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With the Fall Classic slated to start tonight, here’s the preview from Generation Third.

The Bombers are coming off a thrilling 5-2 win in ALCS game 6 to eliminate the Angels and head to the World Series for the first time since 2003. Andy Pettitte pitched great, Mariano Rivera got a 6-out save.

And right down the Turnpike is Philadelphia, the defending champs, and after winning the NLCS almost a week ago, the Phillies were resting up to see who they would face in the Fall Classic. Last year the Phillies waited 6 days until playing the Rays in last year’s WS, and this year it will be 7 days until first pitch is thrown.

Let’s get to the comparisons.

First Base: Both Mark Teixeira and Ryan Howard had huge years, but as soon as the playoffs started, Howard jumped in front of Teixeira by driving in 14 runs combined in the NLDS and NLCS, while Tex struggled and drove in only 4 combined. But, while Howard may be a bit better offensively, Tex provides much better defense at first, and after hitting that big 3-run double in Game 5 and then after picking up a couple hits in Game 6, Tex may be on the verge of a huge World Series. But it isn’t the same as actually doing it.

Edge: Phillies

Second Base: Both Chase Utley and Robinson Cano are slick fielding, power hitting, RBI machines, and both of them proved that in the regular season as Cano knocked 25 out of the park and drove in 85, and Utley slammed 31 out and drove in 93. Defensively, Cano has a better arm, but other than that, they’re pretty much even.

Edge: EVEN

Third Base: Alex Rodriguez is having the postseason of his life, as the slugger has finally gotten out of his playoff slump. ALCS and ALDS stats combine show A-Rod is hitting .438 with 5 home runs and 12 RBIs. Hopefully he can continue his dominance in the World Series, and if he does that, the Yanks have a very good chance to bring home #27. Pedro Feliz is having the complete opposite of the postseason that A-Rod is having. He’s batting .161 with just 1 walk in all 9 playoff games.

Edge: Yankees

Shortstop: Derek Jeter had an MVP-caliber year for the Yanks during the regular season, and Jimmy Rollins didn’t do that much worse for the Phillies. They’re both pretty even, regular season stats wise. But in the playoffs, Rollins has failed to pick up an RBI, while the Captain has drove in 5 and hit 3 long balls. Even if Rollins played better than Jeter this postseason, Jeter would get the edge, because of his postseason experience.

Edge: Yankees

Catcher: Jorge has more experience and is having a good postseason, hitting a couple homers and driving in 3 RBIs. The only bad thing – 7 strikeouts and leaving 10 men on base in ALCS game 6. He needs to swing at more pitches, and needs to actually make contact when he does swing. Fixes that, and he’s golden. Carlos Ruiz is in his 4th year in the Bigs, and had a pretty nice year. He hit 9 homers, drove in over 30 RBIs, and is a pretty good defensive catcher. He also had a big NLCS. But like with the shortstop comparison, its the experience that plays a factor, and Jorge has much more experience and really, is a better player overall.

Edge: Yankees

Designated Hitter: Back in May, when in Yankee Stadium, the Phillies used a better fielding outfielder twice and used Ibanez as a DH (Mayberry Jr. as the outfielder). Their DH/OF, in this case Matt Stairs and John Mayberry Jr. went a combined 3/13, with 1 HR, 3 RBI, and 3 Ks. Matsui is the more experienced DH, and obviously has better numbers than Stairs/Mayberry.

Edge: Yankees

Outfielders: For the Yankees, Johnny Damon, Melky Cabrera, and Nick Swisher, is good – offensively, at least. Defensively, Damon, even though he’s one of my favorite players, plays a terrible outfield and Swish is right about average defensively if not a bit below average. Melky really is the only really good defender out in the outfield, but thanks to the power of Johnny Damon and Nick Swisher, putting them out there inning after inning isn’t a bad thing at all. For the Phillies, you got Raul Ibanez in left, Shane Victorino in center, and Jayson Werth in right. Ibanez has power and plays an average outfield, Shane Victorino “The Flying Hawaiian” has speed and plays a very good outfield, and Werth is a big home-run hitter and plays a good enough outfield to get by.

