Who Will Win? Big Pitchers and Bigger Bats in Spotlight as Yankees-Phillies World Series Begins Toni
Editor’s Note: The World Series finally begins tonight with the Philadelphia Phillies taking on the New York Yankees (7:57 p.m. EST, FOX). Just like for the ALCS and NLCS, we’ve asked our baseball guru Ian Gold to make a strong case for both sides taking the series, and then make his ultimate prediction.
[inline:phil]Why the Phillies could win:
irst of all, don’t forget that the Phillies are the returning champions. Everyone wants to talk about the Yankees, but their cousin from down the Turnpike is mentally the toughest team in baseball.
Beyond their intangible advantages, the Phillies have also steamrolled through the postseason. And on their tour of the National League, they’ve had multiple players make a case for MVP. Cliff Lee has resembled the Cole Hamels from last year (lights out), Ryan Howard is an absolute beast, and Jaysen Werth has quietly put together a fantastic playoff run.
Although other AL teams have simply not been able to match the power of the Yankees, the Phillies can. The Twins and Angles worked so hard to score runs that the Yankees could climb back into a game with one swing of the bat. In the regular season, Philly finished only 20 homers behind the Yanks; in the playoffs they are tied. If you match up both teams’ everyday players, you have to give the edge to the Phils.
Philadelphia plays without a care in the world, and leaders like Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino make all the difference in November.
The Key: Pedro Martinez is starting game two, and that’s telling. This was a guy that just a handful of years ago tipped his hat and called the Yankees his daddy. That says a lot about Charlie Manuel’s trust in Cole Hamels. Hamels is a stud but has lost his playoff mojo from last year, and he needs to get it back for at least one game for the Phillies to win this series.
[inline:yank]Why the Yankees could win:
The Yankees have been the best team in baseball all year and after getting the playoff Angel monkey off their backs (pun intended) they’ll continue their dominance. Without trying to get cute and over-think this thing, how can you honestly bet against a team that boasts such amazing talent?
Six of their nine starters are batting under .260 in the postseason, including Robinson Cano at .229, Mark Teixeria at .205, and Nick Swisher at .125. The Yankees are 7-2 despite little contribution from 66 percent of their lineup — and you know that at least half of those bats will wake up in the World Series.
Along with the best offense in baseball, the Yankees are leading the postseason in earned run average and have home field advantage. This team was designed exactly for this series.
You might complain about the outrageous Yankee payroll, but so far this postseason their billionaires have earned their pay. If A-Rod continues to play like the best player in baseball, there isn’t much anyone outside of a reincarnated Bob Gibson can do.
The Key: Joe Girardi needs to leave his binders at home. If you have the better team, just don’t mess it up. He has tried his hardest to over-manage throughout the post-season, and if he has exhausted all his efforts, the Yankees will win despite him.
Who will actually win:
If Cliff Lee loses to Cookies and Cream Sabathia in game 1 tonight, this will be a short series, and yes, I think Sabathia throws a gem tonight. The bottom line is that the Phillies resemble the Yankees, but they’re just not as good. Yankees in 5. “