World Series Game 1 Break Down
The Phillies – Yankees World Series is just a day away. Wednesday night at 7:57pm in New York, the fun begins! Let us examine the position by position match-up based on 2009 post-season results:
Starting Pitchers: Cliff Lee vs. CC Sabathia
The match-up of two former Cy Young winners who played together in Cleveland is a dream pitching duel. Statistically, this is a close one to call. Lee led all team in ERA with a 0.74 this post-season and Sabathia pitched at a 1.19 ERA. Lee has been lights out in the post-season, but did have a few struggles in September. However, this appears to be a non-issue for him in big games. Sabathia, on the other hand, has been just as good, but the Phillies have an advantage; they beat up on Sabathia last post-season and therefore have at least a mental edge in the situation. It is a new year and a new team for Sabathia though, so how much this will factor in remains to be seen. I am calling this one a draw.
Closers: Brad Lidge vs. Mariano Rivera
This one goes easily to Rivera, who is possibly the best closer ever in baseball. Lidge appears to be past his struggles, but there is still a shadow of doubt hanging over him.
Catchers: Carlos Ruiz vs. Jorge Posada
As far as ability to call a game, these two are evenly matched. At the plate, Ruiz has been hot, hot, hot this October. Add his youth to the equation and he has the advantage. Ruiz batted .346 this post-season with 7 RBI vs. Posada’s .258 average and 3 RBI. Winner: Ruiz
First Base: Ryan Howard vs. Mark Teixeira
While Tex has the advantage defensively, in terms of sheer wrecking power, Howard wins it hands down. Howard batted .355 with 14 RBI compared to Tex’s .205 and 5 RBI. While the low numbers are not typical of Tex, Howard is clearly in the zone.
Second Base: Chase Utley vs. Robinson Cano
Utley had a few brain farts in the NLCS on defense and his bat seemed to be up and down, but with the week off, Utley should be back to top form. Cano batted .229 and had a few more RBI and extra base hits than Utley; but Utley still batted .303 despite the struggles and continues to find ways to get on base. Utley is one of the best overall hitter in all of baseball; this one goes to him.
Short Stop: Jimmy Rollins vs. Derek Jeter
Last year and even in Spring Training this year, Rollins had a clear advantage over Jeter. He got more playing time and performed better in the World Baseball Classic and had a better 2008 season overall. But J-Roll has been in and out of a funk all year long in 2009. Jeter has been solid and continually finds ways to makes plays. Both are stellar on defense, but Jeter’s bat has been a lot hotter than Rollins lately. Winner: Jeter
Third Base: Pedro Feliz vs. Alex Rodriguez
Ok, duh. Just hand this one over to A-Rod and be done with it. 12 RBI vs. 2 and .438 average vs. .161 – no brainer. Feliz is looking sluggish; and while he has a slight edge defensively, this is no competition. A-rod all the way.
Right Field: Jayson Werth vs. Nick Swisher
Another no-brainer, but this one favors the Phillies. Werth can be streaky, but his .281 average, 5 home runs and 10 RBI blows away Swishers .125 and 1 RBI. Winner: Werth
Center Field: Shane Victorino vs. Melky Cabrera
The Flyin’ Hawaiian vs. The Melk Man: Shane wins on the cooler nickname alone. Ok, seriously, this one is a little closer than some. The batting averages are both good; .361 for Victorino and .314 for Cabrera. But Victorino’s 26 total bases and 7 RBI beats Cabrera who had 13 bases and 4 RBI in the post-season. Victorino’s speed is also a huge plus; Shane takes this competition.
Left Field: Ben Francisco vs. Johnny Damon
Francisco is a bench player who will take left field in game 1 while Raul Ibanez serves as the DH. His lack of experience in the field this year and few at-bats may be a detriment, although he does have more speed in the outfield than Ibanez. Damon is a solid veteran who should do well under the pressure of the familiar World Series lights; he got his ring in 2004 with the Red Sox. The winner here is Damon, based on experience and a solid 2009 season.
Designated Hitter: Raul Ibanez vs. Hideki Matsui
Both hitters have had a similar down post-season; Ibanez is batting .226 and Matsui is at .233. Each has 1 homer and 7 hits. Ibanez has driven in 4 more runs than Matsui, but has also been playing hurt. Sports Illistrated reported last week that Ibanez has been playing since June with a torn abdominal muscle, which does explain his second half slump. But Ibanez, a 14-year veteran, is excited for his first World Series and will not let the injury slow him down. For his determination alone, I am giving a slight edge in this battle to Ibanez.
The tally then is Phillies, 6 and Yankees 4, not counting the starting pitchers, which appears to be a tie. So it looks good for the Phillies on paper, but the game is played on the field. We shall see how it goes!
I asked all my readers to let me know what their dream World Series would be and here is what we know:
Peter of Outside the Phillies Looking In prefers a Phillies – Cleveland series for geographical reasons. He lives near the home of the Tribe.
Buz of Yesterday’s Hitter agrees that the Phillies – Yankees are the dream match-up because of all the talent on both sides!
And a few other interesting comments:
Jeff of Red State Blue State is rooting for the Phillies for the first time ever! Congrats Jeff…you have finally come to your senses ;o)
Jane of Confessions of a She-Fan already has a tummy ache just thinking about the Lee-Sabathia match-up; don’t we all!