In the three previous ALDS showdowns, the Red Sox dominated the Angels to a record of 10-1. Two of those seasons, 2004 and 2007, the Red Sox went on to win the World Series. This season, the Angels were ready to change things up.
After impressive performances from John Lackey and Jered Weaver, the pitching looks to be getting hot at the right time. Timely hitting from Vladimir Guerrero and Erik Aybar, along with consistent at-bats from Bobby Abreu and Torii Hunter, Angels fans are starting to believe that this could the year.
The Yankees returned to the postseason after a brief hiatus, halting the Twins' impressive streak to end their season. The Yankees outscored the Twins 15-6 behind solid outings from CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and Andy Pettitte. The Yankees kept Joba Chamberlain in the bullpen for the ALDS, but will need at least a fourth starter for the ALCS. Whether it is Chamberlain or Chad Gaudin, there is even more pressure on Sabathia and Burnett to get the Yankees out in front in the series.
The Angels have the Yankees' number in the postseason, knocking the Yankees out in 2002 and 2005. They split the season series this year, but it is clear that the Angels have more depth in their rotation than the Yankees.
The Yankees paced the league with 915 runs scored, but the Angels were right there with 883. The lineups from top to bottom are solid, but it is key that the Angels don't let Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez hurt them. The Yankees would be smart to avoid Guerrero, who stepped up in the ALDS after a strong second-half.
Both bullpen's are solid, and both teams are motivated beyond just winning a World Series. The Angels came together this season after the tragic death of rookie pitcher Nick Adenhart, sporting his number on their jersey all season and even celebrating at his picture on the outfield wall after they clinched. The Yankees opened their new season and powered their way back to the top of the AL East, posting the best record in baseball. Young manager Joe Girardi will face up against veteran manager Mike Scoscia, who is considered one of the best managers in all of baseball.
Nearly a week away, this already has the makings of an epic series. In the end, it seems like it always comes down to who has the best pitching. My prediction: Angels in six.
We'll get a sense of that soon enough, but for now, I want to hear what you guys think?