The Yankees are acting like it doesn’t really matter that they failed to win the AL East. They’re back in the postseason ready to defend their crown, etc., etc. And I’m sure much of Yankees Empire is thinking, albeit with some trepidation, “Hey, it’s Minnesota. We have their number.”
Not this year. The Yanks would have done themselves a big favor by winning the East. Dealing with the Rangers and having home field advantage in the ALDS is a more desirable fate than playing the Twins, who have not taken their foot off the pedal all year. Can the Pinstripes win a best-of-five with Sabathia going twice? It’s possible, but I don’t think it gets to five games. After C.C., the Yankees starters are very suspect right now. I’m taking the Twins in four.
My other picks for the Divisional Sseries:
Tampa Bay-Texas: The Rays survived a long, drawn-out slugfest with the Yankees and Red Sox. Their pitching is the best in the league. THey know how to get to the World Series. The Rangers have been coasting for months and never had to endure any serious body blows all season. Cliff Lee is capable of carrying them through a short series, but he has looked mortal and I don’t expect him to just turn it on. If only Nolan Ryan could give them five strong innings. Rays in four.
Philadelphia-Cincinnati: I can give you seventeen reasons why the Phillies should win, but here’s just a sampling. How do you beat a rotation of Halladay, Oswalt and Hamels in a best-of-five series, let alone best-of-seven? The Phillies were the best team in the NL in the second half, demonstrating their usually grit and resiliency. They’re still hungry as wolves and want their crown back. As for the Reds, they won the weakest division in the majors, and they owe their first post-season trip in 15 years as much to the Cards collapse as to their steady but unspectacular play. Take out the brooms. Phillies in three.
Atlanta-San Francisco: This one is very intriguing. Can the Braves, back in the postseason for the first time since 2005, work some October magic during Bobby Cox’s last stand? They limped through September and appear to be running on fumes. As for the Giants, they either have nothing left in the tank after their fast and furious chase to catch the Padres, or they’re riding high with as much momentum as anyone in the post-season. They certainly have the pitching to take out the Braves, and anyone else for that matter. I think Atlanta will post one last game effort for their future Hall of Fame manager, but the Giants will prevail in five.