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World Series 2009

World Series Gameday: Yankees at Phillies, Game 3

Posted by Amanda Orr, Sat, October 31, 2009 06:55 PM Comments: 479

YankeesNew York Yankees (1-1) at Philadelphia Phillies (1-1)

Andy Pettitte, LHP vs. Cole Hamels, LHP

Time: 7:57 p.m at Citizens Bank Park
Weather: Few Showers, 69 degrees
TV: FOX
Twitter: Phillies Nation

When asked if this year felt “more like a World Series” compared to last year’s, Jimmy Rollins responded: “when we get to Philly, it will.”  The Fall Classic moves to the city of brotherly love with the series split at a game apiece.  The Phillies are 11-1 at home in the postseason since 2008.  “It makes it a lot more fun, because you know they’re your fans, and you know how that sound can echo off your ears when they’re not your fans,” Rollins said.

Cole Hamels starts defending his World Series MVP award tonight, but he isn’t going to win back-to-back MVPs unless he has an outstanding start tonight.  His 2008 postseason heroics are almost forgotten with his 1-1, 6.75 ERA during this year’s playoffs.  Cole has allowed 20 hits in 14.1 innings, but has only allowed two walks.  Not only does he need to limit the hits, but Hamels needs to keep the ball in the yard.  In his career against the Yankees, Hamels is 0-1 with a 2.77 ERA.

Hamels will be opposed by Andy Pettitte, the all-time leader in postseason wins and career pickoffs.  Pettitte is a finesse pitcher, not overpowering;  however, he has stretches where he lacks command.  In all of his starts this postseason, the lefty lasted 6.1 innings and did not allowed more than three runs.  In May, Pettitte allowed four runs over seven innings against the Phillies.  He hasn’t pitched at Citizens Bank Park since 2006.

On Thursday, A.J Burnett was magnificent, and there wasn’t much that the Phillies could do.  Today, the right-handed bats will need to step it up, as Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Raul Ibanez are a combined 8-for-37 against Pettitte.

Phillies lineup: Rollins (SS), Victorino (CF), Utley (2B), Howard (1B), Werth (RF), Ibanez (LF), Feliz (3B), Ruiz (C), Hamels (P).

Greg Dobbs is available after recovering from the flu.

Yankees Lineup: Jeter (SS), Damon (LF), Teixeira (1B), A-Rod (3B), Posada (C), Cano (2B), Swisher (RF), Cabrera (CF), Pettitte (P).

No DH tonight, Yankees.

Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin PorterYour Gameday Beer – Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter

On a night like tonight, this is the beer you need. Brewed by Midnight Sun Brewing out of Alaska, this thick dark beer pours like melted chocolate. However neither the chocolate nor pumpkin flavors are overwhelming. The scents of molasses, gingerbread, and roasted malts help to polish this brew into something delicious. It goes well with BBQ, but tonight have it alongside the candy intended for trick-or-treaters. – By Brian

GO PHILLIES!

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Phillies Nation Podcast: Episode 16

Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, October 30, 2009 02:31 PM Comments: 3

Welcome to the Phillies Nation Podcast!

On yet another special WORLD SERIES podcast, Pat is joined by two amazing guests.  First up is Amy K. Nelson from ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine to break it down.  Amy picks the Yankees to win the series in six, but give Phillies fans hope saying she is normally wrong.  We’re gonna hold her to that.

Joining Pat for the second half of the podcast is Scott Lauber, Phillies beat writer for the Wilmington News Journal to give his insight on the umpiring situation, the great performance by Pedro, and what to expect this weekend.

Amy K. NelsonAmy K. Nelson is an award-winning journalist who covers major league baseball for and is part of the site’s Enterprise team. Born and raised on the north shore of Massachusetts and a graduate of Hampshire College, Nelson has been covering professional sports for close to 10 years. She writes both investigative and long-form pieces for the site, and among her recent highlights is a piece on the timeline of death of Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart and a breaking news story and in-depth feature on Alex Rodriguez’s infamous cousin who allegedly provided him steroids.

Scott LauberShe also served as a moderator for ESPN’s First Take program, chatting with fans online and relaying their comments live on the show, and has appeared on SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, and Outside the Lines for ESPN.

