Friday, October 16, 2009

2009 ALCS Preview

I was only 50/50 in picking the division series teams- the Yankees and Phillies being the correct ones. Still trying to figure out what happened to the Cardinals and I guess the Red Sox were even worse off than I thought.

But on to more important things- Yankees and the Angels in the American League Championship Series. Rotten weather on the east coast can affect games 1 and 2, and therefore beyond. The Yankees plans to use three starters could go out the window.

Positional Breakdown

The Managers

We're not going to rehash everything we talked about prior to the division series, but a couple of notes from that series. I'm concerned, as I have been all year, withover managing the bullpen. Joe Girardi was guilty of it for much of the stretch and again in the first round. So far it hasn't caught up with him, but it still could. On the plus side, now he has some experience under his belt.

Mike Scioscia

The former Dodgers' catcher is one of the top five managers in baseball. He's got one World Series ring and five division winners.

Edge: Angels

1st Base

Mark Teixeira went just 3-12 in the ALDS, but had a couple of big hits, including the game winning home run in game 3.

Kendry Morales came into his own this year, the first in which he got regular at-bats. He belted 34 home runs and drove in 108 runs while posting a .924 OPS. He's also a pretty good defender and a posted a .994 fielding percentage. He made up for the huge loss ofTeixeira to free agency. ALDS: 2-10, 1 HR 3 RBI

Edge: Yankees

2nd Base

Robinson Cano was just 2-12 in the ALDS, with one key RBI.

Howie Kendrick experienced some of the same lows Cano did in 2008. Kendrick was sent to the minors after struggling in the first half of the season. But he was resurgent after the break, posting a .358 average and a .948 OPS. LikeCano he also doesn't like to take a walk. Kendrick absolutely loves hitting against the Yankees (.426), including .310 this year). ALDS: 1-5

Edge: Yankees


Derek Jeter built on his regular season with 4 hits, 3 walks, 2 RBI, and 4 runs scored against the Twins. His home run in the ALDS woke up the home crowd and helped ignite the Yankees to a sweep in the first round.

Erick Aybar is an example of the excellent scouting and player development that the Angels organization is noted for. Aybar hit .312 in his first season with over 500 at-bats. His speed and defense are a spark. ALDS: 4-10, 2 RBI

Edge: Yankees

3rd Base

Alex Rodriguez has to be still feeling the glow from his huge ALDS. Now he has to prove he can hit in October against teams other than Minnesota.

Chone Figgins is the Angels' spark plug and a huge nemesis to the Yankees- a .327 avg. in 17 steals in 25 attempts. Don't underestimate his fielding either. The Yankees may want to take a look at how Boston pitched him in round one. ALDS: 0-12, 6 K

Edge: Yankees

Left Field

Johnny Damon struggled over the last month of the season and those struggles continued in the ALDS, where he went just 1-12. That included a "Golden Sombrero" in Game 3.

Juan Rivera quietly put together a very solid season for the Angels. The former Yankee hit 25 home runs and drove in 88 runs in just 137 games. He's also a solid defensive player with a very good arm. ALDS: 3-11, 2 RBI

Edge: Angels (the defense gets it)

Center Field

Melky Cabrera has been up and down all year and right now he may be on the downside. If the 2-12 he put up in the ALDS continues, Brett Gardner may find some playing time.

Torii Hunter has always been known for his outstanding defensive play in center field, but he's also one of the AL's most consistent hitters. At 34 years of age, he hit a career high .299. His 3-run home run in Game 1 of the ALDS set the tone for the series with Boston. ALDS: 2-10, 1 HR 3 RBI

Edge: Angels

Right Field

Nick Swisher has had some consistency problems at the plate, but always brings enthusiasm and a positive attitude to the game. But he'll need to better than his 2-12ALDS for the Yankees to top the Angels.

Bobby Abreu was the free agent signing of the off-season. The ex-Yankee found an unwilling market and had to settle for a one year, $5 million deal with the Halos. It should pay off this winter. The typicalAbreu line in '09 - .293, 30 steals, 94 walks, 15 home runs, 103 RBI. ALDS: 5-9, 1 RBI 4 BB 4 Runs.

Edge: Angels


Jorge Posada wasn't happy about sitting in favor of Jose Molina in Game 2, and seemed to affect his play in Game 1. But he bounced back with avengeance in the finale with a pair of big RBI and ended up 4-11. Girardi has not committed to using Molina this time around, but don't be surprised if he does. Either way, he and Molina will be tested by the Angels aggressive base running.

Jeff Mathis/Mike Napoli split the division series with Napoli getting two starts. Napoli has put together back to back 20-home run seasons, while Mathis isn't much of an offensive threat. Combined ALDS: 2-7

Edge: Yankees


Hideki Matsui had some big at-bats in the ALDS, including a long 2-run home run. His knees need to hold up for about another 2-3 weeks.

Vlad Guerrero is not quite the hitter he was due to bad feet, back, and knees. But he's still dangerous. Just ask the Red Sox who mistakenly walk Hunter to face him in the ALDS finale. The result was the game winning hit. ALDS: 4-10, 2 RBI

Edge: Yankees

Starting Rotation

Yankees – Ideally, CC Sabathia will go in games 1, 4, and 7. A.J. Burnett would take games 2 and 5, while Andy Pettitte would take the hill in games 4 and 6. If things change, Chad Gaudin will go in Game 4.

Angels – John Lackey is a horse and the clear ace of the staff. He goes in Game 1, followed by left-hander Joe Saunders, and righty Jered Weaver. Scott Kazmir would get a Game 4 start.

Edge: Yankees, but not by much


Yankees – Mariano Rivera was huge in the Game 3 finale of the ALDS, but Phil Hughes struggled in the series. Girardi over managed his pen and will probably do the same in the ALCS. Marte is still a worry.

Angels – Brian Fuentes led the AL in saves, but is not intimidating. Kip Jensen has stepped up to give the Angels a solid righty late, but this bullpen is no K-Rod-Scot Shields.

Edge: Yankees

The Angels will run like crazy on the Yankees pitchers, catchers, and outfielders, but that being said:
PREDICTION – Yankees in 6

1 comment:

  1. A-Rod has really stepped up in the post-season so far to prove his critics wrong. I think the Yankees are going to be tough to beat in a 7 game series.