Edge: Phillies

Bench: The Yankees have Eric Hinske and Brett Gardner off the bench. Hinske went on a mini-offensive tear when he was acquired. Brett Gardner, if he had gotten more playing time, might have gotten ROY. For the Phillies, they removed former Yank Miguel Cairo in favor of pitcher Brett Myers. I think having Cario on your bench speaks volumes.

Edge: Yanks

Pitching Rotations: CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and Andy Pettitte have all shined during the postseason, and rightfully so have been tabbed as the best rotation in the World Series. CC was the ALCS MVP, A.J. tossed a couple nice games before allowing 6 runs in Game 5, and Andy has been his normal postseason self. The Phillies’ have Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, and Pedro Martinez. Cliff Lee has been great as expected, Cole Hamels, has been okay, and Pedro, in his only playoff start, allowed a run against the Dodgers in Game 2 of the NLCS. Besides CC against Cliff Lee in Games 1, 4, and 7, it doesn’t look like the other matchups will be intriguing. The edge goes to the Yanks here.

Edge: Yankees

Bullpen: The Phillies have two reliable arms out of the ‘pen. Closer Brad Lidge and Scott Madson. Even though Lidge blew 11 saves this season, he’s regained his form. The Yanks have a potential unstoppable 7-8-9 bridge in Joba-Phil-Mo, along with Dave Robertson, Damaso Marte, Al Aceves, and Chad Gaudin. Lidge he does not compare to the best closer in baseball in Mariano Rivera.

Edge: Yankees

Managers: And last, but certainly not least, the managers. Charlie Manuel, coming off his first World Series Championship last year, has been the Phillies manager since 2006, and has lead the Phillies to three straight NL East titles. Joe Girardi has improved this year, and while I believe he handles the line-up better, he has made some questionable decisions regarding the bullpen. I’m hoping his bench coaches will help him make decisions.

Edge: Phillies

I don’t believe in making predictions ‘cuz I don’t want to jinx anything. It’s obvious, being a third generation fan, who I want to win.

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Derek Jeter and CC Sabathia got the New York Yankees win number one on the way to the 27th World Series title. Jeter tied it with a two-run homer, Sabathia was the ace the Yankees signed him to be, and New York romped over the Twins 7-2 in the opener of their AL playoff series.

After Jeter’s third-inning homer pulled New York even at 2-2, Nick Swisher pulled a go-ahead double down the left-field line in the fourth that scored Robinson Cano from first.

Rodriguez had gone 0-for-29 in the postseason with RISP before an RBI single that made it 4-2 in the fifth.

Hideki Matsui followed with a two-run homer into Monument Park.

With a hit to the outfield wall, Rodriguez added another run-scoring single in the seventh.

It was fitting that Jeter hit the first home run in the Yankees’ postseason. The captain also got New York’s first hit, was on base four times with two hits and two walks, and scored three runs.

Sabathia allowed one earned run and eight hits in 6 2-3 innings, striking out eight and walking none.

Phil Hughes came in and struck out Orlando Cabrera in a 10-pitch at-bat.

Sabathia escaped trouble in the first after Denard Span’s leadoff double and the first of Jorge Posada’s two passed balls by striking out Joe Mauer and retiring Cuddyer on a flyout.

Minnesota took a 2-0 lead in the third when Cabrera singled with two outs, Mauer doubled, Cuddyer hit an RBI single and Posada crossed up with Sabathia and allowed a run-scoring passed ball.

Jeter tied the score with a drive about 10 feet fair down the left-field line. With his 18th postseason home run, he tied Yankees stars Mickey Mantle and Reggie Jackson for third on the career list behind Manny Ramirez (28) and Bernie Williams (22).

Hat tip from Sliding Into Home

__________________

4. Yankees sign Mark Teixeira for $180 million over eight years. The Red Sox power brokers had a bad meeting with Teixeira at his Dallas-area home, opening the door for Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman, who implored his bosses to take the big plunge and beat Boston’s $170 million bid by telling them it was an opportunity to “make the Red Sox look bad.” It also made the Yankees look good.

