Archive for October, 2009

On the Brink of Something Special

Posted by Ben Seal, Wed, October 28, 2009 05:25 PM Comments: 3

There was a moment of silence as the ball approached the plate. As it tumbled downward, sharp, smooth and succinct. As Eric Hinske reluctantly swung, failed to connect and ended it all: the game, the series, the season, the frustration.

And by the next moment, as Carlos Ruiz raised his hands in ecstasy and ran out to smother Brad Lidge in celebration, the silence was gone, replaced by the cacophony of joy. In living rooms and bars and street corners around the city – and of course, at the ballpark – the joy waiting 28 years for release finally had an outlet. That outlet came in the form of the 2008 Phillies, a team that washed away nearly three decades of disappointment and frustration, erasing it all by defeating the Rays and becoming World Series Champions.

The celebration continued on throughout the winter months as we soaked in the memories and the emotions attached to last year’s club. Many fans waited their entire lives to see the city end its 25-year championship drought, and there could have been no better way than to roll through October and finish with a parade down Broad Street. The 2008 Phillies, from top to bottom, were a team that connected with the city and the fans from the very start, capturing our hearts and captivating our attention every night during the summer and into the early fall.  And in the end they finished it all with a win.

The offseason that we never wanted to end, though, came calling in February as pitchers and catchers reported to Clearwater, bringing about the possibility that the Phillies reign might eventually come to a close. Seven months ago when the season began it seemed almost implausible to think there could be a repeat champion from this town.

But now, with the 2009 Phillies four wins away from completing that task, it seems improbable that anything could prevent another banner being raised at Citizens Bank Park. Not A-Rod. Not CC. Not the 26-time World Champion Bronx Bombers.

The Phillies made it here, to the doorstep of history, with the help of many. The long swing of Raul Ibanez carried them through the early months. The grit and consistency of Chase Utley carried them through the beginning of summer. Once the dog days hit and the temperatures rose, a rejuvenation came from the accurate left arm of Cliff Lee. When it came time to lock up another pennant, the broad shoulders of Ryan Howard and the pure power of Jayson Werth carried them through the National League and into a one-week vacation, waiting for the final series of the year. All the while the spirit of the fans kept them running and swinging and pitching at the top of their game.

The bats, the gloves and the arms have the Phillies within reach of becoming the first NL team to defend their title since the 1976 Reds. If they do so, there will be another outburst of cacophony, followed by another parade and another offseason of celebration.

But with a short time before any of that begins, it’s worth noting what this team has already accomplished. A nucleus of top talents all in their prime has made the Phillies a winner, no matter what happens in the next week. The 10,000 losses mean nothing; the years of futility are out the window now. Philadelphia is home to an elite baseball team, one that will be a contender for years to come, with each April bringing expectations of success. Five years ago the thought of a championship seemed foreign and impossible. Now a second title seems inevitable.

As we watch the Phillies battle the Yankees, the memory of Brad Lidge striking out Eric Hinske will be at the forefront of our minds. And if a similar scene unfolds in the next two weeks, Philadelphia will not only have a winner, it will have a dynasty to call its own.


Phillies/Yankees World Series Predictions

Posted by Jason Bintliff, Wed, October 28, 2009 03:00 PM Comments: 41

Here are the predictions from the Phillies Nation crew:

Jason Bintliff:
My prediction is more of a feeling than it is scientific…

When the season started, I felt that the Phillies would make an earnest run at a title defense. I predicted early on, to my closest baseball confidant and best friend, that the Phillies would play the Yankees in the World Series, as we froze in section 303 during the on-deck series against the Rays. That was April 4th.

I also had a number in my head at the time and boldly proclaimed to him that the Phillies would repeat as champions. As we sat in the upper reaches of right-field, I said to him that the Phillies would again win it in five games.

