World Series 09: Yankees v Phillies

Being in the heart of football season, it may be easy to forget baseball this October. However, whenever big time stars like Ryan Howard and Alex Rodriguez get the chance to compete in a game, yet alone multiple games, it becomes very hard to pass off this year’s World Series. For the Yankees, it’s a chance to undo all the previous post season blunders that have plagued the Bombers for close to a decade. For the Phillies, it’s a chance to repeat their reign as MLB champions, a feat that would put them in the history books as the only national league team to have done the task in over 40 years. It would be fair to say that the stakes of this year’s match up will provide baseball fans an exciting spectacle of two of baseball’s most talented teams (unless you’re a Mets fans of course). Let’s take a look at some things to watch for as the World Series continues to unfold. Coming into the series, the general consensus was to name the Phillies a close underdog in the shadow of the giant that is the Yankee’s loaded roster. After years of an incessant campaign to acquire, if not buy, the best players in baseball, it’s hard to argue that the Yankees are not the all around best team in the major leagues. However, despite how good the Yankees have showed themselves to be this season, if there is one team in the league that can beat them, it is the Phillies. If there was one mantra that represented the keys to beating, let alone keeping up with the Yankees, it would be, "If you can’t rack up the runs, you won’t win." Number one in runs scored, RBIs, and home runs in the AL, the Yankee batting lineup is a nightmare for any bull pen. It might not be immediate, but the Yankees will score, and if a team cannot keep up with a scoring barrage of their own, then it is usually a swift downhill plunge from there. So, do the Phillies have what it takes to be the offensive powerhouse that can counter the Yankee scoring machine? The answer is yes, and a strong yes at that. Headlined by sluggers like Chase Utley, Ibanez, and former MVP Ryan Howard, the Phillies proved their offensive ability by leading the NL in runs scored. The Yankees may have stars like Teixiera and Rodriguez, but the Phillies can answer right back with big names of their own. However, if there is anything that will make or break this series, it will not be which team can beat the other in terms of an offensive beat down. The key to the series, itself, is if the Phillies bull pen can control the Yankee batting order. For years, the major weakness of the Phillies has been their anemic pitching lineup. Though gaining a key addition in Cliff Lee, the bullpen still lacks the dominance that can shut down talented sluggers. With more than their fair share of those very players, the Yankees can easily exploit the Phillies shallow bull pen if the pitching cannot keep up. Some might say that all the Phillies have to do is follow the Barry Bonds philosophy: walk the big guys (aka A-Rod) and pitch well against the smaller guys and everything should be just fine, right? Wrong. Walking A-Rod to take your chances at another Yankee batter is like choosing the better poison. Intentional walking the Yankees only puts an automatic man on base which another talented Yankee slugger can easily take advantage of. The Phillies cannot afford to cut corners where they please, because, frankly, their bull pen simply isn’t good enough for that luxury. In end, talented batters aside, the Phillies can only dream of winning the world series on their plane trips home if their pitching fails to produce. In terms of what Yankees need to do to retain dominance in this series, is not to out pitch the Phillies lineup but to be consistent against them. The Yankees easily have the deepest and talented bull pen in league with proven pitchers such as Rivera, Chamberlain, and Sabathia, but on numerous occasion have lost the ability to hold down a game with opposing runners in scoring position. There is no doubt that the Yankee bull pen can get strike outs, but there is doubt as to whether they can do it consistently enough to prevent that one big hit which changes momentum. Yankee pitchers need to keep their cool when runners are on base. Struggling with this in their previous series with the Angels, the Yankees cannot afford to be a hit-and-miss pitching team against sluggers like Ryan Howard who will, in most cases, make sure you pay for your shoddy play. Now on to the good stuff: the prediction. Look for an exciting, offensive series with slugger dominance over pitching finesse. The Yankees and the Phillies match up very well in what could easily be a close series. The WEB’s prediction : New York Yankees def. Philadelphia Phillies 4-3. The Phillies will keep it close behind their batting lineup and disciplined field play; however, in the end, the Yankees batting lineup will prove to be too powerful for the mediocre Phillie bull pen.