With rain in the forecast, the thought that Game 1 of the World Series at the New Yankee Stadium could be rained out has entered the minds of baseball fans. The biggest disappointment of a rain out is simply the fact that the world will have to wait another day to see two of the games top left-handed pitchers face each other...the Phillies Cliff Lee vs. the Yankees C.C. Sabathia. Both of these guys were acquired by their respective teams for this reason and this reason alone, to bolster the rotation, and give each a legitamate, Ace of the Staff, Game 1 starter. Both pitchers will also be making their first appearances in a World Series. Lets take a look at the postseason and head to head stats for each of these #1s.
Cliff Lee: The 2009 postseason marked the first playoff experience for Lee, so far the newly acquired "Ace" is 2-0 in 3 starts with wins over the Rockies and the Dodgers. The 30 year old Lee has a minuscule .74 ERA in this postseason to go along with 20 strikeouts vs. 3 walks in 24.1 innings pitched. Lee has also pitched into the 8th inning of every one of his starts this postseason. In 9 career starts against the Yanks, Lee is 4-4 with a 5.02 ERA and has allowed 8 homers in 52 innings.
C.C. Sabathia: In 8 career postseason starts, Carsten Charles Sabathia owns 5-3 record with a 4.72 ERA while making appearances for the Indians, Brewers, and Yankees. In 47.2 IP C.C. has 44 k's and 25 BB's. In 3 career starts vs. the Phillies C.C. is 1-1 with a 4.35 ERA. He has given up 22 hits in 20.2 IP, struck out 12 and walked only 4. A season ago while pitching for the Brewers in the National League Division Series against the Phillies, C.C. was tagged for 5 runs on 6 hits in 3.2 innings pitched. He also walked 4 in the game.
The pitching match up for Game 1 is certainly the aspect that every fan is watching, waiting to see which lefty has the most dominant stuff. For Game 1, the New York atmosphere, the playoff pitching experience of C.C., and right-handed power hitters for the Yankees are too much for the Phils and the Bronx Bombers take a 1-0 lead. I think it will be a close game with Mariano Rivera getting another postseason save. My Pick: Yankees 7, Phillies 5.