It's possible that someone in the YFSF community–moderators and commenters–had the Yankees and Phillies as the World Series match-up when we made our predictions at the beginning of the season. Possible, but not likely. If my memory is correct, a few of us in April had an inordinate respect for the New York Mets and Arizona Diamondbacks. During that cruel month, there might have been a couple among us who speculated that CC Sabathia wasn't made for the post-season. And, of course, there was the previously reliable (if you ignored certain statistics and sample size caveats) prediction that A-Rod would stink up the joint when the calendar turned to October. I remember making fun of the Tigers for their choice of Edwin Jackson as a number two starter. Turns out, he was a legit #2. And I think there was a vocal minority that felt John Smoltz would be the key to a great fall and post-season run for the Sox.
The point is that we're human and we're not designed to learn from our mistakes. So let's do it again!
Yanks in 6.
Why: Let's play the match-up game:
C: Posada vs. Ruiz
Case closed. Big advantage goes to Posada who is significantly the better bat.
1b: Teixeira vs. Howard
Okay, so generally speaking, I'd go with Teixeira over Howard. The big lefty is hell on righties and becomes mediocre against lefties. Teixeira is very good no matter the handedness of the opponent. The Yanks' top 2 pitchers are lefties. Additionally they have Coke and Marte for late inning spot situations. So the Yanks seem especially well-equipped to contain the NLCS MVP. But that's the problem. Ryan Howard was the NLCS MVP and he is on fire. Mark Teixeira is not. He's very cold. Does that mean he's due? I hope so. Still, I'll call this even considering their recent performances.
2b: Cano vs. Utley
Cano flashed brilliant leather in the clinching game of the ALCS. His bat seemed to be waking up. And he's a very valuable and exciting young player. Chase Utley, on the other hand, is the best position player on the Philadelphia roster and is the best 2b in baseball. Advantage goes to Utley.
3b: A-Rod vs. Pedro Feliz
Yeah, so you were wrong about him. Own up to it.
SS: Jeter vs. Rollins
Jimmy Rollins' OBP was less than .300. Derek Jeter's was almost .400. Ergo, this is not close.
RF: Swisher vs. Werth
Grumble. Werth has become a very good player with the Phils. Swisher had a solid season, putting up similar numbers as his counterpart. And then the post-season came. Werth is doing well. Swisher…not so much. I'll give Werth the advantage based on the flawed idea that one player is on a good streak and the other is making me long for Terrence Long.
CF: Melky vs. Victorino
One of my favorite moments of the ALCS was Melky's hands celebration at second after Kazmir had managed to toss the ball 5 yards over Kendrick's outstretched glove at first. Melky's sac bunt turns into a double, sort of, and why not celebrate? Yeah, he ended up on second through no act of his own, but you might as well take ownership of good fortune. If I were on the Yankees, I would be Melky–the one player in the line-up who is not close to flirting with the idea of stardom. He's worked hard and has become a solid major leaguer, and I hope this isn't perceived as a knock on the guy, but he's sort of along for the ride. The great thing is he's embracing every second of it. He's lucky and he knows it. His celebration was his counting his lucky stars out loud.
Victorino is better.
LF: Raul Ibanez looks like the guy from Rage Against The Machine and is from New York City. I like the guy from Rage because he got to play with Bruce Springsteen at the Superbowl and he acted how I would: extremely psyched that he was on stage with Bruuuuuuce. And the New York thing is cool. Still, after an amazing beginning to the season, Ibanez was awful. Johnny Damon got the message after I suggested benching him and he's looking good. I'll go with Damon.
DH: Hideki vs. Raul Ibanez
So at the Stadium, Raul becomes DH and Ben Francisco becomes LF. Damon is better than Francisco and Ibanez and Hideki are very close. The match-up is a win for the Yanks.
This is a close call. CC and Cliff have been the two best pitchers in the post-season. They were great during the regular season. I'll give the advantage to CC because he's been doing this longer. Pettitte and Hamels are another interesting pairing. If this were last year, Hamels would be the winner. But, a new season has brought a much less consistent Hamels and an Andy Pettitte who is willing his way to a 5th title. I'll go even here, but Pettitte might have the slight win. Then there is Burnett vs. Pedro. Totally weird and totally not going to go there. Who knows?
Relievers: Relief was a weakness for the Phils and supposedly a strength for the Yank during the regular season. The post-season has flipped that reality on its head. Let's call this a win for the Yanks because of the larger sample size of reality. But that means Hughes and Joba have to get their acts together!
Okay, some how these match-ups lead to a Yanks' victory in 6. This is a good match-up but I think the Yanks have the advantage in most parts of the game. How about you?