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New York Yankees-Minnesota Twins: ALDS Series Breakdown, Part Three

Part one and two covered statistical comparison, as well as the pros/cons for the upcoming New York Yankees-Minnesota Twins ALDS; finishing off with part three, which will be my prediction of who will win. Remember it is just three of five games in the first round of the MLB postseason and this length makes it all the more challenging.

Who Will Win the ALDS, Yankees or Twins?

Let’s start by reminding anyone reading this that I am a New York Yankees fan.

I am also a realistic writer who loves the game of baseball.

So as much as my loyalty will always be with the Yankees, I can’t change whether they’re capable of winning or losing.

For the upcoming ALDS between the Yankees and Twins, it would be idiotic to not favor New York to win in four games.

Without a doubt, when the two teams have faced each other in the past the Yankees have been favored. However this cannot be the only reason to choose one team over the other, nor can the Yankees’ wild-card history be a factor as they are a totally different team now. The only relevant stat is the 2009 postseason sweep of the Twins, as it was too recent to overlook.

The whole media smear campaign against New York is expected and the non-stop ripping of the Yankees pitching staff is not unwarranted, but exaggerated considering the opponent.

Ex-starter AJ Burnett is such a mess that he will be in the bullpen for this series.

Andy Pettitte has been injured for almost the entire second half of the regular season. Since returning, Pettitte has made two starts and neither have not brought anything but more “Oh, s*i%” instead of some needed confidence the team was aching from the southpaw. Pettitte gets the benefit of the doubt because he well deserves it considering his postseason career consists of an 18-9 record, over 250 innings, striking out 164 tough bats and 3.90 ERA.

With Pettitte moving behind Yankees ace CC Sabathia in the No. 2 spot, Game 3’s starter is Phil Hughes. Hughes has pitched 90 innings more than ever in his career this season. Hughes struggled with his command at points, but not once did he pitch less than five full innings and that is all he needs to do on Saturday.

In this series the Twins pitching is in worse shape than the Yankees.

Carl Pavano is their most solid pitcher because Francisco Liriano doesn’t throw enough strikes, and that only helps the patient Yankees at the plate.

Also, Liriano gets overly excited in big regular season games, where his emotions get the best of him. The Twins are concerned considering it’s Liriano’s first postseason start ever. Still, the reward is well worth the risk because if Liriano can stay calm, he has ability to shut down entire lineups.

Another “advantage-Yankees” is that the bats are as good as it gets.

The only big concern was Derek Jeter. This has faded out, as the captain started hitting like himself again. Jeter is also a postseason superstar who is lethal as the leadoff batter.

This is what the Yankees want to do and it would be shocking if they didn’t accomplish it in this series. For me to get overly concerned about the Yankees, it would entail heading home without a win.

What I Think Is Most Critical

Winning Game 1…as it will serve as a major boost because both teams need it more than in the past.

Finally, I want to finish by saying:

“MY SINCEREST CONGRATULATIONS TO EACH OF THE EIGHT TEAMS IN THE 2010 POSTSEASON!! GOOD LUCK TO YOU ALL…xoxo lady loves pinstripes.”

New York Yankees-Minnesota Twins ALDS Series Breakdown, Part 2

Breaking down the ALDS, part one I looked at pure statistical numbers of both the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins.

Part two, is what I see as the pros and cons, which both teams before heading into Game One on Wednesday evening.

What are each team’s pros and cons?

Minnesota Twins

Let’s state the obvious advantage for the Twins in having the home-field advantage, after posting 53-27 wins/losses at Target Field. Anything is better than having to start out in the Bronx for the Twins.

The Twins have been at New York’s mercy in both the regular and postseason forever. The chip on Minnesota’s shoulder can only make the players hungrier and the team should feed off this determination to win.  Add that to a more experienced Twins ball club, who are familiar specifically with this situation. This can only help in determining a strategy to finally get past the Yankees.

