Phillies Fans: We Have the Team to Beat the Yankees
As we get ready for the Turnpike Series, or Cheesecake vs. Cheesesteak, or whatever you want to call this year’s World Series, this Yankee fan writer went behind enemy lines to talk with some Phillies bloggers about the matchups, Mets fans, A-Rod, and their series predictions.
I spoke with meech.one of The Fightins, Tom Goyne of Balls, Sticks & Stuff, Mike Mariano of We’re the Team to Beat, Matt of The Shibe Times, Bill Baer of Crashburn Alley and Estebomb of Fire Eric Bruntlett.
* Ryan Howard and Cliff Lee have had dominant performances in the postseason so far this year. What other Phillies players do you think could shine in the World Series?
Tom Goyne of Balls, Sticks & Stuff says it “could be anyone really, everyone seems to contribute on this team. For instance, despite a poor regular season, Jimmy Rollins had the walk-off double in Game 4 of the NLCS.”
“I’m hoping that Chase Utley has saved one of his 16-for-24 streaks for this World Series, because he hasn’t done much of anything so far this postseason,” says meech.one of The Fightins. “Other than him, I would warn Yankees fans to NEVER overlook Chooch Ruiz.”
* What worries you most about this Phillies team?
“Would it sound arrogant if I said nothing worries me? They’re a good, sound team, says meech.one of The Fightins. “Offensively, defensively, starting pitching, relieving, coaching – nothing really “worries” me.”
On the other hand, Matt of The Shibe Times admitted, ” I’m a Phillies fan. I am conditioned to worry about everything. But if I had to choose one thing, I think the back end of our bullpen from the 7th to 9th inning, is still vulnerable.”
“If there’s one thing that troubles me,” says Bill Baer of Crashburn Alley, “it would be the Yankees’ left-handed starters – C.C. Sabathia and Andy Pettitte – against the Phillies’ left-handed hitters. ”
Mike Mariano of We’re the Team to Beat says his “biggest worry I have about the Phillies simply getting cold. The team plays in highs and lows with little in between.”
* Has Brad Lidge turned a corner, or are you still concerned about him?
Meech.one of The Fightins says, “I wouldn’t say he turned a corner, but if you noticed, Charlie Manuel is very careful with how he uses him,” the writer notes. Lidge “blew two saves against the Yankees already this year, though. I’m just hoping he got them out of his system.”
Tom Goyne of Balls, Sticks & Stuff says, “if we’ve learned anything, Brad Lidge, mentally and physically is very finely tuned and there is a hair-thin difference between domination and failure.”
” We’ll know Brad is ‘back’ when he starts mowing guys down with strikeouts,” says Matt of The Shibe Times.
* There’s been some talk Cole Hamels has been tipping his pitches. What do you think?
Tom Goyne of Balls, Sticks & Stuff says, “perhaps he’s become a bit predictable, but I’m not so sure about tipping.”
But Mike Mariano of We’re the Team to Beat says, “if true, that makes a ton of sense. I think another issue for him is that his curveball has been nonexistent this season.”
“It’s definitely concerning and would explain his inconsistency this season,” says Estebomb of Fire Eric Bruntlett: “I’m still not sure that the problem is tipping his pitches so much as his decisions with pitch locations and finishing batters off.”
* How familiar are you with the Yankees? What part of their game will be the biggest obstacle for the Phillies to overcome?
Mike Mariano of We’re the Team to Beat is from Central Jersey, so he is very familiar with the Yankees. “Dad being a Phillies fan swayed my loyalties South,” Mariano says, “When I think about this match-up there is a ton to love from a purely baseball perspective. But as a Phillies fan their lineup worries me.”
“I’m not too familiar with them, but from how the guys on ESPN talk they sound like an invincible force who cannot under any circumstances be beaten,” says meech.one of The Fightins. “Call me delusional, but I think the Phillies have the better players, better manager, and just as much – if not more – resiliency.”
“Being on the East Coast, I’m very familiar with the Yankees. I also have an uncle – a Yankees fan – who won’t shut up about them,” says Bill Baer of Crashburn Alley. “I will say that [the Phillies] will need to reduce their reliance on end-game heroics, as I can’t imagine that happening against the great Mariano Rivera. And from a personal standpoint, each end-game act of heroism puts me one step closer to needing to be insulated by padded walls.”
* What do you think of A-Rod?
