Mirror, mirror on the wall who can beat the Yanks in post-season baseball?
Within the AL East Division, I think the Yankees have a significant lead that will be hard to catch. In the American League the first team that pose a threat in the race to the World Series is the Boston Red Sox.
If this team wins the Wild Card it could be trouble. The rivalry alone brings an added hype for the players and the fans alike. Boston can beat New York and they know it. Most other teams don’t have that added bonus.
Also, Josh Beckett and Tim Wakefield are Yankees killers in the past but the consistency of Papelbaum is in major question. Billy Wagner has been added from the Mets to the Red Sox roaster. He is older and off an injury but the frustrations of having to be a Met in the same city that is Yankee-town might give him a mental game that could be scary.
The other team plays hard and plays dirty. The dreaded LA Angels have caused more problems for the Yankees over the years in the post season.
The Angels tend to get overlooked because of the ruckus that the Red Sox rivalry brings. This team has no problem reminding both the Red Sox and the Yankees that the AL consists of more teams then just the media hogging, favorites.
Watch out for the Angels because they hate being left out and even with all their glory, the shadow seems to still be there.
The National League is known as the lesser side of baseball. It is mind boggling as last years champs are still proving to be the team to beat, as the Phillies look like their headed back to the same road as last year.
Even with the recent slump and loses of late, the Phillies will not go down without a fight.
The addition of Cliff Lee, last year’s CY Young winner is a clear sign that this team wants to repeat. Lee joins the rotation of the World Series MVP Cole Hamels, the young arm of JA Happ and the veteran late pick-up of Pedro Martinez.
Hamels has had a mediocre season till recently. He looks back to the MVP form of last season and if Pedro stays of the DL his experience in the post season will help.
The biggest question of the complete decline of closer Brad Lidge has been answered by Brett Meyers who will come off the DL on Friday. Lidge has been so off this season he cannot be trusted in the post season again. Meyers can fill that hole but three months since his last time on the mound will be a true test of the situation. This is a situation that will play a major factor for the champs.
Overall, the most successful NL team regarding wins is the St. Louis Cardinals, with 84.
The Cards have an 11.5 lead in the NL Central. In front of the pathetic once again team of the Chicago Cubs, which makes them look, like a lock for the post-season.
Albert Pujols, the clear MVP of the NL just hit his 47th homer of the season is a force by himself but not for a team to win. The Cards acquired Matt Holiday in July from the A’s and the tandem have been dominant consistently. Holliday’s recent bruised knee looks to be just that so nothing for concern for the Cards.
Since the all-star break St. Louis has had an easy schedule playing fallen teams such as the Mets and the Nationals. Starting now the teams schedule gets a lot harder so that will be the message of how tough this team actually is.
Not trying to take away from the Cardinals recent success because a win is a win no matter what team you beat.
The biggest concern for any team in the majors is pitching. This plays the most critical role in the post-season.
Any team that is playing baseball in October has to be a winning and talented team. Inevitably, each will consist of the most gifted hitters, which mean the starting, middle, and closing pitchers have to have their best performances.
With the first round in the playoffs being best of five games that gives absolutely no room for error at all. Each team will have an ace on the mound, if not two arms that will make the hitters jobs almost impossible. This makes the pitchers jobs the most crucial as if a hitter catches on to a mistake it could mean the game.
This post season, as with any other is a fresh start for the eight teams. The Yankees seem to be the favorites as of now but that is not a guarantee for the outcome at all.
Each game has to be treated with the ultimate goal in mind and that is to win.