World Series: Things to Think About

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, October 26, 2009 10:59 AM | Comments: 85
Analysis, News, Opinion, Posts

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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About Pat Gallen

Pat Gallen has written 1709 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 Yankees27

    Please Manuel pitch pedro early and often….. Can’t wait to hear the whose your daddy chants at the big house the bronx…. it’s been to long

    It will go down in Yankees-Red Sox lore as the Daddy Speech, in honor of this highlight in Martinez’s interview session after a 6-4 loss to New York on Friday: “What can I say? I tip my hat and call the Yankees my daddy.”

  • Posts: 0 Mazinman

    This series will probably be the best show we have had in October in years even if most in the media are seeing the series as a mere formality for the crowning of the Yankees as World Champions again. Both teams have killer line ups, a dominating Ace in the post season, and question marks in their bullpen. The Yankees have home field advantage but the Phillies are among the best teams playing away from CBP.

    I think that the key to this series will not be Lee or Hamels or any player of the Phillies but Charlie Manuel. I’m not trying to take away anything from the Yankees, they are a very good team, however they also were lucky enough to have both the Twins and the Angels make some big mistakes which won them some games. The Phils cannot afford to do the same and its Charlie’s job to make sure it does not happen.

  • Posts: 0 Yankees27

    It’s a mistake starting peddy in the bronx on thursday night chief

  • Posts: 0 John

    If we lose I blame the braintrust. Of the eight starting pitchers in the series, Happ has the lowest ERA and the second best (to Pedro) winning percentage. I can’t imagine how Jay can be so disrespected.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    He’s not disrespected….with Romero on the shelf you need a solid lefty in the pen. And who knows….maybe he DOES get a start…we all don’t know just exactly what Charlie has up his sleeve….but, win or lose, I trust his judgement to make the decisions he thinks are best. The man in human and can only pull what strings he deems right at the time. It’s then up to the players to execute.

  • Posts: 0 The Original Chuck P

    It doesn’t get any better than this… these two teams are very evenly matched.

    Very rarely do you see the best teams from both leagues make it into the World Series but it’s tough to argue that it has happened in 2009… sure, the Dodgers ended the regular season with a better record but the Phillies were the better team and proved it in the playoffs.

    The Yankees, on the other hand, were the odds on favorite to win the AL since day one… and remain the odds on favorite to win the World Series… but odds mean nothing to the Phillies. These two teams have crafted similar formulas for success; starting lineups that can score in bunches at any time and steady pitching. The Yankees boast a better bullpen but the Phillies do the little things better (namely, running and defending).

    The Phillies went out and nabbed Cliff Lee for this type of series and he will be called upon to win at least one game against CC, maybe more as there have been grumblings that Lee might pitch three times in this series. We all believe in our ace (the reigning AL Cy Young award winner) but more importantly, we are not intimidated by CC. Let’s face it, the Twins and Angels are formidable opponents but neither team/city is capable of doing what this team/city is capable of doing… I think that it would be safe to say that Victorino and the gang (as well as the fans) are looking forward to the opportunity to give CC a nice warm Philadelphia welcome back.

    At the end of the day, we’re talking about two storied franchises with passionate fans… I respect the Yankees as an organization and a fan base (the real ones, not the fair-weather Mets fans who are looking for a reason to bash the Phillies) and it’s safe to say that the Yankees respect what we have done; after all, winning is the only thing that matters and we’re STILL the defending World Champs until someone proves we’re not… and it’s going to be a great series.

  • Posts: 0 jeff the yankee fan

    Reactions so far to this: 1. Lee being as good as CC so far is a very fair statement. Lee also pitched well vs. Yanks in his last two years with Cleveland as well… CC certainly was not pushed at all at the end of the season, so he’s better than last year, but Lee has been equally great so far.

    2. Don’t expect to run all day on Posada. First of all, Burnett will likely start two home games and have Molina start at catcher, who is above average. Two starts will be Pettitte who no one runs on, unless they learn his move, then they can run on him and steal bases on any catcher (on Ivan Rodriguez in his prime even.) That leaves 3 other starts. I’ve been hearing how teams are going to run on Posada, the Twins, the Angels, the Red Sox, yet no one really has done it.

