Now it's time for the 2009 World Series to begin. And with a pair of powerhouse teams set to go head to head, each looking to enrich its legacy, the stage is set for an instant Classic.
Will the Phillies take their first step toward a repeat? If so, Philadelphia would become the first National League team since the 1975-76 Reds to win in back-to-back years.
Or will Game 1 provide the foundation of a return to glory for baseball's storied franchise? Making their 40th World Series appearance, the Yankees are seeking their 27th title overall and first since 2000.
Setting the tone in the opener will be two aces with Cy Young Awards on their lists of credentials. Former teammates turned foes, Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia headline a marquee Game 1 matchup.
Previously together with the Indians, Lee and Sabathia now strive to give their respective clubs the upper hand in the opener.
Both southpaws will be facing imposing lineups.
The Phillies paced the NL in runs scored behind four stars who topped the 30-homer plateau: Ryan Howard (45), Jayson Werth (36), Raul Ibanez (34) and Chase Utley (31). Howard has been the hottest-hitting Phillie during the postseason, earning NL Championship Series Most Valuable Player honors after driving in eight runs in five games.
Last year, when Sabathia was with Milwaukee, Philly put up five runs on the big left-hander in 3 2/3 innings in its Division Series win over the Brewers. Of course, Sabathia hasn't been so giving this postseason, posting a 3-0 mark with a 1.19 ERA.
Lee also has been dominant during the postseason, sporting a 2-0 record and a 0.74 ERA in his three starts. The veteran will have the challenge of trying to silence the aptly named Bronx Bombers, led by Alex Rodriguez, who's racked up five home runs and 12 RBIs to go with a .438 batting average thus far in the playoffs.
The following chart breaks down how experts from MLB.com and MLB Network see the series opener unfolding:
World Series Game 1 Predictions
|MLBN||PHI||3||9||1||Jeter paces Yanks with three RBIs.|
|MLB.com||PHI||6||10||0||Lee outduels buddy CC.|
|MLB.com||PHI||4||7||0||Lee gets two big double plays en route to win.|
|MLB.com||PHI||3||7||1||Jeter smacks leadoff homer as CC beats Lee.|
|MLB.com||PHI||2||7||0||Yankees get to Phillies 'pen.|
|MLBN||PHI||3||11||0||CC does job as Yanks take 1-0 lead.|
|MLBN||PHI||2||9||0||Sabathia goes seven strong to pick up win.|