Thursday, October 29, 2009


WORLD SERIES: New York Yankees vs. Philadelphia Phillies
NYY's ROAD TO THE WORLD SERIES: After a not-so impressive first half to the season, the Yankees caught fire after the All-Star break, winning eight straight games en route to regaining their elusive American League East Division crown, a feat they have not done since 2006. New York did not lose a season series against any American League team. Their new found domination continued into the American League Division Series as they swept the Minnesota Twins in three games, thanks to Alex Rodriguez finally finding his postseason swing. Rodriguez would be even better in the American League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Angels as the Yankees won in six games.
PHI's ROAD TO THE WORLD SERIES: The Phillies also did decent during the first half of the season, but caught fire later in the second half, largely due to their mid-season acquisitions of Cliff Lee and Pedro Martinez. Although Philadelphia was the only winner of their Divisional Series to not sweep their opponent (they beat the Colorado Rockies in five games), the Phillies dispatched the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games.
ANALYSIS: If you love the long ball, then this is your series, as the top two home run hitting teams in a season square off for just the third time in a World Series. Rodriguez and Ryan Howard are two of the more prolific home run hitters in baseball, and will be getting a lot of help from their supporting casts. The 2009 Yankees may not be the "Murderers Row" of the 1927 squad, but with Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and Hideki Matsui, this team can mash a bit. The Phillies remain intact with their three MVP candidates of Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and Howard, but the all-out effort of Shane Victorino, the acquisition of Raul Ibenez, and the emergence of Jayson Werth makes the defending champions that much stronger. Two former Cy Young teammates with the Cleveland Indians, Sabathia and Lee, will be the marquee pitching matchup, with Burnett, Andy Pettitte, Cole Hamels, and Pedro Martinez being the undercards whenever they pitch. Also, two of the more dominating closers in the MLB and in postseason history face off in Mariano Rivera and Brad Lidge.
SEASON SERIES: Phillies won, 2-1
PREDICTION: Yankees in 7
MATCH-UP: Pedro returns to New York (Game 2...sure Yankee and Met fans hate him now)
PIVOTAL GAME: Game 7 (don't be surprised if it comes down to the last at-bat)

Thursday, October 15, 2009


ALCS: New York Yankees vs. Los Angeles Angels
ROAD TO THE ALCS: Both teams looked impressive in the Divisional Playoffs, with both teams earning sweeps in order to get to this point. New York beat Minnesota with pitching and timely hitting as, for the meanwhile, Alex Rodriguez seems to have exercised his postseason demons, with his two home runs coming in the seventh inning or later and with the Yankees in a close game to go along with his .455 batting average and 6 RBIs. Los Angeles flipped the script on Boston and swept them, but not before clinching the sweep and the series in a huge comeback in Game 3.
ANALYSIS: If you love offense, this is your series, as both teams ranked in the top two in the American League in runs scored and batting average, but that is where the comparisons stop. The Yankees love to mash the ball with relentless aggression, as evidenced with their 244 home runs in 2009. The Angels love to use small-ball tactics in order to manufacture runs, thus relying on speed and timing. The key in this series is pitching though. The Angels will use four starting pitchers, and the Yankees will use three, but could it help or harm the Yankees by possibly having CC Sabathia pitch Games 1, 4, and 7? Only time will tell...
SEASON SERIES: tied, 5-5
PREDICTION: Yankees in 6
MATCH-UP: Joe Girardi vs. Mike Scioscia (both managers were World Series winning catchers)
PIVOTAL GAME: Game 6 (especially if the Yankees are leading 3-2)

