Let’s cut to the chase … two potentially great LCS matchups on the table … all four teams have good short series winning ballclubs.
Yankees vs Rangers:
Your ALCS matchup. The key to the series is the secondary starting pitching, especially now that Texas had to use Cliff Lee to win Game 5 against Tampa. That said, the Friday ALCS start is of great help as Lee will be ready on full rest for Game 3, setting up a Game 3/7 possibility. Game 1 becomes a big key with the Yankees running Sabbathia against CJ Wilson presumably for Texas. The Yankees almost HAVE to claim CC’s starts as he is far and away their most reliable starter to pick off good hitting, which the Rangers are not lacking. The Yankees are the best baserunner generating team in the league, and can mash any sort of mediocre pitching. The Rangers back end starters are in trouble here – which makes CJ Wilson’s work all the more important. Cliff Lee cannot be used more than twice, and the Rangers have to force the second time to occur – this makes it an uphill battle for them. So in the battle of the team of Nixon vs the team of George Bush Jr, Yankees in 6 is the pick.
Phillies vs Giants
Look at all that starting pitching! Halladay vs Lincecum, Oswalt vs Cain, Hamels vs Sanchez. All of these matchups are really restaurant quality – and Halladay is so pitch efficient that the Phillies might be able to bypass their #4 starter, which is not a strength. Runs will be hard to come by, and so we are left with focusing on offenses. On that front, there is no comparison. The Phillies offense lacks the greatness of the last couple of years, but their depth is much better than the Giants, whose best hitter pre-Buster Posey this season was a journeyman fungible corner like Aubrey Huff. Howard might not have had a great season, but he is a threat. Utley is terrific, Werth has had a strong season. It is hard to see how the Giants score enough. Phillies in 5