Friday, October 30, 2009

J-Roll Not Impressed with Fans in Yankee Stadium

Per beat writer Todd Zolecki:

Jimmy Rollins was asked about the atmosphere at Yankee Stadium compared to other ballparks.

"It's really more of a different atmosphere at our ballpark compared to the others," he said. "Our ballpark is so loud and rowdy. I was really expecting some of that here, but it was very tame and civilized actually."

In New York?

"Yeah," Rollins said. "You only heard one big cheer and that was on the home runs. Other than that ... those expensive are running the loud fans out."

Rollins later was asked if this feels more like a World Series compared to last year's series against the Tampa Bay Rays.

"When we get to Philly it will," Rollins said.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

3 Reasons the Phillies Will/Won't Win the 2009 World Series

Hello World Series. It's been almost a year since we last hung out but I'm sure you haven't forgotten us. We're the Philadelphia Phillies, defending world champions of baseball. Just wanted to let you know that we're back and ready for a repeat. Here's why...

3 Reasons the Phillies Will Win the World Series (again)
  • Experience - As I alluded to, OK stated, the Phillies are back in the World Series for a second straight year. After steamrolling the perceived superior Dodgers and Rays in last year's trot the their first WFC since 1980, the Phillies learned how to play October baseball. They didn't know how to handle the spotlight in 2007, after they won their first divisional title since 1993, and were promptly swept by the red-hot Rockies. You don't think the Phillies learned something from that and used it to help last year? The magical 2008 season brought about many lessons, which J-Roll, Vic, Chutley, RyHo, Werth, Raaauuuuuuulll, Chooch, Pete Happy and the other remnants of last years roster will employ this time around. The Yankees haven't been here since 2003, and they looked much different then. You'll hear Jeter-this and Mariano-that but, in reality, it's the Phillies, not the Yankees, with the experience needed to win another title.
Expect to see this scene again real soon.
  • Expectations - What are they for the Phillies? Well outside of Philadelphia there apparently aren't any. Only 6 of the 24 ESPN "experts" predicted the Phillies to return to the World Series. Of those six, zero predicted a repeat for The Fightin's. Sixteen of the 24 picked the Yankees to win the Series, and this was before the playoffs started. Now that we know it's a Phillies-Yankees throwdown not much has changed. Again, 9 of the 10 experts pick New York (I always did like you, Karabell). I don't want to play the "no respect" card; I (and they) could care less. The Phillies perform quite well as underdogs. Without the intense pressure the team can play the game the way the want to. They won't be tense or pressing, like the Yankees will be. Six years between World Series appearances feels like a generation in the Bronx. Of course nine years between titles is almost unfathomable for the Yankee faithful. Bottomline: all the pressure is on the Yankees, and that's one of the reasons the Phillies will win it all again.
  • Ryan Howard - Last year Philadelphia saw multiple dynamic performances from one Colbert Hamels. This year it's Ryan Howard's turn. He had his usual end-of-the-season surge and it carried over into the playoffs. He was recently named NLCS MVP and looks to take home World Series MVP, which he will if (when?) the Phillies repeat. He is the heart of the team in 2009 and RyHo has delivered thus far. Don't expect that to change, especially because of where the series will be played. Have you heard Yankees Stadium and Citizens Bank Park or havens for home runs? I know, BRAND NEW INFORMATION!
The Fightins

3 Reasons the Phillies Won't Win the World Series

  • Familiarity - Cliff Lee, the Phillies new ace, is not something new to the Yankees. The former Indian faced New York plenty of times while in the A.L. While Lee dominated N.L. opponents that may have been due to them facing him so few times in the past. That can't be said about the Bronx Bombers. Game 2 starter is Pedro Martinez, also not new to the A.L. batters. While he hasn't pitched in the A.L. since 2004, many of the Yankee batters have numerous plate appearances against him. If Lee and Martinez aren't on the top of their game and challenging the hitters the first two games could be long for Philadelphians. And the Series won't end as it did last year.
  • Mariano Rivera - The best closer in the game for the last decade plus has not lost anything. He is still mostly unhittable. Rivera isn't Huston Street or Jonathan Broxton. He's Mariano frickin' Rivera. Don't expect a 9th inning comeback off of him. A come-from-behind win must be nailed down in the 6th, 7th, or 8th. If the Phillies enter the 9th down, say goodnight.
  • Umpires - OK, this is a bit of a cop out. And I'm not saying MLB or the umps want New York to win. I'm just pointing out how utterly terrible the umpires have been the entire playoffs. It's well documented. They could cause the Phillies (or the Yankees) to lose the World Series. How ludicrous is that? Let's hope that doesn't happen...

