Here is a breakdown of both of the teams in the World Series, by position, and some facts (my opinions) on how the players match up against each other:
2 - Catcher
Carlos Ruiz vs. Jorge Posada
When it comes to being the general behind the plate, both catchers have the experience and knowledge to call a great game. But when it comes to the offense, what can I say? It's all about the Chooch! He is batting .346 in the post season with 7 RBI's, as opposed to Posada's .258 batting average and only 3 RBI's in the playoffs.
3 - First Baseman
Ryan Howard vs. Mark Texiera
Howard and Texiera have been very streaky all year, but when they are doing well, they do extremely well. In the post season, Howard has been on a hot streak with a .355 batting average, 14 RBI's, and 2 homeruns. Texiera however has been on a slide, batting only .205 this post season with 5 RBI's and 1 homerun. Last year I would have said that Texiera had the advantage over Howard, with his defensive ability and speed, but Howard put in the time in the offseason, lost weight, and honed his glove skills at first.
4 - Second Baseman
Chase Utley vs. Robinson Cano
These two guys couldn't be any further from each other in terms of attitude. Utley who is always a team player, taking none of the credit and all of the blame, while keeping his head down and working hard, is not having an outstanding postseason so far. But he is still out performing Cano, whose bad and selfish attitude was highlighted when he doubled off the wall in game 4 of the ALCS, and Posada only advanced to third due to poor base running. Once he noticed Posada on third, he made a face of disgust and ignored Posada's attempt to apologize for not helping him "pad" his terrible post season stats. Although Utley is struggling compared to his normal production, he is still batting .303 with 8 runs scored. But he is struggling with only 1 homerun and 2 RBI's. However, in comparisons to Cano's .229 batting average, 5 runs scored, 0 homeruns, and 5 RBI's, Utley and the Phillies have the clear advantage.
5 - Third Baseman
Pedro Feliz vs. Alex Rodriquez
Well Phillies fans, we have to give them one. Pedro Feliz is a solid glove down in the hot corner and at times can be a great bat at the bottom of the order, but he is no match for A-Roids this post season. A-Rod is solely responsible for the Yankee's success in the playoffs with a .438 batting average, 5 homeruns, 12 RBI's, 10 runs scored, and to top it all off, 1 stolen base. Pedro, who has struggled this post season, is only batting .161 with 1 homerun and 2 RBI's, but at least he doesn't cheat!
6 - Shortstop
Jimmy Rollins vs. Derek Jeter
At shortstop, both teams have great players. Both players have come up big for their team, helping to win games with clutch plays both on offense and defense this post season. Jimmy Rollins is well known for being vocal about his predictions, and then delivering! I would say that normally this would be a push, but given Jimmy's preseason prediction of "It's going to be the Phillies and the New York Yankees, and the good guys are going to win", I have to give the advantage to the Phillies. Both players have similar numbers so far in the playoffs, but J-Roll wants it more. If you are one of the people right now that is saying, "But Sal, it's DEREK JETER!", you have bought into the hype of an overrated player and probably thought that Manny and the Dodger's lineup was going to have their way with the Phillies bullpen... Don't get me wrong. Jeter is a Hall of Fame short stop. But so is Rollins.
7 - Left Fielder
Raul Ibanez vs. Johnny Damon
Both Ibanez and Damon started the year off on offensive tears, but were quieted as the season continued. Damon, who never was an amazing fielder, has had his record-worst season defensively, and he has had trouble reading the ball off the bat. Time and time again this season, Raul showed off his powerful arm from left, throwing out multiple runners trying to stretch a single into a double. That being said, Raul did suffer a groin tear in the middle of the season that put him on the disabled list. The injury is still there, but according to him, it is not affecting his ability. Because of this, Ibanez may be used as the designated hitter in New York, while Ben Francisco would play in left for his defense. But Raul is expected to start in left. Because the injury has not visibly affected Ibanez since he came back to the lineup, I am going to say defensively the Phillies have the advantage in left, but offensively it is a push.
8 - Center Fielder
Shane Victorino vs. Melky Cabrera
This one hands down goes to the Flyin Hawaiian! Shane's post season numbers reflect his no quit, refuse to lose attitude that is supplemented by his always cheerful demeanor. He has flashed a ton of leather in center this year, helping to get the Phillies to where they are now. Victorino is batting .361 with 3 homeruns, 7 RBI's, 8 runs scored and 2 stolen bases. To top it off, he is going to be batting against his favorite post season pitcher; C.C. Sabathia! I'll "SEE SEE" YA LATER NEW YORK! Who could forget Shane's momentous post season grand slam after Brett Myer's drawn out at bat against Sabathia and the Brewers last year? In this matchup, the Phillies have the clear advantage.
