World Series prediction: Yankees in 6 games
ALCS MVP CC Sabathia posted a 1.13 ERA over two starts in the last series, and he will enjoy seven days rest before Wednesday’s start. Cliff Lee lines up against Sabathia in Game 1, but while Lee has had a strong postseason, he is not as used as Sabathia is to the sandbox that we call Yankee Stadium. Add the fact that Sabathia is on fire right now, and the Yanks have the advantage.
Alex Rodriguez has finally decided to be his Hall of Fame self this postseason, hitting .438 with five home runs and 12 RBIs in nine games. A-Rod’s hot streak has resulted in Barry Bonds-like treatment from pitchers, as he walked eight times (thrice intentionally) in the ALCS. Rodriguez’s presence in the lineup gives the Yankees a huge edge in the series.
The home-field advantage
The Yankees could host four games, including the possible sixth and seventh games. At Yankee Stadium, the ballpark in which more home runs were hit than any other stadium this season, the Yanks’ pitching staff has an enormous advantage because they are used to keeping the ball low on hitters. The intense New York fans would love nothing more than to welcome the new stadium with a championship.
Moving Joba Chamberlain to the bullpen for the playoffs bolsters the already-reliable Yankees bullpen. Damaso Marte and David Robertson have not allowed a run this postseason, and Phil Hughes has been a dependable bridge to Mariano Rivera. If the Yankees get to the ninth inning with a lead, the game is locked.
The old timers
Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera were all part of the Yankee Dynasty in 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2000. This season, Jeter hit .334 (age 35), while Rivera posted a 1.76 ERA (age 39). Pettitte (37) and Posada (38) are known for their elevated performances in the postseason. Manager Joe Girardi was also part of the Dynasty, so a championship would mean equally as much to him. These five Yankees contribute to both the physical and emotional desire that will help the Yankees win.
The X Factor: A.J. Burnett
The Yanks’ $82.5 million investment was brought to New York for this series. Burnett has the stuff of a top-five starter in the league, but his performance in his next two starts will be crucial for a Yankee victory. Jose Molina has been his personal catcher, so the Yanks are without Posada’s bat for those games. If Burnett starts Game 5 in Philadelphia, there is no DH, so subtract Hideki Matsui’s bat from the lineup as well. Burnett will be facing revitalized 38-year-old Pedro Martinez, so Burnett must respond to the pressure.
Why you should care
For the first time in a while, the Yankees are a feel-good story facing the defending champions. They were dominant in the late 1990s, but they have not won the Series in nine years. Last season, Yankee fans were outraged, as the Yanks did not make the playoffs for the first time since 1994, but in Girardi’s second season managing the club, he has made the team into a World Series contender. This year is the Yanks’ comeback, with the core players from the Dynasty as hungry as ever.
Daniel Kurzner is a Yankees fan and wrote an intentionally slanted article. For an opposing argument from a Phillies fan, see Kurt Rohrbeck’s article “Phillies win” on studlife.com. Sports reporter Steven Simon provides a neutral perspective on the World Series on studlife.com in his article “2009 World Series showdown.” Simon also predicts that the Yankees will win in six games.