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Mirror, mirror on the wall who can beat the Yanks in post-season baseball?

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.

Why?

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.

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The 3 Secrets On How To Dominate A Universe

The Yankees win tonight is #90 for the team this year, a far cry from last season’s finish.

It is safe to say that the money spent in the off-season was well worth it as the Yankees are playing well, consistently.

Here are three factors to this teams undeniable success this season.

1. Phil Hughes had begun the season in the starting pitching rotation. Hughes got disregarded a lot due to all the concentration on his fellow comrade Joba Chamberlain, who was grasping the entire spotlight. This fact is a huge reason, if not the main one, to the current success of Hughes.

The ‘Joba Rules’ might had saved Joba’s arm but it surely hurt his head. The Yankees had no rules on Hughes and due to injuries they moved the starter to the bullpen to set-up for the great Mariano Rivera.

This was a move that at first seemed desperate but has proven to be the key to the team’s success.

Since Hughes has been the 8th inning guy and occasional closer the team has just fallen into place.

Clearly this change has been pivotal to the beating the Yankees bestow on opposing teams.

Hughes has been practically un-hittable. This is while displaying confidence of a veteran and has deemed to be as deserving if not more than Joba to his important for the team in the future years.

2. Mark Teixeira was one of the most sought after free agent in the off-season. A switch-hitting, 1st baseman with a proven track record of super-star.

Tex has fit in perfectly and put up excellent numbers this season with the Yankees as a batter and with his defense at 1st base.

Going from Giambi and the slew of utility players the passed few seasons to Tex, just highlights his abilities in the field. He is one of the most talented players and the Yankees filled a spot that was obviously more desperately needed than originally thought.

MVP award is definitely in this player’s reach this season.

3. CC Sabathia is a monster. Not only referring to his height of 6’7 but his abilities as a pitcher.

Sabathia is a badass. He can throw for strikes, go deep into games and has no problem throwing 100+ pitches each outing.

Sabathia also is a main reason that this Yankee team is having so much fun. He has been the guy who has made sure that off the field the team hangs out. Sabathia spent $60k in Cleveland for the team to attend the playoff game of the Cavaliers. I was watching the NBA game that night. To see the Yanks in street clothes, laughing with one another and enjoying each other’s company by choice is not seen enough around team sports.

Cy Young talk has started around CC but I do not think that is a surprise to anyone.

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The Rules That Saved An Arm But Hurt A Head

The impression that the Yankee organization has portrayed in their actions with Joba Chamberlain is starting to look desperate.

Desperate because it makes no sense more than ever after observing tonight’s wash-out while facing Roy Halladay, the Toronto Blue Jay ace. Joba cannot go into the game with the knowledge that by the fourth inning his job is done.

At least by the standards Joba, which are expected by the way he is treated with such concern by the Yanks.

Joba has made it clear that he goes out there, gets through his innings dictated to him and that is fine. The element of not knowing might make this kid succeed more because the goal is to win. Right now the goal seems to focus on the number of innings or how many pitches he is allowed to throw; instead of going deep into games, hopefully leading your team to a win.

It can be compared to letting kids go to school still sucking their thumbs. Then going as far in making sure they washed their hands with soap so the thumb tastes extra good in their mouthes. If we started encouraging child-like behaviors it takes away from the process of growing-up.

Joba was moved from normal fifth day start to every eighth day, only to flip it again a week later, back to regular five-day rotation again. That is entails three to four innings most for the kid in each start.

That puts a lot of pressure for the bullpen to carry games and innings. And for now, closing the game as well is on the middle-men’s shoulders with Mo resting his leg.

Where does that leave Chamberlain for the rest of the season? He will not be ready for a starting role in the post season. The kid was struggling most of the season with getting deep into games already.

Facing Holladay tonight, one of the best pitchers who was on fire it was almost a given that he was going to take the loss. Not smart because it has to mentally mess with his young and budding confidence level.

The Joba rules are turning into a mess because the Yanks don’t seem to know what this is leading to down the road. The result or the goal would help me understand where this is all leading too.

