(graphic by Terry Colon)
I know the Philly bloggers are against me, but that's OK. I'm up for betting a few bags of Cheetos with my Philly faithful.
Much respect to them. Email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you want to get it on...Because of the idiot, Bud Selig we have baseball that will go into November so the weather is a big issue. I'm a typical "Obsessed Fan," when it comes to sports and the playoffs and I love to call pitches like a catcher and manage the game. I will be working on the further adventures for the Obsessed Fan in the future, but for right now it's all baseball.
I'm live blogging the game on The Huffington Post right now. I hope I don't break my laptop because of a call from the umps. And I am very superstitious. OK, on to the series...
Here's the breakdown as I see it
1B) Howard vs Teixeira
Howard has a monster bat, but his glove doesn't equal Tex's. Mark needs to have a good hitting series because they will pitch around A-Rod all series long. I do believe that Mark will have an impact on the field throughout, but it's really close.
2B) Utley vs Cano
Utley is a far better hitter than Cano, drives in more runs and batting in the middle of the potent Philly lineup proves the point, but Cano did hit .320 and played excellent defense.
SS) Jeter vs Rollins
This is an intriguing match-up because Rollins won the MVP last year for the NL, but if we look at comparing them in 2009, Derek had a much better year offensively. Rollins hit just .250 with an OBP of .296. Jeter hit .334 with an OBP of .406, but Rollins can still be deadly and he has more range than Jeter. However, Jeter has shown an incredible feel for the game especially in the playoffs that I have never seen before. His instincts are scary.
3B) A-Rod vs Feliz
A-Rod has been playing out of his mind this post season so this isn't even close. Feliz does have a great glove and won't beat himself.
Outfield and DH:
All three Philly outfielders are better than the Yanks. Every one of them can hit for power and for the most part field well. They out HRed the Yankee starting outfield by an 80-66 margin, but where the Yanks have the edge is in the DH department with Matsui. He hit 28 HR's out of the fifth spot for the Bombers so at Yankee stadium that will be an advantage.
In Philly, the Yanks lose their 28 HR man and replace him with a pitcher, so the Phillies have the power advantage when the Yanks come for cheese steaks.
CC, AJ and Andy get the advantage over the Phillies. Lee is awesome, but Pedro and Hamels are question marks at this point. The fourth game will be interesting because Girardi has said he may use only three starters for the entire series if it goes seven games. It might be CC no matter what in game four, but I think Pettitte is the only pitcher that Joe would worry about pitching on three days rest. If he changes his mind and uses Chad Gaudin, then Manuel has the edge because he has Happ and Blanton to step up if he needs them.
Here's where the weather comes in. If any game other than the first one is rained out then it makes it really easy for Girardi to stick with a three man rotation.
The Yankee pen hasn't been as solid as it was for the second half of the season and that might have been due to fatigue. They use a lot of young, home grown pitchers in the bullpen, but the one man that gives the Yanks the ultimate weapon is Mariano Rivera. Even at 39 years old, he's still the best of the best and can go two innings if needed. Lidge is still shaky in my mind so I think if the games are close going into the ninth with Philly trying to close out the Yanks in a game, hold your breath.
Manuel is the reigning champion and Girardi is trying to get the crown. Charlie is a really likable man and makes it easy to root for him. They both make tons of moves during a game which could make them go on forever but until Girardi wins a championship, Charlie gets the nod. I think Girardi made a lot of bizarre moves in his playoff run so far, but they survived them. Will he use his instincts more or stick to his match-up/book mentality? I hope it's the latter.
To me this series is a toss-up because of the strength of the Philly lineup and their toughness, but the Yanks are excellent at home and have Mariano. I'm hoping the Yanks win it in six, but what makes it a great game is you never know who will step up and make the difference in a series like this. Who do you think will be the surprise of the series? Are you ready?