    The REAL weakness of the Yankees is how poor their outfield is defensively. Swisher may be the worst every day outfielder in the majors defensively. OK arm, but gets awful reads on balls, especially not right at him. Cabrera has below average range but a good arm for CF and damon is a decent OF at getting to balls in front of him, but he can’t go back and his arm is a joke. That’s where you want to steal bases.

    3. Rivera is good, no denying it, even if he gave up one inherited runner and one ER, no doubting how good he is. The rest of the bullpen will be better than they were vs. the Angels once Girardi realizes how to use these guys. Robertson is the underappreciated guy in the pen.

    Also: Other things to consider:
    1. Don’t bring in situational lefties to face Matsui (read: Eyre). I’ve never seen a better lefty at hitting lefty bullpen guys. Look what he did in the ALDS to Liraiano… happens 5-6 times a year.
    2. Don’t underestimate Posada’s bat. Power to all fields (unlike Texiera who seems to have no opposite field pop).
    3. Rattle Burnett and he’s horrible, step out, dance off the bases, whatever.
    4. “starting a lefty” against the Yankees isn’t the same as it used to be. Posada, Texiera and ARod all have powerful righty batters. Jeter is hitting about .420 vs. lefties in his post-season career.
    5. No first-pitch fastballs to Jeter, fall behind, he’ll walk, or else he’ll take advantage of the short porch(es).

  • Posts: 0 Ed R.

    jeff the yankee fan…I don’t recognize you being on these boards but based on your recent post you seem like an unbiased, real baseball fan. I like that.

  • Posts: 0 cas

    It’s going to be a great series, but I have to give it to the Yankees in 6 or 7. We don’t have the pitching past Cliff Lee that we can rely on. They have Pettite. Other than that factor, I think they’re very much even, but starting pitching is a BIG factor. There is absolutely NO justification for thinking that the 2008 Cole Hamels is going to suddenly make a reappearance. As far as what the “professional analysts” are saying, that’s just so much garbage. I think the vast majority of them chose LA over us in the NLCS, and look how that turned out.

  • Posts: 0 The Original Chuck P

    Jeff the yankee… hope to hear from you throughout the series. Ask grumpy minor, we’re cordial with opposing team’s fans that can intelligently debate and respectfully root for their teams… even Mets fans.

  • Posts: 0 The Original Chuck P

    For us to win, we need to beat CC… twice. Pettitte is beatable but he’s a wily veteran and I don’t see us beating him twice. Against righties, he needs to get calls on the outside part of the plate to survive; if we can be patient and make him come inside, our RH bats should have success. Burnett looks good but we’ve seen him enough times to know what he’s bringing… we’ve had success against him. Again, it’s going to be tough to beat Burnett twice, especially since he’ll be starting game two at home. I think that our best chance is to win game one… like we did against the Rockies and the Dodgers. If we can put some pressure on Girardi and the rest of the staff, we have a real shot because they’re under more pressure than we are… after all, they are the Yankees.

  • Posts: 0 Mazinman

    I agree that game 1 is massively important but more to the Yankees. The Phillies’ goal coming into New York is a split which means they can lose game 1 and still be successful if they take game 2. If the Yankees lose game 1, with their ace on the mound and at home, then their aura of invincibility takes a hit and for 24 hours they will have the face the barrage of the press non-stop about their season possibly falling apart.

    Game 2 is much more important to the Phillies in this series than game 1. If they lose game 1 then they need to win game 2 in order to get back to Philly with some momentum and a chance to end it at home. If they win game 1 then they need to overcome this game 2 issue they have on the road and get the job done this time.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Yeah…Jeff the Yankee…you’re welcome here…you’re one of the “intelligent Yankee fans” that I was alluding to earlier. Check back often, ok?

