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Friday, October 16, 2009

The Yankees, Unobstructed - Oct. 16, 2009

Pennant Time

Game one of the American League Championship Series is schedule to start at 7:57 p.m. tonight. Whether that actually happens remains to be seen. Right now weather.com says there is a 60% chance of precipitation this evening — but if the game is played, I'll be live-blogging the game right here on the Bronx News Network starting at 7:50. Feel free to join in on the comment board and throw down your own input!

In the meantime, let's compare the the Angels and and the Yankees, position-by-position.

C - Edge Angels - While Jorge Posada gets the edge over L.A.'s Mike Napoli for his strong finish to the season, he also has to sit out A.J. Burnett's starts — and Jose Molina is no Mike Napoli.

1B - Slight Edge Yankees - The Yankees have Mark Teixeira and the Angels have the surprisingly strong Kendry Morales. This is actually a pretty close call. Morales ended the season with 34 home runs, 108 rbis and slugged .569. Teixeira hit 39 home runs, 122 rbis and slugged .565. Tex gets the edge because he is among the best fielding first basemen in the game, and because most of his production has come since May.

2B - Slight Edge Yankees - Robinson Cano has turned into one of the elite second basemen in baseball. He gets hits and he has impressive range in the field. That said, Howie Kendrick is a fine hitter and as good of a fielder as Cano.

3B - Edge Yankees - Here's the deal. Comparing Alex Rodriguez to Chone Figgins is like comparing "LOST" to "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" — both are terrific TV shows, but they're in completely different genres. When Figgins gets on-base, he gets in scoring position and then the Angels bats drive him in (to the tune of 114 runs this season). A-ROD on the other hand, compiled thirty home runs and 100 rbis, while missing a quarter of the season. During that stretch, he was the best player in Major League Baseball. Rodriguez was also the best hitter on the Yankees during the Division Series.

SS - Edge Yankees - Derek Jeter has had one of his best seasons. Little argument here.

LF - Edge Yankees - Johnny Damon hits better in Yankees Stadium than anyone. Period.

CF - Edge Angels - Torii Hunter is a better fielder than either of the Yankees Melky Cabrera/Brett Gardner center field tandem. He's also a better hitter, gets on-base more and hits for more power.

RF - Edge Angels - In Anaheim, Bobby Abreu has continued his career-long assault on baseballs. His numbers are better than Nick Swisher's in every category other than home runs.

SP - Edge Angels - The Angels starting rotation is far deeper and more reliable than the Yankees'. That said, the Yankee hitters have actually had a fair amount of success against all four of the Angels starters....Unfortunately, Angels hitters have been just as good (if not better) against Yankee starting pitching.

Yankees ace C.C. Sabathia, has yet to prove his cold-weather chops and tonight might be a good chance. If he can't, this could prove to be a long winter for him and the Yankees.

RP - Edge Yankees - The Yankees' bullpen came together well this year. It took until last week (literally), but the Yankees have pieced together a reliable three-inning bullpen tandem now that Joba Chamberlain has joined Phil Hughes and Mariano Rivera in the waiting room. That said, the Angels' eighth and ninth inning pitchers — Darren Oliver and Brian Fuentes — are mean lefties and should be feared.

Series Edge - Slight Edge Yankees - The Yankees finished the season with the best record in baseball, and they did so in convincing fashion. These are the two most well-constructed clubs in the Major Leagues, and I expect whichever team is victorious, will also come home with the World Series.

Remember to check back with the Bronx News Network throughout tonight's game as we get our live-blog on.


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