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.


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