Call him the anti-Jimmy Rollins.
As Ruben Amaro Jr. sat in the visitor's dugout at City of Palms Park and surveyed the Red Sox, he gave his assessment of the pecking order in Major League Baseball.
And the Phillies were not at the top.
"This is the best club in baseball, I think," Amaro said of the Red Sox.
While the Phillies who made the trip to Fort Myers might have a different opinion, Amaro listed his reasons for putting the Sox ahead of the Phillies.
"The combination of speed, power, pitching, bullpen -- they are a hell of a club," he said.
Currently, the Phillies are the favorites in Las Vegas to win the World Series, going off at 13/4 odds. The Red Sox are second at 4.5/1.
Let's look at how they stack up:
Phillies: Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels and Joe Blanton
Red Sox: Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka
Phillies: SS Jimmy Rollins, 3B Placido Polanco, 2B Chase Utley, 1B Ryan Howard, RF Ben Francisco, LF Raul Ibanez, CF Shane Victorino C, Carlos Ruiz, Pitcher.
Red Sox: CF Jacoby Ellsbury, 2B Dustin Pedroia, LF Carl Crawford, 1B Adrian Gonzalez, 3B Kevin Youkilis, DH David Ortiz, RF J.D. Drew, C Jarrod Saltalamacchia, SS Marco Scutaro
EDGE: Red Sox
Phillies: Closer Brad Lidge, Set-up Ryan Madson, RHP Jose Contreras, LHP J.C. Romero, RHP Danys Baez, RHP Kyle Kendrick, LHP Antonio Bastardo
Red Sox: Closer Jonathan Papelbon, Set-up Daniel Bard, RHP Bobby Jenks, RHP Dan Wheeler, LHP Felix Doubront, LHP Hideki Okajima, RHP Tim Wakefield
EDGE: Red Sox
OVERALL EDGE: Even if Amaro was just being politically correct, we have to agree with him at this point. As good as the Phillies rotation is, the Red Sox aren't too far behind. Jon Lester is the type of lefty that can one-hit the Phillies, so in a Game 1 match-up between him and Halladay I would give the edge to the Red Sox. After that, it becomes a question of whether the Red Sox ridiculously stacked line-up can hit the Phillies' ridiculously stacked rotation better than the Phils line-up can hit guys like Josh Beckett and John Lackey, both of whom they have had success against in the past. We'll give the edge to the Red Sox because of the strength of their bullpen. But it is hard to argue that these two teams will enter the season with the most talented rosters in the majors.
The Red Sox clearly have the edge today on the offensive side of the ball, so it should be fun to watch Cole Hamels pitch a few innings against a powerful line-up:
- Marco Scutaro SS
- Dustin Pedroia 2B
- Carl Crawford LF
- Kevin Youkilis 3B
- David Ortiz DH
- J.D. Drew RF
- Mike Cameron CF
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
- Lars Anderson 1B
Pitcher - RHP Stolmy Pimentel
The Phillies let most of their regulars skip the long bus ride south:
- Shane Victorino CF
- Delwyn Young 2B
- Ross Gload 1B
- Ben Francisco LF
- John Mayberry Jr. DH
- Domonic Brown RF
- Jeff Larish 3B
- Dane Sardinha C
- Michael Martinez SS
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