The Archer correctly called the Division Series winners here. Though I was correct, I was somewhat surprised at how quickly the Cardinals and Red Sox were dispatched with alacrity. I was hoping the Twins would find a way to at least make it competitive, and there were a few close games there, but the Twins just can't win squeakers against the Yankees. That's been a soap opera for them all season.
As such, I have to say I am not real thrilled with the overall teams left in the Championship series. It is all East Coast/West Coast, which I think it going to tank the TV ratings, as no team in the Plains or in the South are left standing, so I think most of the country is now going to tune out unless you are from California, New York, or Philly. And if it ends up being an All California Freeway Series, they might as well not even bother showing it anywhere off the West Coast.
That having been said, both series are intriguing.
ANGELS v. YANKEES
The Angels are a very balanced team. Unlike the Yankees, they don't have copious amounts of superstar players, which has positives and negatives. The positive being that they aren't a team of moody overpaid personalities; the negative being that superstar "for hire" lineups are hard to beat if they are actually producing. The Yankees have the best record in baseball, and seem to have finally adjusted to the post-Joe Torre era. If things start going sour, watch for prima donna finger pointing.
The Angels do lead the majors in team batting average (.285) that had 9 hitters average .300 or better by late August. Factoid: Angels are the 1st team in Major league history with 11 hitters with at least 50 RBIs. The Yankees have 51 comebacks and 15 walk-off wins. Yankees have the pitching though, acquiring CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett in the offseason, both of whom had solid years.
Possible Game Breaker: The Angels have made a locker room shrine to a player who was killed in an auto accident in April. They might have the "win one for the Gipper" syndrome. Hey, the Rally Monkey did it for them a few years ago.
Lowdown: Good hitting team v. good pitching team with better power numbers
Prediction: Yankees in 6
DODGERS v PHILLIES
The defending champs know how to win it all. Dodgers are still a bit of a question mark, although Joe Torre knows all to well what it takes to win. The Phillies closer has his nasty slider back, which was a plus against the Rockies, and the Phillies are still riding a bit of a wave from the up and down Rockies series.
Wild Card: Torre found a way to win and get over the Manny Ramirez steroid suspension fiasco early in the season. Ramirez is usually a force to be reckoned with in the post season and is probably still looking for a bit of redemption.
On paper: This one looks pretty easy to call. Dodgers have a much higher batting average (.270) and a much lower ERA (3.41) than do the Phillies. The Phillies do have higher power numbers though.
Prediction: Dodgers in 7