N L D S/ A L D S Preview
Cliff Lee returns to the playoff, but on a different team, a different division, even a different league. He'll be trying to bring the swag that helped him pitch the Phillies into the World Series last year to the Rangers in Tampa Bay, where he'll be pitching against Cy Young candidate David Price in Game 1 at Tropicana Field. Meanwhile, the Rays will attempt to win the World Series in what may be their last shot in a long time--maybe even their last shot in Tampa Bay, as their pitiful attendance numbers may force them to move from St. Pete eventually.
Reds @ Phillies
The Cincinnati Reds were at one point known as the Big Red Machine--
But there's a new red-clad powerhouse in the National League, the Philadelphia Phillies. In a rather strange decision, Dusty Baker is sending Edinson Volquez to the mound instead of Bronson Arroyo to face Cy Young leader, Roy Halladay, at Citizens Bank Park. The Reds need to find some way of overcoming one of the three pitchers that are the aces of Philly's rotation, Halladay, Oswalt, and Hamels, and even if they do manage to beat one of them, they would then have to win two more games to advance, and one of those games may feature Roy Halladay on short rest to shut down the Reds. It's not likely that the Reds will win today, but baseball is a sport where the most unlikely can happen, especially when there's no clock to run down.
Yankees @ Twins
In a similar matchup to last year, CC Sabathia will be trying to take Game 1 on the road at Target Field in Minnesota. The Yankees, however, are not quite as favored as before, for even if CC outdoes Francisco Liriano, the entire Yankees rotation after than is a great big, bold ?. If the Yanks don't take advantage in Game 1, the Twins will suddenly become the favorites, and even if the Yankees do win today, the '10 Twins may just be able to get revenge for the series-losing loss dealt to them last year in the final game at the Metrodome.