October 28, 2009

An East coast classic

by Dan Bilicki In: Baseball

It’s hard to believe that a team like the Angels, that prides itself on playing excellent small-ball and defence, would literally throw away the most important game of their season. How they muffed up two bunts in a row just slays me. First, Kendrick straight up drops the throw to first and then Scott Kazmir misses a throw that every tee-baller in the world could make. Really, the Angels deserved to be sent home.

So now we have a World Series that will certainly be cold and filled with some harsh weather and maybe even some snow. It’s the New York Yankees vs. the Philadelphia Phillies. So, how does it break down? Here are a few things I’ve had on my mind…

Which team has the least reliable bullpen? New York has Mariano “The Hammer of God” Rivera closing out games, but everybody else, including young studs Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain, haven’t been up to snuff. The Phils on the other hand boast an extremely unreliable Brad Lidge and a bunch of guys who weren’t good enough to take his job while he was injured? This war may end being a battle of attrition and with the cold winds biting, it could get ugly.

The Phillies may have wrapped up their Championship Series earlier than New York, but with a two day wait between the ALCS and Game 1, it’s not like the Yanks are going to be running on fumes. MLB really has to do something to tighten up series schedules and especially the times between the end of one series and the beginning of another.

The Game 1 matchup is going to be a humdinger: Cliff Lee at CC Sabathia. Two former Indians aces going up against each other in one of the biggest games of the seasons should make the Cleveland faithful sick. The two lefties have been spectacular this season and post-season and we should be expecting one hell of a duel. Sabathia is toting an ERA of 1.19 in the post-season while Lee has an even better 0.74. Could we actually see a 1-0 game at Yankee Stadium to open up the World Series?

I understand that Cole Hamels didn’t exactly set the world on fire with his first few playoff starts, but is starting Pedro Martinez in Game 2 really the smartest idea? I can already here the crowd at new Yankee Stadium cheering out, “Who’s your daddy?” Maybe the Phillies shouldn’t outthink themselves and just settle on their hero from last year.

Joe Girardi’s over-managing is perfect for playing in NL stadiums. It will definitely be interesting to see how his brand of management plays when the series shifts to Philadelphia for games three to five.

Then, the biggest question of them all: Will A-Rod be able to keep up his amazing post-season and stay away from his past of being un-clutch? He’s going to have more eyes on him than ever before and I don’t know how well he will hold up with it. If he can’t get it going early and if he falls behind the eight-ball, the crowd will pour unto him more than ever and he, along with the Yankees lineup, will crumble. But, I’ve got to think that since he’ll be facing a lot of lefties in this matchup, he’ll be more than fine.

World Series Prediction:  Yankees in six.

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