NLCS: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Philadelphia Phillies
ROAD TO THE NLCS: The Los Angeles Dodgers flipped the light switch back to the on position after a commanding sweep over St. Louis. The hitting was good but the pitching was a little bit better, despite that the Dodgers did have trouble early in Games 1 and 2, but rebounded late. The Philadelphia Phillies were the only team to not win their series in a sweep, having to fend off the pesky Colorado Rockies in four games. The last three games of the NLDS were too close for the Phillies' comfort, especially in the bottom of the eighth inning in Game 4, when Colorado took the lead, 4-2. However, the Phillies scored three of their own in the ninth, and closed the door on the Rockies.
ANALYSIS: The rematch of the 2008 NLCS is set, but this time it is the Dodgers with home-field advantage. On paper, Philadelphia is tough on offense and Los Angeles has good pitching to get the job done, but the game can ultimately come down between Ryan Howard and Manny Ramirez, two of the more dominating hitters in baseball today. Another incentive is the supporting casts where the Phillies have a more veteran group, and the Dodgers' group are young, but grew up throughout the season.
SEASON SERIES: Dodgers won, 4-3
PREDICTION: Dodgers in 7
MATCH-UP: Pedro Martinez vs. Manny Ramirez (two of the players who won the 2004 World Series)
PIVOTAL GAME: Game 1 (to see if L.A. can shake off what happened against the Phillies last year)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


1. New York Yankees
2. St. Louis Cardinals
3. Philadelphia Phillies
4. Los Angeles Angels
5. Los Angeles Dodgers
6. Boston Red Sox
7. Colorado Rockies
8. Minnesota Twins

ALDS: New York Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins
ANALYSIS: The Twins played a hell of a game to defeat the Detroit Tigers last night for the right to play the New York...the next day. Combine that with the fact that the Yankees swept the 7-game season series over Minnesota, the Twins seriously do not have a chance, right? Well, the Twins are a team that can slap the ball, get base hits, and do the little things right, but New York is a more complete team with the pitching and the hitting to do well in a 5-game series. We shall see!
SEASON SERIES: Yankees won, 7-0
PREDICTION: Yankees in 3
MATCH-UP: Carl Pavano v. Yankees in Game 3 (in Minnesota)
PIVOTAL GAME: Game 1 (We'll see if the Twins can hang with the Yankees)

ALDS: Los Angeles Angels vs. Boston Red Sox
ANALYSIS: This is the third straight year the Angels and Red Sox will meet in the ALDS, and the previous two saw Boston come out on top. In matter of fact, since the Angels took a 3-1 lead in Game 4 the 1986 ALCS vs. Boston, the Angels are 1-12 in postseason play vs. the Red Sox. This year, both teams are quite even, as they both can score and can pitch, but for Angel fans, one can only hope that there will be a reversal of fortune as they play for Nick Adenhart's memory.
SEASON SERIES: Angels won, 5-4
PREDICTION: Angels in 5
MATCH-UP: Angel relievers vs. Red Sox batters (LAA has blown games late in the last 2 series)
PIVOTAL GAME: Game 2 (Weaver vs. Beckett)

NLDS: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. St. Louis Cardinals
ANALYSIS: Two of the more complete players square off in this match-up with Manny Ramirez facing Albert Pujols. These two can do it all as far as getting on base, driving in runs, and hitting home runs and are near the top of MVP talks for the NL. So the keys will be who plays the best supporting role, and since getting Matt Holliday, the Cardinals have been on fire, while having two Cy Young caliber pitchers (Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright) does not hurt. However, the Dodgers did hold tight during Manny's 50-game suspension and have been on cruise control during the season...but could cruising too much, to the point of clinching the NL West late, mean a possible bruising?
SEASON SERIES: Cardinals won, 5-2
PREDICTION: Cardinals in 5
MATCH-UP: Tony La Russa vs. Joe Torre (two of the best managers in the MLB)
PIVOTAL GAME: Games 1 or 2 (if the Dodgers can take one of those games, the series will go 5)

NLDS: Philadelphia Phillies vs. Colorado Rockies
ANALYSIS: Tell me if you have heard this before...the NL East Champion Phillies are facing against a hot, scrappy Rockies team. It happened in 2007, when Colorado swept Philadelphia en route to the World Series. This year, this happens again, but this Philadelphia team is fresh off of a World Series title, and actually are better now than they were then. If you take away the first two months of the season, the Rockies are very unstoppable as they manned up after the firing of Clint Hurdle. The Phillies have been steady despite Cole Hamels' struggles due to an injury, thanks to them picking up Cliff Lee. Also their offense of Shane Victorino, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, and Raul Ibenez is potent.
SEASON SERIES: Phillies won, 4-2
PREDICTION: Phillies in 4
MATCH-UP: the 2007 NL Champs vs. the 2008 NL Champs
PIVOTAL GAME: Game 2 (the Rockies have to stay in momentum)