2009 World Series Prediction From WhatIfSports.com image

2009 World Series Preview

Picks and Predictions from 10,001 simulations of the 2009 World Series
By Paul Bessire, WhatIfSports.com
October 25th, 2009

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With our computer on a roll after correctly picking North Carolina to win it all before the 2009 NCAA tournament, the 2009 Stanley Cup champion, the Lakers over the Magic in the 2009 NBA Finals and the Pittsburgh Steelers to win Super Bowl XLIII (by four points), we at WhatIfSports.com focus on baseball (where it has also accurately predicted five of the last six World Series, including the 2006 St. Louis Cardinals in five games and the Phillies' win last year).

Just as we did with those previews and our original MLB Playoff Preview, we have used our free MLB simulation technology to "play" the 2009 World Series 10,001 times.

The computer likes the New York Yankees to defeat the Philadelphia Phillies in six games.

New York wins 72.3% of those series, with the most common occurrence being a six-game series win by the Yankees (21.3% of all series have this result - a seven-game New York victory is next at 19.0%). On average, the offensively-dominant Yankees have a 31-point higher average (.296 to .265), hit two more homeruns (9.9 to 7.8) and score 4.2 more runs (35.2 to 31.0). The Phillies only advantages appear to be in the "smallball" categories of speed and defense. Philadelphia averages 2.7 more steals (4.7 to 2.0) against the weak-armed Yankees' catchers and commits 0.7 fewer errors (2.4 to 3.1). As you can see below, the Yankees also appear to have the advantage in the starting rotation and the bullpen.

What follows is an example World Series based on the results of those simulations. It includes boxscores, play-by-play and stats for each game in the series. More information from the 10,001 runs, including some interesting figures on percentage of team games won by each starting pitcher and likelihood of each team winning in four, five, six or seven games, can be found further below.

Want to use different pitching matchups or lineups? Wonder how these teams would do against the greatest teams of all-time? Try our free MLB SimMatchup tool.

World Series Game 1
Philadelphia 4 @ New York 8 - Alex Rodriguez hits a first inning three-run homerun off of Cliff Lee, but the Phillies answer with three in the third off C.C. Sabathia. The Yankees score again and Philadelphia answers to keep it close. Finally, Hideki Matsui crushes a three-run blast to pull ahead by four runs and Mariano Rivera shuts the Phillies down for the Game One win. Matsui, New York's designated hitter, earns Player of the Game honors for his big hit. Dueling former Cy Young Award winners and Indians teammates, Lee and Sabathia both pitch seven innings and allow seven hits.
Boxscore with play-by-play >>

World Series Game 2
Philadelphia 14 @ New York 8 - After losing Game One and going down 6-2 in the fourth inning of Game Two with last year's World Series MVP, Cole Hamels, on the mound, everything clicks for Philadelphia's offense - particularly with the longball and the new, homer-friendly Yankee Stadium. The Phillies combine for five homeruns in the seventh and eighth innings, including two from Ryan Howard, to post 14 runs and ultimately win by six. It's a bad night for some other Phils though as Phil Hughes and Phil Coke allow eight earned runs in just one-third of an inning collectively. The series is even as it heads to Philadelphia.
Boxscore with play-by-play >>

World Series Game 3
New York 7 @ Philadelphia 2 - Pedro Martinez is shelled by the Yankees, who have four players tally multiple hits, including Derek Jeter who goes 4-for-4 and reaches base five times as the catalyst at the top of the lineup. Despite striking out seven batters, Martinez gives up ten hits and five earned runs in just five innings. Fellow-veteran and post-season hero, Andy Pettitte, bests Martinez's performance by pitching seven innings and allowing just six hits and two earned runs, while also striking out seven. Three games into the series, four starting Yankees - Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano and Jorge Posada - are hitting over .400. This is a brutal lineup for opposing pitchers.
Boxscore with play-by-play >>

World Series Game 4
New York 5 @ Philadelphia 6 - Yankees' shortstop and captain, Derek Jeter, may have had one of his best defensive and overall seasons of his career in 2009, but a crucial mistake in the sixth inning of Game Four of the World Series essentially costs his team the game. With the Yankees up 3-0 and two outs, runners on first and third and a lights-out C.C. Sabathia cruising on the mound, Pedro Feliz grounds weakly up the middle. Jeter fields the ball cleanly and rifles to first base - about ten feet above Mark Teixeira's head. Everyone is safe, including Chase Utley who scored. The inning continues and sees three more Phillies cross the plate to take the lead. A Hideki Matsui homerun ties the game, which remains tied until the tenth inning when Mark Teixeira hits a go-ahead solo homerun off of Chad Durbin. A Miguel Cairo bases loaded walk by an extended Mariano Rivera ties the game again. Then, in the twelfth inning against Damaso Marte, Philadelphia puts the first two batters on base before utility player Eric Bruntlett wins a World Series game with a single. It was Bruntlett's first at-bat of the now-tied series.
Boxscore with play-by-play >>

