Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Let's Get Ready

The 2007 Playoffs start tomorrow with the Sox taking on the Angels and on Thursday the Yankees play in Cleveland.

Although Cleveland finished with the best record in the season, the Yankees still have the upper hand, even with the schedule chosen by the Tribe.

I am not going to go on a tear and talk about the Yankees having a great season against their first round opponents. Last time I did, the Tigers won.

The problem this year may be the starting rotation. Joe Torre has said Phil Hughes will not pitch in the ALDS leaving the Yankees with two quality starters: Andy Pettitte and Chein-Ming Wang.
Mike Mussina is still up in the air, his last three starts were a huge lift, but the three before that were haywire.. Roger Clemens tweaked his hamstring; that usually happens to old athletes trying to compete in a younger league.
As for a fifth starter, its a toss up. Looks like the Yankees will need to keep the series a short one.

The main concern is the bullpen,as it was this past year.

The Yankees only have two reliable short relief men, Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera.

They also have the pick of Kyle Farnsworth, Jose Veras, Edwar Ramirez, Luis Vizciano and Brian Bruney, all are unpredictable. Again, only two reliable.
Seeing as Ian Kennedy and Hughes are not going to start, they should be the perfect fit in middle to long relief roles, right?
Let's hope Torre sees it this way.

We all know Mussina and Clemens won't last past the fifth inning, but rather than throw in a few pitchers with inconsistency, use a starter who has proven themselves and prepare them for later playoff rounds and give them post season experience.
However, seeing as the pitcher rules have virtually been non-existent this year ("We will not use Hughes this year", "The Joba Rules"), we will likely see Hughes and/or Kennedy in a starting role before too long.

Alex Rodriguez, thought I wasn't going to talk about him(?), is the one person with the most pressure on him this October. With a combined three hits in his past two years of playoff appearances (.103 AVG), and with the season he just had, there is a heavy burdon of success riding on him. Granted the MVP voting will be tallied (winner announced in November) by the time he takes his first at-bat, he still needs to perform. It's one to hit 50+ home runs and 150+ RBI, its another to go one-for-the-series.
Let's see what happens.

Yankees, behind the arms of Pettitte and Wang, will win the series in four games.

Don't kill me when I say this, but I do want the Red Sox to advance to the Championship Series ONLY IF the Yankees advance.
Everyone knows the Yankees can not and will not beat the Angels in the playoffs. Think back to 2002 and 2005.

As for the National League I have the Phillies (what happened Mets??) topping the Rockies in four and the Diamondbacks over the Cubs in five.

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