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!