    Pettitte, to me, is more troublesome to the Phillies than CC. I wouldn’t underestimate the “wily veteran” at all.

    cas…in order for the Phillies to have a real shot…Hamels (the good one) HAS to show up…for at least one game. If he has an incredible game and Cliff Lee is Cliff Lee….then the Phillies can win this in 6…otherwise it’s probably the other way around.

  • Posts: 0 RutgersBCS

    This is an awesome matchup. As a Yankee fan, the World Series matchups have often been less intriguing than the ALCS, especially when we used to face powerful Cleveland in the 90s or Boston in the aughts only to meet shmoes or expansion teams in the WS (granted, some of those expansion teams beat us, haha). But this is, in my opinion, a thrilling matchup. It reminds me a bit of 2000 and the subway series, since a good third of my friends are Phillies fans (all the others are Mets fans. Growing up in the mid 80s will do that).

    Anyone can win a 5 or 7 game series. You could put the the 2009 Nats up against the 1975 Reds and nothing would be a lock–this is baseball. That being said, in this case I really do think the difference in talent between the squads is so negligible as to be insignificant. It could go 7; it could be a sweep either way. If I had to pick from my gut I’d say Yankees in 7 but no outcome would really shock me.

    Game 4 is scheduled for the same day as the Giants/Eagles game, btw. That is going to be one hell of a day!

    The Wild Card for me is Girardi. His managing has been highly questionable. In close games he’ll pinch run for our best players late: three times we’ve played extra inning games with Jerry Hairston and Freddy Guzman in the middle of our lineup thanks to Girardi’s pinch running. Also, for some reason he think using Joba in tight spots is a good idea. Let me tell you: Joba has nothing. Hughes may have had a bump or two but there is no question in my mind who should be getting the ball with the game on the line.

    Anyway, wishing you good times from Central Jersey (in the center of it all!).

  • Posts: 0 Andrew

    I am counting on wins vs CC is why I am picking phillies in 5.
    Its a shame that for some reason the Phillies seem to feel obligated to give Hamels a start. When you have so many players who have earned it.

  • Posts: 0 RutgersBCS

    “I am counting on wins vs CC is why I am picking phillies in 5.”

    I’m more worried about Burnett facing that lineup in Yankee Stadium. Howard, Rollins, Ibanez seem like the type that will tee off on AJ.

  • Posts: 0 Manny

    So who do you start in Game 2? Hamels or Pedro? … or Happ?

    I think I’d rather see Pedro cause he seems to have the guts this season to eek one out, and then Hamels in Game 3, just because it’s a home game.

    Or perhaps we should start the league’s best starter on the road and ROY J.A. Happ? He did pretty well against the Yankees in that one game, and it was with something like 90% fastballs, so I’m sure they could be thrown off when they see him again. Plus, there’s always the composure factor that would make him an adequate choice at Yankee Stadium.

    I don’t think Happ will start (any game, actually)… but it’s definitely worth at least some consideration. IF we win Game 1 and Happ isn’t used, then he would seem to be the ideal candidate to start Game 2.

  • Posts: 0 Ben

  • Posts: 0 The Original Chuck P

    The biggest question mark in this series is who starts game 2… you would think that Cha’lie’s gonna go with Hamels but there are no guarantees. If we win game one, he’ll almost certainly stick with Hamels… if we don’t, he might feel like he needs to go with the guy that has been pitching the best in the postseason, which is Pedro. I don’t think that Happ gets a start unless something crazy happens (Blanton pitches a game in relief or if Hamels completely blows game 2).

  • Posts: 0 RutgersBCS

    John Heyman is saying Pedro in 2, Lee in 1,4,7.

    Manuel going all in!

  • Posts: 0 GWFightinsFan

    Apparently, Ibanez will be the DH in Game 1 and Francisco will play left…good move I think, provides us better defense out there. I’m not sure, but I think the move is to put Stairs as the DH for Game 2 against Burnett, one swing of the bat and he could turn the tide of the game.

  • Posts: 0 Andrew

    Hamels was terrible the entire reg season. he has been by far the worst starter in the playoffs. does he even have a QS in the playoffs? But he inherits game 2 from performances a year ago?
    I do not get it.

