I like the Dodgers, but it’s gonna be close

I wrote up an NLCS Preview over at NBC. I’ll be honest and say that this thing could go either way, but if I have to pick, I’ll go with the Dodgers, mostly because of bullpens.

The more I think about this matchup, the more excited I get. I think the Yankees will beat the Angels fairly easily, but I think we’re going to get some great baseball out of the Dodgers and Phillies.

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Comments

  1. Jack said...

    I actually think the Yankees/Angels series is more interesting and more close.  The two teams offensively are successful with very different approaches.  The Angels are the one team that always gives the Yankees problems, and both matchup pitching wise pretty similarly too.  The Yankees have a hard time controlling the running game when Posada is in there, so it could get real interesting IMO.  I think the CC games are going to go the Yankees ways, but all other games should be toss ups.

  2. YankeesfanLen said...

    Dare I say that finally the Yankees are determined against the Angels, more so than in at least 10+ years.  They finally THINK they can do it, and I hope they can. At least they have a regular season split this year (as with the Red Sox)which will bring some intangible, particularly in NYS.
    Dodgers-Phillies should be good, too.  Possibly leading to the The Greatest Sports Columnists Extravaganza ever- Torre v. Girardi.
    For the time being, Joe G., don’t break my heart and start Joba AT ANY TIME.

  3. Aaron Moreno said...

    Hurry up and shout louder about how the Angels could never beat the Yankees, blah blah veteran playoff experience blah blah ghosts in memorial park blah blah JUST LIKE LAST TIME.

  4. DonCoburleone said...

    Craig come on, “fairly easily”?  I just don’t understand the argument that the Yankees are so much better on paper than the Angels. Slightly better, yes, but to think the Angels will get steam-rolled is foolish. Chub-Chub, Pettithgh and WTMF Burnett are actually gonna have to get GOOD HITTERS out in this series (not just Joe Mauer). I mean seriously is there one player on the Twins not named Joe Mauer who would even start for the Angels?

    On top of that, and I normally hate bringing up the “intangibles” argument, but I really believe the Adenhart death has this team believing like no other team in the playoffs… Angels in 5!

  5. Joe said...

    The Yankees are determined this series, whereas the Angels won’t be going out of their way to try to get a championship?

  6. Daniel said...

    I’m going to join the flaming, Craig.  The Yankees will beat the Angels “fairly easily”?  The Angels have the advantage in starting pitching (slim) and defense (substantial – they’re better defensively at every position except first and right field).  The Yankees have the advantage in hitting (but not by a lot) and bullpen (substantial, although the Angels bullpen has pitched well recently).

    So…fairly easily?  No.

  7. Craig Calcaterra said...

    I hear you all. My “fairly easily” comment is based on really nothing more than gut.  I haven’t thought too terribly much about the ALCS to be honest, but I usually tend to favor the teams with the better bullpen in these things (which is why I shouldn’t have picked the Cards in the NLDS).  Mix in some non-objective things like “A-Rod seems sharp right now” and a long standing CC Sabathia crush, and I’m just coming out that way.  It could turn out to be an Angels’ sweep and I wouldn’t have much more to say than “Hmm. Interesting.”  I just don’t think you can handicap these things with any sort of precision.

  8. Kevin S. said...

    “The team that beats the Red Sox always goes to the Series”

    Considering the Red Sox have lost an LDS twice (three times if you consider the ‘78 play-in game as a forerunner), that’s not a particularly strong statement. wink

  9. Mode:Theif and Lair said...

    @DonCoburleone…

    I seem to remember a team that had 1000s of deaths on their mind that people thought would get them a world championship.

    However, Luis Gonzales had a soft line drive that said different.

    It’s about the talent on the field and how they play in a SSS that is a PO series, that makes a winner.

  10. Kevin S. said...

    Gah, I meant before this season, obviously.  Anyway, the point was that their losses in LCS and WS play aren’t particularly relevant, since by definition the team that beat them in those situations had a WS berth.  ‘78, ‘95 and ‘05 were the only times a team beat the Sox and then had to win another series before advancing.

  11. Jack Marshall said...

    Oh, I know, Kevin; of course you are right. But it’s the kind of crap statistic the network guys throw out. How about this version: No team that has ever beat the Red Sox in the play-offs has failed to go to the World Series?

