The first round matchups of the 2010 major league baseball playoffs have concluded with no major upsets. In the American League the New York Yankees swept the Minnesota Twins, and the Texas Rangers won all three road games including a crucial game five in Tampa Bay to beat the Rays. In the National League pitching dominated the opening round. The Philadelphia Phillies swept the Cincinnati Reds, and the San Francisco Giants defeated the Atlanta Braves in four games. The championship series in both leagues look to be very long and intriguing matchups. Lets take a closer look.
The defending world series champion New York Yankees will not have home field advantage against the Texas Rangers. New York will host three games in the Bronx starting on Monday. The Yankees will go with a four man pitching rotation starting with ace CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes, Andy Pettitte, and the always shaky AJ Burnett. Burnett hit two batters in a simulation game this week. Yankee fans will be holding their breath when Burnett is on the mound next Tuesday because Burnett has been disaster all season long. Texas will host the first two and last two games of this series if it goes the distance. The Rangers did not win any games at home in Arlington against Tampa Bay. The road warriors will have to depend heavily on ace Cliff Lee if they are to win this series. Cliff Lee pitched lights out in the deciding game in the last series so he will be unavailable to pitch until game three of this series. Texas will go with a starting rotation of four pitchers starting with CJ Wilson, Colby Lewis, Cliff Lee, and Tommy Hunter. Both teams have question marks in their starting pitching when their respective ace isn’t on the mound. Whichever team can get the best from their other three starting pitchers will go a long way in determining who wins this matchup. The Rangers can match the Yankees in offense with their deep lineup of hitter. If it comes down to the bullpen the Yankees have the edge with Kerry Wood, and Mariano Rivera waiting in the wings. Stolen bases should also play a big part in gaining momentum for either team. Yankees catcher Jorge Posada has severe problems throwing out base runners and Texas could have a big advantage scoring runs that way. This should be a long series going six or seven games. PREDICTION RANGERS IN 7
The National League championship series should be a low scoring matchup because both teams have an amazing aresnal of starting pitching. The Philadelphia Philies will have home field in the series that starts on Saturday night. The San Francisco Giants will host games three, four, and five at AT&T Park. Philadelphia has stellar pitching on their side because ace Roy Halladay is coming off a no-nitter in his first career postseason start and he is one of the best pitchers in baseball. The pitchers that will follow Roy Halladay are Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels, and Joe Blanton. Oswalt and Hamels are big game pitchers and have the ability to shutdown a feable offense like San Franciscos. If the first three starters for Philadelphia can go out and get the job done Joe Blanton could give up 7 runs on Wednesday and still leave the Phillies in an excellent position to win the series. On the Giants pitching side their top three pitchers are also of exceptional talent. Anchor Tim Lincecum will go head to head with Roy Halladay in game one, and five. The entire baseball world will be guled to that pitching duel to see which star pitcher cracks under pressure. Behind Lincecum, Jonathan Sanchez, Matt Cain, and Madison Bumgarner will go to the mound for the Giants. Sanchez and Cain can throw strikes until their arms fall off, and this will help San Francisco keep the series low in scoring. That favours San Francisco because the Giants can’t match the powerful lineup that Philadelphia presents. The Giants best hitter is rookie catcher Buster Posey. The Phillies have playoff expierence with their hitters in Rollins, Utley, Howard, Victorino, Werth, and Polanco. San Francisco has the better bullpen, but the edge in pitching, offense, defense, and home field goes to the Phillies. Prediction Phillies in 5
Enjoy the second round of games.