The Yankees broke a five-year streak of playoff futility by sweeping the Twins on Sunday and now they will try and break an even longer streak of futility against the Angels. New York has not won their regular season series with the Angels since 2003 and they have lost both playoff series they have played against them. But these Yankees have some differences from their recent counterparts. They have better pitching, especially with C.C. Sabathia leading the rotation and the bullpen is much deeper than at any point since 1996.
Facing them will be a tough and talented squad. The Angels have a very capable rotation headed by John Lackey, with Jered Weaver, Joe Saunders and Scott Kazmir filling in impressively behind him. The lineup is talented with former Yankees Bobby Abreu and Juan Rivera playing well while Kendry Morales is filling in seamlessly for Mark Teixeira. However, where the Angels have dropped off is in the bullpen. K-Rod is a Met and Scott Shields is hurt. Darren Oliver, who pitched against the Yankees in the 1996 playoffs and Brian Fuentes, who holds a 5.56 playoff ERA in his career, head a bullpen that can be exploited.
And that is how the Yankees will win this series. They will grind down the Angels’ starters and get into the bullpen. It won’t be easy and the Yankees will be challenged all the way through, but the pick here is Yankees in 7.