The commotion better be worth it because it could go badly and the person who gets affected is Joba. The Yankees will always be the Yankees.

Where is Sergio Mitre? He got hit on his left arm, not his pitching arm and the x-rays were negative in the first game he pitched really well in. Wouldn’t that seem to be a possibility that showed some promise, finally?

Guess it is just frustrating to watch because it makes no sense. Hey I will be the first one to say I am wrong if something worth while comes out of this. Maybe it’s the Yankee genius that has such an incredible outcome that no one saw coming?

I won’t hold my breath but an explanation would be appreciated so I can stop pondering Joba all the time.

The Yankees have always had the motto that the current season is the focus, not next year or the following but now. So, how is Joba going to help this season?

Let’s just hope Joba gets it because it will be his downfall if this keeps up longer.

Now the “Hughes Rules” will be starting next season from what I have read. I know he has more than two pitches but so did Mariano when he was a rookie. Hughes is already good where he is so why not have the great Rivera mentor him next season, and hopefully another.

Guess we will all start playing the waiting game, now.

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Mo Problems

In typical circumstances whenever anyone has shoulder surgery, it is only natural to employ on the sturdiness of your legs. It is a subconscious way in which the body reacts, giving some relief to the injured and recently tender area.

Imagine you are a pitcher in the majors and just came off shoulder surgery. Just throwing off a mound at the speeds and velocity needed to accomplish the outcome, which is a strike, is not typical to begin with.

So, as with anything else you use the strength of your legs to balance or attempt too. Because you have to play and will make it through the pain whatever way you can.

That is why I am trying not to worry too much about Mariano Rivera. His hamstring has been sore since his surgery so he sat out tonight in the win against Toronto Blue Jays.

Mariano is like Jeter; he does not miss a game. Any Yankee fan or player knows this and it puts concern out there.

Mo is a veteran, with experience and talent with the best of anyone in the history of the game. Rivera has been through it all, he knows what it takes to finish the long season and how deep a player has to dig to win in the post season.

The Yankees won again tonight and are in a great spot right now. Rivera knows this and he would never risk his role, because it is a critical one that is for sure.

Clearly in order for a team to compete in the post season they have to have a dominant closer. At least a team that wants to win, to be clearer

For the Yankees, Rivera is that guy.

The set-up now, with the rock solid bullpen or the pre-Rivera club that precedes hearing Enter Sandman, which means Mo, is a major key in this team’s success.

Let’s see how the next few days play out regarding the situation for Mo.

I would dread to have to start posting the other options that have to be taken into account if Mo is more hurt than he is letting onto.

No Mo could mean big trouble for the Yanks.

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3 Players Who Might Get Dumped

It’s safe to say that the Yankees look like a team on the way to the post season.

Other than winning the World Series, the question on the mind of many Yankee fans are will some of these guys not be back in pinstripes next year?

Maybe he is your hero. And looking at your jersey that might don an #18 or #55 on the back, wondering if this player did well enough for the Yanks to keep him?

Quotes like, “passed his prime” or “not the player he once was” is the common theme when these veteran players are in contract years.

But how many players has this been said about in which I am the first to say I was wrong or underestimated someone. For example, Jeter, Abreau, Mussina are a few that come to mind.

It is fact that how far the Yanks take this season; meaning if they go to the post-season (not assuming anything till it happens) is as significant for jobs to be continued. It’s the Yanks and heads will role if the team bombs.

Let’s explore three current Yankees who are playing for more than just the World Series this season.

1) “Positively Damonic” – #18

A Boston Red Sox, who had just come off winning the World Series, breaking the curse of 1918 was going to be a Yankee?

In 2005 Johnny Damon became a Yankee. He was on the top of his game and was going to his rival team where I guess the only thing took away from him was his long hair.

Described as a positive guy who treats everyone from the bat boy to the valet parking his car with complete kindness. Damon was embraced by the Yank fans immediately. His teammates liked him; regardless of the shameless Torre stories that claim differently.
The honest truth is that Damon’s best years might be behind this champ. Damon is still a darn good player and offers a lot.