World Series Game 5
New York 7 @ Philadelphia 4 - Game Five is all about atonement. Derek Jeter atones for his Game Four mistake and then some. Trailing 4-3 in the top of the ninth inning of the critical Game Six, Derek Jeter comes to the plate with the bases loaded and a fresh J.A. Happ on the mound. The rookie is no match for the playoff veteran as Jeter pulls the ball 347 feet down the leftfield line for a go-ahead grand slam. Damaso Marte then atones for his extra-innings performance from the previous game with a 1-2-3 save (while Mariano Rivera waited patiently if needed after a long appearance the night before). Also of note from this game, which sends the series back to New York with the Yankees needing just one victory to with their 27th World Series, is the relationship between Jorge Posada and A.J. Burnett. Having already lost the DH, Hideki Matsui, Joe Girardi elects to leave Posada in to start for offensive help even with Burnett on the mound instead of subbing in Jose Molina. Posada goes 2-for-4 with two RBIs, but Burnett walks six batters. Either way, the Yankees win to setup an Andy Pettitte vs. Cole Hamels matchup in the potential series clinching Game Six.
Boxscore with play-by-play >>

World Series Game 6
Philadelphia 1 @ New York 5 - The Yankees win. The Yankees win. Andy Pettitte out-duels Cole Hamels and Derek Jeter cements his MVP status as the New York Yankees win Game Six 5-1 to take the World Series championship. As was the concern for much of the regular season, bullpen woes play a factor in Philadelphia's demise. Ryan Madson gives up a Nick Swisher homerun and a Johnny Damon double that blow the game open in seventh inning. Still, the Phillies cannot score more than a run against the combination of Pettitte, Phil Hughes and Mariano Rivera. For the series, Pettitte goes 2-0 with a 1.76 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 15 innings. Rivera earns two saves with a 1.93 ERA. Jeter, Robinson Cano and Hideki Matsui each hit better than .400. Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez are the top performers for the Phillies. Howard hits .308 with two homeruns and seven RBIs. Ibanez hits .304 with two homeruns.
Boxscore with play-by-play >>

World Series MVP (example series): Derek Jeter - .444 AVG, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 6 R, 2 SB

Most likely World Series MVPs: 1. Mark Teixeira - .323 AVG, 1.7 HR, 5.6 RBI, 4.5 R (on average); 2. C.C. Sabathia - 1.1 W, 3.45 ERA, 15.8 IP, 14.2 K; 3. Ryan Howard - .258 AVG, 1.5 HR, 4.9 RBI, 3.6 R; 4. Alex Rodriguez - .310 AVG, 1.6 HR, 4.9 RBI, 4.8 R; 5. Jayson Werth - .271 AVG, 1.3 HR, 4.0 RBI, 4.3 R, 1.0 SB


Results from 10,001 World Series Simulations

 Series Wins

Team Total Series Wins in 4 Games in 5 Games in 6 Games in 7 Games
Philadelphia 27.7% 2.6% 6.7% 10.0% 8.4%
New York 72.3% 13.3% 18.7% 21.3% 19.0%

 Game-by-game Winning Percentages

Team Game 1 Game 2 Game 3 Game 4 Game 5 Game 6 Game 7
Philadelphia 42.9% 43.4% 39.4% 31.2% 47.9% 39.5% 30.8%
New York 57.1% 56.6% 60.6% 68.8% 52.1% 60.5% 69.2%

 Winning Percentages when Pitcher Starts

Philadelphia Winning Percentage
Cliff Lee 45.2%
Cole Hamels 42.0%
Pedro Martinez 45.2%
Joe Blanton 31.2%
New York Winning Percentage
C.C. Sabathia 63.7%
A.J. Burnett 54.5%
Andy Pettitte 60.6%

Want to use different pitching matchups or lineups? Wonder how these teams would do against the greatest teams of all-time? Try our free MLB SimMatchup tool.

Paul Bessire is the Product Manager of Content and Quantitative Analysis for WhatIfSports.com, a division of FOX Sports Interactive specializing in free mlb matchup analysis and baseball sim leagues. With any comments, questions or topic suggestions, Paul can be reached at BtB@whatifsports.com. Thanks!

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