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First Look: World Series

Florida Marlins vs. New York Yankees

October 17, 2003|Alex Kimball

REGULAR-SEASON RECORD

Marlins 91-71; Yankees 101-61.

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HEAD TO HEAD

Yankees and Marlins have not met since 2001, when the Marlins won the season series, 2-1.

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HOW THEY GOT HERE

The Marlins defeated San Francisco in the NL division series, 3-1, and defeated Chicago, 4-3, in the NLCS. The Yankees defeated Minnesota in the ALDS, 3-1, and Boston in the ALCS, 4-3.

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TEAM BATTING

Marlins, ,266, fifth in NL; Yankees .271, sixth in AL.

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RUNS SCORED

Marlins 751, eighth in NL; Yankees 877, third in AL.

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TEAM ERA

Marlins 4.04, seventh in NL; Yankees 4.02, third in AL.

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HOW THEY MATCH UP

CATCHER

Ivan Rodriguez, Marlins, vs. Jorge Posada, Yankees: Rodriguez drove in 10 runs in the NL championship series, and hit .333 with 16 RBIs in the playoffs. He also gave up only 40 stolen bases this season. Posada may have been the Yankee MVP (30 homers, 101 RBIs), but he has had a very quiet postseason. He also gave up 72 stolen bases this season, which could be a factor against the speedy Marlins.

Edge: Marlins.

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FIRST BASE

Derrek Lee, Marlins, vs. Nick Johnson, Yankees: Lee hit 31 home runs but struck out 131 times. He hit .188 in the championship series, though he had a key two-run double in Game 6. Johnson is an excellent fielder and a good hitter who gets on base a lot (.422 on-base percentage). Potential for disaster here if Jason Giambi, a much weaker fielder, moves to first from designated hitter for Games 3-5.

Edge: Even

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SECOND BASE

Luis Castillo, Marlins, vs. Alfonso Soriano, Yankees: Castillo is an excellent fielder, a fast runner and gets on base a lot. Soriano has power (38 homers) and speed (38 stolen bases), but he's a terrible fielder (19 errors) and seemed lost in the playoffs (no home runs, 17 strikeouts).

Edge: Even.

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THIRD BASE

Mike Lowell, Marlins, vs. Aaron Boone, Yankees: Lowell led the NL in fielding percentage and hit 32 homers with 105 RBIs despite playing only 130 games because of a broken hand. Until his ALCS-winning homer, Boone was pretty much a non-factor after the Yankees got him from the Reds at the trade deadline.

Edge: Marlins.

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SHORTSTOP

Alex Gonzalez, Marlins, vs. Derek Jeter, Yankees: Gonzalez is a sometimes spectacular fielder and below-average hitter who struck out 106 times. He had four hits in 40 at-bats in the playoffs. Jeter has been a clutch postseason player on four World Series champion teams. He's an excellent fielder and outstanding hitter.

Edge: Yankees.

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LEFT FIELD

Miguel Cabrera, Marlins, vs. Hideki Matsui, Yankees: Cabrera, a rookie, hit .318 with nine RBIs in the playoffs. Matsui drove in 106 runs, but he doesn't have the power many expected. He's an average left fielder with a weak arm.

Edge: Even.

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CENTER FIELD

Juan Pierre, Marlins, vs. Bernie Williams, Yankees: Pierre hit .305 and led the majors with 65 stolen bases. He has great range but sometimes misplays balls hit over his head. Age and knee injuries have slowed Williams in the field, and he has a weak arm. His production on offense (.263, 15 homers) also has plummeted.

Edge: Marlins.

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RIGHT FIELD

Juan Encarnacion, Marlins, vs. Karim Garcia, Yankees: Encarnacion drove in 94 runs this season but hit .185 in the playoffs. Don't be surprised to see Miguel Cabrera in right. Garcia has good power and is a decent fielder.

Edge: Marlins.

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DESIGNATED HITTER

Jeff Conine, Marlins, vs. Jason Giambi, Yankees: Conine, acquired from Baltimore in late August, hit .458 in the NLCS. He has a sore ankle from an awkward slide Wednesday. Though he hit 41 homers, Giambi struggled with injuries during the season and did not seem right in the playoffs until his two homers in Game 7 against the Red Sox.

Edge: Yankees.

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ROTATION

Brad Penny and struggling rookie left-hander Dontrelle Willis (playoff ERA: 12.00) probably will start Games 1 and 2 in some order, Marlin Manager Jack McKeon said. Josh Beckett, who threw 45 pitches in relief in Game 7 of the NLCS, probably will be rested until Game 3 in Miami, where he threw a two-hit shutout Sunday. Left-hander Mark Redman, who was hit hard in Game 7 of the NLCS, probably will start Game 4. The Yankees are full of question marks. Roger Clemens got rocked by the Red Sox in Game 7. Mike Mussina gave up five homers in the championship series. Andy Pettitte might have to be the main man.

Edge: Yankees, but it's close.

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BULLPEN

Other than the two-run homer he gave up to Sammy Sosa in Game 1, Marlin closer Ugueth Urbina was brilliant in the championship series. Chad Fox pitched well against the Giants, not so well against the Cubs. Yankee closer Mariano Rivera has been close to unhittable in the postseason, but can the Yankees get to him? Joe Torre showed no confidence in the rest of the bullpen during the championship series, getting two-inning saves from Rivera in Games 3 and 5.

Edge: Even.

-- Alex Kimball

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