The Twins biggest downfall is that is all they do when playing the Yankees. Maybe watching game footage of the Tampa Bay Rays would get their confidence up, because the Twins are scared of the big, bad Yankees. If this doesn’t change the Twins should just wave the white flag now, as the Yankees will scorch any team who bows down to them.

New York Yankees

Please understand that being the guest is not a con for the Yankees, who have a 43-37 record on the road. The Yankees are either playing well or their not, no matter the stadium field they happen to be on.

On the season, the Yankees are 23-13 against AL Central teams and other then the Twins not much else goes on in the Central. Yes, the White Sox popped up for a few weeks but the Twins had little to worry about. The AL East teams do not have it as easy, as the division is so competitive and the Yankees and Rays were both beat-up down the stretch.

The Yankees bats hold the weight in this series, especially Alex Rodriguez who has personally demoralized the Twins. In the 128 games that A-Rod has faced the Twins in his career, he has a .322 batting average, with 115 RBI and 45 home runs. That is almost surreal and A-Rod is hitting well so expect a big series from him. Look for Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson to utilize their speedy legs on the basepaths.

The question of whether Robinson Cano can continue his dominant 2010 in the postseason will play a big part for the team. Cano has almost shutdown at the plate in past playoff appearances. Still, Cano is a different beast this season so look to see how the MVP candidate fares.

Everyone is talking about the Yankees pitching rotation, which would be incredible if CC Sabathia could pitch on a daily basis. See the Yankees have been sans Andy Pettitte for most of the second half; add that to an imploding AJ Burnett who’s issues run too deep to trust and Javier Vazquez’s demotion to the bullpen.

Vazquez came in on thin ice, and the Yankees did not take a chance with Javy, who could be very useful out of the pen if innings need to be eaten before getting to Mariano Rivera.

Summary

Pitching will be the biggest factor in who wins this series.

The only other starting pitching staff in question as much the Yankees is the Twins.

Fact is, Sabathia is a better ace than Francisca Liriano, who doesn’t throw a lot of strikes but can’t get ahead in the count enough to fan batters.

The Twins most consistent pitcher is Carl Pavano, who had some success last season against New York. Pavano will face Pettitte, who is the most successful postseason pitcher ever so it is wise to think Pettitte will be ready to go come Thursday night.

Looking at both bullpens, the Yankees are better with Wood, Joba, Robertson, and Mo.

The Twins can play baseball that is not the issue. It’s attitude and if that has not taken a complete 180-degree turn versus the Yankees they are doomed.

New York Yankees-Minnesota Twins ALDS Series Breakdown, Part 1

The Wild Card New York Yankees will start the postseason in Minnesota against the AL Central Champion Twins.

Both teams will be critique over the next three days, as the sports media and baseball fans will express their opinions while trying to predict the outcome.

Being that I get questioned constantly about the Yankees, I took the three most asked questions and am breaking up into the most popular in a three part series. I will dissect  both teams and give my unrated, honest opinion. All to be finished before the first pitch of the Yankees-Twins ALDS is tossed Wednesday night.

Let’s not waste anytime, as here is the question one answered:

How do the two teams statistically match-up?

Historically, the Yankees have dominated the Twins in both regular and postseason series. The Yankees have a 9-2 playoff record against the Twins; the most recent victory was this same series in 2009.

Looking at 2010 statistically speaking, the Yankees are ahead of the Twins in home-runs with 200; New York leads the Majors in RBIs with 819 much better than the Twins total of 748. For total runs the Twins have 780, again losing to the Yankees who posted 855, which leads the Majors again.

The Twins come in third place overall for batting average with a .274, the Yanks come in eighth with a .267 average. In total hits the Twins have 1517, while New York has 1477 hits.

For the season, the Yankees have won 95 games, with the Twins following right behind with 94 wins.

Looking at the divisions individually, the AL Central doesn’t hold a candle to the AL East regarding competition. The Yankees play 18 games against the Red Sox, Rays, Blue Jays and most improved Baltimore Orioles each. Compare that to facing a struggling Tigers, the awful Indians and Royals. The Twins did get about a month and a half worth of competition from the White Sox, but Ozzie’s White Sox were out of the picture weeks ago.

