And then there were 2. Phillies vs Yankees. A matchup of mammoth proportions. Let me be frank: I really hate the Phillies. After the Red Sox, they're my next most hated team. However, they are good. And they matchup with the Yankees very well. This series will be exciting. My five items to look for:
1. A-Rod - First things first, I literally just tried to spell his last name and failed miserably, so I'm sticking with A-Rod. This postseason he has been otherworldly, clearly putting his past failures behind him. Will the pressure of his first World Series get to him?
2. Starting Pitching - Game 1 features 2 lefties who have gone a combined 5-0 with 40 K's, 6 BBs, and an ERA around the 1.00 mark. Unreal. After Lee and Sabathia though, you have Burnett who arguably has the best stuff in the game but is often wild, Hammels who has looked nothing like last year, Pettite who has been pitching great all year, and Pedro Martinez, who could be the ace in the hole. If we have a turn back the clock moment from Pedro, this series could be heavily tipped in the Phillies favor.
3. Base Running - So far this postseason, base running blunders have killed teams, especially opponents of the Yankees. If the teams are smart on the base path, they could manage some extra runs that could give them the win. The Phillies were ranked first in the MLB in stolen base percentage (81% - including Chase Utley who was 23-23, outstanding), and the Yankees were tied for 2nd (80%). Curious to see who makes the blunders in the World Series.
4. Bullpen - The Yankees came into the postseason with one of the best bullpens of the 8 teams, while the Phillies bullpen had failed them multiple times this season (hello Brad Lidge). But coming into the World Series it's been somewhat reversed. Joba and Hughes for the Yanks have been very hittable, with Hughes the best setup man in the MLB since becoming one in June. Lidge has reclaimed the slider he had lost throughout the season, and has given up 1 hit in three games. And Mo, well he's been Mo. Still a slight edge to the Yanks, but not a massive edge.
5. Experience - Again the experience lies with the Yan....oh, no it doesn't. Wow, for the first time in what seems like forever, the experience is going AGAINST the Yankees. They have 8 players who have played in the World Series (four of those eight winning a championship), whereas the Phillies have 18 players who have played in the World Series. They've been here before, they've won before, they know what to do. With first timers such as CC, Burnett, A-Rod and Tex, I'm curious to see if the level of play gets to them.
My pick: Yankees in 7. Split at home, lose 2 in philly, and then win games 6 and 7 at home. So far my picks have been far from correct. So we'll see.
Now or Never