Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Preview of the ALCS-Yanks/Angels

The New York Yankees and Anaheim Angels played 10 games in 2009 and went 5-5. 6 of those games were played in Anaheim where the Yankees went 2-4 getting swept there right before the all star break but then winning 2 out of 3 in the middle of September. The Yankees won 2 out of 3 at home early in the season and then a makeup game in September. The Yankees historically have had their problems with the Angels as is well documented. They lost to them in the playoffs twice in 2002 and 2005 but that was a long time ago. The Yankees only have played them in the ALDS, never in the ALCS. This will be the Yankees first appearance in the ALCS since 2004. Pitching- The Angels ace is John Lackey who was hurt earlier in the year but pitched very well in Game 1 against the Red Sox in the ALDS. CC Sabathia pitched very well also in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Twins. This should be a good matchup but I think the Yankees have a slight advantage here. John Lackey has made 10 postseason starts and has a 3.02 era while Sabathia has struggled before Game 1 of the ALDS. Lackey has had less strikeouts and more walks since his arm injuries the last two seasons. Lackey has made 3 appearances in the playoffs against the Yankees, two as a starter. He has surrendered 3 earned runs and 10 hits in 14 1/3 innings which is a 1.88 era. Lackey won his only start against the Yankees this season on July 12th against CC Sabathia. He gave up 2 earned runs in 7 innings. He is 5-7 with a 4.66 era in 16 career starts against the Yankees. CC Sabathia was 0-2 with a 6.08 era against the Angels this season in 2 starts. A.J. Burnett will be pitching at home once again in game 2 where he really flourishes and has good feelings now that he got his first postseason start out of the way and pitched well. The Angels rotation won't be announced until tomorrow but it looks like they may go with Joe Saunders in game 2, the manager said he wants a lefty going in Yankee stadium so it could also be Scott Kazmir but it looks like they are leaning towards Saunders with Weaver going in game 3 and Kazmir in game 4. I think the Yankees have the slight edge in pitching but the Angels starters aren't so bad themselves. The main difference with the pitching is the bullpens where the Yankees have a much better and deeper bullpen. Brian Fuentes is a good closer but the Angels don't have much other then that. Jepson has been pretty good but overall the weakness of their team is the bullpen. Hitting- The Yankees have arguably the best lineup in baseball and A-rod is hot and carried the Yankees in the first round but other then him and Derek Jeter they didn't hit much against the Twins. Johnny Damon had a really rough series with 1 hit and 4 strikeouts. Robinson Cano, Melky Cabrera, Hideki Matsui, Nick Swisher none of these guys really did anything or not much at all and the Yankees will look for the offense to really get going now in the ALCS. The Angels were carried by Bobby Abreu who batted close to 600 in the ALDS. Vlady Guerrero is a big bat still and Torii Hunter is a solid player. The key for the Angels is to get chone figgins and Maiztur Izturis on base and then start the running game. If the Yankees pitchers keep them off of base then they will have success. The Yankees want to grind out at bats and get to the bullpen early and go to work on the Angels weakness. I would give the Yankees the edge in hitting but the Angels are pretty good. I would think this series is going 6 or 7 games and I am going to pick the Yankees in 6. The Yankees will have confidence that they finally won a couple of games in Anaheim and they played well at home against them and they have the homefield advantage. I think everything so far has gone the Yankees way and they are capable of playing even better and will to get back to the World Series.

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