The Yankees’ Hidden Opponent

October 27th, 2009 by Christian | Filed under Baseball, General, Phillies.
Big Ben

Big Ben

Father Time commands that youth must be served. And in this World Series, between two evenly matched teams, age may be the deciding factor. It’s not glaringly obvious, but there is a significant gap among the teams, and it’s in a crucial area. Look at the top five hitters on the respective clubs:

Leadoff Hitter:
Jimmy Rollins is 30, Derek Jeter is 35
Second Hitter: Shane Victorino is 28, Johnny Damon is 36
Third Hitter: Chase Utley is 30, Mark Texiera is 29
Cleanup Hitter: Ryan Howard is 29, Alex Rodriguez is 34
Five Hitter: Jayson Werth is 30, Hideki Matsui is 35

That’s an average of 29.4 years for the Phillies and 33.8 years for the Yankees. If you remove Mark Texiera from the equation, four of the top five Yankees average 35 years of age. That’s a little long in the tooth in athletics, and the longer the season goes, the more you’d think natural physiology favors the Phillies. I’ll take the twenty-nine year olds over the thirty-five year olds every time, especially in a long series.

The rest of the starters and the top four pitchers on each team are about even in age, with the exception of the Yankees 40 year old closer, Mariano Rivera.

Six Hitter: Raul Ibanez is 37, Jorge Posada is 38
Seven Hitter: Pedro Feliz is 34, Robinson Cano is 27
Eight Hitter: Carlos Ruiz is 30, Nick Swisher is 29
Nine Hitter: Ben Francisco is 28, Melky Cabrera is 25

Cliff Lee is 31, CC Sabathia is 29
Cole Hamels is 28, AJ Burnett is 32
Pedro Martinez is 38, Andy Pettitte is 37
Brad Lidge is 33, Mariano Rivera is 40

Bottom Line: The Phillies best players are about five years younger than the Yankees best players. The Yankees are running into a Phillies team at their athletic peak, while the Yanks are on the decline. The Yankees have been at or near the top since 1996. Sooner or later, Father Time catches up with all of us.

Phillies in six.

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12 Responses to “The Yankees’ Hidden Opponent”

  1. Christian says:

    [to philliesfan0705]

    My point is that the clock is ticking on the Yankees. A 35 year old leadoff hitter, a 40 year old closer, a 38 year old catcher, a 36 year old two hole hitter and a 34 year old slugger. And the Phillies nucleus is in their prime. If you were a GM, who which four would you take, Rollins, Utley, Howard & Victorino, or Jeter, Damon, Texiera and A-roid?

    And Rivera has been the best closer for the past dozen years, but he looked shaky last night. Benefited from a bad call on Utley and a terrible third strike call against Howard. I think the Phillies get to him this series. Muhammad Ali was The Greatest, but even he had his Larry Holmes. Ali was 39, by the way when Holmes knocked him out.

    • Johnny G says:

      Like i said, you have a valid point but i dont see how it applies to a 7 game series that is going on right now. Who is a better nucleus for next year and the future? It’s obviously the phillies’ group but for a 7 game series that is already underway i dont see how age comes into play whatsoever, unless you want to consider the experience of the yankees’ core group. 4 rings a piece for posada, pettite, jeter, and rivera. I just don’t understand the logic. The only ball hit hard off rivera was the ibanez double. Victorino got jammed and hit a seeing eye single in the hole and rollins had a nice at bat against him to work the walk. Should be a exciting rest of the series though either way it goes.

  2. philliesfan0705 says:

    I think you raise a valid point in that the Phillies are the younger team. There is no disputing that. However, you cannot underestimate the power of the experiance that the “older” players on the Yankees have. Rivera might be 39, but he is hands-down still the best closer in baseball, if not ever. You also cannot say that we have an advantage because Jeter is 35. He may be 35 but he plays like hes 30 and thats all that matters. Where the Phillies have an advantage is actually the Yankees young players. Swisher is 25 Cabrera is 29, and Cano is 27. These guys do not have the experiance that the older Yankees have and its the Yankees YOUTH that will be their downfall in my opinion. This is NOT the Yankees of 2000. Aside from Jeter, AROD, Rivera, and Pettite, the players on the Yankees are relatively all new to the pressure of a World Series and thats what will hurt them in the end, not their old age. Age will only help.

