Unlike past October’s, for the first time in years the final four teams that remain are the top four in baseball. It will something not to miss as any one of the teams has a shot to win. There is no currently hot team making a run of it; all four are hot and loaded with talent.
Each will be fighting to win the American or the National League Championship Series, beginning later this week. The winner of each advances on to play in the World Series, getting the opportunity to possibly be the world champions.
The match-ups go as follows:
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim @New York Yankees
Philadelphia Phillies @Los Angels Dodgers
Here are some things to keep in about each team:
(no specific order)
1.Los Angles Angels of Anaheim
The Angels play tough baseball. How?
In games, opponents tend to make errors against the Angels because the game pace is set to fast from the start. Angel players only committed 85 errors in the regular season, the least in the majors might give you an idea of the raw talent defensively.
Aggressive base-running is the name of the game in Anaheim. In addition add one of the most powerful line-up, who ended the season with a combined .285 which includes nine guys hitting over .300 each. Bobby Abreau has fit like a glove since joining the club this year and he is notorious at running up the pitch counts and gets walked more than any other player.
Jared Weaver and John Lackey will start the first two games in New York and the two righties will be key in the team’s October success. Lackey has the experience and Weaver has the stats to go all the way but both need to start out throwing strikes from the get-go or it could be the fall of an Angel.
The Phillies are champions and want it to stay that way. Ibanez, Howard and Utley are three of the best lefty hitters in the game. The team needs all three to hit because it makes the rest of the line-up thrive too.
The key for the champs is pitching. Cliff Lee is ace who was picked up mid-season. I do not think this club could have made it with out Lee’s additional, CY Young arm. That is because Cole Hamels has been up and down all season. Hamel’s needs to step it up in L.A. And get back to his MVP Championship form if the team’s reign shall continue.
Even more shaky than Hamels is closer Brad Lidge. Lidge was a perfect 48 of 48 last year but he has been far from that this season. He seemed to have that nasty slider back against the Red Sox but his scary season gives him no street credit. Lidge can easily erase his messy numbers by getting back to the old school in October.
3.Los Angles Dodgers
Joe Torre is the manager of the Dodgers and he seems to have a knack for getting to the post-season.
Now Torre and his Dodgers all reside in a place called MANNYWOOD.
As a manager in MANNYWOOD, your job entails keeping Manny from being Manny. Basically, don’t show a hint of any disagreement towards Ramirez or Manny will pout in the corner. L.A. Needs big production from Ramirez who got his swagger back playing against the Cardinals.
The Dodgers have quality left-handed arms which need to offset opposing lefty bats. The team has no certified ace but starters good enough for five or six innings which works due to the depth and talent in the bullpen.
4.New York Yankees
For the Yankees just refer to the above picture. Arod hits the team plays better. It is just a fact and I hope the pressure doesn’t get to the third baseman. Whatever Kate Hudson is doing is working.
The other key performance which the team needs is from starting pitcher A.J. Burnett. He is a star when he throws like a star but Burnett needs to be the biggest star this week against the Angels. Burnett pitched well against the Twins, his first post-season game ever so that is promising. Joba can be thrown in if needed but if Burnett is game on, throwing for strikes he is one of the best in the game.
Four Teams, Two League Championships, One World Series…..WELCOME TO OCTOBER!!!