|American League: 1st Round Playoff Preview 2003||| Print ||
Written by Dan Williams (Contact & Archive) on September 26, 2003
First Round Playoff Preview - American League
I’m not sure anyone is picking Minnesota over New York, because of the 14 game regular season winning streak the Yankees have vs. the Twins. The Yankees have a better rotation, but I do like Johan Santana of the Twins. The Twins also have Kenny Rogers, 3.06 ILE, who could make a start. The Yankees could go with David Wells, 3.59 ILE, in a game 4, but Contreras has been pitching great and might be tough for Joe Torre to ignore. The key for both of these teams in this series is the aces, Santana and Mussina. The Yankees have a better offense led by Jason Giambi, .944 OPS, Jorge Posada, .913 OPS, and Alfonso Soriano, .861 OPS. The Twins most productive hitter is Torii Hunter with 101 RBI. However he’s been inconsistent with a .312 OBP this season. The Twins have a solid bullpen led by Eddie Guardado, LaTroy Hawkins and J.C. Romero. The Yankees bullpen has taken a lot of heat this year, but Mariano Rivera is back pitching in top form and mid season acquisitions Jeff Nelson & Gabe White have been solid. I'd like Mussina to step up, the Yankee offense is very good and the bullpen is more settled than people think.
Can the Red Sox potent offense continue to hit versus tough pitching in the playoffs? I don’t think they’ll score 6 runs a game off of Hudson and Zito, but the Red Sox can explode at any time with countless late inning come backs. To win this series the Red Sox need Martinez to dominate. The A’s will probably go with Hudson in game 4, which I’m not a big fan of. Starters have terrible stats pitching on 3 days rest in the playoffs. The Red Sox have offensive stars up and down the lineup with Manny Ramirez, 1.008 OPS, Nomar Garciaparra, .867 OPS, Bill Mueller, .934 OPS, Trot Nixon, .975 OPS, Kevin Millar, .810 OPS, and Jason Varitek, .866 OPS. Their hottest hitter of late has been David Ortiz, .958 OPS. Miguel Tejada who has a .936 OPS in the 2nd half leads the A’s. Their other top hitters are Eric Chavez, .858 OPS and Jose Guillen, .786 OPS after a 1.013 OPS in the NL earlier in the year with the Reds. The Red Sox bullpen is shaky with Byung-Hyun Kim closing and Mike Timlin and Alan Embree setting up. The A’s have a solid bullpen with Keith Foulke closing and Chad Bradford and Ricardo Rincon setting up. I’m going with the Red Sox in this series based on their relentless offense and the ace ability of Pedro Martinez. I also like the Red Sox vs. Hudson on 3 days rest in game 4 if it comes to that.
RED SOX in 5