Sunday, September 13, 2009

A scenario for Yankee Haters

The Yankees put the Red Sox away with a humiliating sweep and went on a stampede to the Division Title.

The stampede was under Jeter's leadership not A-Rod (who put up subpar stats) and Jeter accumulated MVP stats (although the award will probably end up in Minnesota.)

The Yankees pitching staff looks solid and deep and as they lined themselves up waiting for a Division Series match up with an overmatched Tigers.

What team am I talking about?

This year's Yankees?
Or the 2006 Yankees?

Remember how stacked that team was? Remember how deep their line up? Melky, Damon and Abreu started and Matsui and Bernie were still hitting. Giambi was still good for 37 homers, Cano looked like a batting champ, Posada was 23 homer guy and A-Rod's sub par season still had him hitting 35 homers and 121 RBI with a .290 average.

And Jeter should have won the MVP over Morneau.

Plus Chein Ming Wang looked like an ace, Mussina had a comeback season and Rivera was still dominate. And they went into the post season as prohibitive favorites. (Only the Twins with Johan Santana had any shot of eliminating them... and Oakland swept them in the Division Series.)

And the Tigers, stumbling into the post season on a 5 game losing streak, lost the first game against the Yankees... and then won the next three ending their season.

OK, that was 2006. And that team was wound tighter than a drum (and frankly Torre should have retired then because it was clear managing the Yankees had become root canal for him.).

But let's take a look at the 2009 scenario.

The Yankees and Tigers are certain to meet in the Division Series and the Yankees will be about 15 games better.

Game 1 will also almost certainly be a CC Sabathia vs. Justin Verlander showdown. 
And from where I am sitting, the Tigers might have an advantage there.

Verlander has been dominant, so has Sabathia... but Sabathia has not exactly been a sure fire post season performer. And I am not going back that far to make that statement.

In 2007 he won the Cy Young and in 2008 he almost single handedly won the Wild Card for the Brewers... yet his post season record the last two seasons have been 1-3 and he let up 20 runs in 19 innings for a 9.47 ERA.

Even his one win was an unimpressive 5 inning showing in Game 1 of the 2007 Division Series where Chein Ming Wang got rocked.

So let's say Verlander out duels Sabathia in Game 1... that means the Yankees would hand the ball in either game 2 or 3 to A. J. Burnett.

In other words A. J. Burnett, who in each of his most recent starts is showing that he is a talented yet inconsistent .500 pitcher, will pitch a game that if he loses, the Yankees would be on the brink of elimination.

And Justin Verlander would pitch a potential elimination game.

I know I am getting ahead of myself here... but this isn't 1998. Win loss record or not, this is not an invincible team.

It all hinges on Game 1.

Tell you what, let's just eliminate September and get right to October!

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