What to expect from the Fall Classic

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They say that sports can heal all wounds, cross racial lines, and even  re-unite families. However, can mutual love of sports ever unite bitter rivals? I am a White Sox fan, I was born a Sox fan, I’ll die a Sox fan. My friend Jake was not so lucky….. he’s a Cubs fan. Poor bastard…. So when it came time to write a World Series preview, we had to go with experience over beauty.  And as the only one to experience a championship season…. well, I think I have the right to this one.

All right, let’s get this started…

As far as sheer power goes, you’d be hard pressed to come up with two better lineups than these. A-rod, Tex, Cano, Posada,  and Matsui on one side, and Utley, Howard, Werth on the other. This matchup absolutely screams offensive firepower. Moreover, both these teams can really flash some leather and throw quality pitching out there from time to time. I haven’t been this excited about a World Series matchup since 2005 when my beloved Sox made a trip to the winner’s circle. (4 year drought…. How’s that hundred years treating ya, Jake?)

This thing’s too close to call from a distance, so I’m gonna break things down Dr. Bragg style…  First the lineups:

Leadoff: Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon v. Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino:

I know, I know, every possible statistic points toward a massive advantage for the boys from Philly on this one. And J-Roll is two years removed from being the League’s MVP; but…. It’s Derek Effing Jeter! There has been no one better in the history of postseason baseball in nearly every facet of the game than Jeter. If Reggie Jackson is Mr. October, then Derek Jeter is the undisputed Mr. November. I know it’s a trivial fact, but in a series with teams this evenly matched, it’s the little things that matter. Advantage: Push

Power hitters: A-Rod, Texiera, and Cano,  v. Utley, Howard, and Werth:

Wow. As I said in the intro, it’s gonna be nearly impossible to find two more potent lineups than these. We have three MVP’s (A-rod, Rollins, and Howard), two legitimate superstars (Texiera and Utley), and 2 of the best second fiddles in the league (Werth and Cano). Any other year, I would give the nod to the boys from

kate-hudson1

The new PED for A-Rod this postseason.

Philly. Every year A-Rod put up his monster numbers and then in October his swing went the way of Mo Vaughn. I don’t know what changed this year– better, undetectable PED’s? Smoking hot girlfriend instead of a bitchy nagging wife? Whatever it is, there has been no one hotter this postseason than Alex Rodriguez. Advantage: Yanks

Baserunning

This is the one category that is an absolute slam dunk. There is no one on the entire Yankees roster with the baserunning abilities of Rollins, Utley, Werth, and Victorino aside from maybe the aforementioned Derek Jeter. Throw into the mix the fact that Jorge Posada’s right arm fell off three years ago and well…. You can see my point. The Yankees have a much tougher time manufacturing runs via the bunt, hit and run, and stolen base and have to rely mostly on power hitting, whereas the Phillies have the power to match, but can also move baserunners and steal a base or two. Like I said, it’s the little things in this series. Advantage: Phillies

Pitching

Sabathia v. Lee

As good as Sabathia has been, he’s absolutely due for an underwhelming performance in one of his starts this season, call me crazy, but I just have a feeling about it. I’ll take Cliff Lee against anyone in the league when he’s on his game, and I think in a big situation like this one, he will be, so he cancels out Sabathia either way. Advantage: Phillies

Burnett v. Pedro

As abysmal as Hamels has been, he’s proven in the past that he is a phenomenal big game pitcher (2008 NLCS and World Series) whereas A.J. Burnett has proven absolutely nothing to me when it comes to clutch pitching. As far as I’m concerned, he’s 16 million dollars worth of disappointment. I don’t think there’s any way that he can outpitch the always entertaining Pedro Martinez. Advantage: Phillies

Pettite v. Hamels/Blanton/Happ

This one has to go the way of the Yankees. With his win in game 6 of the ALCS Andy Pettite moved past John Smoltz into first place on the all-time postseason win list. With the combination of his experience and surprisingly nasty stuff, there’s no postseason pitcher I’d rather have on the mound than Andy Pettite (especially not Joe Blanton).  Advantage: Yanks

Rivera v. Lidge

Brad Lidge has done something many players would be envious of: at two different points in his career (2005 with the Astros and last year with the Phillies) he has been considered the best closer in the game. However, he has also fallen off the map and become a liability in the season following both times (6 blown saves, 5.28 ERA in 2006, 11 blown saves, 7.21 ERA this year… wow), and regardless of how much better he’s looked so far this postseason, he’s still not the greatest closer of all time. Major Advantage: Yanks

Now that we’ve covered all of the unimportant stuff, let’s move on to the things that really decide a series.

Local Celebrities: Letterman, Conan, and Donald Trump v Bon Jovi and ???

This one is no contest. If you were picking a foursome for a round of golf, you can’t tell me you can come up with a better group to play a round with, with an emphasis on both intentional and unintentional comedy. Whereas… Bon Jovi??? Really? What would you talk about? Hair and makeup tips and ways to run an AFL team? Aside from Letterman stealing your mistress/ girlfriend/ wife/ etc., are there any downsides to spending time with that group of people? I don’t think so. Big Advantage: New York

jon-bon-jovi

It's World Series time. Do you know who your biggest celebrity supporter is?

Local Foods: Cheesesteaks v. New York Strip

This one is closer than some people from either city would like to think. While a New York Strip steak is delicious and filling, quite honestly you can get a good steak just about anywhere. To get a truly good cheesesteak, there’s nowhere that can compete with Philadelphia.  Advantage: Philly

cheesesteak

How can you go against the Cheesesteak?

After all of the arguments and counter-arguments for and against each team, the final factor when deciding a winner in this comes down to the God factor: there’s no way that 8 years of losing will cancel out 80 years of complete douchebaggery on the behalf of Yankees fans and players. No way God doesn’t smite at least one of their players halfway through the series.

Phillies in 6.

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