Here’s my question of the day for you guys. If it all winds up going south, who will take out the Yankees and why? I’d expect there to be a wide variance of opinion on this one. Originally, I feared that the Cardinals might have the right mix to beat the Bombers. they Have two top starters, a la the 2001 Diamonbacks’ formula. The rest of their rotation isn’t bad either, and they have the best hitter in baseball surrounded by some decent support. LaRussa is certainly a guy who has won before, as have several others on that team. With St. Louis losing their first two and on the brink of elimination, however, they’re not quite as scary.
Who else has a mix that may turn potentially frightening? The Red Sox are certainly scary when they’re all going right. There are a number of great, great bats in that lineup and when Beckett and Lester are going right, they’re two of the toughest starters in baseball. They also go through phases where their bats just go completely silent, a la some recent Yankee teams and, aside from Papelbon, there might not be another truly reliable pitcher on that staff. The fact that Beckett seems to be ailing, too, immediately makes them seem much less threatening.
The Angels have always given the Yankees a hard time. Mike Scosia is one of the savviest minds in the game and, despite a pretty poor FIP on the year (4.45), they play strong defense and have a number of options to start with Santana, Lackey, Weaver, Palmer and Kazmir each able to throw a gem on any given day (but also capable of having a bad outing – sound like anyone you know?… coughcoughBURNETT!!). They also have a potent lineup who, despite ranking slightly lower in wOBA (3rd to 2nd), they are much more consistent than the erratic Beantown lumber. Their weakness is an 11th ranked A.L. bullpen that can’t seem to get anybody out. Against guy like Kazmir, who can’t get deep, the Yankees could take pitches and run up his pitch count, getting him out in the 6th and then bludgeoning the weak pen to death.
So, who do you fear most, and if the Yanks don’t win it all, who is going to stop them? How do you foresee it happening: having the Yankee starting pitching beaten up or by the bats like A-Rod and Cano suddenly going inexplicably silent in big spots?
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