  12. Jeff said...

    @DonCuburlone: There’s quite a few people from the Twins that would start for the Angels… Mauer (like you said) would catch, Morneau would have to be in there somewhere, Span would start in LF, they’d probably put Kubel at DH (at this point, he is a better hitter than Vladdy) and early in the season, they’d have killed for Scott Baker or Kevin Slowey. Plus, their bullpen is better than the Angels in just about every way.

    But anyway… I think it won’t be as easy as you think either, Craig. The Yankees probably have the pitching edge, but I think the Angels’ lineup is better than the Yankees, depthwise… they may not be able to outslug the Yankees but they can do just about everything else better.

  13. Mode: Thief and Lair said...

    So JM, it will be the battle of the useless “fun facts”.  The one you have laid out vs. the Eric Hinske going to the world series with a different AL east team 2 years running.

  14. Jack Marshall said...

    Yes, Mode…I really like the Hinske stat too. He’s the key…neither the ‘07 Sox or the ‘08 Rays could have gotten to the Series without him. Forget about Tex and CC;Hinske was the critical missing piece for the Bombers. Craig knows…

  15. Kevin S. said...

    How about “The last time the Yankees finished the regular season at least six games better than the next best team, they rolled through the playoffs to an 11-2 mark?”

    ‘Course, that ‘98 team was arguably the greatest ever assembled, but since we’re making silly comparisons anyway…

  16. DonCoburleone said...

    @Mode, name me one New York Yankee on that 2001 team who had spent more than even 1 hour with someone who lost their life on 9-11.  Alot of the Angel players freaking LIVED with Nick Adenhart for months or even years leading up to his death. Similar, but not the same circumstances.

    @Jeff, Morneau obviously is not included seeing as he did not even swing the bat against NY. Span and Kubel?  It depends, Span doesn’t fit the current Angels team (they need power out of their LF because they already have the best leadoff man in the game in Figgins playing Third).  And Kubel probably platoons with Vladdy, which means vs Chub-Chub and Pettithgh Kubel is riding pine, NO DOUBT.  Kubel was completely overmatched against those two guys in the ALDS. I mean come on dude the Twins lineup falls off a GIANT cliff once you get past Kubel…

    And I wasn’t talking about pitching in my last post, just positional players… But since you mentioned it yes, Baker and Nathan definately have a spot on the Angels.  Outside of that, give me all Angels…

  17. Daniel said...

    Heck, given Kendry Morales’s season, you could even argue that Morneau wouldn’t start.  Both had 135 OPS+ this year and according to UZR, Kendry is much better with the glove (albeit in a smaller sample size).  Kendry also has the advantage of being a switch hitter.  Honestly?  I’d sit Morneau.

  18. George said...

    No comments about the Phillies and Dodgers? 

    Craig, looking back at Hamels incredible record against the Dodgers (2-0 30 ip, 1.50 era 25 baserunners, 26k in the regular season and 2-0 14 ip 3 er, 16 baserunners and 13 k in the postseason) and Kershaw’s awful record against the Phillies (0-3 6.64 ERA 20 ip 33 baserunners, 23k and 2ip and 1 ER in the postseason) I don’t see how you can say that you like this matchup for the dodgers.  Kershaw is a guy who throws a lot of pitches and the Phillies are a team that sees a lot of pitches.  So, even if he pitches a great game (which he’s more than capable) he probably won’t make it through 6 innings.

    The only advantage the dodgers have in this pitching matchup is that kershaw isn’t married to heidi hamels

  19. YankeesfanLen said...

    @ Don Coburleone-
      There may, or may not, have been a member of the 2001 Yankees who personally knew a 9/11 victim or survivor.
        What I do know is that on a continuing basis, the New York Yankees gave a lot of monetary and emotional support to not only the victims families, but to the people of the New York area as a whole.
        It is always a shame to lose a teammate and friend.  Ask the ‘39 or’79 Yankees.  The motivation is there however cannot totally overwhelm what the performance will ultimately tell.

  20. Daniel said...

    KevinS – yeah, but I thought we were comparing position by position.  If you start Morneau at DH, then Kubel’s got no place to go.

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