Without further ado, here is the interview in its entirety:
1. In a recent blog post I debated whether I would prefer Ryan Howard or Mark Teixeira for this series....which would you take?
Right now I would take Howard. He's as hot as anyone not named Alex Rodriguez, and he's even getting Rodriguez a run for his money. I got to see Howard hit quite a bit in Scranton, and he's more than just a pull-the-ball power hitter. He can go the other way. He can move runners. He's not awful at first base. On the whole, though, I think Teixeira is a more complete player. Just hard to overlook what Howard's done this postseason.
2. With Pedro Martinez starting game 2, do you think the Yankees or Pedro have the upper hand? (Which has the advantage in that matchup)
I think Pedro's a little different pitcher than he used to be. He's still mixing his pitches, but this isn't going to be the same Pedro that Jeter and Posada and the rest remember from Boston. I'm not sure the experience against one another plays a huge role, but certainly this is going to be a tough place to pitch for Martinez and this Yankees lineup is awfully dangerous. I'll take this Yankees lineup over an aging Martinez, but I'll say that respectfully. The guy can still pitch. Just ask the Dodgers.
3. Do you think the Yankees will go with a 3 man or a 4 man rotation for the World Series? Which would you do?
Four man. That's what I think they'll do and that's what I would do. I would pitch Sabathia in Game 4 and Gaudin in Game 5. That leaves a fully rested Burnett/Pettitte for Game 6, and the off day between 5 and 6 means the Yankees can burn through a ton of relievers without losing them for the next game.
4. Do you think the set-up man role is open right now? Girardi has stuck by Hughes, but if Hughes struggles?
I still think Hughes has the job, mostly because Chamberlain hasn't been lights out. He's allowed some hits of his own. I'm a huge Robertson believer, and I think the eighth inning might be his one day, but I'm not sure a few big outs by Robertson and a couple of bad innings by Hughes is enough to swap roles. Hughes earned this spot and I'm not sure anyone has done enough to take it from him.
5. Having covered the Phillies farm system in the past, can you give us some background on their core players?
Utley is the best player I ever saw in Scranton. He and I weren't especially close -- he was never particularly comfortable with the media back then -- but he's a terrific, terrific hitter. I touched on Howard, who can do more than hit home runs. He has a lot of power to left-center. Victorino isn't so underrated anymore thanks to the all-star game, but he's had a lot of talent for a long time. Good speed. Good power. Terrific arm. I've said before that I think Victorino is the kind of player the Yankees hope Austin Jackson becomes. Don't count out Carlos Ruiz. His numbers aren't good, but he's a dangerous hitter and does good work behind the plate. He works great with pitchers. That's why he's remained an everyday catcher.
6. What do you think is the biggest problem for the Yankees going into the World Series?
I think there should be a little bit of concern about the middle of the order, outside of Rodriguez. Teixeira and Matsui got it done this season, but both have been a bit cold in the playoffs and I think the Yankees need both of them to break out oit.
7. For the Phillies?
The bullpen. The rotation has some question marks, but the bullpen is full of them. Brad Lidge has pitched really well this postseason, but I don't know any Phillies fan who feels particularly comfortable with him in the ninth. And getting to him is hardly a sure thing.
8. Any bold predictions for the series?
Nothing too bold, but I'll say Teixeira snaps out of it and Utley gives the Yankees more trouble than Howard.
- Who wins, how many games? Yankees in six.
- Best starter? Sabathia.
- Best Hitter? Utley.
- Best Reliever? Rivera, with Hughes getting back on course in the eighth.
- World Series MVP? Jeter.