The Baseball Notebook

April 12, 2010 11:50 AM

Week 2: Early Week Preview

The highlight of the early part of the week will be a rematch of last year's ALCS when the Angels go to Yankee Stadium from Tuesday to Thursday. As we noted yesterday, New York had a nice start to the season, while LAA's opening week didn't go so well. The Angels' chief problem was starting pitching and dealing with the Yankee lineup in this ballpark doesn't make it any easier. Ervin Santana, Joel Piniero and Steve Kazmir will take successive shots at getting Mike Scoscia's ship on course. In the case of New York, they'll be looking for Mark Texieria and Alex Rodriguez to really start hitting, although the depth of their lineup showed last week when they scored plenty of runs without much help from the muscle part of the order. If LAA was going to win a series here, the pitching rotation for New York is right. The Angels get a crack at Javier Vazquez, who was

rocked in Tampa on Friday, as well as young Phil Hughes. They don't have to deal with C.C. or Burnett. But on balance, LAA's pitching problems are real, and not just a slump and I expect the Pinstripes to win their third straight series against a contender to start the year. This series also marks Hideki Matsui's homecoming to what should be thunderous ovation.

New York's rival up in Boston will be helping open Minnesota's new stadium this afternoon (4 ET, ESPN) and kicking off a three-game set. One the interesting storylines of this season will be whether the Twins hold their homefield advantage as they move outside. It was always a substantial edge, playing in that monstrosity of a Metrodome, and it was always a house of horrors for Boston. We'll resist the urge to declare this one series to be really huge in telling us anything, but it will be a nice little modest test case, so long as we keep it in proper perspective. Jacoby Ellsbury is

banged up after a collision at the plate on Sunday in Kansas City and is questionable.

In the National League, the Dodgers and Cubs each opened up 2-4 and try to get things going against division rivals. Los Angeles is in Arizona, where Joe Torre will see a familiar face tonight. Ian Kennedy gets the ball for the D-Backs, and he was a rookie sensation in limited work down the stretch for Torre's Yankees in 2007. He struggled out of the gate the following year and never got his spot back, but threw five respectable innings in his first start for Arizona. Chicago plays host to Milwaukee for three day games starting this afternoon. You look at the pitching matchups and you can see where Milwaukee's problem in stepping beyond respectability come from. We start with Doug Davis-Ryan Dempster, then its Dave Bush-Randy Wells and finally Jeff Suppan-Carlos Zambrano. The Brewers have to be considered decided underdogs in all three games, which is why they

will find it hard to rise above the 84-85 win level.

No Notebook tomorrow. On Wednesday, I'll be back with a more focused look at the St. Louis Cardinals and what their depth is like beyond the superstar talent.

A Member Of