The Yankees find themselves in not an unfamiliar situation this fall. The Bronx Bombers seek their 27h championship after claiming their 40th pennant in the defeat of the Angels and the Twins this October. Yet it all seems fresh as the Yankees are doing it with new faces, namely free-agent acquisitions C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and Mark Texiera in a new stadium.
Representing the National League down south from New York on 95 are the Philadelphia Phillies. They too are a force to be reckoned with as the reigning Major League Champions. The “Beast of the NL East” cruised to the 2009 World Series behind the “Trusty Triumphant Triumvirate” of Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, and Chase Utley, with a 'little’ help from their friends, namely new Phillies, pitching studs Cliff Lee and Pedro Martinez.
Here is a breakdown on the teams' strengths and weaknesses.
Yankees Playoff Strengths
Homeruns for the Bronx Bombers have generated 40% of the team’s runs. The Yankees have 14 homeruns, led by the power hitting of 3B Alex Rodriguez (.438, 5 HR, 14 RBI) and SS Derek Jeter (.297, 5 HR, 14 RBI).
-Starting Pitching and Relief
The Yankees 72 strikeouts and 2.46 staff ERA lead all playoff teams. CC Sabathia (3-0, 1.19 ERA, 20 SO, 3G) and Andy Petite (2-0, 2.37 ERA, 15 SO) dominated the Twins and Angels. Closer Mariano Rivera (3 SV, 0.94 ERA, 11 SO) has also looked great.
First Basemen Mark Texiera’s perfect glove work leads a squad that has only committed 3 errors in nine games, earning a .997 Fielding percentage.
Yankees’ Playoff Weakness
The Bronx Bombers have only 3 stolen bases at a 50% success rate. Speedy OF Brett Gardner has only swiped one base this October, tied for the team lead with C Jorge Posada.
-Runners in Scoring Position (RISP)
A-Rod, DH Hideki Matsui (.375 RISP), and 2B Robinson Cano (.300 RISP) have hit in the clutch. Four Yankee starters have hit less than .200 with runners on, leaving the team with a paltry .222 in this category.
Phillies Playoff strengths
1B Ryan Howard (.355 , 2 HR, 14 RBI), CF Shane Victorino (.361 BA, 3 HR, 7 RBI) and RF Jayson Werth (.281 , 5 HR , 10 RBI ) have provided punch to the Phillies lineup.
The Phillies lead all playoff teams in runs (55). This stat attests to the team’s speed on the base paths with 6 stolen bases at a success rate of 75%.
Free agent pickups Cliff Lee (2-0, 0.70 ERA, 20 SO) and Pedro Martinez (0.00 ERA, 4 SO) have been a dynamic duo.
Phillies Playoff Weaknesses
Philadelphia relief pitchers Ryan Madson (8 H, 4.50 ERA), J.A. Happ (6 H, 5 BB, 7.36 ERA), and Chan Ho Park (4 H, 8.10 ERA) have been inadequate. The pen has blown three saves with a completion rate of only 50%. Closer Brad Lidge (1-0, 3 SV, 4 SO, 0.00 ERA), however, is having a very strong October.
The Phillies defense this post season has faltered with 6 errors. Three errors have been committed by 2B Chase Utley.
Prediction: I believe the Yankees will win this Series in six games, beating the Phillies in Philadelphia for their 27th Championship.