Words by Jack Erwin, Complex senior editor

We told you this was gonna be a good postseason, right? Within hours of our Division Series preview, baseball (and you, if you were paying attention to us) saw the return to form of the new Mr. October, Cliff Lee, and just the second no-hitter in MLB playoff history, thrown by Roy Halladay. The Yankees, Phillies, Rangers, and Giants advanced, and while smart money is still on a rematch of last year's Philadelphia-New York World Series, both San Francisco and Texas have the horses to make the League Championship Series very interesting. And in case you like listening to Crime Mob instead of the announcers (knuck if you hate Joe Buck), we've got your guide to what those blowhards (II) will and won't be talking about in our LCS preview.

<!--more-->yankees-rangers2ALCS: New York Yankees vs. Texas Rangers

WHAT THEY'LL TALK ABOUT: Josh Hamilton's drug history. It's been discussed before, but they'll talk about it again, and with good reason: Hamilton doesn't have your run-of-the-mill Studio 54-style celebrity-coke-and-hookers history, he's got a backwoods-of-North Carolina-sleeping-on-dealers'-trailer-floors crack history. Dude didn't look into the abyss; he hopped down in that bitch, got a bunch of tattoos, and then spent a month in his grandmother's house coughing up black crack gunk out of his lungs (true story). That he's alive is a minor miracle; that he's probably going to win the AL MVP this year has to be one of the top five comeback stories in sports history.

WHAT THEY WON'T TALK ABOUT: League Championship Series or Land-Grab Championship Series? The Rangers play in the really cool-looking (I've never been) Ballpark in Arlington, the crown jewel of a complicated (or not, if you're familiar with the phrases "undue influence" and "eminent domain") real estate junket that netted George W. Bush $15 million on his initial $606,000 investment back in the '90s. Up in The Bronx, in a vastly complicated real estate junket executed during the '00s, the New Yankee Stadium got built for approximately $2 billion, some $800 million of which came in the form of public taxpayer subsidies. This is the argument that you use when football fans say baseball isn't America's game anymore: Anything this fucked up (and beautiful, to be fair) is about as American as it gets.

ON THE FIELD: The Yankees are superior at every position except centerfield (right and DH might be a push). The Rangers counter with a superior No. 1 starter (Cliff Lee > C.C. Sabathia)...and that's about it. An interesting on-field side story will be A.J. Burnett's start in Game 4. Normally you'd want to have your struggling free agent bust starting at home, but not if that home is Yankee Stadium.

PREDICTION: Yankees in 6.

phillies-giantsNLCS: San Francisco Giants vs. Philadelphia Phillies

WHAT THEY'LL TALK ABOUT: The pitching. The first three starters for each team are six of the top 25 pitchers in the National League (it's a 16-team league, you do the math). Game 1 features a guy who's won the Cy Young Award two out of his first three years in the majors (the Giants Tim Lincecum) and a guy who just threw a no-hitter in his first postseason start (Roy Halladay).

WHAT THEY WON'T TALK ABOUT: The Giants have a terrible offense (it was even worse before they started fielding beer-league sluggers who make Brooks Conrad look like a Gold Glover). They'll mention that, but what they certainly won't talk about is that the Giants had a pretty decent no-fielding slugger on their team three years ago that they chose not to re-sign. Barry Bonds would've turned 46 years old this season, and it might be a stretch to say he'd be a LCS-changing (or even effective) player in 2010, but he was definitely an effective player in 2007 (he led the league in on-base percentage). The Giants didn't offer Bonds a contract for '08 or '09, and neither did any other team in baseball, in what was a pretty blatant act of collusion (in a sport that's familiar with the concept). Giants management just might come to regret having to fall in line with the rest of MLB.

ON THE FIELD: Both teams have the arms (you could even argue the Giants have the better ones), but the Phillies complement their pitching with some of the most professional hitters (Chase Utley, Placido Polanco) in the sport. At some point they'll crack San Francisco pitching, and that'll be the difference.

PREDICTION: Phillies in 6.


• Play Ball! Complex Predicts the MLB Playoffs: Division Series

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