Call it a premonition, call it bravado caused by winning a title the previous season, but those were my words. Perhaps it’s more than a coincidence that when our postseason ticket order form arrived, the game that we received for the World Series was game five.

Pat Gallen:
Many believe this series is one that is destined for seven games; one that will take its place amongst the finest in history. I think it goes one less.

I’m taking the Phillies in six. Last season, I privately believed the Phillies would lose to the Dodgers, and then again to the Rays. I was wrong, and it will be a long time before I count this team out in any way, shape, or form. This team has a winning mentality that is unmatched in the history of this city. That says a lot.

The Yankees are no slouch, that much we know. However, they’ve done the repeating thing before and everyone in this town can feel it’s the Phillies time. It’s just their time. Celebrate safely together on Wednesday evening, November 4. See you at the Parade on Friday, November 6. Broad Street, here we come again.

Amanda Orr:
In 2007, I predicted that the Phillies would beat the Rockies in the NLDS. I haven’t made a playoff prediction since. It worked out in 2008, and so far in 2009, so why change that? Cliche? Superstition? You bet – but also take it as a favor. That’s what a fan does: stick with what is working. With that being said, I’ll be sitting in the same seat. I will make one exception: the series goes six games.

Nick “Beerman” Staskin:
I’m going with the Phillies in 6 games. The Phillies had New York’s number at the Bronx during Memorial Day weekend and should have swept had it not been for a falty backend of the bullpen that seems to have corked its leaks. Tie that in with the Phillies post-All Star Break home record and their 11-1 home record at The Bank during the last two postseasons and I see the Phillies stealing two in New York to take the series.

Brian Michael:
I’m going with Phillies in 5 – just like last year.  They proved already this season they can win in Yankee Stadium and will take 1 of 2 up there – probably Game 1 against C.C. Then the Phils will sweep the Yanks at home in Philly where they’ve been nasty in the playoffs over the past two seasons.  All the games will be close but high scoring, except when Lee pitches.  Parade’s on November 4th.


World Series Preview: Pitching

Posted by Amanda Orr, Wed, October 28, 2009 11:53 AM Comments: 22

Two of the best teams in baseball will face head to head for their chance to win the Commissioner’s Trophy. The Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees have two of the top offenses in baseball, but pitching will play a factor in who becomes the 2009 World Champions.

The Yankees pitching staff can be praised with the numbers they’ve put up in the American League. The pitching staffs match up closely. During the regular season, the Phillies posted a 4.16 earned run average. The Yankees had a team ERA of 4.26, but right now they have some hot hands; the Yankees posted a 2.46 ERA during the playoffs. The two teams have an identical WHIP: 1.35. Both bullpens have posted a 3.91 ERA.

Lee vs. CC

Former Cleveland Indians and Cy Young winners Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia will duel in game one. Unlike the 2008 NLDS, Sabathia will not be pitching on three days of rest. Like Alex Rodriguez, Sabathia has been a much better player during this postseason than in the past. CC is 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA this postseason. Either way, CC vs. Shane: Part II, will be exciting.

Lee’s 0.74 ERA this postseason is self-explanatory. However, he is 4-4 with a 5.02 ERA against New York.

Edge: Push

The Other Starters

After CC, the Yankees rotation is set for A.J Burnett followed by Andy Pettitte. Burnett struggled in the ALCS, giving up eight runs in 12.1 innings against the Angels. Burnett, an offseason acquisition, will allow a lot of base runners (1.40 WHIP). Pettitte has a 2.37 ERA this postseason.

Pedro Martinez, the Yankees’ “daddy,” will start game two. Cole Hamels gets pushed back to game three after an inconsistent season. Joe Blanton or J.A Happ could start, but look for them in the bullpen.

Slight Edge: Phillies


Is there even an argument here? Mariano Rivera is one of the best closers of all time. Brad Lidge has improved during the postseason, but he is no Mo.