So there you have it, why the Phillies will/won't win the 2009 World Series. If you missed why the Yankees will or won't win the World Series check out E's post here.

BOLD PREDICTION SURE TO BE WRONG: Phillies repeat, take the '09 Series in six. You heard it here first. OK, not really. He said something about it too. Although I'm a little more cautious.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

3 Reasons Why the Yankees Will and Will Not Win the World Series

Well, it has been a long 6 years but my Yankees are finally back in the Series. The Phillies may be the defending champions but you can bet that the Yankees will be up for this series and force them to give everything they got. Scouring over some message boards, I am completely floored at the arrogance of some Phillies fans. I have seen many, many posts saying that the Phillies are going to win the series in 5 games. Really?? That means they have to beat CC at least once AND win with Pedro starting. That also means Cole Hamels has to not implode in Game 3. Quite a tall task if you ask me. I think anybody making that prediction is seriously underestimating the Yankees. With that introduction, here are my three reasons why the Yankees will win and will not win the World Series.

Why the Yankees will win…

CC / 3-man rotation

The fact that the Yankees get to use CC Sabathia 3 times in this series is huge. He has been pitching out of his mind and will be able to go toe-to-toe with Cliff Lee, assuming they pitch him thrice as well. AJ Burnett worries me on the road (similar to the Phillies and Cole Hamels) but in Game 2, I expect a great start out of him. Pettitte has been incredibly solid this entire postseason as well. Yeah, they’ll have a big time line up to go against but I know that they can hold their own.

Pedro Martinez

I was almost giddy with excitement when he was named the Game 2 starter. He has never been that great against the Yankees in the postseason (1-2 record, 4.72 ERA) and now he is 6 years older. Not only that but he has not been tested at all this year. Yeah, he pitched well against the Dodgers but that offense was reeling and is not really that great to begin with. Also, he pitched against NOBODY in the regular season. His only decent starts during the season came against the Mets, Nationals and Giants. Those are 3 of the worst offensive teams in the league. I fully expect the Yankees to tee off on him in Game 2 and hopefully Game 5 as well. Not only that but if the Phillies want to use Cole Hamels twice, that means he is going to have to pitch in a pivotal Game 6 in the Bronx. Regardless, whenever Pedro takes the mound, it will be great theatre.

Mark Teixeira

Cold for pretty much the entire playoffs at the plate, he started to heat up at the end of the ALCS and that is great news for the Yankees. When he is on, the Yankees are nearly unbeatable. A-Rod is also helping this too by protecting him in the order. The Phillies are going to have to throw Teixeira strikes unless they want a man on base when A-Rod comes up. That is what got the Angels in trouble towards the end of the ALCS. Also, I would be remiss not to mention his defense at first base. He is going to win the Gold Glove this year and I am certain his defense alone won them a handful of games this regular season.

Why the Yankees will lose…

Phillies Lineup

It is pretty good. And has been great this postseason. The Angels provided a good warm-up for the Yankees in the ALCS (Yankees and Angels were #1 and #2 in runs scored during the regular season) so I feel like the starters will be ready. But that does not stop the fact that they need to get through Rollins, Howard, Werth, etc. etc.

Stranding runners

Did it wayyyy too much in the ALCS. The Yankees did get better late in the ALCS but I worry about them putting the first couple guys on and then doing absolutely nothing. They may need to rely on the long ball a bit in a game or two.


Thought to be a strong point heading into the postseason, the bullpen has somewhat shaky thus far. Then again, I could be wrong here. Their ERA this postseason is 2.28…but I feel like they have been living on the edge for a lot of the postseason. Joba and Hughes have not been pitching nearly as well as they were down the stretch of the regular season. Rivera does have the second best ERA this postseason (0.84 behind Lee’s 0.74) but Game 6 proved that runs can be scored off of him. I also just have terrible memories of him blowing the clincher against Arizona in 2001.

One way or another, this is going to be an amazing World Series. I would be very surprised if it does not end in a Game 6 or 7 in the Bronx. As for my prediction? I think the Yankees will pull off #27. But not before an epic Game 7 showdown.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Penn State @ Illinois Prediction

Their first road test after an uninspiring loss at home versus Iowa. They better be ready.

Prediction: Penn State 17, Iowa 13
Actual: Iowa 21, Penn State 10
Margin of Victory Difference: -15 (loss)

Prediction: Penn State 23, Illinois 13