Plain and simple Damon has a bad arm but that is not new news. It got overlooked because he made dynamic plays in the outfield. It was pure talent and athleticism displayed in everyday but age and injuries inevitably have taken some toll on him.

Clearly Damon can hit and is still one of the best, no doubt. He is good in the post season; just watch game seven of the 2004 World Series to see him at his best.

Damon can rob bases with the best and he is having a good year. I think he will still be good for two more seasons and the Yanks should offer him two years for less money.

We let Abreau go a little to soon. He is worse then Damon ever was in the outfield. Now, as a Angel is getting MVP Award talk, something that the Yanks were sure was over.

If Damon gets another year it gives out young prospect Austin Jackson another season in the minors. Which can help his growth and ease him up to the Majors.

Damon wants to stay a Yankee and I want him in pinstripes again.

2) “It‘s A Thilla For Godzilla” – #55

Hideki Matsui will not comment on what will happen about next year, till this season is over.

He has made it clear he is comfortable in New York. And the Yankee players’ have clearly spoken on the respect they have for his continued professionalism.

The fans adore Matsui. He is a true gentleman and the country of Japan should be proud to have Matsui represent them.

This athlete respects baseball, his teammates and works hard. Yes, Matsui has bad knees but they are improving.
Regardless, Matsui can hit ridiculously well and consistently can be relied on to do so.

Other then Jeter, he is the only other hitter on the Yankees, that is confident in the clutch and with a game’s result on his bat.

The National league will not be jumping to sign him because the DH is not a position.

Stupid for the Yanks to let him face them next season.

Give him one more year for much less money is the option if the season is considered a successful one.

3) Andy Pettitte – #46

This will be short and sweet.

Andy Pettitte will be a Yankee nest year. It will be his choice because this pitcher can still throw and Cashman knows it.

Andy says he has never felt better.

All I can say to that is……“HEY ANDY, it shows!!!”
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Mitre Is Meger No More, As Yanks Slam The White Sox

Since becoming the fifth pitcher in the Yankee rotation, Sergio Mitre seemed to be the desperate fill that the team could afford to deal with.

In the 10-0 hosing of the White Sox today is also the game that changed it all for Mitre. His sinkerball was sharp, causing the White Sox hitters to 13 groundouts and with some solid defensive plays by Arod and Cano to go with it.

The bats were hot too ,but Chicago’s Jose Contreras pitching made it pretty hard for them not to be. The Yanks slammed out nine hits for eight runs in the first four innings.

This all happening the day after another Yankee walk-off win in the tenth inning with a “Robbie Cano, Don’t You Know” homer.

Taking the first two from Chicago was needed payback by Yankees for almost being swept by the White Sox in their last series not so long ago.

Mitre caused a not-so-long-ago memory to flash into my head. One of Wang, the old ace who’s sinkerball was just as effective as the Yankees fifth starter was today.

His best performance was short-lived. For Mitre, had to leave the game in the sixth with two outs, as ball slammed into his forearm causing him to immediately leave the game.

How unfortunate but at least he did it on the one start that he can actually be proud of. Mitre still will have to produce a few more outings like today’s but he has shown he does have a good arm. Let’s just hope it is still in tack after that line drive hit he took.

With two wins against the White Sox, an announcement that the burning of the Joba Rules had taken place. It actually made me sad as if our little boy was almost all grown-up now. It was going to happen because it was starting to hurt more than help.

Mitre could be a solid cushion to have behind Joba. Mitre has now become a desperate once again. This time not as a filler but a guy to keep because I have a thinking that Joba has to have his assumed adjustment time.

Why?

It’s Joba and there is always a reason for everything this young talent does.

Fine with me, while Joba pitches well more than not, he can adjust whatever he needs too.

As for today, not a ‘Mitre’ kind of day at all.

The Yankees continue to look as good as a team could ever hope too. The confidence is contagious all around that clubhouse. A virus that everyone wants to get sick with.

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