  3. Sean Francis Smith says:

    I am realistic about playing the Yankees on baseball’s biggest stage. Noone expected a four game sweep either way. Last night was a crisp clean game except for Werth’s base running miscue (great scoop and perfect throw, by the catcher). If you told me Pedro would give up three earned runs and our bullpen threw a shutout, I would guesstimate(my word)the Phils had a 60-70% chance of winning against Burnett. They have hit him before and taken advantage of his wild side. Give him credit. He pitched a gem with a nasty curve that had more bite than an over sized toothy porn queen. I am not sure, and will have to look it up, but I believe the Phils had a man on second base 4 times with two outs or less. They simply could not get a cluth hit. One single or double in that situation and who knows? I am not frustrated at not starting the runners in the eighth or the missed call on Utley in the same inning. Things have a way of evening out in the long run. I was encouragd at the way the Phils made Riveria throw pitches and I am convinced we can and will tack some runs on him if need be in the future at the Bank or back at Yankee stadium. Let’s just hope Hamels can be anywhere near Lee or at least Pedro in the swing game Saturday night. Should be a fun Halloween night, lets hope we get a treat, I am tired of being tricked. I leave that up to the boys next door at the Linc. Yes, I will bash the Eagles till I am at a Super Bowl parade or McNabb is traded.

  4. Sean Francis Smith says:

    The Yankees live in the shadows of greatness. Now they are cloaked in a sea of phillies red humility. It’s our time to be a dynasty. I am not thinking of repeat! I am thinker BIGGER! As a former drinker who looked past the next beer and creatively mapped out my next six or seven, thats what I’d be doing as the Phils general manager. No,not beers! Crowns here baby! With all the right key components in place, all this core of young talent needs is some tweaking at the right spots yearly, to not just “CONTEND” like those fraud front office Eagles, but “WIN” over and over. Not necessarily in a row, but bring home the trophy 5 times in an 7-8 year span. It’s good to be from philly…..this one’s for you Harry! Bottoms up!

    • Leo says:

      I like the kill’em attitude you display in your comment. That is the recipe that they need. Go get’em!!!

  5. chrisleo33 says:

    There is a lot to be said about experience. So age to me is not a hindrance in a World Series situation. I think the Phils will win it in 6 or 7. They are going full stride and peaking into the series. If they can sustain that type of play, I think those Damn Yankees are gonna fall. Lets see…..

  6. Christian says:

    [to JohnnyG523]

    The Yankees have not dominated so far. They should have lost Game 1 to the Twins if not for a horrendous call. If they lose that game, they might have lost the series. Then the Angels committed more errors than a little league squad and still took them to six games.

    It will be a good series. Probably six games. But teams get old overnight. If the Phillies get to Rivera, and Jeter and Posada struggle, you’ll start to hear grumblings about how old they are. Just remember where you heard it first.

  7. johnnyg523 says:

    You raise some valid points if this series were being played 5 yrs from now. This yankees team as currently constructed put together the best record in the MLB and ran away with the best division in baseball. I dont see how a team that just dominated in the playoffs could suddenly fall off a cliff because of their age. The phillies are huge underdogs and deservedly so. It will be very very tough to beat this yankees team.

  8. HAT says:

    Bit of a stretch.Some say “youth must be served”
    Some say “there is no substitute for experience”What is not a stretch is the Phillies have both Experience=they are the world champions
    and as you point out,youth.I began following baseball in 1949 I cannot remember any team with the youth and maturity as this years Phillies That was brought home most vividly when Cole Hamels looked askance at Chase Utley.From players, broadcasters, to fans the reaction was the same.”What the hell was that?”It was not very proffesional.Evenmore to the point it was not “Phillies baseball”

  9. Leo says:

    Not sure if age has that much to do with it. Think the Phils will be fresher because of the rest too.

  10. tophat says:

    Nice breakdown. the yankees have been around forever, it’ll be nice to see them go down. Phils are the better team, period.