American League Playoffs Preview

As we go deep into the night in Denver I being writing this in the top of the 13th inning.  I fully expected to give a report on this terrific game, but that will wait for tommorow as this all-time classic is going.  Instead I’ll go ahead and offer my AL Preview

Sox BOSTON RED SOX

(96-66; AL East Champions)

VS.

Angels_1 LOS ANGELES ANGELS OF ANAHEIM

(94-68; AL West Champions)

Tale of the Tape:

Catcher: Mike Napoli (LAA) vs. Jason Veritek (BOS): The Red Sox captain is a veteran of post season’s past.  The Angels catcher has just played over 1 full season.  Huge Advantage Boston

1st Base: Casey Kotchman (LAA) vs. Kevin Youklis (BOS): Both seem to be about the same player.  Youk is basically Kevin Millar v.2.  Small Advantage Boston

2nd Base: Howie Kendrick (LAA) vs. Dustin Pedroia (BOS): Pedroia is the likely AL Rookie of the Year.  Kendrick is the man that LAA decided would replace the legendary Adam Kennedy.  Of course I could also be the guy to replace Kennedy.  Small Advantage Los Angeles

3rd Base: Chone Figgins (LAA) vs. Mike Lowell (BOS): Can someone please explain to me how his name is pronounced Shawn?  Lowell has had some huge hits for the Beantowners down the stretch.  Advantage Boston

Shortstop: Orlando Cabrera (LAA) vs. Julio Lugo (BOS): Remember how good Cabrera was in the 2004 playoffs?  Sox fans do and they’ll never let Lugo forget it.  Huge Advantage Los Angeles

Left Field: Garret Anderson (LAA) vs. Manny Ramirez (BOS): Garret Anderson has been a great player for many years.  Man-Ram is a first ballot hall of famer.  Advantage Boston

Center Field: Gary Matthews (LAA) vs. Coco Crisp (BOS): Gary Matthews is embroiled in a steroid controversy.  Coco Crisp in a ceral controversy.  Okay bad joke.  Advantage Los Angeles

Right Field: Vladimir Guerrero (LAA) vs. JD Drew (BOS): Vlad is one of the best hitters of his generation.  JD Drew is one of the least competitive people on the planet.  Biggest Advantage Ever Los Angeles

Designated Hitter: Juan Rivera (LAA) vs. David Ortiz (BOS): Juan Rivera has played 14 games this year.  David Ortiz is one of the most clutch playoff performers of all time.  Huge Advantage Boston

Starting Rotation: Angels will go with Lackey, Escobar, and Weaver.  Sox with Beckett, Matsuzaka, and Schilling.  Lackey and Beckett will be a great matchup, after that the Angels have a decided edge.  Advantage Los Angeles

Bullpen: Angels will rely on 2002 veteran Scot Shields to get the ball to K-Rod along with a group of unproven middle relievers.  For the Sox they feature Hideki Okajima from the left side, 2004 key Mike Timlin, and the Artist Formerly Known as Eric Gagne.  Small Advantage Boston

Closer: Francisco Rodriguez (LAA) vs. Jonathon Papelbon (BOS): Both are dominant shut down closers, but K-Rod does have the 2002 post season experience.  Papelbon has shown signs of fading.  Small Advantage Los Angeles

Manager: Mike Scioscia (LAA) vs. Terry Francona (BOS): Both have championships on their resume, but I have the feeling there has never been a skipper who was luckier than Terry Francona 2004.  Advantage Los Angeles

Other Catergories…

Best Team Ever: Angels 2002 vs. Red Sox 2004: Curse busters or ThunderStix.  No contest…Advantage Boston

Biggest Heartbreak: Angels lose 3-1 lead in 86 ALCS vs. Bill Buckner 86 World Series: Amazing these both happened in the same year.  Donnie Moore offing himself or Buckner going into exile?  Disadvantage Boston

Hometown Fans: ThunderStix or the Fenway Faithful?  No contest as much as I hate the Chowder Heads they are passionate.  Advantage Boston

Stadium: Angels Stadium vs. Fenway Park: Another really easy choice.  The best old park in the bigs, or a rock pile?  Advantage Boston

Mascot: Rally Monkey vs. Wally the Green Monster: Gotta go with the Monkey here.  Anything that was so random gets my vote.  Advantage Los Angeles

City: Anaheim vs. Boston: Rich stuffy pricks that can’t pronounce an R or So-Cal’s beaches and babes?  Advantage Los Angeles

Franchise Icon: Nolan Ryan vs. Ted Williams: Nolan Ryan is a great pitcher but last I checked his cap in Cooperstown doesn’t have an A on it.  Ted Williams is one of the five greatest hitters ever.  Advantage Boston

Series Prediction: Its about even, but its a bad matchup for LA.  Lackey doesn’t pitch well at Fenway and the Angels have struggled against the Sox. 

Boston in 4

Yanks NEW YORK YANKEES

(94-68; AL Wild Card)

VS.