The Twins record vs. AL East teams is 15-20 in the regular season; while the Yankees vs. AL Central teams posted a 23-12. The difference in wins-losses when facing the other team’s division is a significant indication that the Yankees should win the series without too much of a hiccup.

Up Next In BREAKING DOWN THE YANKEES-TWINS SERIES…..What are each team’s pros and cons?

New York Yankees Start Postseason in Minnesota on Wednesday Night

The New York Yankees had a rough September, posting a 14-16 record for the month, and finalized it by losing the AL East to the Tampa Bay Rays.

Regardless, getting closer to the goal of repeating entails making the postseason and that first step has been accomplished.

Coming in as the wild card team has not fared well for the Yankees in the past, never getting past the Division Series. Maybe starting the postseason in the Bronx is more important than their regular season away-game record reads. In any case that historical stat is not relevant enough to be a reason that the Bombers are doomed.

For now, the Yankees are heading to Minnesota to face the Twins in the ALDS. The Twins won the AL Central back on September 21, which earns the Twins the rights to play host for the first two games this Wednesday and Thursday night.

The ALDS is a best of five game series, whose shorter length is a continuing debate amongst baseball professionals and fans over extending it to seven games to match the Championship Series and World Series.

Some consider that winning three of five games can be unfair because it does not give a team enough of a fair shot to win. The main problem is no one wants to extend the season any longer because last year it went into November and that leaves little or no off-season already.

The Yankees need to win, at minimum one of the first two games in Minnesota. Coming back to New York either tied or two games up on the Twins will be crucial.

The Yankees and the Twins both went 3-7 in their last 10 regular season games, not the best way to head into the postseason.

The Twins finished the season with a 53-27 record at home, but when playing against AL East teams they are 15-20. Not really surprising considering the Twins have characteristically been frightened of the Yankees and Red Sox for years. Another problem with the Twins stems when the opponent is a National League team, going 8-10 during inter-league play proves

The Yankees road record is not one of a homesick ball-club sitting at 43-37 on the year. Against AL Central teams, the Yankees have a 23-13 record. That shows me the team can win because knowing how to beat another team is so important, especially in this short series.

Over the next few days the comparing and predictions for the outcome of this series will be plentiful. This series, in particular could go either way since both teams seasons concluded on a low.

The foretelling sign will be the conclusion of the first game on Wednesday night, as one of the two will set themselves apart and that is depending on which Yankees show-up on the field.

It’s the Yankees series to lose, let’s hope it goes better than the AL East division’s outcome.

  • Bombers now must turn it around vs. old patsy (nypost.com)
  • New York Yankees Settle for AL Wild Card (bleacherreport.com)
  • MLB Playoff Predictions: Can Andy Pettitte Save Yankees’ Postseason Pitching? (ladylovespinstripes.com)
  • Minnesota absolute-Lee right foe to face in ALDS (nypost.com)
  • New York Yankees: Stop Losing, Start Playing (ladylovespinstripes.com)

MLB Playoff Predictions: Can Andy Pettitte Save Yankees’ Postseason Pitching?

The New York Yankees are postseason-bound, but how far they make it is another story.

In 2009 the Yankees had a three-headed monster in CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, and A.J. Burnett. This allowed skipper Joe Girardi to use a three-man rotation in the postseason, and the results speak for themselves.

Currently, the same group is still in pinstripes but unfortunately is not as reliable.

Let’s look at the three amigos individually.

The Yankees’ No. 1 is CC Sabathia, who is still an ace. Many believe that Sabathia should and could win the AL CY Young for 2010—no debate on that statement. Sabathia is the reason the Yankees are in the postseason in 2010.

Whatever the reason, A.J. Burnett is not the same at all. Whatever is distracting him seems to not be Yankee-related; at least that is assumed at this point.

In August and September the team lost nine of 11 games that Burnett started. Over that two-month period, Burnett gave up 70 hits, 46 earned runs, 10 home runs, and walked 26. The odd stat out was Burnett’s 48 strikeouts, which is still decent.

