For time purposes, I won't have separate ALCS and NLCS previews. As such, the same format of the previous round preview will take place.
Let's start with the Yankees-Rangers, who begin their series tonight. The Yanks have the edge because Cliff Lee won't get to start the series in Texas because of his dominating performance in Game 5 against the Rays. Or so they think. The fact is, Lee would only start two games no matter what and as far as I'm concerned, Game 7 is more important than Game 5. If this series reaches seven games, the Rangers will win. So the key for the Yankees is to not let this series reach seven games, shades of the Mets in 1986 who had to avoid Mike Scott in Game 7 against Houston, including playing in the state of Texas and not having home field.
Looking past the Lee situation, you must consider that the Rangers top 6 in their lineup is nearly as dangerous as the Yankees. Andrus, Young, Hamilton, Guerrero, Cruz and Kinsler is very tricky to manuever, especially for lefties, which the Yankees have in CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte. The best move (one I should have tweeted before to first guess) is Joe Girardi having Phil Hughes pitch Game 2, against Colby Lewis, giving the Yanks the advantage. There is the spector of A.J. Burnett in Game 4, but tonight's Sabathia-C.J. Wilson showdown will determine if he's used. As for my series prediction, I think Sabathia wins tonight and the Yanks win in 6 games, avoiding Lee in Game 7.
The Giants-Phillies series has one theme; pitching, pitching and more pitching. The first game has Roy Halladay against Tim Lincecum, which Fox is promoting as the best Game 1 matchup in history, which I'd argue, but haven't found better. The Giants have the best 4 pitchers left with Jonathan Sanchez, Matt Cain and Madison Baumgartner ready to go. While the Phils have Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels in the next two games, their fourth starter is a question mark. The key for the Giants is the Lincecum start. If he can outpitch Halladay, the Giants have an interesting opportunity. The secret of the series, the Phightin's hitters are hitting about as good as the Giants. Despite that, I think the Phillies do enough in the first 3 games and knock off the Giants in 5 games and will face the Yankees in a rematch of last year, one that eagerly awaited.