  • Posts: 0 joedad

    Stairs DH’ed against Burnett earlier this year. Seems like the best choice. I’d hit him 8th after Feliz so that the order would be SSLLRLRLR.

    One of CC’s starts was against the exhaused Twins team who clinched less than 24 hours earlier, partied a bit, flew into New York and got in early in the AM. I don’t think he made it out of the 6th and he seemed gassed. He is a very good pitcher but he can be gotten to if they take patient at bats.

    I saw a stat in last night’s game that Rivera was 6 for 10 in postseason series clinching games. Assuming it was accuracte, if his name wasn’t Mariano Rivera, he would be considered a choke artist for that stat.

    I think the Phils are pumped up to play the Yankees and they will play their best ball of the season. I give the Phils offense the edge; Yankees the edge in starting pitching; never thought I’d say this but the bullpens are even. The pressure is on the Yankees.

    Phils in 4

  • Posts: 0 Papa Thompson

    I’d definitely rather throw Hamels in 2 … It doesn’t seem a wise decision to throw Pedro to the mercy of a Yankee Stadium crowd. Yeah, he could feed off that vibe. But if games 2 and 3 are going to Pedro and Hamels, in some yet undetermined order, I’ll throw Hamels 2 and let Pedro pitch at home — and avoid the circus, if possible.

    On the subject of offensive chants … is there any way to just designate someone as “Eva”? … A-Rod = A-Hole — that’s pretty funny.

  • Posts: 0 joedad

    How about:

    Mister Hudson clap clap clapclapclap
    Buuuuuudahhhhh (Arod may convert to Buddhism for Hudson)
    Fat-ass (CC)
    Mister Spankee clap clap clapclapclap (Jeter)
    You drove drunk clap clap clapclapclap (Joba)
    You used steroids (pettite)

  • Posts: 0 CZ

    Andrew – This is a nice little article from a statistical point of view on Hamels. I’ve been saying this kind of stuff all year but do with it what you will. I honestly believe there is something to it. How many of us have watched Cole pitch this year and feel like he looks just like he did last year but all of a sudden a few bloops and dribblers later…fail.

    I think that ace is still in him and he deserves game 2 or 3.

  • Posts: 0 CZ

  • Posts: 0 Mike D.

    Uh, anyone else feel like SEPTA threatening a strike is bad karma?

  • Posts: 0 Grrrumpy Miner

    Let them Strike….If NYC Transit workers can shut down the city SO CAN SEPTA! SHUT IT DOWN!

  • Posts: 0 Paul F (Yankees Fan)

    Hey Phillies fans,

    I’ve heard a lot of bad things about phillies fans, but from the blogs I’ve been reading you seem like one of the better fanbases around. This is a huge relief coming after that series with the Angels. Those fans were terrible.
    Anyway, this is going to be one epic world series. For the first time in many years the best teams from each league are in the WS. Can you believe the series hasn’t gone more than 5 games since 2003? That should change this year.

    Don’t get too caught up in the whole “Money vs. Heart” story line. Both teams have money and both have heart. Both teams have tremendous talent and that’s why this world series should be a classic. Hope it’s well played on both sides.

  • Posts: 0 Dr. Baseball

    Look, I love Pedro and his story is fantastic.

    But from a technical point of view, the right thing to do is to go…

    Lee/Hamels/Happ/ Blanton or Martinez/Lee/Hamels/Happ

  • Posts: 0 Papa Thompson

    The better Joba chant is probably Drunken driver … clap clap clapclapclap .. yeah, that’s funny.

  • Posts: 0 Andrew J.

    The Yankees will prevail because they have the best weapon around:

    Mariano Rivera.


  • Posts: 0 Dick Purdy

    Given the opportunity, Rivera is, indeed, the best. Doesn’t his team need to have the lead for him to emerge from the pen?

  • Posts: 0 PHILLIESIN6

    i cant stand the yankees they are all overpaid lil ***** i say phillies sweep the yanks in 5 or 6

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