Everyone was hopeful before his last start, presuming Burnett would continue taking baby steps forward. Instead he fell apart worse than ever, and Burnett’s place in the dynamic trio is seemingly now Phil Hughes‘ spot.

The veteran of the group, Andy Pettitte, was having a phenomenal season. He posted a 2.88 ERA until he suffered an injury to his hamstring on July 18, which kept him on the DL for three months.

Arriving back September 19th at Camden Yards, Pettitte pitched six innings. He looked good, even though the team lost the game. In his next start things went horribly bad, as Pettitte gave up seven hits, six earned runs, and one home run to the Red Sox over four innings. Pettitte said his back was stiff, and being on the DL that long, it is not surprising.

Pettitte’s start tonight against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park will answer a lot of questions, and all of Yankees Universe will be watching.

Seriously looking at the bigger picture, what other options does Girardi have if Pettitte struggles for the second time?

Sergio Mitre?

Okay, all joking aside, Pettitte is the most winning postseason pitcher in the history of MLB. That is no joke. It does give Pettitte a “bye” if he implodes in Boston.

Still, the fact remains that it would be nice for the Yankees to get a solid five or six innings from the southpaw before heading into October.

New York Yankees Have Issues, But So Do Other Playoff Teams

The New York Yankees clinched another playoff spot on Tuesday night, beating the Toronto Blue Jays 6-1.

The night belonged to ace CC Sabathia, who shut down the heavy hitting Blue Jays bats. Some are tagging the Yankees doomed in the playoffs, as the rotation is having some issues. Still, there are many positives in pinstripes too that tend to get overlooked.

One fact remains true in MLB: No team gets into the postseason via luck. Each team that plays in October deserves it; this is not the NFL and the Yankees are not the 2009 New York Jets. The season is long and 162 games doesn’t allow for it.

With the 2010 playoff spots almost filled, let’s find at the flaws of each team that has clinched so far.

The Texas Rangers owned the AL West pretty much all season, but the competition was a joke. MVP candidate Josh Hamilton is the bread and butter of the Rangers lineup and the team needs him being at 100 percent healthy. Hamilton has cracked ribs and has admitted he is injured. The Rangers are praying that Hamilton’s two weeks off will get him swinging for October, because if not…adios amigos.

Don’t forget that historically, the Rangers can’t usually hang with the AL East boys (Rays and Yankees) so perfection is needed deep in the heart of Texas.

The Minnesota Twins have been without All-Star first baseman Justin Morneau since July 18. No doubt having Morneau in the playoffs would be ideal, considering his other half Joe Mauer has been flirting with injuries all season. The latest is Mauer will be back behind the plate this Friday, after suffering a jammed knee on September 18. Morneau is practicing with the team but the concussion he suffered will not be resolved this season.

The Tampa Bay Raysbest player is third baseman Evan Longoria, who has been resting since the moment the Rays clinched. Skipper Joe Madden is no dummy and knows the Rays need Longoria in October. Also, other than David Price the rest of the Rays starters have been struggling. One other feature that makes the Rays so lethal is stealing bases, which has slowed down quite a bit.

It is tough to find many flaws when talking about the Philadelphia Phillies. All-Star shortstop Jimmy Rollins has been on the DL for the majority of the season, so keep an eye on Rollins. Also, first baseman Ryan Howard and second baseman Chase Utley both spent significant time on the DL too. The Phillies have starting pitcher Cole Hamels and closer Brad Lidge, who have gotten into major funks, AJ Burnett style. Though both seem to be back in form, you never know with players that both perform that badly for such long stretches of time.

The Cincinnati Reds won the NL Central over the powerhouse St. Louis Cardinals. It was a complete team effort, as the bench players came up big when injuries happened, but can this team hold up against teams like the Phillies, Rays, and Yankees. It will be tough for the Reds, as it will take the whole team to win. The NL Central was the Cardinals to lose, not the Reds to win. Also, the Reds were 2-5 against an injured Phillies during the regular season, so a healthy Phillies would be tough for the Reds to defeat.