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AL Division Series Experts' Picks

SI.com's resident experts provide all of their picks for the 2009 American League Division Series.
Yankees vs. Twins
 
Tom Verducci
Pssst, here's the secret to beating the Yankees at Yankee Stadium: keep the ball in the park. The Yankees were 3-5 this year when they didn't hit a home run at Yankee Stadium. Of course, the scary part is that they had only eight games all year in which they didn't hit a home run at home. The talent gap is too big to ignore. YANKEES IN THREE.
Jon Heyman
The Yankees' talent advantage showed up seven times in seven regular-season games, and the Twins enter the series with an unrested rotation and depleted bullpen. They are a scrappy, tough team but are probably in over their heads here. YANKEES IN FOUR.
Ted Keith
Extra rest, a deep bullpen and a lineup with dangerous weapons at every spot are reason enough to give the Yankees the edge. Throw in home-field advantage, a 7-0 season series result and a Twins team that will be at least partially spent from chasing down the Tigers and you have all the makings of an easy opening series for the Yankees. YANKEES IN FOUR.
Joe Posnanski
The Twins have some magic going, and the Metrodome refuses to die, and the Yankees rotation after CC Sabathia looks awfully shaky. But the Yankees are much better than the Twins. YANKEES IN FOUR.
Joe Lemire
In the regular season, New York was 7-0 against Minnesota, and there's no reason that will change now. The poor Metrodome -- witness to a miraculous regular-season comeback -- hosts the Twins' elimination for its final game. YANKEES IN THREE.
David Sabino
Minnesota made a valiant effort to get to the postseason without Justin Morneau, posting the best winning percentage in baseball from September 1 on. However, they're facing the team that was just a half game behind them on that list despite being in cruise control for most of the month. The Yankees have owned the Twins, taking 18 of the last 24 regular and postseason games, including all seven this season. The matchup of the series will be when Carl Pavano takes the hill against his ex-mates. YANKEES IN THREE.
Ben Reiter
Yes, the Twins are 19-8 since Labor Day, but they were beating up almost exclusively on the mediocrities that populate the AL Central. At least Minnesotans will have one more opportunity to say goodbye to the Metrodome. YANKEES IN THREE.
Jonah Freedman
If the Rockies taught us anything, it's never bet against the hottest underdog entering playoffs. But as fun as that 12-inning win over Detroit was, it's hard to see the exhausted Twins have much left in the tank, especially against the most complete team in baseball. YANKEES IN FOUR.
Cliff Corcoran
I never gave credence to the Twins' efforts to overtake the Tigers in the Central, so you can take this prediction with that in mind provided you also bear in mind that the last time the Twins played a game against a team outside their own underwhelming division they had a losing record. Joe Mauer might be the best player on either team right now, but the Yankees are significantly better than the Twins in every other way. The Twins best chance is for Carl Pavano to strike out Alex Rodriguez looking in a big spot in Game 2, as that just might prompt the Bronx faithful to burn down that fancy new ballpark, forfeiting the series to Minnesota. YANKEES IN THREE.
Lee Jenkins
The Twins will send the Metrodome off in style with at least one win, but they can't match up with the Yankees for an entire series. YANKEES IN FOUR.
Albert Chen
Even if their ace's October woes continue -- CC Sabathia is 0-3 with a 10.93 ERA over the last two postseasons -- the Yankees have too much depth and too much offense. And don't overlook the improved defense. YANKEES IN FOUR.
Melissa Segura
Who wouldn't be exhausted after watching -- much less playing -- Minnesota's late-season surge? A rested, relaxed Yankees clubhouse gives the New York crew an obvious advantage. YANKEES IN FOUR.
 
Angels vs. Red Sox
 
Tom Verducci
Boston has the two best starting pitchers and the better closer. How important is that? In the ALDS last year against the Angles, Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and Jonathan Papelbon threw 61 percent of the total innings for Boston in the series (24 of 39). RED SOX IN FIVE.
Jon Heyman
The Angels have a deep lineup and rotation and another excellent chance to beat their nemesis. But history is on Boston's side. And so are Jon Lester and Josh Beckett. RED SOX IN FIVE.
Ted Keith
The past -- three straight series wins in the postseason since 2004 -- and the present favor Boston in this matchup. The Red Sox have a big edge in the bullpen to complement the premier postseason starting pitcher of this generation (Josh Beckett), and another past playoff stud in Jon Lester. RED SOX IN FOUR.
Joe Posnanski
Best Divisional Series, and that Angels offense is outstanding. But the Red Sox have the better starting pitching with Beckett and Lester, and David Ortiz seems primed for a big playoff performance. RED SOX IN FIVE.
Joe Lemire
My father is a history teacher, so I was raised to appreciate and respect the past, and it's hard to ignore the track record of Sox over Angels in 1986, 2004, 2007 and 2008. RED SOX IN FOUR.
David Sabino
As much as the Red Sox are built for the postseason with a fabulous front of the rotation (Lester, Beckett, Buchholz) and a ton of postseason experience throughout the lineup, the Angels may be exactly the type of team that can upend them. Mike Scioscia's bunch is fundamentally sound and can manufacture runs, especially on the base paths where Chone Figgins, Torii Hunter et al will run wild on Victor Martinez and Jason Varitek. ANGELS IN FIVE.
Ben Reiter
In something of a role reversal from years past, the Sox's strength is now their pitching, while the Angels appear to be offensively superior. Still, this Boston/L.A. Divisional Series will end the same way those in '04, '07 and '08 did: with a Red Sox victory. RED SOX IN FIVE.
Jonah Freedman
The Halos are tired of hearing they can't beat the Sox and they'll put their powerful offense -- the best in franchise history -- all on the line and then test Jason Varitek and Victor Martinez like crazy on the base paths. Karma will finally swing Angels' way. ANGELS IN FIVE.
Cliff Corcoran
The Sox swept the Angels 3-0 in the 2007 ALDS, and beat them 3-1 in last year's first round. I expect the Halos will gain another win this year, but that won't be enough to prevent the fourth New York-Boston ALCS. RED SOX IN FIVE.
Lee Jenkins
At some point, the Angels are going to beat the Red Sox in a playoff series. The difference this year is that the Angels can hit. ANGELS IN FIVE.
Albert Chen
This is not the soft Angels offense of years past. Chone Figgins runs wild on the bases, Howie Kendrick keeps on hitting and Scott Kazmir wins a pivotal Game 3 in Fenway. ANGELS IN FOUR.
Melissa Segura
With quality hitters in every spot in the lineup and a shaky Red Sox bullpen, the Angels may just break their postseason futility against the Sox with some late-inning offense. ANGELS IN FIVE.
 
 

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