This is a great matchup between two very solid teams that have the ability to win big. It starts on Wednesday, and here are my thoughts on the advantages:
The Phillies have a solid combination of power and speed. Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Jayson Werth are a powerful 3-4-5 in the lineup that can all hit the long ball well. Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino are a good 1-2 on the basepaths, if not with their average. The team does not have a .300 hitter from the regular season, so even with all the power, if they cannot make contact, it may be null and void.
The Yankees have a team that relies on contact and power. Derek Jeter might be the best leadoff hitter that played in the playoffs, and there is no better one-two punch than Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez at the 3-4 position in the lineup. Everyone in the order has either a long ball bat or a great contact bat, or both. Simply put, the lineup has few weaknesses.
The ballparks both are small, giving edges to those that can hit for power, which both teams can do reasonably well. Overall, neither team has a perfect 1-9 order, but the Yankees 1-7 lineup in more consistent than the Phillies 1-6. I give the edge to the Yankees.
For the Yankees, C.C. Sabathia has been beautiful with three stellar starts. If the Yankees keep the three-man rotation, which they probably should, then the two will be A.J. Burnett, who has not been good so far, failing to get a win in his three starts, then going with Andy Pettitte in the third start, who has been very solid thus far. If they go with a four-man rotation, then Joba Chamberlain would probably go, and he has been unreliable as a starter. The bullpen has the best closer of all-time, Mariano Rivera, and Chamberlain has been effective in short appearances. A few others have been effective when needed.
For the Phillies, Cliff Lee has been a machine, having a 0.74 ERA in three starts, including a complete game. Behind him there are questions, but normally reliable starts. Cole Hamels, the hero of last year’s World Series, has had a rough postseason, failing to go past 5.1 innings in a start, but he is still the man for Game 2. Pedro Martinez was great in his only start and will pitch Game 3, and rumor is Philadelphia will fly with a three-man rotation to utilize Cliff Lee for three starts. For the bullpen, Brad Lidge has been reborn as the closer in the postseason, getting three saves and a win in five appearances. Chad Durbin has also been an effective short reliever, as well as Scott Eyre, though normally reliable Ryan Madson has not this postseason.
In a battle in hitting parks, I feel though the Yankees will be safe with small leads into late innings with #42, the starting pitching for the Phillies is slightly less fragile. Lee, Hamels and Pedro are a better 1-2-3 than Sabathia, Burnett and Pettitte. Slight edge to the Phillies.
Both ballparks are known for the long ball, but both teams have strong power. The Yankees will have a slight edge with getting one-more home game than the Phillies. Manager-wise, Charlie Manuel has more experience and has won a World Series before, last year, and Joe Girardi has been questioned with some of his moves. But, it is about even.
I believe the Yankees lineup right now is too powerful, and although I believe the Phillies can pitch well, with the way New York is playing, they are the favorites to win it all.
New York in 6———————-Blog From Dave Vatz
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