We've got quite a matchup for the 2009 World Series: the New York Yankees vs. the Philadelphia Phillies. Broadway vs. Broad Street. The Bronx vs. South Philly. The City That Never Sleeps vs. The City Of Brotherly Love. The Big Apple vs. The Big Scrapple. (I thought of that last one myself, although I'm pretty sure I didn't coin the nickname "Big Scrapple." Mmmmmmm...scrapple...)
Oh, and let's not forget: Phillies-Yankees: Good vs. Evil. (Surely you weren't expecting total objectivity from me, were you?)
The Yankees won 103 games en route to the American League East title, then dismissed the Minnesota Twins in a three-game sweep and brushed aside the Los Angeles/California/Anaheim/Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in six games in the AL playoffs. The Phillies won the National League East with a 93-win regular season, and rolled past the Colorado Rockies and the LA Dodgers, losing only one game in each series.
Last year the Phillies won the World Series for just the second time ever, and are making back-to-back Series appearances for the first time in franchise history. The Yankees have won 26 times but none since 2000, and haven't even been in the Series since 2003. The two teams met once before in the World Series, in 1950. The Yankees swept the Series, winning by scores of 1-0, 2-1 (in 10 innings), 3-2 and 5-2.
It's safe to say the scores in 2009 will be higher. Maybe a lot higher. Both teams can score a lot of runs, and home runs tend to fly out of both the new Yankee Stadium and Citizens Bank Park (although October and -- ugh -- November weather may alter that somewhat).
The Phillies hope that Cole Hamels is the 2008 postseason pitcher and not the 2009 mediocrity. The Yankees hope that CC Sabathia doesn't return to his 2008 postseason form (in which an epic walk by Brett Myers led to a Shane Victorino grand slam and an early exit for CC in his only NLDS start), especially since the Yanks are probably going to have him pitch Games 1, 4 and (if necessary) 7.
The Phils hope that Brad Lidge doesn't return to the mess he was for much of the regular season, because if he does the rest of their bullpen will be negatively affected. The Yanks hope that someone -- starter or relievers -- will provide Mariano Rivera with a late-inning lead.
As I see it, the Phils have an advantage among the eight position players. The Yankees have a slight edge in starting pitching. The Phils have a better bullpen outside of the closer. The Yanks have the better closer. This should lead to a six- or seven-game series for the first time since 2003.
Who do I think will win? You can probably guess, but if you want the official prediction you can find it on my own blog.