The Road to World Series, No. 27: Yankees Vs. Angels ALCS Preview

October 14, 2009   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

The first road game for the Yankees in the 2009 Playoffs was taking on the red-hot Minnesota Twins.

After three games of dominating pitching and late-inning clutch hitting, the Yankees disposed of Minnesota in a series sweep and moved on in the playoffs.

Starting on Friday, the Yankees will take on the Los Angeles Angels in the American League Championship Series.

The Angels are no strangers to the Yankees in the playoffs, and quite frankly, have been a pain in the Yankees’ rear-ends in recent time.

In 2002, the Angels were a huge underdog and shocked the Yankees by defeating them in four games in the ALDS en route to their first ever World Series.

In 2005, the Angels had home-field advantage and needed five games to eliminate the Yankees in the ALDS.

This will be the third time these two will square off in the postseason, but the first time they will ever meet in the ALCS and advance to the 2009 World Series.

During the 2009 regular season, these two teams met a total of 10 times in three separate series. Here’s how each series went:

April 30: Yankees won 7-4

May 1: Yankees won 10-9

May 2: Angels won 8-4

May 3: Postponed to September due to rain

The Yankees took two out of three and one of the dramatic games in here was the May 1 game where Jorge Posada hit a walk-off hit in one of the Yankees’ 15 walk-off wins in the season.

July 10: Angels won 10-6

July 11: Angels won 14-8

July 12: Angels won 5-4

The Angels swept this series right before the All Star Break, but the Yankees could have won all three of these games, but lost the first two games after having leads. Overall, the Yankees’ offense looked sluggish throughout the series.

September 14: Yankees won 5-3

This was the makeup game from May 3, and the Yankees looked like a much different team from the one that took the field in May. Alex Rodriguez was in the lineup and the bullpen was straightened out, which helped in the later innings.

September 21: Angels won 5-2

September 22: Yankees won 6-5

September 23: Yankees won 3-2

The Yankees won a tough series on the road against the Angels with two competitive games in a playoff-like atmosphere. The Yankees and the Angels ended up tying the season series at five games each. But that was in the regular season, and this is a more important series with a trip to the Fall Classic at stake.

Let’s now take a look at the projected lineups for each team:


SS- Derek Jeter

LF- Johnny Damon

1B- Mark Teixeira

3B- Alex Rodriguez

DH- Hideki Matsui

C- Jorge Posada

2B- Robinson Cano

RF- Nick Swisher

CF- Melky Cabrera


3B- Chone Figgins

RF- Bobby Abreu

CF- Torii Hunter

DH- Vladimir Guerrero

1B- Kendry Morales

LF- Juan Rivera

2B- Howie Kendrick

C- Mike Napoli

SS- Erick Aybar

Jose Molina will play in the games that A.J. Burnett will be pitching in, which will change the lineup some for the Yankees, and Brett Gardner could see time if Cabrera continues to struggle, as he hit .167.

Johnny Damon, .083, also struggled, causing some to wonder how he’ll do in this next series. The Angels have people like Reggie Willits, Gary Matthews, Jr.,  and Jeff Mathis off their bench who provide speed and different elements in the Angels’ offense and defense.

Let’s also look at the pitching staffs for each team:

Yankees’ Rotation:

LHP- CC Sabathia

RHP- A.J. Burnett

LHP- Andy Pettitte

Yankees Bullpen:

RHP- Chad Gaudin

RHP- Alfredo Aceves

LHP- Damaso Marte

RHP- David Robertson

LHP- Phil Coke

RHP- Joba Chamberlain

RHP- Phil Hughes

RHP- Mariano Rivera

Angels Rotation:

RHP- John Lackey

LHP- Joe Saunders

RHP- Jered Weaver

LHP- Scott Kazmir

Angels Bullpen:

RHP- Jason Bulger

RHP- Matt Palmer

RHP- Kevin Jespen

LHP- Darren Oliver

LHP- Brian Fuentes

The Yankees and Joe Girardi are leaning toward going with a three-main rotation of Sabathia, Burnett, and Pettitte and leaving Gaudin as the long-reliever and Chamberlain as the seventh-inning reliever, creating a stronger bridge to Rivera with Hughes.

On the other side, the Angels’ rotation is pretty good and can go deep into games, but their bullpen is very weak and gave up a lot of leads in 2009. Fuentes, the Angels’ closer, blew seven saves in 2009.


This will be a very tough and competitive series for both teams. Each team has good pitching and good hitting. The Angels have a little bit more speed on the base-paths and will challenge the Yankee outfielders to throw them out.

However, most games come down to a battle of the bullpens as most starters in the postseason go between six and seven innings, so the Yankees have the advantage in the bullpens.

The Yankees’ offense has been clutch throughout this entire season and are good at finding ways to win. They are also not the same team that that lost in 2002 and 2005. If they stay on their current path, they can find a way to beat the team that has tortured them in the past.

In 2009, I am picking the Yankees to defeat the Angels in the ALCS four games to two and advance to the World Series.

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