World Series Preview: Pitching

Two of the best teams in baseball will face head to head for their chance to win the Commissioner’s Trophy. The Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees have two of the top offenses in baseball, but pitching will play a factor in who becomes the 2009 World Champions.

The Yankees pitching staff can be praised with the numbers they’ve put up in the American League. The pitching staffs match up closely. During the regular season, the Phillies posted a 4.16 earned run average. The Yankees had a team ERA of 4.26, but right now they have some hot hands; the Yankees posted a 2.46 ERA during the playoffs. The two teams have an identical WHIP: 1.35. Both bullpens have posted a 3.91 ERA.

Lee vs. CC

Former Cleveland Indians and Cy Young winners Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia will duel in game one. Unlike the 2008 NLDS, Sabathia will not be pitching on three days of rest. Like Alex Rodriguez, Sabathia has been a much better player during this postseason than in the past. CC is 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA this postseason. Either way, CC vs. Shane: Part II, will be exciting.

Lee’s 0.74 ERA this postseason is self-explanatory. However, he is 4-4 with a 5.02 ERA against New York.

Edge: Push

The Other Starters

After CC, the Yankees rotation is set for A.J Burnett followed by Andy Pettitte. Burnett struggled in the ALCS, giving up eight runs in 12.1 innings against the Angels. Burnett, an offseason acquisition, will allow a lot of base runners (1.40 WHIP). Pettitte has a 2.37 ERA this postseason.

Pedro Martinez, the Yankees’ “daddy,” will start game two. Cole Hamels gets pushed back to game three after an inconsistent season. Joe Blanton or J.A Happ could start, but look for them in the bullpen.

Slight Edge: Phillies


Is there even an argument here? Mariano Rivera is one of the best closers of all time. Brad Lidge has improved during the postseason, but he is no Mo.

Major Edge: Yankees

Set-Up Man

Joe Girardi put Rivera in for a six-out save in the final game of the ALCS. That shows his lack of confidence in his bullpen. Girardi said that he was going to stick with Phil Hughes, despite his struggles. The 23-year old has given up 3 runs and allowed eleven base runners in 4.2 innings during the playoffs.

Ryan Madson has struggled at times, but his changeup accompanies his high-velocity fastball nicely. We may see others in the eighth, but right now Madson is the go-to guy.

Edge: Phillies

The Rest of the Bullpen

Joba Chamberlin has been shuffled from starter to reliever, but the bullpen is the place he is most effective. The ‘pen is also anchored by Phil Coke who has yet to allow a run in the postseason.

Chad Guadin, Damaso Marte, Alfredo Aceves and David Robertson will also be in the ‘pen.

Chan Ho Park has pitched well since his return from a hamstring injury. Brett Myers is back after being left off the NLCS roster, but Myers likes to use his struggles as motivation.

Chad Durbin, Scott Eyre and Antonio Bastardo will also be in the ‘pen, but also having a few starters gives the Phils an advantage.

Slight Edge: Phillies

Using Pat’s scale from the offensive preview, the pitching is tied, 4-4. The reason it’s even: Mariano Rivera.



  1. Manny

    October 28, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    Thanks Amanda! But you make winning this series much less desirable when you describe it as the Commissioner’s Trophy!! /pukes

    Besides that, I would say that “Set-up Man” and “Rest of the bullpen” are both a “Push.”

  2. Mike

    October 28, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    I generally agree. This is a push but I think its also a push on offense. This is an evenly-matched series (despite the press bias) and I think it all comes down to CC. If we get to him, we likely win (especially if its in game one).

  3. Jeff

    October 28, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    First off I am sorry to say I cant root for Hamels anymore. I thank him for last year. All these comments about him wanting Charlie to take him out against the Dodgers. I am so tired of him. He is a whinny little brat. He always has excuses and I am tired of his laid back aproach. Lee said give me the ball every three days. Thats the guy I want.

    Mariano is the greatest closer and pitcher I have ever seen. If he comes in with a lead GAME OVER. Period.

  4. Brian Michael

    October 28, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    …except if he’s facing the Red Sox…or Phillies.

  5. Paul F (Yankees Fan)

    October 28, 2009 at 12:41 pm


  6. joedad

    October 28, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    Remember that major edge the Dodger’s bullpen allegedly had in the NLCS? How could we forget. I see Mariano blowing one this series.

  7. shag beta sigma delta

    October 28, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    I have no doubt Mariano is the best closer ever in baseball. But he is not as unhittable as he was a few years back. Also I think all these 4 5 6 out saves will wear on him eventually. Yes I do hate the Yankees, more then the Mets, I live in Vermont and I am surrounded by Yankee and Red Sox fans. One thing is he has made some mistakes in judgment when he has to field a ball with men on base. I know this is a tiny little thing but it bugs me, with a guy who is so great, why does he push the envelope, he knows he can get outs, and K’s even when he needs to. But Yes he does give the Yankees the edge in the pen, by a lot. But if the Phillies have the lead going into the 9th and Lidge keeps up his post season form, Mariano does not come into to play.
    One more thing I read some website that simulates the games, and it has booth Lee and CC giving up like 5 and 6 runs in their starts. I do not see this, both great offensive teams, but Pitching wins, and one teams rotation is going to step up. I hope, and believe it will be the Phillies,
    Repeat for HK that would be awesome

  8. Nationals #1

    October 28, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    Pedro isn’t the Yankees “daddy”, the Yankees are Pedro’s daddy… we’re still going to beat them though

  9. Chuck

    October 28, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    Nice of you to check in with your usual negativity, Jeff….

    How are you going to view Hamels if he comes out and throws 8 strong and the Phils win that game?? Are you going to be “so tired of him” then??

