phillies.

  • OFFENSE:        SWISHER-[][][][] WERTH-[][][][]1/2
  • DEFENSE          SWISHER-[][]1/2 WERTH-[][][][]1/2
  • INTANGIBLES    SWISHER-[][][] WERTH-[][][]
  • OVERALL          SWISHER-[][][] WERTH-[][][][]

Swisher is a nice player but Werth does more for things in more ways for then Phillies, then Swisher does for the Yankees. Swisher could have an impact on this series, Werth is expected to have an impact.


Potential DH

NYY-Hideki Matsui is a professional hitter. He has the ability to help the Yankees with his bat throughout the series. He understands how to approach pitchers, and even if he does  not end up with gaudy stats he will be a tough out for all the Phillies pitchers.

PHI-Matt Stairs and Ben Francisco will DH depending on the lefty/righty matchup. Stairs possesses more power but Francisco can gap a ball for a triple as well as steal bases.

Another option is against lefties, the Phillies could have Francisco play LF and have Ibanez DH.

  • OFFENSE:            MATSUI-[][][]1/2    STAIRS/FRANCISCO-[][]1/2
  • INTANGIBLES:        MATSUI-[][][][]       STAIRS/FRANCISCO-[][][]
  • OVERALL:            MATSUI-[][][]1/2     STAIRS/FRANCISCO-[][]1/2


Starting Pitchers

NYY- Sabathia, Burnett, and Pettitte and maybe Chamberlain make up the Yankees rotation. While Sabathia has had trouble in the past performing in the postseason, so far he has been a beast for the Yankees.

Burnett has great stuff but has and is struggling with consistency. Pettitte no longer throws as hard as he used to but he is a big game pitcher and almost always gives the Yankees a chance to win.

PHI-Lee, Hamels, Martinez, Blanton make up the Phillies four-man rotation. Although I see them using a four-man rotation I do see Lee pitching whenever Sabathia pitches. Hamels, last year's World Series MVP, has struggled mightily this postseason and has not been consistent all year.

Blanton is a work horse and like Pettitte always give the Phillies a chance to win. Martinez gives the Phillies the crafty experienced right hander.

The Phillies may be counting on that experience in Game 2 as they believe Martinez would hold up better in the Bronx then the struggling Hamels.

  • STUFF:                  NYY-[][][][]1/2                  PHI-[][][][]
  • CONSISTENCY:       NYY-[][][]1/2                    PHI-[][][][]
  • INTANGIBLES:         NYY-[][][]1/2                    PHI-[][][][]
  • OVERALL:               NYY-[][][][]                      PHI-[][][][]

Bullpen

NYY-While Coke, Hughes and the rest of the bunch make for a fine bullpen, it’s the closer that sets this bullpen apart from all others.

Even at his advanced age, Mariano Rivera is still the man when it comes to closing a game out. If the Phillies don’t find success in their first seven innings often then this will probably be a very short series.

PHI- Despite the Phillies bullpen being much maligned coming into these playoffs, they have performed exceptionally. Most of that is to the reemergence of their closer Brad Lidge.

If Lidge can keep up the good work and the rest of the bullpen holds form, then the Phillies will have every chance to win in any situation.

  • STUFF:                  NYY-[][][][][]                    PHI-[][][][]
  • CONSISTENCY:       NYY-[][][][]1/2                  PHI-[][][]1/2
  • INTANGIBLES:         NYY-[][][][][]                    PHI-[][][]1/2
  • OVERALL:               NYY-[][][][]1/2                  PHI-[][][][]

Overall

  • OFFENSE :           NYY-[][][][][]                   PHI-[][][][][]      
  • DEFENSE:            NYY-[][][][]                     PHI-[][][][][]      
  • PITCHING:           NYY-[][][][]1/2                 PHI-[][][][]
  • INTANGIBLES       NYY-[][][][]                   PHI-[][][][][]
  • OVERALL            NYY-[][][][]1/2                 PHI-[][][][][]


PICK: PHILLIES IN 7

No team plays better for 27 outs then the Philadelphia Phillies, and that will be the difference. Both teams will score runs, so the Sabathia/Lee matchup have that much more importance.

In the end, they will face off in game seven at Yankee Stadium, where Lee and the Phillies lineup will find a way to win and repeat as World Series Champions.