Each team led its league in scoring along with home runs and slugging percentage. Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia is a hitters’ paradise; and the ball carries well at the new Yankee Stadium. The top six in each lineup are close to a push, but New York offers Robinson Cano, Nick Swisher and Melky Cabrera at seven-eight-nine.
No obvious holes on either team. Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira is a big plus, but Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard is much better than he used to be. Philly might try running on catcher Jorge Posada, especially if Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino get aboard. Philadelphia’s outfield gets a boost when Raul Ibañez shifts to DH and Ben Francisco becomes the left fielder.
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The Phillies roughed up CC Sabathia last year in the postseason when he pitched for Milwaukee and outlasted him earlier this season in a 4-3 victory at Yankee Stadium. Along with Cliff Lee, the Phillies have ex-AL pitchers Pedro Martinez and Joe Blanton. The Phils might have trouble with lefty Andy Pettitte, who has a knack for elevating in the postseason, but they’ve handled A.J. Burnett pretty well over the years. The key could be Phillies lefty Cole Hamels, who has been a disappointment this season.
It’s enough to say the Yankees have Mariano Rivera. New York’s setup corps has been disappointing in the postseason but the Phillies have a bunch of cross-your-fingers guys. That includes closer Brad Lidge, who will be tested by baseball’s most patient attack.
The Yankees are the better team and should win their first World Series since 2000, but it won’t be easy because the Phillies are a proven postseason team.