ALCS Preview: Yankees And Rangers Battle For World Series Berth

It seemed like all four of the Divisional Series in the Major League Baseball playoffs were all relatively drama-free (even the series between the Texas Rangers and the Tampa Bay Rays, which was stretched to five games, seemed to run sort of cold). But the two Championship Series open up this weekend, with the Rangers battling the Texas Rangers for the American League crown starting Friday night (October 15), while the Philadelphia Phillies and the San Francisco Giants will battle for supremacy in the National League. Each of the four teams left make a reasonable case for being in the World Series, but only two can advance.

In the National League, the Phillies are the defending champions and are coming off a dominant Divisional Series performance against the Cincinnati Reds. Their pitching, offense and defense have all been top-notch, and they carry a great deal of momentum (and rest) into the next round. The Giants took the Atlanta Braves to the limit, and though their pitching has been positively stellar, they were unable to hit against the middling Braves rotation. They may be able to stretch the Phils, but that lineup is too lethal. Phillies in seven.

In the American League, the Yankees and Rangers get started tonight in Arlington, Texas, with Yankees ace C.C. Sabathia squaring off against the Rangers' C.J. Wilson. Most playoff series come down to pitching, and while the Rangers' hurlers are just a bit ahead of the guys on the Yankees' side, it will be very difficult to keep the Yankees' lineup down. Most everybody is hitting, whereas Rangers power hitter Josh Hamilton finds himself in a bit of a slump (and as he goes, so goes the rest of the Rangers lineup). The Yanks got hot at just the right time, and that looks like the end of the line for the Rangers. Yankees in five.

In honor of the playoffs kicking it up a notch (and the Yanks' , enjoy Damn Yankees' "High Enough."