Major Edge: Yankees

Set-Up Man

Joe Girardi put Rivera in for a six-out save in the final game of the ALCS. That shows his lack of confidence in his bullpen. Girardi said that he was going to stick with Phil Hughes, despite his struggles. The 23-year old has given up 3 runs and allowed eleven base runners in 4.2 innings during the playoffs.

Ryan Madson has struggled at times, but his changeup accompanies his high-velocity fastball nicely. We may see others in the eighth, but right now Madson is the go-to guy.

Edge: Phillies

The Rest of the Bullpen

Joba Chamberlin has been shuffled from starter to reliever, but the bullpen is the place he is most effective. The ‘pen is also anchored by Phil Coke who has yet to allow a run in the postseason.

Chad Guadin, Damaso Marte, Alfredo Aceves and David Robertson will also be in the ‘pen.

Chan Ho Park has pitched well since his return from a hamstring injury. Brett Myers is back after being left off the NLCS roster, but Myers likes to use his struggles as motivation.

Chad Durbin, Scott Eyre and Antonio Bastardo will also be in the ‘pen, but also having a few starters gives the Phils an advantage.

Slight Edge: Phillies

Using Pat’s scale from the offensive preview, the pitching is tied, 4-4. The reason it’s even: Mariano Rivera.


World Series Preview: Offense

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, October 27, 2009 10:21 PM Comments: 21

You know the key players. You know the faces.  You know these clubs sport two of the best lineups in all of baseball.  And now, they face off for all the marbles.

The New York Yankees scored the most runs during the regular season in the American League with 915.  The Phillies were fourth overall at 820, sans a designated hitter.  The Yanks ripped 244 home runs this season, while the Phillies were second in the entire league with 224.

It’s about power and it’s about countless men on base for both squads.  Something has to give.  In this preview of both offenses, it’s tough to find who has the edge.  That said, I’ve put together a ridiculous point scale on how to figure out who has the overall advantage.

  • PUSH: 0 pts
  • SLIGHT EDGE: 1 pt
  • EDGE: 2 pts
  • MAJOR EDGE: 4 pts


Based on the merits of Jorge Posada, this would look like a lopsided position.  However, Posada has deteriorated with age, though still brings some pop with his bat. In the postseason thus far, Posada is hitting just .258 with two bombs.  The five-time all-star will provide adequate offense, but is no longer the game-changing backstop he once was.

Carlos Ruiz is what you would call “en fuego”.  He is swinging a fiery stick, hitting .346 in the playoffs to this point, with a 1.000 OPS.  His keen eye is the main reason Chooch has taken a step forward in his offensive progression.  Ruiz has walk-to-strikeout ratio of 7/2.

Defensively, in what is perhaps the most important position, this is hardly a tough call.  Posada is turning into a defensive liability with a bum shoulder, while Ruiz is one of the steadiest backstops in the league.  And when A.J. Burnett pitches, you likely will not see Posada, as Jose Molina will come in for duty.

EDGE: Phillies (2)

First Base:

One of the tougher calls going by position, both Ryan Howard and Mark Teixeira are nightmares at the plate for opposing pitching, but only one man is currently in a zone of his own.  Howard has 14 RBI in nine games thanks to those seven extra-base hits.   Defensively? Ain’t no thing.  Howard does not have an error in the postseason.

Teixeira’s regular season numbers were outstanding (.292, 39, 122) but still paled in comparison to the Big Piece.  The postseason has not been very kind to the Yankees slugger as he hovers above the Mendoza Line through nine games.  Look for him to snap out of the slump, although the pressure of the World Series isn’t for the faint of heart.

With the glove, Teixeira has the advantage, but Howard has done nothing wrong in this second season.

SLIGHT EDGE: Phillies (1)

Second Base:

Give full credit to Robinson Cano.  He is one of the better young middle infielders in all of baseball. His .320 average and 25 regular season homers would attest to that.  That said, he’s hitting just .229 in the playoffs without a home run.  Cano has hit the skids at the wrong time, as the Yankees could use his pop in the small ballparks in this series.

