2009 World Series - Phillies vs. Yankees
Yankees win series 4-2
Phillies in 4 games: 0%
Phillies in 5 games: 0%
Phillies in 6 games: 0%
Phillies in 7 games: 0%
Yankees in 4 games: 0%
Yankees in 5 games: 0%
Yankees in 6 games: 100%
Yankees in 7 games: 0%
Total odds of winning series: Phillies - 0%, Yankees - 100%
People should be more excited about this series. It doesn't have the sizzling side-plot of Joe Torre returning to the Bronx, or the geographic battle that Dodgers-Angels would have been. However, this series features the defending champions going against the most successful franchise in MLB history. Will this series be remembered as a return to glory for the Yankees, or elevate the Phillies into the team of the decade discussion? Either could happen.
I've been picking against the Phillies this whole postseason, while picking the Yankees the entire way. I won't switch anything up in the World Series. I'll take the Yankees in seven games. On paper, the Phillies are overmatched. Analysts like to pick on the Yankees bullpen as of late, but their issues are nothing compared to Philadelphia's. Both teams feature strong offenses, and good rotations. They are similar teams on paper, with the exception of the bullpens. Mariano Rivera is the difference in this series.
Still, Brad Lidge and Ryan Madson have the kind of stuff to get hot for a stretch and hide all the problems that plagued the Phillies 'pen throughout the season. They have risen to the occasion so far. Plus, even if the Phillies are bit overmatched in the series, they have more than proven that they are fighters. The Yankees will have to rip the trophy out of Philadelphia's hands. Neither of these teams is ever out of a game with their potent offenses, and they both have never-say-die attitudes. That could make for several back-and-forth games...which brings me back to the bullpens, where one team has Mariano Rivera, and the other team hopes to find a hot hand.
It's rare to see the defending champion get to defend its title in the World Series, so enjoy this series for what it is. The defending champs are the clear underdog, but they are still the defending champs. Don't be surprised if a good series emerges, especially as some people lament the match-ups that might have been.