Baseball experts pick the World Series
Opinions split on how Yankees and Phillies match up
In the days leading up to the 105th World Series, MLB.com scavenged the sports world and asked some of the nation's top names and experts to offer their Fall Classic predictions.
C. Ruiz - J. Posada
R. Howard - M. Teixeira
C. Utley - R. Cano
J. Rollins - D. Jeter
P. Feliz - A. Rodriguez
Phillies - Yankees
Phillies - Yankees
B. Francisco-H. Matsui
Phillies - Yankees
B. Lidge - M. Rivera
Phillies - Yankees
C. Manuel - J. Girardi
- Series predictions >>
Opinions differed, and though the scales may have tipped against Yankee backers after a Game 1 loss, they may yet be proven right with plenty of baseball left to be played.
So why did the experts place their faith where they did?
Much of the panel favored the Yankees due to their stellar starting pitching and "Core 4" veteran leadership of Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte.
Of course, the Phillies were not without their backers, as several of our prognosticators foundfavor in the NL Champs' seemingly unstoppable lineup.
Some of the Phillies sluggers also let their voices be heard, as Jimmy Rollins predicted his Phillies would take care of business in five or six games, while teammate Jayson Werth displayed a similar championship swagger.
On the other hand, native New Yorkers ranging from Knicks legendary center Willis Reed to talk-show icon Regis Philbin foresaw a Manhattan parade in the Canyon of Heroes.
Predictably, the team's allegiances didn't leave state lines -- New York governor David Patterson predicted Yankees in six, while Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell aligned himself with his boys in red.
Other experts across the Web weighed in, with FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal and Dayn Perry each favoring the Yankees due to their enviable mix of youth and experience.
Meanwhile, Yahoo! Sports columnist Jeff Passan expected the Phillies to edge the Bronx Bombers in a heated seven-game series.
The fans also got in on the action.
Fifty-nine percent of entrants on MLB.com's World Series Scoreboard Challenge predicted a Yankees victory, with only 41 percent feeling a Phillies repeat.
The debate will surely linger, and with the series just one-game old, only time will tell which team will help the experts fortify their reputations.
The chart below displays a wide variety of opinions on which team will prevail in the 2009 Fall Classic, as told exclusively to MLB.com prior to Game 1.
World Series Picks
|Hal Bodley, MLB.com||Phillies||Six||On paper, the Yankees should win this World Series. On paper, the Los Angeles Dodgers should have won the National League pennant. The Phillies have an uncanny ability to defy the odds, to win games that seemingly are lost. Because of that and the fact they have such determination, I think they'll knock off the mighty Yankees and retain their title.|
|Chip Caray, TBS||Phillies||Seven||I think anybody who thinks the Yankees are going to roll over the Phillies is sadly mistaken. I think if there is an edge with the Phillies, it's with their speed.|
|Fred Claire, Former GM, L.A. Dodgers||Yankees||Six||Too many guns for the Phillies on both offense and in the pitching depth. The Yankees have paid for the best team in baseball and that's exactly what they have -- quality players who are ready to take on the title as the best team in baseball, in addition to the most expensive team in baseball.|
|Mark Cuban, Owner, Dallas Mavericks||Phillies||Six||I think having been there last year takes a lot of the pressure off the Phils. They can just do their jobs. The Yankees, on the other hand, see the pressure go up and that could be tough to overcome.|
|Jim Duquette, MLB.com||Yankees||Six||The Yankees are too well-rounded at almost every position, and the starting staff plus the back end of the 'pen has too much quality for the Phillies to repeat as champions.|
|Bob Ford, Philadelphia Inquirer||Yankees||Six||NY lineup is like new hosiery. No holes. Phils finally pay for phiddling with rotation.|
|Ken Gurnick, MLB.com||Yankees||Six||Last year was no fluke. The Phillies are good, they know it and they play like it. They have the ability to turn it up a notch when the pressure is on.|
|Dylan Hernandez, Los Angeles Times||Yankees||5||There's no way the Phillies bullpen won't get pounded by the Yankees' lineup.|
|Pat McLoone, managing editor, Philadelphia Daily News||Phillies||Four||That will make it fo, five, fo, once again one game short of the number that would have made Moses Malone's coolest prediction ever come true. Plus, there are a lot (OK, a few) fans of the 1950 team still around rooting for the ultimate payback.|
|Mike Missanelli, 97.5 The Fanatic, Philadelphia||Phillies||Seven||Putting aside the advantages the Yankees may have in the starting rotation (though I'm not sure that all the Yanks starters can go on just three days rest) and the closer (I think the Phillies are better in the middle relief area), the Phillies have shown a requisite toughness in these playoffs that you just can't ignore. In addition to that, I just think the Phils are better in more positions than the Yankees.|
|Jeff Nelson, MLB.com||Yankees||Six||A-Rod will have a big series, and CC, Pettitte, Coke and Marte neutralize the big lefty bats of Philly.|
|Jorge Ortiz, USA Today||Yankees||Six||Too much firepower and enough left-handed pitching to neutralize Philly's offense. Plus, they were the best team in the better league.|
|Cory Schwartz, MLB.com||Yankees||Six||The Phillies are among the few teams with the firepower to match the Yankees, though their weak lower third puts additional pressure on their offensive core. The Yankees' superior plate discipline may tax the Phillies' inconsistent bullpen, and in Rivera, the Yankees enjoy the most dominant edge of any positional matchup.|
|Joe Sheehan, Baseball Prospectus||Phillies||Seven||These two teams are closely matched up front, and the Yankees' bullpen edge is negated by the guy holding the keys. Starting five lefties in the series helps, but the Phillies' speed and left-handed power will be enough to win a very close series.|
|Phil Sheridan, Philadelphia Inquirer||Phillies||Six||This team has a swagger and yearns to beat the mighty Yankees. Expect an unexpected hero to emerge.|
|Mike Siano, MLB.com||Yankees||Six||In spite of their manager, the Yankees' edge in starting pitching is the difference, and the decision by Manuel to start Pedro in Game 2 comes back to haunt him. Alex Rodriguez will win the MVP, but there will be some nights where you will think you are watching beer league softball.|
|Michael Smerconish, 1210 WPHT Radio, Philadelphia||Phillies||Six||The best infield in baseball combined with stellar starting pitching (Lee, Pedro, Hamels) will be too much even for the storied Yankees. This will be the series that cements Charlie Manuel's rightful place in the annals of baseball.|
|Lyle Spencer, MLB.com||Yankees||Seven||The Phillies are proud champions, but the Yankees have that look of destiny's darlings -- and the home-field advantage, which is huge in this World Series given how both clubs are built for their yards.|
|Mitch Williams, MLB Network||Phillies||Five||Phillies win in five, as they take all three at home. Both teams are evenly matched, but I think the Phillies' offense is on a roll right now and can't be stopped.|
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.