Scott Lauber is the Phils beat reporter for the Wilmington News Journal and is a fixture in the Phillies clubhouse throughout the season.  For some of the most up-to-date Twitter action regarding the Phillies, you can find Scott here (@ScottLauber).

Click here to listen Phillies Nation Podcast – Episode 16

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World Series Gameday: Phillies at Yankees, Game 2

Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, October 29, 2009 05:57 PM Comments: 443

YankeesPhiladelphia Phillies (1-0) at New York Yankees (0-1)

Pedro Martinez, RHP vs. A.J. Burnett, RHP

Time: 7:57 p.m at Yankee Stadium
Weather: Clear, 50
TV: FOX
Twitter: Phillies Nation

That couldn’t have gone much better.  Cliff Lee was superb in a complete-game six hitter against the Yankees in Game 1 in New York.  Not many pitchers can pull off a feat as monumental as that, but Lee was focused from the get go after striking out Derek Jeter to begin the festivities.

Pedro Martinez takes the ball in Game 2.  If you said in April (hell, even July) that Pedro Martinez would be starting in the second game of the World Series AGAINST THE YANKEES, someone probably would have smacked you.  My how the baseball world turns.

Martinez will look to win his seventh postseason game tonight against A.J Burnett.  Pedro called himself “the most influential player” to ever play at Yankee Stadium, and now he must back up that claim.  For his career, he has face New York six times in the postseason (five starts) and has allowed 18 earned runs over 35 1/3 innings of work (4.60 ERA).  Pedro has called the Yankees “his daddy” before, but let’s hope the roles are reversed tonight.

A.J. Burnett is not as familiar with the spotlight as Pedro Martinez, and has had his ups and downs during his first trip to the postseason.  Burnett got knocked around by the Angels in his latest start, going six innings while allowing six earned runs over eight hits.  The 32-year old throws hard, but has been known to miss the plate a time or two.  In the regular season, Burnett had 17 wild pitches, the most in the American League, and in the playoffs he has already walked 10 batters in 18 1/3 innings.

With that said, the Phillies need to use the same patience they showed with C.C. Sabathia last night.  Burnett’s pitch counts will spike if he’s wild from the get go, which could very well happen in this high pressure situation.  With the Yanks down a game already, Burnett has some weight on those shoulders.

Chase Utley gave the offense a shot last night, belting two home runs off of C.C., who had previously given up just three jacks this whole season to lefty hitters.

For the Yankees this evening, you will not see right fielder Nick Swisher in the starting lineup. Late word out of New York is that Swisher has been benched in favor of Jerry Hairston Jr. Jose Molina takes over for Jorge Posada at catcher, as he normally does with A.J. Burnett.

According to the twitter of Andy Martino, Greg Dobbs was sent back to Philadelphia with the flu, giving the Phillies one less bench option.

Matt Stairs is your DH tonight, taking over for Ben Francisco with a right hander on the hill for N.Y.

Phillies. Yankees. Game 2. Let’s do it.

Phillies Lineup: Rollins (SS), Victorino (CF), Utley (2B), Howard (1B), Werth (RF), Ibanez (LF), Stairs (DH), Feliz (3B), Ruiz (C).

Yankees Lineup: Jeter (SS), Damon (LF), Teixeria (1B), Rodriguez (3B), Matsui (DH), Cano (2B), Hairston Jr. (RF), Cabrera (CF), Molina (C).

PresidenteYour Gameday Beer – Presidente
In honor of tonight’s Phillies starter, we’re serving up the Dominican Republic’s most popular domestic beer. Like other Caribbean beers, Presidente has the appearance of an American Light Pilsner. The taste is that of a macrobrew with corn and grain being the predominant flavors and skunked being the predominant aroma. However, if you have a cold Presidente on a hot Dominican day, there are few things finer. Eat it with as much shrimp as you can get your hands on. – By Brian

GO PHILLIES!

