Yankee fans everywhere are excited for the beginning of tonight’s big 4 game set with the hated Red Sox, and they should be. If the Yanks could manage a sweep of the Sox, they could send them reeling 6 1/2 games back with little hope of winning the AL East and fighting for their playoff lives with the Rays. However, should the Yanks get swept it would cement the notion that they simply can’t beat this team and would be a dark harbinger for the playoffs that the most ardent, die hard Yankee fan could not deny.
I’m not going to mince words here, the Yanks can and should take 3 of 4. Anything less would be disappointing. A split in these games would be a win for the Red Sox, given how the deck is stacked against them. As much as I’d love to use this series as a measuring stick for the Yanks/Red Sox, I really can’t. The Yankees are home with their rotation set up about as well as it possibly could be, while the Red Sox staff isn’t optimal and furthermore is banged up with the losses of Dice-K and Wakefield. There’s no more ‘we don’t have A-Rod’ excuse. No ‘Tex always slumps in April’ to fall back on. Joba’s throwing the ball extremely well and has dominated the Sox in previous outings. Burnett has been our best starter for the past few months. CC’s fine and Andy Pettitte is on one of his vintage 2nd half runs. The Yanks lead the majors in Runs Scored and have the best Home Record in the American League while the Sox are playing .500 ball away from Fenway Park. If the Yanks can’t take a series with these pitching matchups at home, you have to wonder if they ever will. I don’t think “We didn’t have Brett Gardner” will win you any arguments in Beantown on Monday. If anything, the Sox have a convenient excuse with Jason Bay likely to miss the series with an injured hamstring.
But then again, we’ve all seen teams get dominated in the regular season who go on to win in the playoffs. The 1988 Dodgers vs Mets come to mind. So much can change between now and October. Slumps, injuries, ineffectiveness by key contributors can change things dramatically between two evenly matched teams. Just plain luck will win you a game here and there, and while the Red Sox are a very good team the 0-8 record is a reflection of some good luck on their part. If these things tend to even out over time, the Yanks have a few wins they don’t deserve headed their way.
Quote of the day comes from Captain Clutch himself, who is far more renowned for his play on the field than he is for his quotes off it. He said:
However, Yankees captain Derek Jeter is quick to remind that regular-season success against a particular team isn’t necessarily an indicator of postseason outcomes. As he motioned toward pitcher CC Sabathia, who was sitting at the opposite end of the clubhouse, Jeter recalled the case of 2007. That year, the Yankees went 6-0 against Sabathia’s Indians in the regular season.
“I don’t think they beat us all year,” Jeter said. “Then we got to the playoffs.”
The Indians beat the Yankees 3-1 in the AL Division Series.
Game starts tonight @7:00 on MY9.
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