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World Series Preview: Offense

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, October 27, 2009 10:21 PM | Comments: 21
Posts, World Series 2009

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

Catcher:

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)

Shortstop:

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)

Outfield:

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)

Bench:

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.

Avatar of Pat Gallen

About Pat Gallen

Pat Gallen has written 1674 articles on Phillies Nation.

Pat is Editor-in-Chief of Phillies Nation. He also covers the Phils for 97.5 FM in Philly.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 King

    How can you write this and include bench but not starting pitching or bullpen…I’m not sure the phillies win including those two things

    Phillies would probably win by 1 I guess including sp and bullpen

     
  • Posts: 0 Terry

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that the pitching not being included has something to do with the article being titled: “World Series Preview: Offense”.

    I agree that we’d probably still take it by one once pitching is included, figuring we should have a slight edge on the rotation, mainly because we have four starters not named Chad Gaudin, but the Yankees having that pesky Rivera fellow obviously gives them the clear advantage in the ‘pen.

    Let’s Go Phillies!

     
  • Posts: 0 Ryan S

    Jeter is doing much better defensively this season.

     
  • Posts: 0 Barry in VA

    How about comparing managers?

    MAJOR EDGE: PHILLIES.

    Let’s go Phillies!

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew

    Talking to my NY buddy he thinks catcher is a whitewash for the yankees. I feel its major edge phils.

     
  • Posts: 0 Brooks

    I was waiting for this comparison and it’s not difficult, you hit it on the head. First base though, seems more of a major edge to Howard since his zone seems not only to include power numbers but giant key hits as well. Give another point to the Big Piece for his huge clutch hitting at this point and the margin is wider.
    Let’s consider now the intangibles:
    First the Yanks – regardless of who puts on the uniform (I hope I don’t regret this) but, ‘Melky’ in pinstripes??
    26 World Championships has to add some swagger into your step. I could only imagine what that means! “You are now a Yankee – a winning tradition, known throughout the world as the most dominant team in any professional sports, ever.”
    OK, I am starting to gag but you get my point –
    Lets talk our own – the Phils know they are the best TEAM in baseball. We know that once this team is broken up due to the almighty $$, there is some great talent that is waiting in the wings – Taylor, Brown to name a few. But, we also know that we are riding one on the coat tails of one of the most feared players in the game since the 60′s in Ryan Howard. That knowledge is sweet with the understanding that the chemistry of this team enhances Howard’s abilities. Utley, Rollins, Victorino, Werth, Ibanez, Chooch and Feliz are even more valuable since this cohesive unit thrives on the accomplishments of each other.
    I give the Phils a big, big advantage… It won’t be easy at first but I see a second Phils championship, perhaps a third and a nickname coming up that will live in the halls of Cooperstown.

    Go Phils!

     
  • Posts: 0 Daktari

    METS Fan Checking in.

    I have to say that I am pulling for you guys! Though most of my fellow Mets fans might not agree with my decision.

    Regardless, you guys have a great squad, and are built to be competitive for the next 2-3 years.

    I hope you do the National League, and the NL East Proud!

    And of course, it will make stomping the piss out of you next year all the sweeter if you are WS Champs AGAIN!

    Good luck.

     
  • Posts: 0 mikeB

    Jorge Posada does not show me anything after watching him play against the Angels. I think that Chooch Ruiz has it all over him and will outplay him in this series.

     
  • Posts: 0 Keith E

    Phillies in 6
    GO PHILS!!!

     
  • Posts: 0 Keith E

    Why did you rate the infield individually and the outfield collectively? That cost us 6 points!
    GO PHILS!!!

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    World______Champions!!

     
  • Posts: 0 Manny

    Ahhhh I can’t waittttttttt for this game to get started!!!!!!

     
  • Posts: 0 Mike

    hmm…I would modify some of your numbers and come out with a push. I think that’s probably fairer.

    I would probably come out the same on pitching. Lee v. CC = push or edge Phillies. Indeed, if we can get to CC like we did last year, then the pitching matchup weighs considerably more heavily in our favor. Harder to tell with Pedro v. Burnett. I consider this to be the X match-up of the series. Hamels v. Petitte I’m giving it to Hamels by a hair. At home, at night and with me at the game . . . we can’t lose. But, really, this could be the toughest game.

    I really want to see Happ pitch in one of these games, preferably game 4. His performance so far is not representative of his 2009 postseason potential. One cold game in CO and some bumb bullpen starts isn’t enough to get a good read. On the other hand, I think so doing would be a slap in the face to Blanton, who is the real number 2 pitcher on the team.

    The bullpen is a push as well. Both are shaky before the 9th. As to the 9th. . . depends on which Lidge shows up!

    I say Phillies in 6 or 7.

     
  • Posts: 0 Manny

    I really hope we go with 4 starters, instead of Lee. I rather have a rested Lee in Game 5 than a question-mark Lee in Game 4. Either Blanton or Happ can do the job. We have the pitching depth… use it!

     
  • Posts: 0 joedad

    I agree with keith. The Phils outfield is significantly better offensively, defensively and on the basepaths than the yankees outfield. Werth over Swisher – 4; Victorino over Cabrera – 2 and Ibanez / Francisco over Damon – 1.

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Manny…I agree….but I’m afraid Cholly is going to go with Lee in Game 4… Use Happ or Blanton….they are both capable..

    joedad/Keith E….I agree also that the Phils outfield is better…by a lot!!