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Keys to the Game One Victory

Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, October 29, 2009 11:59 AM Comments: 20

The apparent answer to every key to last night’s impressive 6-1 Phillies victory would start with Cliff Lee. The man was on a mission from pitch number one as he mowed down Derek Jeter to start the proceedings. From then on, it was a clinic unlike anything ever seen in Phillies history. Forget what you know about Cole Hamels and the ridiculous postseason he had a year ago – this is much bigger and badder.

New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez looks back at the scoreboard after striking out to Philadelphia Phillies' Cliff Lee in the ninth inning of Game 1 of the Major League Baseball World Series Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009, in New York. The Phillies defeated the Yankees 6-1 to lead the series 1-0.  (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)Smothering A-Rod:

Cliff Lee was motoring from the minute he sprinted out to the mound.

The most powerful bat of the last decade, Alex Rodriguez, looked like a fool from the second he stepped into the batters box.

A-Rod struck out three times last night, making contact on four foul balls total throughout the night. The Almighty One also managed a soft groundout to Pedro Feliz at third base. Prior to Rodriguez’s first World Series, he had been on a plateau shared by only Ryan Howard. Five home runs, 12 RBI, and a .400 average through the opening two rounds had people believing the old clutch-less A-Rod was just a memory. Last night’s opening act has to have the five boroughs wondering, “are we back to square one?”

The hope here is that a performance like this can snowball into a downward spiral for the duration of the World Series. But as awful as Rodriguez looked, he can’t be held down for long. The slugger is just too talented and too powerful not to be heard from. Let’s see how Pedro deals with the heart of this Yankee order.

In C.C.’s head:

This isn’t the first time the Phillies have played Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em with CC Sabathia in the postseason. Many pundits also believed that Sabathia was the better pitcher going into the match up with Lee. Excuses were made about Lee going up against “lesser talent” in the NL for his first few playoffs games.

Bull. Everyone jumped on the Yankee bandwagon because of who they are, and forgot to respect the Phillies in the process. That blew up in some faces. Now, it looks as though the Phillies have C.C’s number. Overall, he pitched a solid game. On many occasions, however, he allowed base runners, worked in hitters counts, and had difficulty locating his pitches. Here’s to hoping we see this again if we see him in Game 4.

Patience My Dear:

The Phillies as a whole saw 170 pitches on the evening, an average of nearly 19 pitches per player. Chalk it up to patience at the plate, and a will to work favorable counts. Even Jimmy Rollins managed to see 21 pitches in five plate appearances, although he did try to bunt his way on with the first pitch of the night.

If the Phillies can continue this grit at the dish, it’s going to be a long series for the Yankees and their bullpen. A.J. Burnett, tonight’s starter, has been known for his wild streak, so let him throw as hard as he wants. The Phils need to show that same fortitude of last night.

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Phillies Dominate Game 1 Versus the Yankees

Posted by Brian Michael, Thu, October 29, 2009 12:44 AM Comments: 22

Cliff Lee Cliff Lee.  That’s all you need to know about Game 1 of the 2009 World Series.  The Phillies ace absolutely shut down the Yankees and he did it with style.  He struck out 10 New York batters including Teixeira and Posada twice and ARod three times while not allowing a walk.  Lee also fielded his position with a coolness rarely seen on the mound.  An effortless pop fly was soon followed by an amazing behind-the-back stab to rob the Robinson Cano of a single.

Often times an early run helps to settle down an offense, but tonight the reverse was true. The Phillies pitcher set the tone for the club and the offense took advantage of opportunities.  Unfortunately the latter did not kick in until after the first inning.  Following two quick outs to start the game, the Phillies loaded the bases only to see Raul ground out to end the threat.  He was able to redeem himself with a bases loaded single in the eighth to tack  on some insurance runs.  Yet, Chase Utley was the only offense the Phillies needed.  The Man opened the scoring with a solo home run in the top of the third and reiterated the point with another in the sixth.

Throughout the game, the Phillies worked counts on Yankees starter C.C. Sabathia and inflated his pitch count from the beginning.  C.C. pitched well allowing just the 2 Utley homers over 7 innings, but he was outmatched by his friend Cliff Lee.  Joe Girardi was forced to dip into his bullpen calling on five  guys to finish the final three innings as the Phillies tacked on 4 runs in the eighth and ninth.  Phil Hughes took the brunt of the damage and lost his cool after being pulled on consecutive walks.

