Wednesday, November 4, 2009

World Series Point/Counterpoint

In the spirit of a great Northeast rivalry, my friend, fellow blogger, and avid Yankees fan Violator has been a good enough sport to lend us a hand in understanding what’s on tap for the upcoming World Series game(s). She’s a real life Yankees insider (owns a press pass) and probably knows more about the Bronx Bombers than most of the writers at ESPN. The full post on her blog can be seen here, but we’ve gone ahead and responded directly to her claims below.’s comments are in bold.

Cheers, Salud, Chin Chin

Yo NY, Put that Champagne on Ice

OK, so the defending World Series champs won a game at home-- not surprising. Yankees' starter A.J. Burnett hurling a pretty awful two innings-- not surprising either. He is either wonderful or terrible, and had he been able to keep Philly under wraps for at least 4 or 5 innings, New York would more than likely have provided enough run support to seal the deal.

No disagreements there, Burnett was the undoing of the Yankees in Game 5. But it’s also fair to note that the Phillies did have their ace on the mound in Cliff Lee – and even he didn’t pitch all that well. Compared to his previous post-season starts, this one was subpar for him. Should the series go 7, the Yankees may have not seen the last of Lee – a guy who has been quoted as saying “my arm doesn’t get tired after pitching”. He’s also in a select group of pitchers that do not ice their arms after a game. Getting nervous yet…?

A novice to the playoff atmosphere, Burnett simply couldn't get ahead in counts often enough to utilize his signature curveball. Although he contributed close to nothing last night, the Yankees somehow managed to keep themselves in the game (in late innings) even without Posada, Matsui, or Cabrera in the starting lineup. But the stars didn't align in Philly last night for another heartburn-inducing comeback.

So alas, we are heading back to the Bronx for Game 6, and the Yankees are trusting veteran Andy Pettitte on the mound to handle the Phillies. He is the winningest pitcher in postseason history, so it's no surprise Joe Girardi went with proven results. Despite not posting fantastic numbers at home in the regular season (6-4, 4.59 ERA) -- he knows how to win, and you can count on the Yankees crowd for serious VOLUME. Pettitte, however, is not accustomed to short rest, and we saw how well this panned out for Burnett, so he needs to come out swinging or the Phillies will most definitely keep themselves in the series, but they'd only be delaying the inevitable.

Pettitte being 37 years old certainly gives the Phillies hope for their quest to extend the series to a 7th game. Granted, Pedro is no spring pollo (he’s 38), but his arm hasn’t been through a full seasons' worth of abuse and will be pitching on normal rest. It’s also noteworthy to mention that Pettitte hasn’t pitched on short rest since September of 2006. If I remember correctly, this was when he pitched for the Astros and was close buddies with Roger Clemens. During this period of time, Andy took PED’s (who really knows for how long). A big advantage of these drugs is to give your body recovery time. I’m not alluding to anything in particular…I’m just sayin’…

If you ask me, the fact that the Phillies are defending a title puts the pressure on them. It's hard to win a title; it's extremely hard to win it twice.

I agree – it may be the hardest thing in sports to repeat as champion. No doubt about it. But what I disagree with is the fact that the pressure is on the Phillies. The Phillies are the underdog in this series. The Phillies are down 3 games to 2. The pressure is on New York to put this team away not let them mount a historic comeback (we all remember the 2004 ALCS).

[The Yankees] big four have more postseason experience than the entire Phillies team combined (minus Pedro, who, let's face it, is hardly a tried and true "Philly"). By the time Cliff Lee could legally drink, Derek Jeter had two rings.

Really? Well…whatever. He’s gonna be drinking champagne in Jeter’s face two days from now.

Before 2007, the Phils hadn't made the playoffs in twelve years. TWELVE! The Yankees miss out last year and come back in '09 out for blood, putting themselves in position to win World Title #27. This Yankee squad not only knows how to win, but also knows quite a bit about getting too far ahead of themselves (see: 2004 ALCS). Alex Rodriguez, Mariano Rivera, Hideki Matsui, Jorge Posada, and Jeter still taste that bitterness and have all come up huge for the Yankees this year late in games and when they've needed it most.

I love statistics. There’s always a stat that can be pulled to prove a point. These mean little in relevance to the 2009 World Series. Here’s a stat – the Phillies are 20-8 in the playoffs over the last two seasons. If anything, this team knows how to win. TheYankees draw on years of experience from 4 core guys; the Phillies, possess the luxury of a having a full squad of players who know plenty about winning big games.

They will not allow history to repeat itself.

History will repeat itself. Get ready to hop in the Delorean and punch it to 88 because this Philadelphia team will refuse to lose and repeat as World Champions.

Yankees in 6.

Phillies in 7.


  1. Phils better win, seeing how this series cost us a 4 year term.

  2. Yankees now have 27... but we will always have 2008!

  3. your older, wiser sisterNovember 5, 2009 at 3:36 PM

    really, troy? phillies in 6? that wasn't even a possibility at the time of your post.