Chase Utley – you know him.  Explaining his resume isn’t necessary.  Through the playoffs, he been the same old guy we’ve come to know – Utley is the fourth Phillie hitting over .300 in the playoffs (.303) and he must keep up that ability to get on base.  It’s one of the reasons why Ryan Howard has shredded everything in his path.

Defensively, both are very good at what they do.  Neither are flashy with the leather, but are more than adequate parts of very good double-play tandems.

EDGE: Phillies (2)

Third Base:

Not sure there is really much to write here.  With all due respect to Pedro Feliz and his glove, Alex Rodriguez’s bat more than makes up for whatever it is he lacks in the field.  Which, by the way, isn’t much.  A-Rod is just fine at third base.

Chalk this up as a loss.

MAJOR EDGE: Yankees (4)


Two heavyweight’s at their respective position going head to head in the fall classic – doesn’t get much better than this.  Jimmy Rollins and his well-documented struggles at the plate have done nothing to shatter his confidence. A .244 average is despicable for a leadoff man, but to be fair, he has had some big hits this postseason.

Derek Jeter is not having that same problem.  The elder statesman of the Yankees has been hitting all year; from his .334 regular season average, to the .297 postseason mark.  Jeter is a model of consistency, although his glove leaves something to be desired.  Mike Missanelli here in Philadelphia claims Jeter has “as much range defensively as an office chair.”

Jeter is so much better with the bat right now, but with the glove, there aren’t many players you would rather have in the field than Rollins.

SLIGHT EDGE: Yankees (1)


This is a clean sweep for the Phillies. Jayson Werth has five home runs in the playoffs.  Johnny Damon, Melky Cabrera, and Nick Swisher have combined for two.  Add in Shane Victorino’s three bombs, and a lone shot from Raul Ibanez, and you have a powerful triumvirate roaming the outfield grass.

The long bright spot for New York has been Melky Cabrera and his .314 average through two rounds, however, that is more than negated by Victorino’s gaudy numbers (.361, 3, 7 RBI).  Defensively, Cabrera also has range and a strong arm, but he is flanked by two below-average fielders. Damon has the arm of a beerleague softball player, and Swisher is slow and a better first baseman.

The Phillies boast two outstanding arms in Werth and Victorino.  Each can cover a ton of ground with their speed, and Raul Ibanez is a serviceable option in left.  Drop Ben Francisco in there for two games at Yankee Stadium due to the DH, and you have a fine defensive outfield.

MAJOR EGDE: Phillies (4)


Hideki Matsui is a DH by trade but will be relegated to the bench for games three, four, and five back in Philadelphia. That’s a great option in the late innings for the Yanks.  Brett Gardner has great wheels, plus is a nice pinch-hitter as well. That’s about the extent of the Yankes bench.

For the Phillies, you won’t see much of their bench with the DH, but we know about the powerful swing of Matt Stairs.  Ben Francisco will be playing in games one and two, so that depletes a weak bench even further.  That leaves Greg Dobbs ad Eric Bruntlett, both of whom have struggled.

EDGE: Yankees (2)

Count it all up and the Phillies come away with a 9-7 advantage taking into account defense within the lineup.  But man, are these teams so very close.


Phillies Nation Podcast: Episode 15

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, October 27, 2009 04:34 PM Comments: 2

Welcome to the Phillies Nation Podcast!

