The Commish Online www.thecommishonline.com
October 16, 2010
Why can't the Twins beat the Yankees? Against every other team, Minnesota overachieves, plays the game hard, and focuses on the fundamentals, like an annoying tennis player who keeps the volley going until you make a mistake. Against New York, however, it's a different story, and this postseason was no different as the Twins were lifeless in the ALDS.
In the other series, home field was hardly an advantage as the road team won every game. More had to do with the pitching matchups than the stadium, but the Rangers' first postseason series victory was still a historical one. With Texas advancing, the Yankees will have an opponent who can match up offensively, but that doesn't mean every game will be a beer league softball score. On to the matchup.
New York vs. Texas
It's always easy to pick the Yankees in any postseason series, and I was all set to do so until a friend convinced me otherwise with little more than offering that "it is their year." The truth is that Texas matches up quite well with New York and only one team has Cliff Lee.
While it would have benefited Texas to have Cliff Lee in Game 1, waiting until Game 3 will favor the Rangers in that game and a Game 7 if necessary. New York has Sabathia, but I'd take Lee in a playoff series as the least beatable based on recent history.
Both teams have some question marks elsewhere in the rotation, but until Andy Pettitte stops winning playoff games, it's hard to count him out despite a hot and cold return from injury. C.J. Wilson is a true talent and should hold his own in Game 1.
As for the hitting, expect mistakes to be hit a long way. Teixeira, A-Rod, Swisher, Hamilton, Guerrero, Cruz and others will make sure fans in the outfield seats get plenty of souvenirs. I see two important keys to the 2010 ALCS. First, the team who can keep mistakes to a minimum will prevail. It sounds cliche, but with the matchup so close and both teams boasting powerful lineups, keeping runners off base will make the difference. Solo home runs can be overcome, but walks before a long ball will kill. Secondly, Game 4 is a mystery with the starters still not officially announced. Neither team will have an advantage going into that game, and the team that wins Game 4 will win the series.
New York will hardly go away quietly, and there's always that guy at the back end of the bullpen named Rivera, but I can't see Cliff Lee losing Game 3, and I believe Texas will outslug New York in another game or two, somehow finding a way to get to the next round AND save Lee for Game 1 in the World Series
Prediction: Texas in 6