Indians_2 CLEVELAND INDIANS

(96-66; AL CENTRAL CHAMPIONS)

Tale of the Tape:

Catcher: Jorge: Posada (NYY) vs. Victor Martinez (CLE): Victor Martinez is an all-star and a big time hitter.  Jorge Posada is 11 wins away from having a hand full of rings  Small Advantage New York

1st Base: Jason Giambi (NYY) vs. Ryan Garko (CLE) Giambi is a legit power threat at all times, and is prone to sweat in any situation.  Ryan Garko is…Ryan Garko  Advantage New York

2nd Base: Robinson Cano (NYY) vs. Asdrubal Cabrera (CLE) Robinson Cano is one of the AL’s up and coming young hitters.  Cabrera has a cool first name  Huge Advantage New York

3rd Base: Alex Rodriguez (NYY) vs. Casey Blake (CLE) I love the local boy as much as anyone (Casey Blake hails from the home of That’s a Winner) but gimmie a break.  A-Rod is the best hitter on the planet. Huge Advantage New York

Shortstop: Derek Jeter (NYY) vs. Jhonny Perralta (CLE): Jeter is the modern day Mr. October.  Perralta’s mother didn’t know how to spell the most common American Name.  Huge Advantage New York

Left Field: Hideki Matsui (NYY) vs. Kenny Lofton (CLE) Matsui is a great power threat from the left side.  Lofton is so old he actually started his career with the Kansas City Monarchs. Advantage New York

Center Field: Melky Cabrera (NYY) vs. Grady Sizemore (CLE) Melky has filled in nicely for Johnny Damon as he moves the DH spot, but gimmie a break.  Sizemore is a legit stud.  Huge Advantage Cleveland

Right Field: Bobby Abreu (NYY) vs. Franklin Guttierez (CLE) Bob didn’t have his best year, but I’ll take his experience over Franklin. Advantage New York

Designated Hitter: Johnny Damon (NYY) vs. Travis Hafner (CLE) Hafner has struggled this year but you still wouldn’t want to face him with runners on.  Damon is Damon, pesky, good speed.  Small Advantage Cleveland

Starting Rotation: Indians have Sabathia and Carmona who are studs.  They will also send Paul Byrd and Jake Westbrook to the hill.  Wang and Pettie anchor a solid but not spectacular Yankee staff  Advantage Cleveland

Bullpen: I’m not gonna lie, I haven’t heard of a single Indian Reliever.  For the Yanks one word Jobba! One more word…Farnsworth  Advantage New York

Closer: Mariano Rivera (NYY) vs. Joe Borowski (CLE): Can a team with Joe Borowski closing games be considered a contender?  I didn’t think so.  By the way the Sandman is still the Sandman Huge Advantage New York

Manager: Joe Torre (NYY) vs. Eric Wedge (CLE) Torre has 4 World Titles.  Wedge has won the AL Central once.  Huge Advantage New York

Other Catergories…

Best Team Ever: Yankees 1927 vs. Indians 1995: Best Team Ever or a team that couldn’t beat the Braves in the World Series.  Everyone beat the Braves in October Advantage New York

Biggest Heartbreak: Yankees blow 3-0 lead in 04 ALCS vs. Indians blos 9th inning lead in Game 7 of the 97 Series:  The Yanks was the greatest choke ever but they have a few Championships to take their mind off it.  The Indians still haven’t won since 48. Disadvantage Cleveland

Hometown Fans: The crowd at Yankee Stadium provides a tremendous atmosphere at all times.  The crowd at the Jake ran and hid when the team went into an early 00’s slump  Advantage New York

Stadium: Yankee Stadium vs. Jacobs Field: The Jake is nice and all, but this still isn’t close.  The House that Ruth Built  Advantage New York

Mascot: Dandy vs. Slider Who the **** is Dandy you ask?  Check it out here.  I couldn’t find a pic.  Indians have Slider a giant purple….thing Advantage Cleveland

City: The Bronx vs. Cleveland: They don’t call it the mistake by the lake for nothing.  Advantage New York

Franchise Icon: Babe Ruth vs. Bob Feller: Again I’d love to give the local boy some love (Feller hails from nearby Van Meter, IA) but the Babe is the greatest ever. Advantage New York

Series Prediction: New York won all six in the regular season by a combined score of something like 9914 to 1. Get ready for Sox/Yanks III

New York in 3

By the way…WHAT A FREAKIN GAME…Congrats to the Colorado Rockies on completing one of the most amazing comebacks in baseball history winning 14 of their last 15.   

And while were slamming local boys…yes Tim McClelland (from nearby West Des Moines) horribly botched that call.  Such is life though, One has to wonder if Colorado is leading a charmed life.

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4 comments

  1. Rob

    All things being equal you are correct, but I am a big believer in post-season experience to which Pap has none. Also he faded in September 2006, and has struggled in September 2007. Its close, but I noticed you are a Sox fan…I would expect you to back your boys.

  2. MARTIN

    How could you go with the Sox ? Is it because of Adam Kennedy ? Remember, we got him from you for Jim Edmonds. That didn’t turn out too bad for you did it ?
    Props to you for still showing interest when your team isn’t in it. I don’t think there will be too many Mets fans blogging during the playoffs this year. You sir are a true baseball fan.

  3. samwise1313@hotmail.com

    I really hope you’re wrong with your predictions. I can’t stand the Yankees or the Red Sox, and I was really hoping neither of them would make the playoffs, but until Toronto, Baltimore, or Tampa Bay are willing/able to spend wads of cash on players, I guess we’re stuck with at least one of them every October. But that doesn’t mean they have to get out of the first round. I’m rooting for Cleveland to make it to the World Series for the AL, but will be rooting for the NL representative in the World Series no matter what. I can’t believe I like all 4 NL teams better than any of the AL teams, but there you have it.

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