Tuesday, October 02, 2007

And so it begins . . . .

I have to admit that the hangover from last year's first round exit to the Tigers still lingers with me. I was very confident and never in doubt what that series result was going to be ending in favor of the Yanks. I think that supreme disappointment is the reason I am viewing this round/math-up with the Tribe with much trepidation.

Keys to a series win:

Pitching - Obvious I know, it's every team's key to winning. Wang needs to do what Wang does (go deep into the game, maybe 1 or 2 earned, then turn it over to the pen). Pettitte needs to get the death stare going, and Mo needs to be the October version of Mo.

Hitting - Run production aside, I think it is very important for the lineup to have classic Yankee at bats each and every time they step to the plate - work the count. And the two guys to set the tone for that is Johny Damon and Bobby Abreu. If the opposing team's starter is gone by 5 due to pitch count, I like our odds of winning that game. If we're still seeing the starter come out of the dugout after 7, then we're not making productive at bats and likely in trouble. I'll say it again - work the damn count.

A-Rod - Again, a given. He needs to show up this post-season in order for the Yanks to win in my humble opinion. More times than not, when the Bombers have won, he's played an important role at some point during the game. There's no reason to think that the playoffs will be any different. The fact he's starting the series against a lefty should work to his advantage.

Unknowns - There are a lot of them. I'd like to start with Clemens. Can we trust him? If he's not 100% I'd rather he not take the mound as a starter and see a healthy, rested Moose or even Hughes get the nod. Given his competitive spirit, and even if he's not 100%, he'll never tell us and just take the ball and see what happens. Will Chamberlain continue his dominance? Will anyone in the bullpen not named Mo or Joba step it up? Will Mientkiewicz (batting over .400 since being recalled up) be able to continue his hot bat?

We're not going to know until we know.

Pinstripes Prediction: Yankees in 4.

Other MLB Shorts:

Trevor Hoffman - his career numbers are big, but has he ever played big in a big situation? I don't watch the Padres typically, and maybe he has a few saves in clutch moments but I've never been witness to any of them. The Padres are home because he could not hold the lead in 3 of the last 5 games they played.

Did anyway else think it was odd for Philly and Cleveland to have town parades for just making the playoffs?

Wakefield left off of Boston's playoff roster for round 1.

Glad the Rockies won - too bad it was on a botched call by the ump. I see instant replay happening sooner rather than later for MLB.

The Mets - Willie got the dreaded vote of confidence. The players should be ashamed. Glavine should take interview lessons from Pedro. And at the end of the day, the "big collapse" would have happened a lot sooner than September had the Braves or Phillies played up to their ability post All-Star break. The Mets were terrible from July and on, not just in September and that is a fact.

MLB Execs probably would like to see the Cubs rep the NL - I'd like to see the D'Backs or the Rockies.

We've waited a year for this - Let the Games Begin!


57 said...

Isn't a 80% Clemens better than a 100% Mussina? At least this year?

It is going to be a Red Sox/Yankees ALCS and a Cubs/Phillies NLCS....

Yankees vs. Cubs in probably one of the most watched World Series ever. Mantle, Maris, Scooter, DiMaggio, Berra, Ernie Banks, Sandberg, Santo, Andre Dawson, Sutcliffe, Leon Durham... TONS OF HISTORY. Would be a GREAT series.

The Scooter said...

No, I'd take a 100% Mussina over an 80% Clemens. Moose actually pitched pretty well down the stretch. Listening to Torre on the FAN yesterday, it sounds as if he expects the Rocket to be a go.

Also, don't be surprised to see Shelley Duncan at DH over a gimpy Matsui; at least against the lefthander. Damon will be in left all series.

I liked your analysis, Mid...I think if the starters give up 4 runs or less, the Yankees have a good shot at advancing.

In the other series, I found it interesting that Francona has decided to give DiceK two starts and Schilling only one in the first round. I think he may live to regret that.

Trevor Hoffman is a joke. Just like Billy Wagner, whenever they get in a big spot they crumble. Closing takes more than just "stuff"...it takes "balls". Mariano has 'em and I hate to say it but so does Papelbon. And it's why Joba is going to be the next great closer.

Willie Randolph and more importantly Omar Minaya avoided the axe. Great to see the Wilpon's still are second to only Jim Dolan when it comes to decision making (sarcasm).

Yankees in Four

old professor said...

Mussina will be fine and will finally shed the can't win in the postseason coat. The Yankees have already beaten Carmona this year. They will make him throw their pitches. Westbrook is scheduled for game 3 which should be a Yankee slugfest. It will be interesting to see if Sabathia pitches well in the series - he may be auditioning to join the Yankees next year as a free agent. (There could be a lot of incentive there).

While I think the Yankees will win the series it could go 5.

It is obvious that 57 is still having mental issues from the Mets meltdown - The Cubs??? Great human interest story, but do they have the pitching to get it done?

Anonymous said...

Do the Cubs have the pitching - by the numbers the answer is yes. They rank in the top of every category for team pitching in the NL. The only team that comes close to them is the team that they are facing - so by the numbers they do have the pitching.

As stated before, I think I'm pulling for the Rockies or the D'Backs.


Anonymous said...

Clarification - Cubs rank in the top 3 of every category for the NL, not THE top.

57 said...

I love seeing the Phillies losing right now. Rollins can shove it.

Crash said...

Hey Old Man...I mean Professor, even though Mid answered your rhetorical question, and pretty well too, the Cubs have the best pitching front to back in the NL playoffs.

I would rather take Kennedy or Hughes over Moose or Clemens at this time. Let's see if the kids have the stones. I think we will see Joba excel in October. The key is game 1. If Wang can keep the ball down he won't give up a ton of runs. He only gets hit hard when that sinker stays up.

I'm predicting it will be the same ol' same 'ol Yanks v. Red Sox in the ALCS.

I'm saying Cubs v. Rockies in the NLCS...but will say the Rockies advance to the WS.

This is the best time of year, October baseball, College Football, NFL, NASCAR Chase, hell the NHL even starts this weekend (another brilliant marketing plan by the NHL, hockey seems to be so popular that it starts during the first weekend of the MLB playoffs).

57 said...

NASCAR? Really? Frank Thomas is so bad i almost through my television out the window. TBS? Really? I'd rather watch Giada on the Food Network... well, actually, who wouldn't?!

The Sabres will win the Stanley Cup.

Mark my words, if the Yanks don't pitch Clemens and Moose mails it in, you all will complain that Clemens should have gone... write it down.

I can't believe I am watching the playoffs right now. I'd rather watch an NBA game....

Isaiah Thomas is a polished Michael Vick.

Yukalis is a God.

The Scooter said...

I'm more of a Rachel Ray guy.

Nothing will keep the Rocket off the mound in game three...he's a warrior.

This is the first time in my life I find myself rooting for the Red Sox....Any self respecting Yankee fan wants to match up against the Boys from Beantown in round two.

Who said Isaiah is polished?

The Cup will be parading down Broadway along with Gomez and Drury this year.

Jimmy Johnson wins the Nextel Cup.

Crash said...

Gordon will win the Nextel Cup this year.

Clemens will, but shouldn't, pitch game 3.

Sabres have a legit shot at winning Lord Stanley's Cup.

I will quietly be watching the Sox game, not rooting but watching. I certainly would rather face the Sox and not the LAA's. This is an incredible internal conflict.

57 said...

Ron Darling just single handedly saved TBS Baseball.

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