American League Championship Series

I faired a little better in my predictions for the American League Divisional Series winners than I did for the National League. That really makes no sense to me; I am a died-in-the-wool National League fan and track the senior circuit religiously. Why then couldn’t I predict the NL winners? Hopefully my NLCS predictions will fair a little better.

Although I did successfully predict both the Yankees and the Angels for moving on, I did not anticipate how they dominated their opponents. I thought the Twins would win one game in the Metrodome given the home field advantage that venue has given previously in the post season. What that showed me though was how strong the Yankees really are this season.

In years past the Yankees have always had the offense to carry a team but it has been their pitching staff that has been their Achilles heel. With the addition of CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett the Yankees spent wisely procuring two dominating arms that propelled them through the three game series with Minnesota.

New York is going to need their starting pitching to continue dominating their opponents if they hope to beat the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The Yankees like their counterparts the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS, have a fairly strong bullpen that is anchored by closer Mariano Rivera to help minimize the need for the starters to go deep in a game.

The concern in the Bronx is whether the Yankees have enough starting pitching to win a seven game series. After Sabathia, Burnett, and Andy Pettitte there is some question wither either Joba Chamberlain or Dave Robertson have what it takes to beat the Angels. For this reason Yankees manager Joe Girardi is considering going to a three-man rotation.

All of this worrying about starting pitching will be moot if the Yankees are able to finish off the Angels in four or five games. Of course no one is predicting a quick series or an easy New York win. The reason of course is the play of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

After years of struggling against the Boston Red Sox in the playoffs, the monkey not only jumped off their backs but landed straight in the face of Jonathon Papelbon. The Angels were relentless challenging the Red Sox at every juncture and stomping on their throats in Game Three in Boston to sweep the Sox at home.

Going into the Red Sox vs. Angels series, I thought it would be close and that Los Angeles would play tight given their previous history of struggles. Instead Tori Hunter and Bobby Abreu set the tone for this team and led them through a quick sweep of their AL East opponents.

John Lackey will get the start for the Angels in Game One. Los Angeles could have inserted any of their starters and no one would have questioned their decision. From a depth perspective the Angels have one of the deepest starting rotations in all of baseball. There are no worries about going to a short rotation in Anaheim. Instead they will look at match-ups to decide who is best suited each game.

I’m a big fan of Mike Scioscia and his small ball philosophy. Los Angeles has tremendous team speed and will need to have the top of their order get on base to be successful against the Yankees. If they can get on base, that will put tremendous pressure on the New York defense. The Angels will challenge the Yankees on the base paths stealing and going from first to third on a base hit. That could be the turning point in this series.

Although I would love to see the speed of the Angels wreak havoc with the Yankees I think New York has the pieces in place to neutralize Los Angeles. I initially predicted it would be the Yankees in six games but this series could definitely go the distance with the Angels winning. Still, I am sticking with New York to win and face the Dodgers in the dream television matchup Fox is looking for.


2 Comments

  1. What have you been smoking first Dodgers and now Satan and his team

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