  10. The Original Chuck P

    October 28, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    One thing to note…

    If this series goes 6 games, we’ll likely see Chad Gaudin make a start for the Yankees… I doubt that Andy Pettitte will be able to pitch on three day’s rest.

  11. Philly Joe

    October 28, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Wow the bias on this blog is REMARKABLE! WOW! First off the Phillies have an edge in offense to the team that led the MLB in virtually every category? Really? The Yankees blasted guys like Smoltz, Padilla, and Penny into the NL where they turned into Cy Young.

    The Phillies bullpen has an edge on the Yankees? Only Lidge and Madson have premium velocity. The other bullpen guys are a wash.

    The Yankees have power arms in Hughes and Joba. Look at what Hughes did during the season. Look at Robertson K/9, he led the MLB with a near 13. Aceves had a WHIP below 1. The Yankees have two loogys that completely dominated left handed pitching, so did Robertson.

    Pedro is an NL pitcher for a reason, he can’t pitch in the AL. One day you national leaguers will realize that NL and the AL east are two COMPLETELY different animals.

    That said, the series will be close, but the bias on this blog is laughable. How is this even an official blog?

  12. Keith

    October 28, 2009 at 1:47 pm

  13. The Original Chuck P

    October 28, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    It must be that name… Geoff, Jeff. Too many “F”s in there, I guess. They feel like the world has f’d them.

  14. The Original Chuck P

    October 28, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    Philly Joe, please help me out… what division do the Rays play in? Who won the AL Cy Young award in 2008? Since when did Phil Hughes become Cy Young? Last time he stepped on the field, he blew game 5.

    Our offense is just as potent as theirs… they have a distinct advantage at the top of their lineup but we have more power (4 guys with 30+HR). Their numbers look better because they play in the AL where you have a (drum roll please) DH! So yes, the AL is different than the NL… but that doesn’t mean that we don’t match up.

    It’s going to be a good series… of course there’s a little bias because it’s a Phillies blog (not an MLB blog).

  15. joedad

    October 28, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    Smoltz and Padilla were eventually smoked when it mattered. Who cares about Penny?

    “Premium velocity” is not as important as EXPERIENCE in the bullpen. The best Yankees reliever doesn’t have “premium velocity”. “Premium velocity” hasn’t done much for Phil Hughes this postseason or for Ryan Madson so why does premium velocity matter?

    The Phils play real baseball where the pitchers are big boys and hit. The DH adds to the stats of the Yankees so 20 more home runs and 80 more runs scored don’t mean a thing when comparing the Phils and Yankees. The Phillies are also knocking the ball with RISP this postseason while the Yankees have not.

  16. Jeff

    October 28, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    Thanks for those nice comments. Im just honest. You cant give us the edge on starters. Happ and Blanton have looked bad. They have not pitched well in the post season. Pedro is going up against a team that owns him. Hamels is lost. The Yankees have the best pressure pitcher in Andy. He is amazing in big games. We have our work cut out in this one.

  17. Georgie

    October 28, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    Philly Joe, I am not even remotely close to being a cyber whiz, but what exactly is an “official” or “unofficial” blog? Isn’t a blog just someone’s opinion? Can’t anyone start a blog? And, seriously, what do you expect to read on a blog titled Phillies Nation? Of course we’re biased, we’re Phillies fans. I try to remain logical, but if there’s a situation where it’s a close call, I’ll always give the edge to the Phils, it’s just what a good fan does.

  18. j reed

    October 28, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    The Original Chuck P. – I agree. People always forget the DH stacked stats. Offensively we actually have the advantage because of our speed. We also have better long relief. With Blanton as fall back to Pedro, I’m not worried.

    Philly Joe you come onto fanbased blog and complain about bias…. really? No sh*t sherlock. Where did you read that this was an official blog? Nowhere on this blog is there anything that says their an official blog of the Phillies or MLB….do your homework before you pull that holier than thou crap around here. There’s plenty of that veiled snobbery in the commentary and forum sections on Fangraphs.

  19. j reed

    October 28, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    joedad – word. Is it me or has this Phillies line-up taken itself to the next level with this RISP number. And the bullpen against all odds, has risen to the occasion. I was a doubter before the post season, but this team changed in just two post season series. Incredible….I’m all – in. Just hope Hamels wakes up and gets some life on that 4-seamer. This team is a different animal out to prove something.

  20. Chuck

    October 28, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    Philly Joe…the fans that post on this blog on a regular basis are pretty smart…..we’re not just a bunch of front-running homers…so think next time before you type a pile of horsecrap like you did. If you want to have an intellingent debate we’ll welcome you in…otherwise go visit another site and spew you stuff there..

  21. Chuck

    October 28, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    j reed…it IS a different animal…I just hope it hasn’t been sleeping too long since last Wednesday..

  22. Steve from NY

    October 28, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Hey everyone, Yankees fan here. Have been reading your blog for a few days to get the opposing perspective. Have enjoyed the site. To weigh on on your breakdown:

    The other starters – disagree with you on this one. To say that A.J. gave up 8 runs in 12.1 innings in the ALCS is distorting the facts without acknowledging individual game performance. He had a quality start in game 2, which we won, giving up 2 runs over 6 innings. He imploded in the first inning of game 5 to the tune of 4 runs, but proceeded to shut down the angels until the 7th inning, when Hughes allowed his baserunners to score. I don’t think that’s necessarily “struggling.” Meanwhile, CC and Pettitte have been excellent. Similarly, the Phillies have two starters in shut down mode in Lee and Pedro, with Blanton pitching about as well as Burnett and Hamels in some sort of funk. Bottom line: I don’t see the slight Phillies edge here. I think it’s at most a push.

    Looking forward to the series. Good luck to the Phils. Cheers.

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