MLB Playoffs 2009


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After an amazing start to the postseason with the Detroit Tigers vs Minnesota Twins play in game yesterday, the playoffs officially start today. The matchups all around are pretty good, with lots of different storylines in pretty much every series.

The ALDS and NLDS are on TBS.

ALCS is on Fox.

NLCS is on TBS.

2009 World Series is on Fox

American League Division Series 1

New York Yankees vs Minnesota Twins

Game 1 - October 7 - 6:07 PM ET @NYY

Game 2 - October 9 - 6:07 PM ET @NYY

Game 3 - October 11 - Time TBD @MIN

*Game 4 - October 12 - Time TBD @MIN

*Game 5 - October 14 - Time TBD @NYY

American League Division Series 2

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim vs Boston Red Sox

Game 1 - October 8 - 9:37 PM ET @LAA

Game 2 - October 9 - 9:37 PM ET @LAA

Game 3 - October 11 - Time TBD @BOS

*Game 4 - October 12 - Time TBD @BOS

*Game 5 - October 14 - Time TBD @LAA

National League Division Series 1

Philadelphia Phillies vs Colorado Rockies

Game 1 - October 7 - 2:37 PM ET @PHI

Game 2 - October 8 - 2:37 PM ET @PHI

Game 3 - October 10 - 9:37 PM ET @COL

*Game 4 - October 11 - Time TBD @COL

*Game 5 - October 13 - Time TBD @PHI

National League Division Series 2

St Louis Cardinals vs Los Angeles Dodgers

Game 1 - October 7 - 9:37 PM ET @LAD

Game 2 - October 8- 6:07 PM ET @LAD

Game 3 - October 10 - 6:07 PM ET @STL

*Game 4 - October 11 - Time TBD @STL

*Game 5 - October 13 - Time TBD @LAD

American League Championship Series

NYY vs MIN winner vs BOS vs LAA winner

Starts October 16 on Fox

National League Championship Series

PHI vs COL winner vs STL vs LAD winner

Starts October 15 on TBS

2009 World Series

American League Champion vs National League Champion

Starts October 28 on Fox

* if necessary

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Storylines

Yankees vs Twins

The Yankees are back into the playoffs after missing it last year for the first time in 14 years. Yankees have the highest payroll in the sport, and spent over $400m (over the life of the contracts) in new aquisitions before the season. Most of the Yankee lineup is household names, including Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Mariano Rivera. They finished with the best record in baseball, and coasted to the finish for the last month of the season. They took off for the year when A-Rod came back from hip surgery. They are chasing their 27th World Series, but haven't won one since 2000.

Questions:

Can the new pitchers do well under the intense New York playoff pressure?

Will A-Rod have a good postseason after a run of bad performances in their last few appearances?

Will they make it out of the first round for the first time since 2005?

The Twins won 17 out of their last 21 games, including the play in game yesterday, to come from 7 games behind to make the playoffs, including 3 games behind with only 4 to go. They were helped by Detroit playing poorly, but 17 out of 21 is amazing baseball. They are lead by their catcher, Joe Mauer, who won the AL batting title by hitting .366, the highest average ever by a catcher. Mauer will most likely be the AL MVP.

Questions:

Only one matters: Can they beat the Yankees? The Yankees swept them on the season, and they probably need to win Game 1 to even have a shot at advancing.

Red Sox vs Angels

The Red Sox are the AL wildcard winner, but they said before the end of the season that they didn't care about winning the division as long as they make the playoffs. The Sox have been the best team in the league since 2004, winning the World Series in 2004 and 2007.

The major question the Red Sox have is will their pitching hold up and perform? They have had a rash of major pitchers with injuries and problems this year. Josh Beckett, their best starter, has not pitched well down the stretch. Daitsuke Matsusaka has been injured a couple of times on the season, and may only pitch out of the bullpen. Tim Wakefield has been injured on and off. Their only starter who has stayed decently healthy is Jon Lester, who is pitching in Game 1. This makes the first game the biggest of the series for the Sox.

The Angels are coming off yet another 90+ win, division title regular season. But once again, they are matched up with the Red Sox, who they just can't beat. They need to win Game 1 as well, to get that monkey off their back. If the Sox win Game 1, Boston will probably win the series.

Phillies vs Rockies

The Phillies are the defending World Champions, and they have only improved their lineup from last year. Cliff Lee pitches Game 1 for them, and he has been nothing short of dominating the past 2 seasons for both the Phillies and his previous team, the Cleveland Indians. The major problem the Phillies have had this year is the ineffectiveness of their closer, Brad Lidge. Lidge had a perfect season last year. No blown saves. This year, he has 11 blown saves, the most in the majors by far. Right now, the Phil's manager doesn't even know if he will use Lidge to close or go to someone else. If Lidge blows games, they Phillies will be gone.

The Rockies return to the postseason after a World Series run in 2007, which they lost to the Red Sox. They have been playing very well, going 74-41 since firing their manager. They nearly caught the Dodgers for the division, which at one point they trailed by 15 games. They have a lot of good players, but the major question they face is if they have enough pitching and talent to make a run into the playoffs.

Cardinals vs Dodgers

The Cardinals are the 2006 World Series Champions. They sport the player whom most consider the best player in the world, Albert Pujols. They really had no competition all season in their division, and coasted from basically May to the end of the season. Their best pitcher, Chris Carpenter, had a 17-4 record with a 2.24 ERA. Absolutely dominating. If they could figure out a way for him to pitch every game, it would be season over.

The Dodgers are back in the playoffs for the season year in a row. First time since 89-90. Their manager Joe Torre would love nothing better than to get to the World Series to face the Yankees, his old team with which he won four World Series before being unceremoniously dumped. On the field, their star attraction is Manny Ramirez. You know, just Manny being Manny. If Manny gets off his skid and hits some home runs, he could keep the Dodgers in it. Otherwise, you're looking at a short series with a Cardinal win.

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My predictions:

Yankees vs Twins

Yankees in 3

Angels vs Red Sox

Angels in 4

Phillies vs Rockies

Phillies in 4

Cardinals vs Dodgers

Cardinals in 5

Yankees vs Angels

Yankees in 6

Phillies vs Cardinals

Cardinals in 6

World Series:

Yankees vs Cardinals

Yankees in 5

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An amazing game last night, for sure.

Looking at that schedule, though, it's obvious the season needs to be shortened. I like Tom Glavine's suggestion of shortening it to 154 games and having players take a 9% pay cut to compensate for the lost gate income.

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They way the Dodger lost last night was just astounding.

I would love to see the Torre's Dodgers against Girardi's Yankees, but it looks like it won't happen. They need to come back with a win tomorrow, and then returning home for games 6 and 7 will help them win the NLCS.

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