In this special WORLD SERIES episode, Pat is joined by Noah Coslov of MLB.com and Jesse Spector of the New York Daily News.  On the podcast today, Noah and Jesse break down the offenses, the pitching match ups, and the brewing rivalry between the two teams.  In addition, they both give their predictions for the series.

http://www.visionsportsllc.com/sample.php?nm=clients/485597350Noah_Coslov_250.jpg&mwidth=105&mheight=126&text=After graduating from Boston University, Noah Coslov spent two summers in Reading, PA calling games on the radio for the Reading Philles. From there, he moved to New York City to work for the NBA and broadcast college hoops for Long Island University in Brooklyn. Through tremendous experiences hosting NBA TV Fantasy Hoops and NBA Radio on Sirius, Noah headed to College Sports Television (now CBS College Sports) and then onto MLB.com. He still gets his NBA fix by voicing NBA 360 which airs internationally on NBA TV and in the New York area on MSG.

Jesse SpectorJesse Spector authors a blog for the New York Daily News called “Touching Base“.  In one of his latest posts, he believed Joe Girardi should have been fired had the Yankees lost to the Angels after taking a 3-1 series lead.  Jesse is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and has been writing Touching Base – the News’ inside-the-numbers baseball column – since 2005. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now lives in Astoria, a much shorter subway ride to both Shea and Yankee Stadium.

Click here to listen Phillies Nation Podcast – Episode 15


Myers added to roster; Cairo left off

Posted by Amanda Orr, Tue, October 27, 2009 03:45 PM Comments: 18

Leslie Gudel of Comcast Sportsnet reports (via Twitter) that Brett Myers has been added to the World Series roster.  The Phillies opted to go with 12 pitchers, leaving Miguel Cairo, a former Yankee, off the roster.

Myers, who was left off the National League Championship roster, made progress from a strained muscle.  Ruben Amaro Jr. said that Myers “looked sharper.”  Cairo went 0-for-5 during the playoffs this year.

In Yankees news, Eric Hinske has been added to the roster.  Remember him?


Game 1 and Game 2 Watching Parties

Posted by Brian Michael, Tue, October 27, 2009 12:43 PM Comments: 26

Ok folks, the World Series are upon us. If you haven’t been wearing your Phillies gear all week, then you better start now. You should also start making plans for watching the games in a fun environment. If your immediate vicinity is not full of fans, then I suggest you patronize your local Phillies bar. Below I’ve listed the specials happening at some of the bars in the big cities around the country – all these places will be packed with Phillies fans. For directions to any of these bars or to find your spot in a city not listed, check out our Phillies Bars page and enjoy the games!


  • $12 pitchers
  • 22 beers on tap
  • $8 cheesesteak and beer
  • Whiz cheesesteak sliders on special
  • Fox Philadelphia will be filming during Game 1

Ventnor Sports Cafe

  • Yuengling will be on special
  • Cheesesteaks on special
  • Pretzels are going to be shipped down  for game 1
  • I’ll be there for Game 1


Wednesday 7PM to 10PM:

  • .50¢ Wing Night
  • $2 Blue Moons
  • $1 Coors Light Bottles
  • $1.50 Miller Lite and Yuengling Drafts

Thursday 7PM to 10PM:

  • $4 Cheesesteak Night
  • $1 Coors Light Bottles
  • 9pm to Close – $1 Domestics Bottles

McFadden’s Ballpark
Chickie’s & Pete’s
Grey Lodge - $3 Sly Fox cans for Phillies games

Upper Deck


Mad River

  • $6 cheesesteaks
  • $2 Coors Light bottles

Pat’s Downtown Bar & Grill.

  • $2 Bud, Bud Light PBR, Rolling Rock
  • $4 Jager bombs
  • $2 kamazies
  • $7 pitchers

Sports Cafe - 1 pound pints Wednesday night


Which City Has the Edge?

Posted by Jason Bintliff, Tue, October 27, 2009 08:00 AM Comments: 86

When it comes to comparing Philadelphia with New York, Philadelphia often gets the short end of the stick. However, when it comes to the important things in life, Philadelphia does more than holds it own when pitted up to the self-proclaimed “Capital of the Free World.”  We are, after all, the nation’s first capital.

Historical Landmarks: Liberty Bell vs. Statue of Liberty

Between the two cities, there are no shortages of famous landmarks. There are two that come to mind almost instantly.

