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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

How the Phils Can Beat the Yanks

The Phillies versus the Yankees in the World Series.

Let’s face it. This is the match-up Phillies fans wanted all along.

As much as we hate the media’s love affair with the Yankees, we know deep down we want what they have. The mystique. The legends. Most of all the titles. And we want to take it directly from them. In fact, we know that beating the Yankees is the only way we could seriously start using the “D” word (“dynasty”). Even if the Phillies went on to win 3 out of 4 Series against other teams, there would always be the asterisk that they didn’t beat the Yanks.

It won’t sound much like the Phillies are the team defending their crown in the next week or so. Odds are the Fox broadcast of the World Series will sound more like a coronation of the Yanks than a baseball series. Yet, whether they like it or not, the world will have to acknowledge at least at the outset that the Phillies still wear the crown of baseball.

It would be pure homerism for me to change my pick to the Phillies. I try to take my picks seriously (not that my record shows it), and I predicted the team from up north of Philadelphia to win it when the playoffs began. However, in the only series loss I have in the playoffs, I picked St. Louis to beat the Dodgers in the opening round. My predictions (separate from picks, which can’t be made until series are set) for the rest of the playoffs included the Cardinals knocking off the Phillies. Once the ALCS and NLCS were set, however, I picked the Yankees-Phillies to meet in the World Series.

Based on the odds, the Phillies are the only worthwhile bet in the Series if you’re fortunate enough to live near Vegas. (Yeah, right.) The odds are out of whack, however, because of the national bias toward the Yankees. Odds makers are out to make money for their casinos, and more people are going to bet the Yankees. Making them –195 to win merely means lower payouts on the more heavily bet team if they win.

Leaving my pick aside for this series, I’m looking for the upset. Besides all of the obvious factors – lineup, pitching, and, quite frankly, which team gets hot at the plate – I actually think Pedro Martinez of all people will be a huge key in the Series.

Here’s how I think the Phillies can win: I don’t see Cliff Lee losing twice in the first four games; that’s one victory. A.J. Burnett goes in Game #2, which I think actually helps the Phillies. Andy Pettite probably wins anyway, so he beats Hamels in Game #3. Hamels is stinking it up anyway. I think Martinez has a real shot against Burnett. I don’t think the Phillies can win the first two in New York, but if that’s the match-up later in the Series, the Phillies aren’t losing that twice. That’s two wins. And if each team is going with their number one starters 3 times, I’ll actually take Lee over C.C. Sabathia in Game #7. I just think Lee holds up better than Sabathia. That leaves just one other game they need to win, and I’ll take the Phillies to win 1 out of 3 any day.

Would it be an upset? Yes, but not the overwhelming upset people outside of Philadelphia think.

Let’s go Phils!

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