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World Series matchup: Gurnick's picks

World Series matchup: Gurnick's picks

As the World Series approaches, MLB.com is asking experts to chime in on who has the edge at particular matchups. Players are ranked on a scale of 1-100, factoring in various statistical analyses, experience, recent performance and moxie.

Since both teams will determine their pitching rotations over the course of the series, all potential starting options are considered.

Additionally, in games at Yankee Stadium, Ben Francisco will play left field for the Phillies, with Raul Ibanez shifting to DH. Since the games Francisco will be starting will be the same ones that will be started by regular Yankees DH Hideki Matsui, that's the matchup here: Francisco vs. Matsui.

With that criteria in mind, here's what MLB.com's Ken Gurnick had to say ...

Position by Position Ratings and Analysis
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Position Team Players Ratings Analysis
C PHI
NYY
Carlos Ruiz
Jorge Posada
75
85
Off their resumes, this really shouldn't be a contest. Posada is a five-time All-Star, but Ruiz showed the Dodgers that his bat must be respected.
1B PHI
NYY
Ryan Howard
Mark Teixeira
95
90
Whatever the Yankees do to try to stop Howard, they shouldn't copy the Dodgers, because pitching him inside didn't work. Teixeira will need to step it up off his ALCS to keep up with Howard's production.
2B PHI
NYY
Chase Utley
Robinson Cano
90
80
Utley's defense became an issue against the Dodgers, as he had trouble throwing to first base, which triggered rumors that he's injured.
SS PHI
NYY
Jimmy Rollins
Derek Jeter
90
90
Other than Sabathia-Lee, this will be the most fascinating matchup in the series.
3B PHI
NYY
Pedro Feliz
Alex Rodriguez
80
95
Rodriguez put to rest doubts about his October ability against the Angels. Feliz isn't in the same class, but he has a knack for delivering a clutch hit when least expected.
LF PHI
NYY
Raul Ibanez
Johnny Damon
90
85
Ibanez give the Phillies the depth of an American League lineup and he's not afraid to hit left-handed pitchers. Damon still has a flair for the dramatic.
CF PHI
NYY
Shane Victorino
Melky Cabrera
85
85
Victorino is the Phillieslie who plays with an edge, and that attitude rubs off on the rest of the team. Cabrera is more the defensive force than an offensive factor.
RF PHI
NYY
Jayson Werth
Nick Swisher
90
75
Werth has emerged as a true star and big-time clutch slugger. And teams run on him at their own risk. Swisher is coming off a shaky ALCS.
DH PHI
NYY
Ben Francisco
Hideki Matsui
70
85
On paper, we have a mismatch. Matsui is a legitimate designated hitter with the slugging that goes with the job. Francisco is an extra outfielder.
Bench Phillies
Yankees
75
75
Jerry Hairston is the versatile utilityman who shows up at a variety of positions for the Yankees. The Phillies rely on Matt Stairs for power off the bench.
Starters PHI


NYY
Cliff Lee
Cole Hamels
Pedro Martinez
J.A. Happ
Joe Blanton

CC Sabathia
A.J. Burnett
Andy Pettitte
Chad Gaudin
90
80
80
75
75

90
80
85
70
Lee and Sabathia are pretty much a push as far as aces, so the difference will be in the deeper matchups. Hamels was very beatable against the Dodgers, but Martinez pitched like he had found the fountain of youth. Pettitte is a proven big-game pitcher, while Burnett is the wild card.
Closer PHI
NYY
Brad Lidge
Mariano Rivera
80
95
Rivera's the best that's even been in the postseason and, as if he needs a tiebreaker, he's fully capable of converting the two-inning save.
Setup Phillies
Yankees
85
80
Both bullpens have had their issues. Phil Hughes has been struggling, which may force Rivera into more two-inning save situations. The Phillies use everybody and have received clutch setup relief from the ageless Chan Ho Park.
Manager PHI
NYY
Charlie Manuel
Joe Girardi
90
85
Some of Charlie Manuel's press briefings are headscratchers, but he knows what he's doing and he's the defending champion. Girardi's team won more games than anybody and now he gets the acid test.
Projected Winning Team
Winning team Games Analysis
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 one.
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