So we have 4 teams left in MLB playoffs: the Philadelphia Phillies, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and the New York Yankees. This post will be an analysis of each team’s chances of making it into the World Series. Personally, I’m rooting for the Angels, but a Yankees-Dodgers match-up would be awesome because it would pit Joe Torre against his former team. The media will have a field day with this.
I’ll start with the Yankees. This is the best looking team on paper. It starts with their power pitching. C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett have been phenomenal this season, especially Sabathia. And both looked very good in the ALDS, giving up just one earned run apiece. They also have a terrifying line-up. Every hitter on their team has home run power, and every one of them can also hit for average. There are zero easy outs on that team. They have the pitching to match-up with the Angels, a more powerful offense, and Jose Molina, one of the very few catchers accurate enough to keep the Angels at bay on the basepath. This makes them my early pick to win the ALCS, and even the World Series.
The Angels are not exactly going to be pushovers however. John Lackey and Jered Weaver are very strong starting pitchers, and I think Joe Saunders and Scott Kazmir can out-pitch Andy Pettite and Joba Chamberlain. Their 1-2 punch isn’t as strong as New York’s, but you need 4 starters to win an LCS, and the Angels are maybe the stronger team 1-4. They also have a dynamic and powerful offense behind them. They don’t hit as many home runs, but they are faster than the Yankees and will test them and their catchers, especially Jorge Posada, over and over again. Their speed and ability to manufacture runs means they can score easily once they get men on base. And that’s their one weakness. Without New York’s home run capabilities, the Angels will be relying on their ability to get on base in order to win. Keep them off base and their offense is diminished more substantially than the Yankees’, who can hit more home runs. The multi-faceted nature of the Yankees offense will outlast the Angels’ singular offense, and they will win because of it.
It was very impressive that the Dodgers beat the Cardinals in just 3 games. Unfortunately, I look at their rotation and their lineup and I just don’t see them advancing. Manny Ramirez hasn’t been the same since he stopped taking estrogen supplements (or whatever they were). Matt Kemp had a good season, to be sure, but he batted just .143 in the NLDS. And beyond that, they don’t have much in they way of big-time, impact hitters. Their offense is only ok, and their starting pitching is the same. Billingsley, Wolf, Kuroda, these are not strong pitchers to be putting out there. They did a great job against the Cardinals, but they are just an ok team that advanced against a superior but slumping team in St. Louis.
I think the Phillies have it in them to reach the World Series (and then lose to the Yankees). They have great starting pitching in Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee, and they have a strong lineup too. Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard are monster players. Combine them with players like Raul Ibanez and Shane Victorino and you have a lineup that can easily overpower the Dodgers starters. Philly plays like an AL team, with power pitching and power offense. And as I’ve said before, the AL is simply better than the NL. So I think we’re looking at the World Champs defending their title against the team with the most titles of all time. It’s not Yankees vs Torre, and it’s not the All-L.A. Series (which virtually no one will watch), but as far as drama goes, I’ll take it.