For the Phillies 13 year veteran Raul Ibanez roams left field where he had one hell of a season. Ibanez batted .272 with 34 HR and 93 RBI’s in the regular season. Although only batting .225 in the post season he does have 9 RBI’s and a HR. Ibanez was an all star this year and has nine assists and only two errors for a .991 fielding percentage.
The Yankees counter with Johnny Damon who is also a long time veteran of 14 years. Like Ibanez Damon has had a career season .He batted .282 with 24 HR and 82 RBI’s . Although Johnny Damon brings some speed to the table with 12 stolen bases on the year he has a below average throwing arm and has committed 5 errors this year. Both of these guys are experienced veterans with Damon holding an edge in post season experience. However I think Ibanez is more well rounded , advantage PHILLIES.
The Yankees will most likely continue to start Melky Cabrera in CF over Brett Gardner. (Even though I disagree because Gardner is just flat out better) Melky batted .274 with 13 HR and 68 RBI. Seems like fairly pedestrian numbers if you ask me. Where Melky really shines is his arm. The Kid has a cannon that has earned to respect of base runners around the league.In 2007 Melky had 14 assists. He also has been decent on the base pads with 10 stolen bases on the year.
Shane Victorino is the starting CFer for the Phillies. No controversy in PA over who will roam this position. Victorino is not known as a power hitter (10 HR on the year) but what he does do is hit for average with a ton of speed. He batted .292 and had 25 stolen bases. A gold glove winner in 2008 Shane has 8 assists and only 1 error. After the Phillies victory celebration Shane was seen with a big ice pack on his elbow but quickly dismissed this stating that he was fine. Gold Glove+Experience+Speed = advantage PHILLIES
Jason Werth is the Phillies RFer with 36 HR and 99 RBI’s . At only 30 years old he picked a perfect year to have the best season of his seven year career in the majors. So far this post season he 5 HR and 10 RBI’s.
For the Bombers Nick Swisher has rejuvenated his seemingly diminishing career while filling in for the injured Xavier Nady. Swish has been a great team player and certainly has shown that he still can hit the ball out of the park with his 29 HR and 82 RBI in only 150 games played. Swish has been horrible in the post season only batting .125. Don’t be surprised if he doesn’t start to perform quickly if you see Brett Gardner filling his spot.
I think we can see with a fair amount of clarity that this one also says advantage PHILLIES
If we sum up the fielders we give the outfield advantage to the Phillies and the Infield advantage to the Yankees. Both teams have a tremendous amount of offence so what it will come down to is the pitching.
Game 1 CC Sabathia vs Cliff Lee Advantage Yankees
game 2 AJ Burnett vs Pedro Martinez Advantage Yankees
Game 3 Andy Pettite vs Cole Hamels Advantage Yankees
Its hard to predict a game 4 matchup as the Yankees have not announced if they will go with a 4 man rotation and use Chad Gaudin or stick with a three man which would require Pettite and Burnett to pitch on short rest once and CC twice. I believe it will all depend on how the first three games pan out. If the Yankees go up 3-0 or 2-1 you may very well see Gaudin pitch in a game 4. However if the Yankees are down than you will see the Yankees go with the three man rotation.
As promised here is my prediction. Yankees in 5. Although a sweep would not surprise me. Pitching wins championships and the Yankees have the best pitching in the American league. The Phillies don’t even have the best pitching in their division.
One other quick note: The Yankees have excluded the speedy Freddy Guzman from the roster in favor of Eric Hinski. This is a great move. The Yankees needed another right handed bat against a lefty heavy Phillies staff. Hinski preformed well for the Yankees off the bench and will prove more useful than Guzman.
Tomorrow we will have more complete pre game coverage and a look at the two bull pens side by side. Make sure you follow us on twitter at username Yankeesmagazine.