Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Choke On It, Jimmy Rollins

That Jimmy Rollins, he sure likes to talk doesn't he?

Mets fans surely know what I'm talking about.

Before the 2007 season, the All-Star shortstop declared the Phillies as the team to beat in the NL East, despite the fact that the Mets had the league's best record the year before.

Of course, the Mets rolled over and died like dogs that year ... and the year after, just for good measure.

Well Monday night, Rollins went on Jay Leno and declared the Phillies would win the World Series ... in five games.

Now, you would always expect an athlete to say his team will win, that's fair enough. But to say the Phillies would beat the Yankees in five games, talk about a lack of respect.

He must be confused and think the Phillies are playing the Mets, because no one should be expecting this to be a short World Series. This is going to be a tough, hard fought series that will be coming back to New York.

And I've got news for you, Jimmy Rollins: The Yankees are winning it six games.

The fact of the matter is that the Yankees are a very difficult matchup for the Phillies for two reasons: The Phillies' suspect bullpen and the Yankees' strong left-handed pitching.

The Phillies bullpen was a mess during the regular season, primarily because closer Brad Lidge struggled badly. He went 0-8 with a 7.21 ERA and 31 saves in 42 opportunities.

You read right. He blew 11 saves.

The Yankees, meanwhile, have been the best team in the majors at coming back late in games, capturing 15 walkoff wins in the regular season, among them a 4-3 victory over the Phillies on May 23. Alex Rodriguez hit a two-run homer over Lidge in the ninth in that game.

And that ability to come back didn't stop in the regular season as the Yankees earned two more walkoffs in the playoffs with A-Rod hitting big homers of Twins closer Joe Nathan and Angels closer Brian Fuentes.

Yes, Lidge has been much better in the postseason, not allowing a run in 2-2/3 innings in three games while going 1-0 with one save.

But you know the Yankees and the Yankee Stadium ghosts are going to victimize Lidge in this series and when that happen, Lidge will not be able to rebound.

Meanwhile, the Phillies have a problem on offense. Don't get me wrong. Their offense is tremendous and better than most American League lineups even with a pitcher hitting ninth.

The numbers prove that as they led the NL in runs scored with 820 runs and 224 homers while hitting .258 with a .781 OPS.

But the splits reveal an Achillies' heel: left-handed pitching.

Against lefthanders, the Phitin' Phils hit just .248 with 244 runs 68 homers and a .787 OPS.

Against the Yankees, that's a problem. The Yankees feature two strong left-handed starters in CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte, who could start five of the seven games if Joe Girardi goes with a three-man rotation.

In addition, the Yankees feature two more lefties in the bullpen, Phil Coke and Damaso Marte, which will allow Girardi to match up against lefties Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Raul Ibanez and Matt Stairs in big spots.

What's that you say? What about the Yankees? How do they match up against the Phillies, who have lefty starters Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and J.A. Happ, as well as reliever Ryan Madson and Scott Eyre?

Glad you asked. Of course the Yankees had the majors' best offense, scoring 915 runs with 244 homers, a .283 batting average and .839 OPS,

Against lefties they had major league-bests of 294 runs, 76 homers, .286 batting average and .846 OPS. It's virtually impossible to matchup against the Yankees' lineup that features four switch hitters (Mark Teixeira, Jorege Posada, Nick Swisher and Melky Cabrera), two future Hall of Fame righties (Derek Jeter and A-Rod) and three lefties (Robinson Cano, Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui, who actually hit lefties better than righties, .282 - .271).

The Yankees' lineup will get to Philadelphia's pitching in this series, while the Phillies will run into trouble.

And in the end, the Yankees will be serving Jimmy Rollins a big, fat slice of humble pie to go along with his meal of crow.


Dave said...

I don't know...J-Roll is kind of a baseball prophet. :)

I think the Phills can win this, if they don't make mistakes and Lidge keeps up what he is doing. Philly in six.

Unknown said...

Big ifs, but I wouldn't expect any less from you.

Dave said...

Nice. All I am saying is that if there is any team that has proven they can lose four games in a row...

Unknown said...

Yeah, this team is quite different than that '04 team. Namely, this team pitch. No more Kevin Browns and Jon Liebers

Dave said...

We'll see.... :)

I have to get my digs in now.

Unknown said...

Yeah, I can't wait for you to lose the last century crack from your arsenal.

Dave said...

I hope it doesn't come to that...I love that one.