Predictions: ALCS Game 3, NLCS Game 4
Sluggers A-Rod, Howard expected to pace respective clubs
A Freeway World Series is starting to look more like a brisk I-95 battle in the East than a warm I-5 extravaganza out West.
But there's still time for the Angels and Dodgers to make U-turns.
The pitching matchup for Game 3 of the American League Championship Series on Monday afternoon in Anaheim would appear to favor the home team, which is a good thing, because the Angels need every advantage they can muster to climb back into their best-of-seven series against the Yankees.
After the Bronx Bombers extended their postseason winning streak to five with back-to-back victories at Yankee Stadium, the Angels will seek to answer in the form of young right-hander Jered Weaver.
Weaver delivered a 9-3 record with a 2.90 ERA in 17 home starts this season and shut down the Red Sox over 7 1/3 brilliant innings to capture Game 2 of the ALDS at Angels Stadium.
The 27-year-old also turned in a 5-1 mark during day games, holding opposing hitters to a meager .202 average with 51 strikeouts against just 14 walks. Monday's forecast calls for sunshine, with temperatures near 80 degrees for the 4:13 p.m. ET game on FOX.
The Yankees have a stellar starter of their own in veteran Andy Pettitte, who is currently tied with John Smoltz for first all time with 15 postseason wins. That said, the lefty went 0-2 with a 7.84 ERA during the regular season at Angel Stadium.
For further encouragement, the Angels can point to their recent success against the Yankees at their home digs: They own a stellar 9-3 mark at home vs. the Bombers over the past two seasons, including sweeps in August '08 and July '09.
Meanwhile, in the City of Brotherly Love, Game 4 of the National League Championship Series between the Phillies and Dodgers is set to start at 8:07 p.m. at Citizens Bank Park and will be televised by TBS.
Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard has been the offensive star throughout the postseason, becaming the first player in Major League history to record an RBI in seven consecutive playoff games in the same year.
But Howard faces a tough challenge in Game 4, as the slugger is 1-for-9 in his career against Dodgers starter Randy Wolf. Of course, the remainder of the Philly hitters are a combined 24-for-89 (.371) with seven home runs vs. Wolf.
Joe Blanton will take the hill for the Phils, trying to give the home team a 3-1 lead in the series. Blanton's primary nemesis is Manny Ramirez, who's 14-for-25 (.560) in his career against the Phillies righty.
The following charts break down how the experts from MLB.com and MLB Network see Game 3 of the ALCS and Game 4 of the NLCS shaking out.
ALCS Game 3 Predictions
|MLBN||NYY||0||8||0||Angels blank Yanks behind Weaver's complete game.|
|MLB.com||NYY||5||10||0||Yankees continue to roll, ride Pettitte's postseason experience.|
|MLB.com||NYY||3||8||0||Weaver shuts down the Yankees offense as Angels hitters break out.|
|MLB.com||NYY||4||11||1||Weaver holds Yanks bats at bay; N.Y. rallies but can't overcome Morales' big day.|
|MLB.com||NYY||7||12||1||A-Rod again powers Yanks past Halos.|
|Network||NYY||8||13||0||Yanks bats power team to 3-0 lead.|
NLCS Game 4 Predictions
|MLB.com||LAD||4||12||0||Wolf returns to "Wolfpack" den, stymies former teammates.|
|MLB.com||LAD||7||12||2||Howard and Ibanez go deep as Wolf struggles in return to Philly.|
|MLB.com||LAD||10||16||0||Both starters struggle as Dodgers even series.|
|MLB.com||LAD||2||5||0||Howard's two homers, five RBIs power Phils.|
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.