9 - Right Fielder
Jason Werth vs. Nick Swisher
No contest. Jason Werth is smoking hot right now! Sure he is batting under .300 in the playoffs (how terrible...), but he sure is hitting when it counts. He has racked up 5 homeruns, 10 RBI's and 10 runs scored already, and is thirsty for some more. Swisher on the other hand is hitting a whopping .125 with 1 RBI and 1 run scored.
Cliff Lee, Pedro Martinez, Cole Hamels, , Joe Blanton, J.A. Happ vs. C.C. Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, A.J. Burnett
Depending on how everything plays out, the Phillies have a lot of options as to how they can use their starting pitchers. The Yankees, however, are most likely going to stick with their three man rotation. This is great news for the Fightin Phillies! The last time they faced Sabathia on short rest, the Phillies destroyed everything he threw at them. Plus, with Lee and Pedro pitching the way they are, the Phillies could have a distinct advantage in this area. Sure Pettitte and Burnett have the ability to be shut down pitchers, but so does Cole, and I think he's tired of Clifton Phifer Lee coming over from the tribe and stealing the spot light that he owned last year in the post season. Look for King Cole to come out locating his fastball and shutting down the Yankees' lineup with his devastating changeup, and for Burnett to get hit around like he did in his last appearance against the Angles.
The Phillies bullpen has issues all season long, but has been once again amazing in the post season. I think it is time to officially say that Brad Lidge is back! (Hopefully this year after he closes out the series winning game he won't drop down and blow out his other knee) This allows the rest of the bullpen to settle back into their assigned roles where they are relaxed and unstoppable. Although Scott Eyre rolled his ankle in the last series, if he is not 100% the Phillies have J.A. Happ at their disposal. Happ can fill in as the left handed specialist, and he has had tremendous success against the Yankees this year. As for the Yankee's left handed specialist, Joe Girardi will be going to Phil Coke. This is great news for Charlie Manuel and his lefty heavy lineup. Coke had some success against the Angels, but they only had one true lefty in Bobby Abreu. Look for the Phillies to hit him around late in the game causing a huge momentum shift in their favor.
Charlie Manuel vs. Joe Girardi
When it comes to the skippers, Charlie Manuel specializes in hitting, but offers much more to the team and the Philadelphia fans. As a young boy Charlie was a star athlete. In high school, he excelled in four varsity sports and was awarded basketball scholarships to quite a few schools, including the University of Pennsylvania. However, Charlie had to turn down his scholarships after his father, suffering from heart problems and diabetes, committed suicide. His father left a note saying that he wanted Charlie, the oldest boy of his 11 children, to take care of his mother and family. At this time, Charlie already had a wife and a child of his own. To help support the family, Charlie passed on college and signed with the Minnesota Twins. Because of his background and how he overcame diversity, the true Philly locals feel that he is one of them. The city has embraced him as a leader. He coaches based on his gut feelings and is known for making some unusual moves that end up working perfectly. Charlie has a great feel for his players. Just ask Jim Thome. Charlie caught his eye in the dugout during the NLCS and told him that Jimmy Rollins was going to hit a gapper in the bottom of the 9th, just moments before he actually did and won the game for the Phillies.
As for Joe Girardi, he has been coaching scared the entire post season. He has over managed the bullpen, listened too much to the grumblings of the Yankee fans, and in my opinion was a much better TV announcer than a manager. Him and Steinbrenner both should keep their comments about their 27th ring to themselves. I wonder if they will retire Girardi's number (he chose number 27 for his jersey in 2007 when he signed a three year contract with the Yankees, because he said he was going to bring them their 27th World Series Championship. He then proceeded to coach the team right out of the playoffs for the first time in 14 years) after his contract is up and they don't make it to number 27.
Philadelphia vs. New York
Sure anyone comparing the fans from these two cities could just pick their home town and say, "Are you kidding me? Come on now. We are way better fans!" But having been to many games and having been a part of both crowds, I am going to actually break things down. First of all, I must say that the New York fans are great cheerleaders. They are extremely good at organizing a cheer or chant and doing it with the entire stadium in unison. That being said, the typical Yankees fan at the ball park is a pampered, well-to-do, pompous, individual that enjoys the spacious and thickly padded seats. At Citizens Bank Park, the scenery is a little different. The stadium is packed with hardnosed, hardworking, blue collar fans that don't want to win because it would be nice, but rather need to win because it is what they live for. They work hard to be able to attend these games. Sure, they might be too drunk to cheer together like a well practiced varsity cheerleading squad, but no fans have gotten into more pitchers' heads this season than the Philly crowd. Even Manny Ramirez, the most carefree player in the league, was visibly shaken up by the heckling from the yelling and screaming fans in the NLCS. My prediction is that many more fans will make the trip from Philly to New York than the other way around. This will have a big impact on the series being that Yankee's stadium will no longer be the home field "advantage" New York is expecting.