In the next nine days, a champion will once again be crowned ruler of the baseball world, and after 2,430 regular season games and 20 postseason games, the baseball universe has been whittled down to two lone teams. Once again those familiar faces of the Yankees find themselves representing the American League and looking for their absurd 27th World Series title. Toeing the line for the National League is the series defending Philadelphia Phillies looking for their 3rd title and back to back titles for the first time since the Yankees won three straight from ‘98 to 2000.
The Yankees have made it to the World Series with dominating regular and postseason performances. The off season set the tone for this historic franchise when they signed not one, not two, but three of the major free agents, Mark Teixeira, A.J. Burnett, and biggest of all, CC Sabathia. After spending amounts of astronomical proportions (over 400 mil) anything less than a world championship would seem a disappointment. The Yankees led the league in most offensive categories in the regular season including runs (915) and home runs (244). Alex Rodriguez has finally found a groove in the playoffs leading the postseason in home runs (5) and second to Ryan Howard in RBI’s 14 to 12. In his first World Series, look for Alex Rodriguez to do everything he can to make sure he doesn’t come away without that trophy.
The Phillies have been in this spot before. One year ago from yesterday, Charlie Manuel and his Phillies were fresh off their game 5 and series ending victory over the Tampa Bay Rays. The Phillies cruised through the regular season with hardly any pressure from their division foes. Philly was in the top five of most offensive categories throughout the regular season, but during the playoffs they hit the ground running. They lead the ‘09 playoffs in runs (55), total bases (139), and slugging percentage (4.78). Look out for Ryan Howard who has been lights out this postseason who leads the postseason with 14 RBI and has a handful of big hits. The fighting Phils have three comeback wins this postseason. Make sure to stay tuned for all nine innings because they wont stop fighting for that repeat championship.
The task to stop these potent offenses lies in the hands of some very big name pitchers. Game 1 could very easily decide the 2009 champion. Philadelphia themselves signed a huge free agent in reigning CY Young winner Cliff Lee who will take the mound in game one. His opponent? Oh only one of the most dominant pitchers in the past few years, C.C. Sabathia. Both have been lights out this postseason and may just flip the power switch on these two high voltage offenses. Winner of this game could easily have the title in the bag. The questionable decision is that veteran pitcher Pedro Martinez and that well manicured jerry curl will get the ball in game 2. With Cole Hamels not pitching horribly, why switch it now? Pedro has aged, sure he could still bring down Don Zimmer, but can he still bring down the Yankees? I’m sure Charlie Manuel knows what he is doing.
Expect this series to go the full seven games and expect it to go down as one of the best World Series EVER! Yes I dare say it. At this point I call it a coin flip. If I had to pick a team, I like Cliff Lee, I like the speed and power of Rollins, Victorino, Utley, and Howard. I like the Phillies in seven. We might have a name immortalized in World Series history like Buckner, Shilling, Fisk, and of course Joe Carter. But if we are extra lucky, we might see Don Zimmer flying out of the stands for that second chance at Pedro.