Thursday, October 15, 2009

Looking at ALCS Pitching Match Ups

So it looks like the Yankees are pretty well set for their rotation and with the Angels announcing their official ALCS rotation we can finally take a look at what each side is bring to the mound. Here are the first two match ups for this weekend.

Game 1 Match Up: CC Sabathia vs. John Lackey
We will start with Sabathia since he will be on the mound first. Everyone knows what the big lefty brings to the table; power fastball, hard slider, change up and an occasional curve. Sabathia did get roughed up by the Angels both times he pitched against them, but both of those starts came before the All-Star break when the big guy had yet to hit his stride with the Bombers in the second half. The Yankees are essentially putting their playoff existence in the hands of Sabathia by taking advantage of their off-days and using him three times if necessary during the ALCS. People like to judge Sabathia by his playoff record and to date he only has two quality playoff starts. The reality is that with his team's season on the line the man became an absolute beast with the Brewers and saved their season. The man can pitch when it counts.

Lackey is someone else who knows how to pitch when it counts. Lackey pitched well this year despite missing a month and a half due to injury. He has the guile to go into most stadiums and win in a hostile environment. Lackey pitched well against the Yankees the one time he faced them, outdueling CC in Anahiem during the first half finale. Lackey is the kind of pitcher that can always hurt the Yankees. He is fearless and he works with good command. The thing is he is hittable and the Yankees can get to him. This will easily be the best match up of the series.

Game 2 Match Up: A.J. Burnett vs. Joe Saunders
We all know what Burnett does. He is very predictable in that he can be unpredictable. Burnett could throw a no-hitter or he could give up seven runs, although I doubt Girardi is giving him that long of a leash in the ALCS. People are constantly worried about Burnett or who is catching him. Really I think his Game 2 performance will be what Burnett does this time around. He will walk a tightrope and give up a few runs, but I think he keeps the Yanks in the game.

Many would have criticized Mike Scoisia if he had let Jered Weaver start Game 2. Weaver isn't particularly good against the Yankees and he is particularly bad away from home. Joe Saunders is definitely a better choice than Weaver but he is not as good a choice as Scott Kazmir. Kazmir is someone who usually gives the Yankees all they can handle. Saunders had one bad start against New York and one good one after he returned from a stint on the DL. Things could go either way for him.

Each match up is close and could go either way. I think the Yankees get the edge in these first two only because of home field advantage. That last at bat will be huge, especially with the Yankees bullpen death. Each game should be close as Sabathia and Lackey probably trade zeros most of the way while Saunders and Burnett see who can put up fewer crooked numbers. I sure both games will take forever with the way the weather looks this weekend. Yet another reason the MLB's idiotic lack of flex scheduling kills the excitement of the playoffs.


Dennis said...

The scheduling is really unbelievable, isn't it?

We should be playing game 2 of the AL series tonight, and they haven't even started yet!

Peter said...

not only that, but they had good weather for the past 3 days and no baseball. Now the weather will be awful all weekend. So now we might have to deal with Thanksgiving baseball. Absolutely unbelievable.

Another thing that makes the MLB moronic... who the hell said it would be ok for the Twins to have an open air stadium! I hope they never make the playoffs again so i dont have to watch snow delays.

Joey said...

Well when people forget that there are games on TV because of such a long hiatus; that is a problem. No one without rooting interests in these series will be captivated with football to watch. When ratings are in the basement maybe someone will decide it is time for a change.

Steve Phillips, who I usually don't care for, made a good point on the radio. He said with so much time off the playoffs don't show who is the best team, but who has the best 2 pitchers, closer, and 3 hitters. For example, the yankees don't need to use anyone from the back of the rotation. They can then enhance their bullpen with their 4th and 5th starters. The yankees are good enough to win a 7 game series played in 9 days, but this series, with bad weather, could last 2 weeks. It just seems stupid and not in the spirit of a game with 162 games in 180 days.