MLB LCS Picks: 500 and Thrilled

DMtShooter Five Tool ToolCorrespondent IOctober 14, 2009

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 09: Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees hits an RBI single in sixth inning against the Minnesota Twins in Game Two of the ALDS during the 2009 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium on October 9, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

I picked half of the first round series correctly...I feel kind of amazed to have that many, really. Both the Red Sox and Cardinals went for Maximum Fail, as those were my second and third most confident choices.

But that's the nature of playoff baseball, let alone a short series.

ALCS: Yankees vs. Angels

The first of two East Coast vs. West Coast draws, both of these teams come in with major mojo rising. The Yankees took out the cursed Twins in classic Yankee Dynasty style.

The outspent and outmatched opponent made critical mistakes in the face of Derek Jeter's Jedi Mind Tricks. And previously thought strengths (closer Joe Nathan being the most obvious, but also their base running and defense) collapsed in the clutch.

I'm also not sure that anyone wants to live in a world where Alex Rodriguez hits in the clutch.

Late word out of the Bronx is that Joe Girardi will go to a three-man rotation of CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, and Andy Pettitte. That sounds a little out there until you realize that their fourth starter options include Chad Gaudin and a collection of short inning non-starters...which means, really, that they don't have an option.

Given that the forecast is calling for ugly weather, especially on the East Coast, it's probably going to play out so that they will all work on normal rest, even.

The Angels are riding the emotion of trying to win it all for the memory of Nick Adenhart, and their offense carried the day against the suddenly suspect Boston bullpen.

In this series, they could steal a lot of bases and get some good starts, but I'm not seeing Bobby Abreu and Vlad Guerrero doing enough on offense.

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And when this goes to the bullpen—assuming that Phil Hughes is either going to be okay or avoided—the Yankees have a massive advantage.

That, along with a huge home-field advantage in the Bronx and enough road fans to make the Thunderstick Dome not so terrible, should push it to the Empire.

And when all else fails, Jeter will just make the Angels get picked off bases with his terrifying mind bullets.

Yankees in six.

NLCS: Dodgers vs. Phillies

A replay of last year's NLCS, but with the Dodgers coming in hotter than before, off a shocking sweep of the giving Cardinals.

The Phillies used an extraordinary amount of left-handed pitching—three out of every four innings against the Rocks were thrown by southpaws—to get past a very game and even Rockies team.

But in this series, and against the twin right-handed terror that is Matt Kemp and Manny Ramirez, it's going to be a much more varied effort.

These teams have a considerable amount of postseason history. On top of last year's event, there's also the 1983 series where the Wheeze Kids rode Charlie Hudson and Gary Matthews, and two series in the '70s where the Steve Garvey Dodgers prevailed.

That might not sound like a lot, but the Phillies have only made it to the playoffs in nine of 40 seasons in my life, which means that nearly half of the time that they've made it, they've faced Team Blue.

The Dodgers have a legitimately great bullpen against the Phillies festival of entertainment. They also have a somewhat lacking defense, a manager that has been in more playoff games than can be easily imagined, and a starting pitching staff that has terrific stuff and occasional problems finding the strike zone.

There will be runs scored in this series.

You'd think that a team that starts Randy Wolf and Vicente Padilla against the WFCs wouldn't be the choice to win. And the Dodgers would be much scarier if they knew they were getting Good Clayton Kershaw and Early Season Chad Billingsley.

But home field matters, and so does more rest.

If you want to pick the Phillies due to their postseason experience and a general feel that Andre Ethier and Kemp aren't going to come through, so be it; that is the hope. But Ramirez is looking like his old self right now, and I'm not sure any of the Phillies starters are going to be able to go deep in a game.

Which, of course gets us to That Bullpen. I love these WFCs, but I just don't see them getting eight more wins with them.

Dodgers in six. (And yes, I really hope I'm wrong.)

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