Thanks to those who joined us for the live chat tonight – we had a great turnout, lots of interesting questions and I think we can all agree that we’ve just about had it with waiting to play. If there’s a rain delay or postponement tomorrow, it’ll be absolutely brutal. (If you want to see a replay of the chat – which you should do just to hear how rough Chad’s voice sounds when he’s battling a cough – then check it out here)
Anyway, I mentioned this during the chat but I wanted to expand on it a little here: When people ask me what I think about this series, my first response is that I think this series could end up being an all-time classic.
Yes, Yankees-Red Sox series are always great theater but this year, with these teams, Yankees-Angels is a better battle. When I was working on the match-ups that will appear in tomorrow’s paper, I literally stopped and agonized over which side had the edge on almost every position. That’s how evenly matched they are.
The lineups are deep. Both have a few contact guys, a few speed guys, a few power guys, a few patient guys. Everyone focuses on the Angels’ running game, but the truth is that the Yankees play aggressively on the bases, too. And the Angels mash as much as anyone.
The pitching staffs are stacked. Both have an established ace, an inconsistent star, a hard-thrower. The Yankees have more talent; the Angels have more depth.
The bullpens are solid. Both have strong closers (though Fuentes is less reliable than his save total would indicate), both have setup corps that were almost completely overhauled at one point or another during the season. The Yankees have talented young relievers; the Angels have a veteran (in Darren Oliver) who actually started a postseason game against the Yankees 13 years ago.
It’s just dead even. The Yankees won 103 games. The Angels won 97. There’s no doubt that they were the two best teams in baseball over the course of the season, and now they’re on a collision course with a spot in the World Series on the line. I picked the Yankees in seven, but I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see the Angels pull it out either.
Here’s what I do know: This series is almost surely going the distance and – however it ends – it’s very likely it’ll go down as an absolute epic.
That’s it for tonight. Check back tomorrow for Flash Points (John Flaherty’s exclusive take on the pitching match-ups), as well as all the news and notes (and – sigh – weather updates) from the Stadium. It’s finally time for baseball.