— Where BTF's Members Investigate the Grand Old Game
Saturday, October 18, 2003
World Series Preview - Why the Marlins Will Win
There is the prevailing opinion that the Yankees will overpower the Florida Marlins in the World Series. Jack McKeon has a few surprises in store for the New Yorkers.
Since taking the helm, McKeon?s sailfish have posted the best record in baseball. They bested the team with the best player in baseball. They have come back from having one foot in the proverbial grave. Heck, they had two feet in the grave - down three runs with only five outs left against the Cubs. The Marlins were underdogs to the Giants and underdogs to the Cubs. They?re underdogs to the Yankees. The role won?t bother them at all. In fact, McKeon scoffs at it - he says that when you believe you aren?t supposed to win, you can?t. So, the Marlins won?t be listening to any of the media.
The payrolls will not mean anything - the Yankees are simply paying an exorbitant amount of cash to several old men. The Marlins have very good players - just young and inexpensive.
To the layman, the Yankees have a bludgeoning offense, while the Marlins are loaded down with a Punch-and-Judy group who may not score. While not an extreme power team, the Marlins have speed and six guys who can homer.
The Marlins will have the advantage at half of the position players with respect to offensive output and they will be better defensively at all of them. Nice doubletake.
Here?s the lineup:
The Yankees and their fans should be afraid - very afraid.
Okay, the Marlins only have the edge in five of the defensive slots. However, in Yankee Stadium, Cabrera will probably be the DH and Encarnacion is a solid +10 defensively above Garcia in RF.
In addition, the Marlins simply mash lefties, and the present probable starters have the Yankees starting Wells and Pettitte, with each getting two starts, Games 1, 3, 5, 7.
The pitching matchups are, interestingly, lefty vs. righty in each game. The Yankees have a solid advantage in starting pitching and the Marlins have a slight advantage in non-closing bullpen. Joe Torre showed in Game 7 of the ALCS that he won?t put bad pitchers out there when it comes right down to it, and he will go with Mariano Rivera as long as he has to. Rivera is only useful in preserving the lead, and the games the Yankees win, they won?t need him.
The first game is Wells (L) versus Penny ( R). Wells looks to be cuffed around and Penny much the same. The media talking heads have intimated that the Yanks will have an emotional let down after that great series with the Red Sox and only one day to recover from it. Should that happen, coupled with the Marlins dominance of LHP, the Fish could easily steal (pun intended) the first game from the Yankees. Marlins lead the Series, 1-0.
The second game is Mussina ( R) versus Willis (L). This matchup is terrible for the Marlins. Willis showed "big game" jitters in his NLCS start against the Cubs, walking three of the first four batters he faced and surrendering a grand slam to Aramis Ramirez. I was sitting in the stands that night, and Willis looked nervous. I think starting in Yankee Stadium in the World Series will scare the pants off of Dontrelle. Maybe the NLCS start got the agog-ness out of him, but from everything I?ve read and heard from major league ballplayers is that the first game at Yankee Stadium is chilling and thrilling, no matter which team you play for. Maybe McKeon knows what he is doing, but I like the Yankees in a romp here. Series tied, 1-1.
The third game is Pettitte (L) versus Beckett ( R). Josh Beckett is simply on fire this postseason, and without a designated hitter, the Yankees lose a serious advantage. Again the Fish get a lefty, but Pettitte?s pickoff move will neutralize some of that offense. Beckett will have had plenty of rest, and in his home park, mow the Yankees down. Marlins lead Series, 2-1.
The fourth game is Clemens ( R) versus Redman (L). I love Roger Clemens on 6 days rest. Redman is, as you should have read here before, one of my favorite "unknown" pitchers. This matchup should be classic, with Clemens putting up numbers like he did in Game 2 of the ALCS, rather than his Game 7 outing. Redman will be tough, but the Yankees pull one out. Series tied, 2-2.
Back to the top of the pitching, with teams trading games until Game 7, when the Marlins win in the same fashion as 1997 (or Arizona in 2001), 4 games to 3, extending the Yankee World Championship drought to three years.