2009 ALCS & NLCS
Yankees in 6
This is looking the postseason of redemption, and overcoming past failures. In the ALDS not only did Alex Rodriguez overcome his past failures, he flat out carried the Yankees with two game tying clutch home runs, including one in the ninth inning of Game 2. If A-Rod is on track the Yankees will be unstoppable. In year’s past the Angels have given fits to the Yankees, and the two teams did split ten games this season, but in September the Yankees did take two of three in Anaheim, which could be a big psychological boost. The Angels have a solid starting pitching staff, that shutdown the Red Sox, but the Yankees with CC Sabathia, and A.J. Burnett are at least on par if not better. The line up edge is a decided edge to the Yankees, and their lineup has been clicking all season. What may be most important, however is the Yankees edge in the bullpen, Mariano Rivera is the best postseason closer in baseball history, while set up men Phil Hughes, Phil Coke, and possibly even Joba Chamberlain could shorten the game considerably for the Yankees. This is an even bigger factor when you consider the Yankees ability to comeback, and unless the Angels bullpen led by Brian Fuentes is up to the challenge this could turn the series from a nail bitter to a mismatch. Ultimately the Angels are good enough and pesky enough to give the Yankees a fight, but the All-Stars in the Bronx are not going to be denied as the Yankees win in six.
ALCS MVP: Alex Rodriguez
Dodgers in 7
A rematch of last year’s NLCS, in which the Phillies won the series in five games, behind the pitching of Cole Hamels, the defending champion Phillies seek to reach to back-to-back fall classics for the first time in franchise history. The Phillies have an edge in starting pitching with Cliff Lee, being the one true shutdown ace of the series. While Hamels did not have a good season, his past success against the Dodgers, give the Phillies a potential 1-2 punch that could cripple Los Angeles. The Phillies also have the edge with the line up, as Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Rafael Ibanez give them perhaps the second best heart of the lineup in all of baseball. However, on big difference this year is the Phillies bullpen. Last season Brad Lidge was perfect, this year he had 11 blown saves in the regular season. While Lidge was two-for-two in the NLDS, it does not take away from that failure. The Dodgers on the other hand have a strong and deep bullpen led by Jonathan Broxton. If the Phillies are to repeat they will need to win the games early as close games late will see the edge shift to the Dodgers. This series on its face is nearly a toss up, as the bullpen often is the most important factor in October baseball. No matter who wins, it will be a long series, and will likely go the distance, with the Dodgers hosting Game 7 and having four games at home, that will be the factor that will tip the scale in their factor as they win the series in seven games.