So tonight is the big night. A long season makes way for the Fall Classic which kicks of tonight in a very damp and wet New York City. NYC has been the victim of rain for the past 36 some-odd hours, but the forecast (for what it’s worth) says the rain is suppose to fade away by first pitch.
It’s been since 2002 that Major League Baseball has had a close World Series. That Game 7 in Anaheim, was the last glimpse baseball has had of some World Series drama. 2003 was a decent series, but Game 6 always seemed out of reach with Josh Beckett on the mound, as the Marlins won. 2004 & 2005 were both sweeps. 2006 looked fun, on paper, but ended up lopsided, and last seasons World Series was marred by a 2-day rain delay, that saw the Phillies win the World Series with in 45 minutes after they reconvened play. But this season seems to have the flare and gusto that makes you excited to watch.
In one corner is the defending Champs, the Philadelphia Phillies. A franchise who historically has the most losses of any franchise in the history of sports. How amazing is that? Jason Stark of espn.com mentioned this, that if the Yankees were to go 0-162 for the next 16 season, they still would not have 10,000 losses. And in the other corner is the contenders, the team who has 40 American League Pennants, 26 World Championships, and is the best team money can buy.
Tonight’s match up sets the tone for the series, former teammates Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia going face to face in the biggest game either pitcher has faced in their lives. Lee and Sabathia, have won the last two AL CY Young awards, and both have been Cy Young good this season.
Although it’s important for the Yankees to win Game 1 for obvious reasons, I think a loss tonight could be a back-breaker for the defending champs. Considering tomorrow night you will see Pedro Martinez face the Yankees in the Bronx for the first time since 2004, who knows how that’s going to work out. In Game 3 the Phillies will throw out Cole Hammels, who has been down right brutal the past month or two to the point where there was legitimate conversation of exiling Cole to the bullpen. A Cliff Lee loss, would hurt the Phillies psyche more than a CC loss would do for the Yanks.
So as for my prediction, I like the Yankees in seven. Yes, I hope I’m incredibly wrong (Yankees in 4 would be nice), because these postseason games cause the sort of anxiety that makes me feel like I’m losing years on the back end of my life, but this series with all the little side stories you can shake a stick at, has all the potential to be as good as anyone in the last six years.
Here some quick notes I’ll be keeping my eyes on:
– Yankees Bullpen v. Phillies Bullpen….who’s going to be the first to hand over the big lead.
– Phil Coke v. Ryan Howard
– RAIN OUTS…I know the Yankees wouldn’t mind some rain after Game 2, so they can get their starting pitchers an extra day of rest.
– Never before do I remember there being such huge questions marks as to how these managers are going to string together their starting rotation. Jon Heymond of SI.com seems to think there’s some consideration of the Yankees going with only 3 starters. He also thinks there’s a chance the Phillies throw 5 starters at the Yankees. Should be interesting to watch.
– Jayson Werth. If he kills the Yankees this series with a couple home runs, they can be in serious trouble.
– Eric Hinskie, yeah, that over sized oaf on the Yankees bench. If he gets a spot start or a pitch hit at-bat, can he hit the big home run? I feel like the one time a week he would start of the Yanks this season he would hit a bomb.
Enjoy the series folks! It will be the last baseball you see for a very long 5 months.