The Yankees lone run came after a JRoll error in the ninth as his timing was off attempting to turn a double play with Chase Utley.  Earlier in the game he executed an intelligent double play on an infield popup that momentarily confounded the six umpires.  Ben Francisco and Pedro Feliz were the only Phils without a hit.

If you missed the pregame festivities at the Stadium, you’re lucky.  Fans were subject to Star Wars-themed introductions and a torturous rendition of the national anthem.  That was the only part of the night that was hard to watch;  witnessing Cliff Lee’s masterpiece was a pleasure.  Phillies lead the World Series 1-0.

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World Series: Phillies at Yankees, Game 1

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, October 28, 2009 05:57 PM Comments: 595

YankeesPhiladelphia Phillies at New York Yankees

Cliff Lee, LHP vs. CC Sabathia, LHP

Time: 7:57 p.m at Yankee Stadium
Weather: Cloudy, 50
TV: FOX
Twitter: Phillies Nation

The wait is finally over.  At 7:57 eastern time, the Philadelphia Phillies will defend their crown against the 26-time champion New York Yankees.  History is at stake in this series, as the Phillies look to become the first NL team to repeat since the Big Red Machine in the mid-70′s.

Cliff Lee is the man to start this thing up.  Lee has been unstoppable in the playoffs thus far, sporting a sub-one ERA.  He has pulled a Cole Hamels this postseason by putting the team on his back when it counts the most. Lee has two wins and just three walks against 20 strikeouts so far.  In this all important Game 1, let’s see how Lee responds to the bright lights of the Bronx.

On the other side is 6’7″, 280-pound, C.C. Sabathia.  He’s been just as unhittable as Lee, dominating both the Twins and Angels in his three starts this year.  He’s 3-0 with an ERA of 1.19, proving that last years blowup against the Phillies in the NLDS with Milwaukee is in the past.  With two lefties on the mound, we could be in for quite the duel.

Offensively, these teams are as close as they come.  Both hit for ridiculous power, play in smallish parks, and boast the scariest lineup in their respective leagues. If your looking for a weakness on either side, keep searching.  For New York, their defense is probably their Achillies heel, if there is one to choose.  They don’t commit many errors, however, their outfielders have suspect arms and catcher Jorge Posada has a surgically repaired shoulder which could mean more Phillies running the bases.

The Phillies downfall is clearly the back end of their bullpen. Brad Lidge floundered through the regular season, but has since picked it up to record three saves and a win in the ’09 postseason.  Lidge has not allowed a run yet either, and the same goes for Chad Durbin, who has seen action in five games without allowing a runner to score.

It’s a series that’s as evenly matched as they come.  Forget about words – there is nothing left to predict or describe when it comes to the Phillies and Yankees.  It’s all up to the players on the field as they battle for baseball immortality.  Tonight, our National Pastime begins its 105th Fall Classic.

Phillies. Yankees.  Game 1.  Let’s rock.

Phillies Lineup: Rollins (SS), Victorino (CF), Utley (2B), Howard (1B), Werth (RF), Ibanez (DH), Francisco (LF), Feliz (3B), Ruiz (C).

Yankees Lineup: Jeter (SS), Damon (LF), Teixeria (1B), Rodriguez (3B), Posada (C), Matsui (DH), Cano (2B), Swisher (RF), Cabrera (CF).

FestbierYour Gameday Beer – Victory Festbier
Phillies fans are ready to party and we’re ready for a victory so tonight’s beer is an easy pick. It also helps that it’s a Philly-area beer in the Marzen/Oktoberfest-style. This full-bodied brew retains an earthy taste to go along with its sweet caramel, toffee, and roasted malt flavors – perfect for the fall weather. Festbier goes well with German food, in which case I think a cheesesteak on a pretzel roll would qualify. – By Brian

GO PHILLIES!

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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.

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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.
PHILLIES IN 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.
PHILLIES IN SIX

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.
PHILLIES IN SIX

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.
PHILLIES IN SIX

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.
PHILLIES IN FIVE

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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

Closer

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.

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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

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.

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