    I think there are 2 “X-factors” for the Yanks that, should they win, will come into play…..Mariano Rivera and Alex Rodriguez.

     
  • Posts: 0 jeff the yankee fan

    My prediction: Yanks in 6.

    Breakdown:
    Game 1: Classic pitchers duel, Yanks go 7 + with Sabathia and go straight to Rivera. Lee equally great but the game comes down to a strange defensive play and the Yankees prevail.
    Game 2: Burnett implodes early, Phillies fans are questioning why Pedro goes into the 7th, despite a huge lead and Phils coast to easy victory, maybe putting up 10+ runs.
    Game 3: Pettitte puts guys on base every inning but the games stays close as Hammels starts off in 2008 form (or his form vs. the Yanks earlier this year) but leaves late in a jam. This is the game I could see the Lidge factor coming into play.
    Game 4: Girardi prays for rain which doesn’t come, but he does the smart thing and starts Gaudin (rather than bringing back Sabathia and ruining the rotation). Manuel plays a hunch, starts Happ, who was great vs. the Yanks earlier in the year. Close for three innings, then it gets ugly. Happ is brilliant and most of the Yankee fans have the game off by the 6th inning as the Phils blow out the Yanks in a sloppy game.
    Game 5: Sabathia’s chance to overcome last year’s distaster vs. the Phillies. Even with Lee and Sabathia throwing, both of the pitchers are out earlier than game 1 and it’s an old-fashioned slug fest. WS MVP candidate Utley finds his power stroke and hits bombs to both fields but Rivera throws 3 innings and the Yanks win in extra innings.
    Game 6: The second guessing continues, Pedro doesn’t have it after the short layoff and Burnett is better. Phils fans hoping Hammels came back after his great game 3 start the bullpen lost. Yanks celebrate on their home field and Mets fans slit their wrists.

    MVP: Texiera (A-Rod cools off a bit as the Phillies play it smart first two games and give him nothing to hit, getting into his head).
    Most Home Runs: Utley finds the power stroke.
    Myers Factor: They bring him in situationally with success.
    Lidge Factor: One blown save, not a horrible outing, just a scrappy run.
    Girardi endorsment: Subway.

    Bonus: Predictions for next year: Phillies back in the series with record win season. Rays win AL East. Red Sox miss the playoffs and Mets have more wins than Boston. Brewers are the surprise of the NL but fall in the NLCS to Phillies. Rangers / Rays ALCS and repeat of ’08 Phillies in 5 over Rays.

     
  • Posts: 0 Tron

    Jeff that is actually not a bad prediction, not a lot of homerism which is always nice.

    To me this series really comes down to Lee vs. Sabathia. In games not started by these two I see the series being split. So if either of these pitchers can dominate I see their team winning in six. If they split there starts its going seven which will make the series a real toss up.

    Phillies in seven.

     
  • Posts: 0 Manny

    Yesterday I had a feeling that Game 1 would go to extra innings. Today I feel that one of the two starters is gonna blow up. AAAAHH!!! CAN’T PHUCKING WAIT… ANY. LONGER.

     
  • Posts: 0 Hugh Stacks

    This is the biggest most blatant collection of homers I’ve ever seen. Guess I shouldn’t have expected much more from Philly people.

     
  • Posts: 0 Paul F (Yankees Fan)

    some of these picks are ridiculous:
    “Teixeira’s regular season numbers were outstanding (.292, 39, 122) but still paled in comparison to the Big Piece.”
    Ever heard of OBP, OPS, wOBA? These stats are infinitely more important batting average, homeruns and especially RBI’s. Howard is a beast and he’s hot, but Teixeira was a slightly better offensive player this year. If you want to say that postseason numbers make up for that, then call it a push.

    “Posada is turning into a defensive liability with a bum shoulder”
    Posada is not a good defensive catcher, but it has nothing to do with his shoulder. After offseason surgery his shoulder has felt fine all year. He also threw out a slightly higher percentage of baserunners than Ruiz (28 -27, basically the same.) Posada’s problems come from his lack of baseball instincts and his poor plateblocking. However, Posada was such a superior offensive player (100 points of OPS) this year that it is crazy to give Ruiz an edge, let alone a 2 point edge.

    Derek Jeter is waaaaaaay more than a slight edge over Rollins. I’m not one of those Yankees fans that thinks Jeter is amazing because of his intangibles. Look at his stats! Jeter has more than 100 points of on base percentage on Rollins this year. Your manager batted your second worst offensive player leadoff all year! Also, UZR says that Jeter had a better season defensively than Rollins. Also, why am I not surprised that this is the one position that you didn’t list postseason stats? You used postseason stats to argue for Ruiz and Howard, but when it comes to shortstops they don’t apply?

    All your other matchup are correct. I just feel like you made your choices then looked for whatever stats you could use to back them up. Why not take one offensive stat (like OPS or wOBA) and objectively compare the starting 8?

    like this:

    Yankees vs Phillies wOBA

    Yankees .378
    .390 SS Jeter
    .376 LF Damon
    .402 1B Tex
    .405 3B A Rod
    .378 C Posada
    .370 2B Cano
    .375 RF Swisher
    .331 CF Melky

    Phillies .358
    .316 SS Rollins
    .354 CF Victorino
    .402 2B Utley
    .393 1B Howard
    .382 RF Werth
    .379 LF Ibanez
    .302 3B Feliz
    .337 C Ruiz

     
 
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