Get your asses on the edge of the seats folks because this years World Series should interest even the most casual of baseball fans. The dream has come true.
The New York Yankees, having won 103 games this year and being the best offensive team in all of baseball will face the Philadelphia Phillies. Reigning world champs who have fought and scratched their way back to the series after a very awesome post season.
Think about this...
The Phils gave up 17 saves this year. 17!! That's a ridiculously stupid number for a team to overcome and still dominate the post season.
Some features of this game - Yanks and Phils are each number one in their leagues when it comes to offense. Yanks and Phils stadiums are 1 and 2 in the category of parks that allowed the most home runs. The two most pertinent facts about that is that the Yanks stadium is way above the Phils in HR's allowed, and that the Phils hit more home runs on the road this year.
The Phils have had a remarkable road team this year posting a better record, better hitting average, and a better team ERA while on the road. In comparison, the Yanks have been the best home team this year.
So who wins? In how many? Is it going to be a blood bath? Is each game going to be combined 10 + run games? Who gets the MVP?
It starts on Wednesday baby, and I couldn't be more excited. I think the Phils have proven time and time again that they know how to win. Even in the most dire of situations, they have managed to overcome adversity (horrible pen, no closer, etc.)
So let me start with some thoughts.
Team Defense - The Phillies made only 76 errors this whole season making them the second best team in that category. Right behind the Pirates. The Yanks allowed 86 team errors.
Pitching - Philadelphia had a team ERA of 4.16 for the regular season. The yanks ERA was 4.26
Batting - The Yankees produced 915 runs with 5660 at bats while the Phils produced 820 runs with 5578 at bats. The yankees team Batting average was .283 while the Phils was .258 Of course the Yankees never had to account for a pitcher batting during the regular season. The Phils combined average for pitchers batting was a paultry .101 and accounted for 623 of those at bats.
Bull Pen - Well, I'm not even going to look up numbers for this category. The Yanks certainly own the Phils in this category.
All the numbers in the world mean very little however. This is why they play the game. I think this series will come down to more than just numbers. As a matter of fact, I bet this series becomes a sandlot match. It's very exciting to think about it.
The Yanks are the winningest team in all of professional sports garnering the most trips to the Championship game and winning the most titles. They haven't been there in a while and they are hungry. The Phils are the reigning world champs and play like they want to keep it that way. I've never seen a team with almost zero panic in each and every player. No matter how dire the situation has gotten, they just don't panic. They win.
The yanks are without a doubt the better team right now. If everything matches up pretty solidly, the fact that their bullpen is so much better gives them that designation. But lets stop here for a minute.
I have some bad news for the Phils. Utley is hurt. A story came out in the Philadelphia media that Utley has had some hip pain. He had surgery in the off season and the pain's effect has been noticeable throughout the post season. Utley didn't make a statement. Rather some scouts and "experts" have been watching. His slugging percentage has gone down and he has been relegated to hitting singles (pity), and his throwing errors have been amplified as well during the post season. He can't turn as effectively with that hip. That could prove to be a liability.
Ibanez has also been diagnosed with the same injury as Utley, and has considered the possibility of the same surgery in the off season. Both of these guys have been clutch hitters in important spots in the line up for the Phils.
The Yanks have been smoking. A Rod has been just unstoppable this post season. His hitting has been spot on. He is tied with Jason Werth for the most home runs in the post season at 5. his average is .438, and he is second behind Howard in RBI's with 12. Sabbathia has the most wins in the post season with 3 and Rivera is tied with Lidge for the most saves at 3.
I don't know how to pick this series. Obviously my heart tells me that the Phils win in game 5. I don't know that the Yanks have faced a team that hits like this one, but there is no way of telling if that will effect them at all.
I am not so worried about the Yanks starting pitching. Lee v Sabbathia in game one should really be a Phils win. Even at Yankee stadium. The Phils put up 5 runs in 3 innings last year against him and did even better the year before in interleague play. The numbers prove we just own this guy. Lee has a post season ERA of .074 If the Yanks can topple him and put up like 6 in 4, then we have an issue. But Lee has been lights out to date, so there is no reason (other than they are playing the Yankees) to think that he will collapse like that.
If we win game one, the Yanks will be on their heels. Hamels pitching in game two will be a huge factor for this series. If we win game one, and Hamels goes on to pitch a gem in game 2, the Yanks are cooked. If we lose game 1, Hamels will need to go lights out in game 2 in order to give the Phils any kind of chance to win the whole thing.
I believe this because the Yanks are hot. If we can piss on that fire just a little, we get the edge. If this series is a slug fest, the edge goes to the phils. If the series becomes a pitching duel, I gotta think the Yanks walk away with it.
I just don't know that going toe to toe in the late innings with a 1-2 run lead is the best scenario for the Phils. It worries me. A ton.
Just to pick on Dawn a little more, I liken this series/ season for the Yankees to the Pats perfect season a few years back. Randy Moss, Tom Brady were the best team in Football going undefeated. Right up until the Super Bowl. Hoy said this is the Yanks perfect season. It may be. Right up until the World Series!
It will be fun to watch, that's for sure!
On a side note... for all you Cleveland fans out there, it must be hard to watch two Cy Young Winners who were on your team within the last year and a half starting game one for the World Series this year. Just Sayin' :)