Pitching will dominate Game 1 of the World Series

Updated: October 27, 2009

Christopher Hanewinckel/US Presswire

Former teammates Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia take the mound for Game 1 of the World Series.

A pair of old teammates from their days in Cleveland, the Yankees' CC Sabathia and the Phillies' Cliff Lee, will open up the World Series on Wednesday night in the Bronx. Both guys are Cy Young winners. This showdown could truly end up being a battle of the bullpens.

2009 Season Stats
GM W L BB K ERA
34 19 8 67 197 3.37

Lee will need to be on his game and set the tone quickly. He's the type of pitcher who doesn't let the hitter get too comfortable at the plate. He's a rapid-fire kind of guy. The atmosphere isn't going to intimidate him at all.

What helps Sabathia is the Phillies' lefty-heavy lineup, which includes Raul Ibanez, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard.

It's going to be fun to watch the two best offensive powerhouses get shut down in Game 1 by quality pitching.

2009 Season Stats
GM W L BB K ERA
34 14 13 43 181 3.22
Sabathia is a left-handed pitcher with an excellent slider, so he will excel against the Phillies' 3-4 duo of Utley and Howard. We saw how Sabathia neutralized Bobby Abreu in the ALCS; he's going to do the same thing to the Phillies. He has the ability to throw a fastball and open things up with his slider.

Weather will certainly impact this series as rain and temperatures in the low 50s are expected for Game 1. We got accustomed to seeing a lot of home runs during the summer in Yankee Stadium, but now that it is a bit cooler, don't expect to see balls leaving the yard like they did in July and August.

The Yankees and Phillies met earlier this season during three interleague games in May -- the Phillies walked away with two wins. The difference between then and now is that this is the time of year when you face the best pitching from each team. The adrenaline will be rushing and everyone is under a microscope. Trust me, the Yankees are not thinking about the regular season right now -- there's too much at stake.

Past Baseball Tonight Clubhouses: Oct. 22 | Oct. 21 | Oct. 20 | Oct. 19 | Oct. 16

NUMBERS TO KNOW

Mark Teixeira got off to a slow start in his first postseason with the Yankees. Through the first six games, Teixeira was hitting only .120 with one RBI. He was a different hitter over the final three games to help finish off his former Angels teammates, hitting .357 with four RBIs.

The improvement was because Teixeira is finally getting his timing down against off-speed pitches.

Mark Teixeira vs. non-fastballs (2009 postseason)
First six games Past three games
BA .091 .429
SLG .091 .571
Miss pct. 37.5 25.0
RBI 1 4

Teixeira will have to be sharp against the Philadelphia staff. The Phillies' possible starters for Games 1-4 (Cliff Lee, Pedro Martinez, Cole Hamels and Lee) have held opponents to just .169 hitting on their off-speed pitches so far this postseason.

-- ESPN Stats & Information


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BBTN MINUTE: WORLD SERIES GAME 1 PREVIEW

SIMON SAYS

Simon Says ESPN researcher Mark Simon digs deep looking for the night's best baseball numbers.

Tonight, he looks at the powerful lineups involved in this World Series. The Phillies and Yankees certainly hit plenty of homers:

Most regular-season HRs
Teams that made World Series
Year Team Homers
2009 Yankees Yankees 244
1961 Yankees 240*
2003 Yankees 230
2009 Phillies 224
2004 Red Sox 222*
1997 Indians 220
1982 Brewers 216
2008 Phillies 214*
2004 Cardinals 214
2001 Diamondbacks 208*
1953 Dodgers 208
1998 Yankees 207*
1995 Indians 207

* Won series

BBTN'S WORLD SERIES PREDICTIONS