New York has the Statue of Liberty. First dedicated by France to symbolize the friendship forged during the Revolutionary War, Lady Liberty still proudly stands in New York Harbor. Standing a whopping 305 ft. tall, this jolly green giant is visited by over 3 million people per year. It loses points for its geographical location, which is technically New Jersey (much like their football teams).

The Liberty Bell is a symbol of freedom in this country. Located in the heart of Center City, it is the heart of Philadelphia. One could also claim it to be the Heart of Independence. Its most famous ringing came on July 8th, 1776 as a signal to Philadelphians and Americans that independence had been declared. Weighing in at a hefty 2,055 lbs. this heavy-weight is also visited by over 3 million persons per year. It gains points for seniority in American history. New York loses a few more points for being a colony full of loyalists who until the very last moment succumbed to the pressure of the other colonies.

Edge: Philadelphia

Food: Cheesesteaks vs. Pizza

You can find Philadelphia’s signature dish in many places across the country, but seldom is this delicatesy good outside of the tri-state area (PA, NJ, Northern DE). Cheese Wiz, wit or witout juicy beef grilled to heavenly perfection, a true Philadelphian knows, it’s the roll that makes the sandwich. (My personal preference is Amoroso’s roll with provolone cheese) Perhaps it’s the limited accessibility to good bread that limits other spots across the U.S. from producing a cheesesteak worthy of a Philadelphian tongue.

Everyone knows that New York is known for their Manhattan or Neapolitan style pizza. Sure, it’s good, I cannot lie, however, is it better than say Chicago-style deep-dish? Are the pizzas you find in New York leaps and bounds better than that of what you find at your favorite Ma and Pop pizza joint in your neighborhood? Better maybe, but only slightly. Add in the accessibility of good pizza across the nation and New York-Style Pizza just doesn’t stand out from the pack like a good cheesesteak does.

Edge: Philadelphia

Traffic: Cross- Bronx vs. The Schuylkill

I have been stuck in traffic numerous times on both roadways. Each time I subject myself to the punishment doled out by either gauntlet, I feel as if I lose two years off my life. It doesn’t matter if it’s midnight, on Christmas, in a blizzard, the day after nuclear annihilation, you are sure to find a jam up, no matter which highway you find yourself on. Both Philadelphians and New Yorkers can lament when struggling to deal with these two behemoths.

Edge: Push

Fans: Yankees vs. Phillies

In Philadelphia, if you’re a fan, you are a PHAN. Your reputation proceeds you. You are feared by the nation yet revered by your brethren. Forget Santa, you have thrown snowballs at Cowboys head-coach Jimmy Johnson and ruffled his finely coiffed hairdo. You have ruined the careers of both Matt Garza and Eva, er Evan Longoria because you refused to let them get comfortable on the biggest stage of their careers. You are not passive about your sports teams, you are passionate. Whether or not you have a good day depends on how well your team performed the night before. Baseball for you is not an institution, it’s life. To root for a winner is easy, but to root for a team that has  over ten-thousand losses takes a special person – a loyal person. You are that person.

To be a Yankees fan is trying. Geez, your team hasn’t won since the turn of the century(2000). Fuhgedaboutit, Yankee fans don’t hold a candle to a Phillies fan because you don’t have the experience of pain and loss of Joe Carter and 1964. I won’t be the one to call you front-runners because you really have no other choice (well you could be a Mets fan… I know, I’m laughing too). You may well be passionate, but you have no clue as to what devotion is because you never had to suffer through bad, and I mean really bad times. (Except losing that Boston series, yeah, that was pretty rough.)

Edge: Philadelphia

So there you have it, Philadelphia is clearly better than New York both inside and outside the baseball stadium.


