Wow, that was fast! Three sweeps and a 3-1 series and all of a sudden it’s time for the LCS. I was primed and ready to watch some Game 1’s tonight, BUT, there are none! I guess that’s what happens when the first round is such a dud. I’m disappointed to see the Angels in the LCS, but at least it came at the expense of the Red Sox, who laid an egg and furthered their return to postseason incompetence. The Rockies looked like they were going to make it a series, but Huston Street reverted back to his Oakland postseason days and blew another series. That leaves us with four teams fighting for the crown. Let’s take a look at the matchups….
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Los Angeles Dodgers. Game One: Thursday, 5:07pm Pacific Time
The Dodgers are the beneficiaries of the coveted extra rest after sweeping Matt Holliday’s nuts and the Cardinals. The question mark, however, hovers around Clayton Kershaw, the starter for game 1. Kershaw was solid this season, but you can’t help but wonder about a rookie pitching game 1 of the LCS. It’s a high risk high reward move for Joe Torre that could – emphasis on could – pay huge dividends for his squad. The Dodgers have yet to use Chad Billingsley as a starter, but Torre will nonetheless give the ball back to his rookie to face off against Cole Hamels. The Phillies appear to have the advantage on paper, solely based on the pitching matchup, but both teams are heading in with a healthy dose of momentum. We know the Dodgers offense will put up 3-5 runs per game, so the key will be whether the Phillies score 10 to win or 1 and take the loss. It should be a tight series – I see the Dodgers escaping in 7. Should it be a shorter series, look for the Phillies to take it in four or five.
Anaheim Angels vs. New York Yankees. Game One: Friday, 4:47pm Pacific Time
I don’t know what to hope for in this series. It’s probably my two least favorite teams outside of Boston, but, had the Red Sox been in this series at least I’d know who to root for. Being an A’s fan, I’m sure when the puck is dropped, I’ll find myself rooting for the Yankees. But that doesn’t really affect what goes on on the field now does it? My guess is, since both of these offenses are pretty capable, this series will come down to pitching. The Yankees are going to a three man rotation with Sabathia, Burnett, and Pettitte. Critics are, well, criticizing this move, which is wearing pretty thin on me, considering it used to be standard practice. New York has plenty of arms in their bullpen so even if CC, AJ, or AP can only go five or six, they should be just fine. The biggest red flag in this series seems to be Anaheim’s young pitching in the new Yankee Stadium. We know John Lackey is a son of a bitch and won’t be bothered by the New York crowd – but he might pitch like shit. If the Angels don’t win the first game of the series, it’d be unfathomable for Weaver or Saunders to pony up and carry the team. I’m thinking Yankees in 5, and worst case scenario… Yankees in 6.