BY KIRK REYNOLDS, PlayMaker Mobile, for Phillie Phanatics.
Cincinnati Reds’ manager Dusty baker is no doubt paying close attention to the World Series, and he has a prediction to make, that should please Phillies fans. Phillie Phanatics correspondent Kirk Reynolds caught up with him to talk about the World Series.
KIRK REYNOLDS: The Yankees have several players with loads of postseason and World Series experience. The Phillies won it all last year, who would you say has an edge from an experience standpoint?
DUSTY BAKER: Both have very high-powered offensive teams. The Yankees have outstanding starting pitching and they match up well with the Phillies because of all the left-handed bats in the lineup. You are always trying to advance runners in the postseason so you need to pay attention to who gets the most 2-out hits and what unsung hero that no one is counting on is going to make some big plays. I think the two best matched up teams have made it and I like the Phillies because they were just there. There is something about having a chance to repeat.
KR: We know some of the big names in this series – Ryan Howard, Derek Jeter, A-Rod, but to win it does someone we don’t expect have to rise up with key performance?
DB: I think so. Melky Cabrera could play a big role, so could Robinson Cano, who is one of the finest young hitters in the game. Guys like Jeter and Damon have been there, but they have some big bats like A Rod and Teixeira who have never been to the World Series. It will be interesting to see if they can get some of those new big bats to perform. For Philly pay attention to the right-handed hitters like Jayson Werth, Pedro Feliz and Carlos Ruiz against the Yankees left handed pitchers. In the ALCS you saw Jeff Mathis became the unexpected star for the Angels. He was a guy no one expected but he was hitting like crazy. Guys like that can make all the difference in a big series.
KR: You had some of the epic World Series clashes with the Yankees. Do they have any kind of edge because of all of the past history, the mystique or is that easily forgotten by the Phillies?
DB: I’ve lost in Yankee Stadium as a Dodger and won in Yankee Stadium as a Dodger. It can be done, but you don’t want to be in a position where you have to win there. They just believe they are always going to win, the players believe it, the fans believe it. They brain wash you. They put all those great moments in Yankees history on the scoreboard during batting practice. The highlights are great and the Yankees are just killing teams and you have to watch it for two hours. You can’t help but see it. It is not conducive for visitors. They wanted to take that vibe and that history from the old stadium and bring it to the new Yankee Stadium and with the success they are having it appears to have worked. I remember when Aaron Boone hit that home run off Wakefield to get the Yankees to the World Series in 2003, Derek Jeter had told him not to worry that the ghost will come. So the Ghost of Babe Ruth may be a curse to some but he’s been good for the Yankees.
KR: What do you think is most important for Philadelphia in this series? What or who gives them an edge?
DB: The most important thing for Philadelphia is that they have to win in Yankee Stadium. They had the best road record in baseball. Most teams win at home and hope to get to .500 on the road. Philly was way above .500 on the road and that’s huge. They have confidence on the road. They don’t panic and Charlie Manuel said they have the best togetherness and spirit that he’s ever seen.
Dusty went on to say that he thinks the Phillies will win the series. He thinks the chance to repeat will make a difference.