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Freeway Series

By Stephen Robbins

If the Mets and Yankees were both leading their divisions I think Chris Berman would have had an heart attack on air by now for ESPN. Dodgers and Angels, potentially the two best teams in baseball, barely on blip on Sportscenter's radar. There is no real reason to bash on ESPN's east coast bias, but I just want to discuss how realistic this World Series matchup is at this point.
First we will start with the Dodgers. Although my first column discussed how they are still missing some pieces, hopefully by the deadline they will shore up their few weaknesses. The lineup 1-8 is just flat out better than anyone else's. With Manny in the middle, it almost seems unfair. I wouldn't call it murderer's row just yet, but it is exceptional to watch on a daily basis.
Furcal seems to get on base every time the Dodgers need a base runner. He was such a key to the team, and yes he might of screwed over the Braves in the process last offseason, but he is reaching Manny level importance for the Dodgers. Combined with Hudson's knack for getting extra base hits, the table setters are always on for the big boys. We will skip the Manny loving because I'm sure we've all heard enough of that. Behind Manny; Casey Blake and Andre Either are making it impossible to pitch around Manny. Loney drives in runs like its his job, oh it is, well he's doing a good job then. We are going to have to hold off on J. Mart who is still living off last year's success. Ausmus is becoming our power hitting catcher at this point.
Now we come to Matt Kemp who is going to get his own little paragraph from me. This guy is just a flat out stud. He ambles around the field like a 40 year old with a bad hip, but is somehow one of the fastest players in baseball. He is becoming a reincarnation of Raul Mondesi (during his thirty-thirty days), except one that can actually hit a breaking ball. His fielding skills can actually turn a game around, and he is becoming the most exciting center fielder in baseball. I hate the fact that he gets no publicity because he is one of the best stories in baseball.
Previously I talked about the pitching staff so I won't bore you again. But the Dodger bench is also extremely strong. This is one of the biggest advantages of being a team with a huge payroll. Your bench will be better than everyone else's. Juan Castro is somehow a decent hitter nowadays, combined with Pierre and Co., gives the Dodgers, along with the Phillies, the deepest bench in the NL.
Since this is a Dodger blog I will not go into too great a detail with the Angels. But trust me when I say; this team is really good. Their bullpen could use some work besides Fuentes, but somehow this team just keeps winning. When you are on Prime Ticket just flip over to Fox Sports West for 2 minutes and I give you a personal guarantee you will not be disappointed. As long as the Angels don't face the Red Sox in the playoffs they have a chance. If you follow the Angels, you know what I'm talking about.
The Los Angeles (WHY????? ANAHEIM, please change it back, even California is fine!) Angels lineup rivals the Dodgers, as their speed and power combinations make them a dreaded opponent. Once Scioscia figured out Maicer Izturis is good (wow a lot of Dodger connections their ; look up 1988 world series and Cesar to reminisce ). They are a great team that plays small ball and constantly puts pressure on the opposing defense. You rarely hear that in baseball, but the Angels really do seem to attack their opponents.
This World Series is looking more and more promising and one that I dream about happening. I was in Wisconsin for the Dodgers playoff run last year, and have yet to attend a baseball playoff game. Los Angeles always wants more, and they aren't satisfied with only a Laker championship. Boston and New York have had their times, now it is time for LA to become the center of attention in sports once again.

Quick tangent to end this column. Dewayne Wise's catch to save Mark Buehrle's perfect game was the greatest single catch I have ever witnessed. Jim Edmonds dive back on the Angels had always been #1, but Wise topped that for me. It seemed to overshadow Buehrle's amazing accomplishment. And although Obama butchered the pronunciation of Wise's name,he deserved the praise from our leader. I can't stop watching the clip of Wise climbing the wall, juggling it, and catching it bare handed. Please take a few extra looks when you are bored on youtube because it gets better every time you watch it; not to mention Hawk Harrelson almost having an on air stroke as it happens.

Alright good luck to the LA area as the freeway series gets closer everyday.