The Games That Got Us Here

Posted by Amanda Orr, Mon, October 26, 2009 08:00 PM Comments: 0

They’re back for seconds! The Philadelphia Phillies won the National League pennant, and are headed to the World Series for the second consecutive year. Their opponent will be the New York Yankees, the winningest team in sports history.

The Phillies finished their roller coaster season with 93 wins, but their never-say-die attitude in the playoffs has made for the most memorable postseason in franchise history.

The Phillies kicked off the postseason by beating the Colorado Rockies in four games during the National League Division Series. Cliff Lee’s nine superb innings set the tone for the playoffs. The Phillies took the first game, 5-1, but it was not the most exciting highlight of the series.

Colorado snow postponed the third game of the series, but at 2:14 a.m on a Monday morning, the Phillies took a 2-1 series lead in a game for the ages. Tied at five in the ninth inning, Ryan Howard hit a sacrifice fly to give the Phillies a 6-5 lead. It wasn’t Howard’s biggest moment of the series.

“Just get me to the plate, boys,” Howard said to his teammates, who were trailing 4-2 with two outs in the ninth. It appeared as if the Rockies tied the series, but two runners reached base to keep the Phillies’ hopes alive. Howard didn’t disappoint, smashing a game-tying double. Jayson Werth followed with a run batted in. Brad Lidge closed the doors to send the Phillies to the National League Championship Series.

The series against the Los Angeles Dodgers was filled with Carlos Ruiz clutch hits, Chase Utley throwing errors, another stellar performance from Lee, poor outings from Cole Hamels, and an 11-0 blowout. In addition, Howard tied Lou Gehrig’s eight game postseason RBI record. However, Howard, the NLCS MVP, didn’t get the biggest hit.

Once again, the Phillies were down to their last out, with a familiar nemesis on the mound: Jonathan Broxton. In game four of the 2008 NLCS, Matt Stairs famously hit a game-winning home run off Broxton. This time around, Broxton didn’t want any part of Stairs, and walked him. It proved to be costly for L.A, because Jimmy Rollins delivered with the biggest hit of his career. The Phillies stunned the Dodgers by winning, 5-4. Rollins’ game four walk-off made for one of the most unbelievable endings in postseason history.

A day later, the Phillies clinched the pennant. For the first time in franchise history, the Phillies won back-to-back National League championships. They can make more history by giving us another parade.


World Series: Things to Think About

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, October 26, 2009 10:59 AM Comments: 85

First pitch of the 2009 Fall Classic is roughly 58 hours away, meaning there is plenty of time to strip this series down to its core. While you wait, here are some early things to consider:

-Cliff Lee is just as good as C.C:

Though you might not know it through the media, just trust me on this one. Lee’s postseason numbers are better than Sabathia’s at this point, although everyone in America will tell you just how great C.C. is and what he has meant to the Yankees.

Lee’s ERA is nearly a half-run lower through three postseason starts, plus he has pitched 2 1/3 more innings. Sabathia has allowed three more hits and has given up a home run, something Lee has yet to do in the playoffs. So before you go thinking that the Phillies are scared seeing C.C. times three, consider that the Yankees may have to do the game with Cliff Lee.

-The Phillies should run, run, run:

Yankees catcher Jorge Posada has dealt with shoulder trouble in the past, and while that seems to be behind him, he can be run on. In the regular season, Posada threw out just 28 percent of would-be base stealers. The Phillies have stolen six bases in the playoffs thus far, but look for Charlie Manuel, along with his sidekick Davy Lopes, to send them when possible.

-Mariano Rivera is ridiculously good:

The guy still has it, even in the latter stages of an illustrious career. He throws a cutter that is virtually unhittable, one that tails in on lefties, which might be trouble. Rivera himself has caused the expansion of tree choppers, due to his penchant for breaking bats. Although he is still in top form, he can be had. The Phillies have shown great patience at the plate, and there’s no doubt that they’ve watched countless hours of tape on this guy already. They must continue that new found mentality, bringing it with them to the ninth inning.

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