As the bleary-eyed fans of the Red Sox and Cubs move on with their lives, it's time to remember that there will be a World Series played this year. Although Fox won't be able to advertise a battle between cursed teams, the Yankee/Marlin match up will feature the clash of two very differently structured teams. The Yankees, carrying their $180 million price tag will face off against the $50 million Marlins. Silver Chips Online takes a position-by-position analysis to see which team will prevail.
Jorge Posada (Yankees) vs. Ivan Rodriguez (Marlins)
Posada came through in the clutch in Game 7 with a blooper to score the tying two runs against Pedro Martinez. However, series NLCS MVP Ivan Rodriguez has been a dominating force in the lineup and on the field. In 11 post-season games, Rodriquez has gotten at least one hit in each game. His 16 RBI's in the postseason is a Marlin franchise record, and his 10 RBI's in the NLCS broke the 1989 record of nine set by Matt Williams. Defensively, Rodriguez has the edge.
Nick Johnson (Yankees) vs. Derrick Lee (Marlins)
Both sluggers play an important role in their lineups. Johnson is still young and has struggled so far, but is a powerful hitter. Lee is a solid and complete player with both speed and power. Neither player has done especially well. Both play solid defense.
Alfonso Soriano (Yankees) vs. Luis Castillo (Marlins)
Soriano is a dangerous hitter with the notorious reputation of swinging at everything. Nevertheless, Soriano punishes teams with both his speed and his power. Far from the stereotypical leadoff hitter, Soriano rarely walks and strikes out a lot. Soriano has struggled at the plate, hitting just .224 in the postseason. Castillo is one of the few players just as fast as Soriano. He too has struggled at the plate hitting just .244. Castillo has been a better contributor for his team, with an on-base percentage of .358, while Soriano has walked just once in the postseason, and has an on-base percentage of just .255. Castillo is the better top of the order hitter, but Soriano can break loose at any time.
Derek Jeter (Yankees) vs. Alex Gonzalez (Marlins)
Jeter is one of the primary players that the Yankees have leaned on for what seems like forever. A patient hitter and a team leader, his clutch hitting and fielding are critical to the team's performance. Jeter is playing well this postseason, with a batting average of .295 and an OBS of .380. Alex Gonzalez provides close to nothing offensively. A solid defensive player, Gonzalez has batted a paltry .100 this postseason. Any production out of Gonzalez will be appreciated by the Marlin faithful.
Aaron Boone (Yankees) vs. Mike Lowell (Marlins)
Aaron Boone is a legitimate power hitter, as shown by his game-winning homerun against Tim Wakefield. He hasn't hit particularly well, batting just .188 but he is a streaky player who can explode any time with extra-base hits and homeruns. His defensive work is solid. Lowell is one of the top third basemen in the league and has just come back from the disabled list. His bat gives the Marlins lineup a huge boost. Defensively, Lowell was excellent against the Cubs, making several stellar plays during the series.
Jason Giambi (Yankees) vs. Jeff Conine (Marlins)
Giambi had an off year but still posted solid numbers. The Red Sox exposed the way to beat Giambi was to throw high heat at him. Nevertheless, Giambi was key in the game seven battle against the Red Sox, hitting two solo homeruns to lead the eventual comeback. Giambi has not fully recovered from a knee injury, and scouts are whispering that maybe the recurring injuries are a sign of an aging player. Conine, a former Baltimore Oriole, has had an excellent postseason, with several clutch hits to lead his team in the comeback against the Cubs. However, Mr. Marlin, as he is known, cannot match Giambi's power.
Karim Garcia (Yankees) vs. Juan Encarnacion (Marlins)
Neither player is the sole occupant of right field for his team. Garcia can hit for power while Encarnacion is more of a balanced player. Neither player will play all the games at right field; they will be used in situational roles. For the Yankees, Ruben Sierra or Juan Rivera could see some time, while for the Marlins Miguel Cabrera may switch to right and have Jeff Conine play left field.
Bernie Williams (Yankees) vs. Juan Pierre (Marlins)
Pierre is the ultimate base stealer in Major League Baseball. With electrifying speed he can beat out simple ground balls for hits. Pierre has little to no power. Williams is another piece of the nucleus that keeps the Yankees competitive. Williams is entering the twilight of his career, but is a tough out. Williams is better defensively. Both players fill completely different roles on their teams, which makes for a difficult comparison.
Hideki Matsui (Yankees) vs. Miguel Cabrera (Marlins)
Both rookies have done their part to help their respective teams succeed. Matsui has overcome the initial adjustment to become an integral part of his team. He has also done very well defensively. However, one of the biggest stories from the Cubs/Marlins series has been the amazing performance of Cabrera who came up repeatedly with huge hits, including a three-run homerun in the first inning in game seven.
Mike Mussina, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettite, David Wells (Yankees) vs. Josh Beckett, Brad Penny, Dontrelle Willis, Mark Redman (Marlins)
The battle-tested veterans of the Yankees hold the obvious edge of experience over the young faces of the Marlins. The four Yankees starters have proven that they can make the tough pitches when it counts. The Florida rotation is a bit of a liability. After Beckett and Willis, who has struggled in the postseason, Penny and Redman are pitchers who haven't proven that they can be consistent. The Marlins rotation is very talented albeit young, and lacks the postseason experience the Yankee pitchers have.
One name says it all: Rivera. The Yankee closer has been one of the most dominant relievers in post-season history. The rest of the Yankee bullpen is average, but they haven't pitched too many innings. The Marlins have a weak bullpen. Ugueth Urbina is an average closer who has played well so far, but is prone to blowing saves. The Marlins lack any big name stoppers who can shut down the Yankees for an inning or two.
Joe Torre (Yankees) vs. Jack McKeon (Marlins)
When was the last time Joe Torre ever made a bad move? He's a great coach, but that said, 72 year-old Marlins coach Jack McKeon, who will go into the books as the oldest coach to be in a World Series, has motivated a group not excepted to compete into the playoffs. His players are disciplined and feisty. The Marlins had the best record in all of baseball from Memorial Day up to now. Torre is obviously a veteran of the playoffs, but McKeon, who was hired in the middle of the season, has his team roaring on all cylinders.
Marlin fans are fickle, to say the least. After drawing pathetic attendance figures, the team sold out all of its World Series tickets in just three hours. Yankee fans are more devoted to their team. Yankee fans will be instrumental in supporting their team as they make their run for the championship.
Marlins Win in 6
Willis breaks out of his slump and throws two excellent games.
Marlins lineup pounds Yankee pitching.
George Steinbrenner throws a fit.
Vivek Chellappa. As Vivek beings his final year in Blair, several new hobbies draw his attention: his passion for standup comedy and making lists with only one real piece of information. Vivek has recently developed a strong liking for the works of Mitch Hedberg, Dave Chapelle and … More »