5 Things To Watch For In Alcs
With the American League Championship Series about to kick off, there is no shortage of storylines. The Yankees and Angels split their regular season series with each team winning five games and if that is any indication as to how this series will go, it should be a good one. Here are five of the more interesting headlines heading into the ALCS.
1. Angel in the outfield- The Angels are clearly playing with some extra emotion this postseason after losing their young teammate, pitcher Nick Adenhart, early in the season. A picture of the late 22 year old is painted on the outfield wall and their celebration after clinching the American League West Division showed just how much he remains on their minds.
2. A-Resurrection- In the ALDS against the Twins, Alex Rodriguez finally showed signs of postseason life. His clutch two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth innning in Game Two off closer Joe Nathan seemed to make Yankee fans forgive him for all of his past postseason blunders. In reality, Nathan struggled down the stretch and the Twins were overmatched in that series. If A-Rod goes 0-4 in Game One of the ALCS, it will be interesting to see if the boo birds make an appearance at the new Yankee Stadium.
3. 3 Amigos- The Yankees have decided to go with a three-man rotation for this series and there are question marks about all three guys. C.C. Sabathia has traditionally been a great regular season pitcher who struggles in the postseason and his one start against the Twins in the ALDS, who had just finished off Detroit the night before, does little to disprove that. If the series goes seven games, Sabathia could potentially start three games and could be the Yankees biggest (in more ways than one) key to victory.
A.J. Burnett had an up and down first season in New York finishing with 13 wins and an E.R.A. over four. He may be the biggest unknown in the rotation as this year marks his first time ever pitching in the postseason. At times he has struggled with his control which can be a recipe for disaster in the postseason, especially against a hungry team like the Angels.
The biggest thing Andy Pettitte has going for him is that he has a ton of postseason experience. The biggest concern with Pettitte…is that he has a ton of postseason experience! The Texan is 37 years old and has pitched in the playoffs in 12 of the last 15 seasons. You have to wonder how much gas is left in the tank.
4. Bobby’s Back- When Bobby Abreu became a free agent at the end of last season he wanted to return to New York, but the Yankees weren’t interested in keeping him around. He was quitely productive in his first season in L.A. driving in over 100 runs while also stealing 30 bases and hitting just under .300. Now he’ll have the chance to return to the Bronx to face his old teammates.
5. New York, New York- Two factors that most likely will come into play in New York will be the weather and the new ballpark. The forecast is calling for rain and cold both Friday and Saturday, which could have implications for the Yankees planned three-man rotation if a game is rained out. The hitter-friendly park could also mean higher scoring games than usual in the playoffs.
Prediction: Yankees in six. The bats of A-Rod, Teixeira and Jeter along with the best closer in history and home field advantage will give the Yankees the edge over the Angels.