“I don’t think of A-Rod. As an outsider though, he seems like a highly unlikable guy,” says meech.one of The Fightins. Tom Goyne of Balls, Sticks & Stuff finds him “immensely talented and annoying all at the same time.”
Mike Mariano of We’re the Team to Beat says, “When A-Rod came into the league, he was one of my favorite players around the league. However, in recent years, I’ve grown to hate him.”
Bill Baer of Crashburn Alley says he is “one of the few who does not begrudge A-Rod for his use of performance-enhancing drugs.” He says he has “nothing bad to say about Alex Rodriguez and I have nothing but the utmost respect for what he has done in his baseball career.”
* How do you handle being a Philadelphia fan, given the bad reputation the team has been saddled with in the media?
“It’s at the point now where I just sigh and roll my eyes at the double standard,” says Tom Goyne of Balls, Sticks & Stuff. “The fact of the matter is, sports fans in every town are capable of being rude and crude but somehow, the spotlight is always on us.”
But meech.one of The Fightins says, “I love it. It’s gotten so blown out of proportion at this point that practically the whole city has embraced the bad reputation. We’re just passionate. And when we get passionate, we tend to get a bit angry, and when we get angry, we try and direct that anger towards the other team.”
Philly fans are “really very simple to win over. Play hard and appreciate the fans who love and support you,” says Mike Mariano of We’re the Team to Beat.
“I love being a Philadelphia fan and I understand the reputation to an extent but the media takes it way too far,” says Estebomb of Fire Eric Bruntlett. “Where are they for the good moments?”
* There’s been quite a debate in Metsland over whether Met fans should root for the Yankees or the Phillies in the World Series. What do you make of this discussion?
“If I was a Mets fan, I don’t think I could stand to watch, says Tom Goyne of Balls, Sticks & Stuff. Mike Mariano’s We’re the Team to Beat blog also features Mets bloggers, so he says he “can understand both sides of the coin, but it comes down to Lose/Lose in the long run.”
Bill Baer of Crashburn Alley has heard this analogy for the series. “The Yankees are like the older brother who beats you up, and the Phillies are like the bully at school who takes your lunch money. I think the Mets would rather get beat up by their older brother, so they are probably better off rooting for the Yankees.”
” I LOVE this discussion as I have a deep hate for the Mets!,” says Estebomb of Fire Eric Bruntlett: “If I was a Mets fan I’d be rooting for a meteor to hit the stadium.”
* How do you think Pedro Martinez will do against the Yankees, the team he once called his daddy?
Tom Goyne of Balls, Sticks & Stuff spoke for many Phillies fans when he said, “I can’t wait to see it.”
“Simply put, this is exactly why the Phillies signed Pedro,” says Mike Mariano of We’re the Team to Beat. “Every all-time athlete has that look, that ultimate confidence and swagger that they’re unstoppable. Kobe, Pujols, Brady and Manning, are the best current examples. And despite being well past his prime, Pedro still has that look in his eye in the big game that he’s the man. That’s why if Pedro’s on the mound, I’ll be confident.”
Matt of The Shibe Times says, “My first thought was that they’d want to avoid pitching Pedro in New York, but now I think that he’d probably do well up there.”
* Who will win the World Series? (I know you think the Phillies are the team to beat, but I still have to ask!) In how many games?
Nobody picked a sweep, but meech.one of The Fightins takes the Phillies in 5, saying, “they’ll win one in NY and won’t lose a game at home.”
Tom Goyne of Balls, Sticks & Stuff picks the Phillies in 6 or 7 games. “Each game is going to be very tight, and I know it is a cliche, but the Phillies always seem to find a way to win.”
Matt of The Shibe Times says that “the Phillies have won 5 postseason series in a row without letting the other team win more than 1 game. That ends here. I think the Phillies win in 6. Split in NY, Phils take 2 of 3 in Philly and win game 6 in the Bronx.”
Bill Baer of Crashburn Alley went against the grain with his pick. “I hope that admitting this doesn’t ruin the karma, but I have been picking against the Phillies for the last two years and they have yet to lose a post-season series. So that’s why I’m picking the Yankees in 6.”
* Who’s your pick for World Series MVP?
Cliff Lee – or Clifton Phifer Lee, as several bloggers called him, was the overwhelming choice for this.
But Mike Mariano of We’re the Team to Beat says, “I’ll give you two picks, one for the Phillies and one for the Yankees because I love the match-up between these guys. Chase Utley or Derek Jeter,” with Utley ultimately winning the award.
Photo by Melody Kramer
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