2009 World Series Preview
Yankees in 7
The wrecking ball has yet to hit the old hallowed Yankee Stadium, which now stands barren and fenced off in the Bronx as a reminder of World Series glory in days gone by. From Babe Ruth to Joe DiMaggio to Mickey Mantle to Reggie Jackson to Derek Jeter the old stadium played host to the World Series 37 times. Now the new opulent Yankee Stadium across the street will be hosting its first Fall Classic as the Yankees face the Phillies. Of the Yankees 40 fall classic appearances eight have been against the defending World Champions, including the Phillies this season. Of the previous seven against the reigning champs the Yankees have won five times, including 1996 when they beat the Atlanta Braves in six games.
In the stadium's first season the Yankees have established a tremendous home field advantage, with a 35-8 record in the Bronx since the All-Star Break, including 4-0 in the ALDS and ALCS. During said break the American League won again, bringing home field advantage to the Bronx, and in a series as evenly matched like the Yankees are against the Phillies it may be the deciding factor. Offensively the Yankees are unmatched, but the Phillies with Ryan Howard in the middle are not far behind. Unlike previous Octobers Alex Rodriguez is locked in and that gives the Yankees a slight edge in what could be a high scoring series.
Starting pitching is about as even as you can get as CC Sabathia who has been terrific so far in the postseason has had his problems in the past with the Phillies, while Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels could give the Yankees problems. How the series goes could be decided on what pitchers are most effective at getting the game into the later innings. Through the first two rounds, the Yankees have had quality starts in the eight of their nine postseason games, with the lone exception being Game 5 in Anaheim, when A.J. Burnett gave up two runs in the seventh inning after the Yanks grabbed a lead. When you also factor in Andy Pettitte the Yankees should have a slight edge in this category too.
The Bullpen could be a blow out for the Yankees when you consider the pedigree of Mariano Rivera. However, in the playoffs the Phillies pen has been solid, as even Brad Lidge seems to be pitching like its 2008 again, after an awful regular season. The Yankees middle relief has been a little shaky in the playoffs, as Manager Joe Girardi has mismanaged a few games. Making similar mistakes against the Phillies could be costly.
In the end it seems like the Yankees year, as their big off-season acquisitions have all paid off so far. Look for them to continue to pay dividends, as the Yankees win their 27th World Championship in a hard fought seven game series.
World Series MVP: Alex Rodriguez
Predictions Made 10/27/09 at 11:55 pm ET