10. Yankees sign CC Sabathia for $161 million. Some wondered whether the Yankees had to pay this much. That’ll never be known, but they felt a threat from Sabathia’s home-state Angels and simply had to have Sabathia, the ace they plainly needed.

17. Yankees sign Andy Pettitte for $5.5 million plus incentives. Pettitte held out for long enough for the price to drop, but he made it up in incentives after delivering an excellent year in the Bronx.

18. Yankees acquire Nick Swisher for Wilson Betemit, Jhonny Nunez and Jeff Marquez and a pitching prospect. It seemed like an extravagance once the Yankees acquired Teixeira, as Swisher appeared destined to become an expensive and dissatisfied bench player. But when Xavier Nady went down with elbow trouble, Swisher moved to right field where he became a power threat and fan favorite.

30. Yankees pick up Chad Gaudin off the waiver wire. For $100,000, Cashman got a pitcher that may supplant Joba Chamberlain as the team’s No. 4 starter if the Yankees need one later in the playoffs. Twenty eight teams passed before Cashman pounced.

________________

Greg, at Sliding Into Home, makes the great point that AJ Burnett’s signing was left off the list.  Although I support Burnett as a Yankee – he has brought a level of fun and excitement to the clubhouse that was missing before he and Nick Swisher arrived and I think has been crucial to the Yankees success this season.  As a sales manager, I have always told my sales reps that unless they have fun – they will not sell.  Because if they have fun, their customers will have fun and are much more likely to buy.  And of course, they’ll enjoy their job more too.

Despite the fun he has brought, he has not been the dominating pitcher the Yankees hoped he would be.

Joba Chamberlain might just have pitched himself off the ALDS roster. Chamberlain lasted just 3 2/3 innings and was booed by fans at Yankee Stadium during the Kansas City Royals’ 4-3 victory Wednesday night, which stopped New York’s seven-game winning streak.

Derek Jeter homered leading off the first, and Chamberlain left with a 3-1 deficit before Nick Swisher’s 29th homer tied the score in the fifth, a two-run drive.

Chamberlain allowed three runs, seven hits and four walks, throwing just 52 of 91 pitches for strikes.

With CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte set to start in the first round of the playoffs, Chamberlain either will go to the bullpen or be dropped from the division series roster.

The line of the night came when Chamberlain told reporters in the clubhouse he will do anything to win with the team.

“If they want me to fold towels, I’ll fold towels,” he said. “I don’t really care. I’ll do anything to win on this team.”

The Yankees are off today before going to Tampa to finish the season. The Yankees’ rotation for the playoffs will be starting this weekend.

In the very first live game I watched in Taiwan, Andy Pettitte was overpowering, retiring his first 20 batters before an error spoiled both his perfect game and no-hit bid, as the Yankees defeated the Orioles 5-1.

With the win tonight, Pettitte passed Lefty Gomez for third place on the all-time Yankees wins list with No. 190. Pettitte also improved to 50-19 career in August. His .724 August win percentage stands third best all-time.

Pettitte was ready to finish the seventh without allowing a baserunner, but Jerry Hairston let a two-out grounder slip through his legs for an error.

With his 190th victory with New York, a number bested by only Hall of Famers Whitey Ford (236) and Red Ruffing (231), Pettitte allowed one run and two hits, struck out eight and walked none to improve to 4-0 in his last seven starts. Brian Bruney gave up a walk and a single in the ninth before Mariano Rivera got two outs for his 37th save — and career-best 33rd in a row.

Baltimore starter Jeremy Guthrie allowed two runs and four hits in six innings. Nick Swisher led off the third with his 22nd homer. New York used successive doubles by Robinson Cano and Swisher to make it 2-0 in the fourth.The Yankees pulled away with a three-run eighth that featured an RBI single by Johnny Damon and a two-run double by Robinson Cano.

AJ Burnett takes the mound on Tuesday night at 7:05pm. It was a good game for me to watch this morning — remember there’s a twelve hour difference between Taiwan and the east coast in the U.S.

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