Monday, September 20, 2010
New York Yankees Will Win their 28th World Championship
Why do I think the Yankees will win their 28th World Championship? Yes, they do have the best record in baseball, but the main reason is how they have accomplished that record. This is not a team that has sweated anything, even though they have been neck and neck with the Tampa Devil Rays all season. Yesterday for instance, the Yankees have added to their first place lead with Ivan Nova throwing great for 5 innings and lapsing in rookie land with a purely mental breakdown. Two middle relievers that were brought in next Boone Logan and Chad Gaudin promptly continued the wildness streak and began to make the game interesting.
The point being here is that Joe Girardi has been running the Yankees like it is still Spring training; this is a good thing. He has for the last month been determining who is going to be the guys that make the post-season roster and who can trusted in crunch time. I guarantee you, it will not be either Logan or Gaudin; they failed their audition tonight. Although the starting pitching of the Yankees is no where nears as strong as the late 1990's group of Pettitte, Wells,Hernandez and Cone.
This group has 2 solid starters in C.C. Sabathia and Andy Pettitte. Both Pettitte and Sabathia are having career years and both have won in the clutch. You throw in head case A.J. Burnett, who may just show up in time for the playoffs and the Yankees are actually in better shape pitching wise than they were last year. The Arizona Diamondbacks have recently shown that you can win the World Series with just two top starters, they carried the team to Nirvana with Randy Johnson and Curt Shilling's performance in the 1998 against the Yankees.
The Yankees bullpen is loaded this year with much less question marks once the roster is cleared of all the riff-raff that is competing for the last spot or two in the bullpen. It turns out that the dog that everyone loves to kick, Javier Vasquez is a very competent reliever in long relief.He is great when the Yankees are pitching from behind and they need a reliever to go 3-4 innings to cover the starter that got kicked out of the box early. This has some value, because of the Yankees potent offense; the Yankees have a knack for coming from behind to win. This has been true over the course of their entire history. The Arizona series in my mind was lost because the Yankees failed to sign lefty specialist Jeff Nelson. The Yankees over-used Mariano Rivera, forcing him to go 2 innings rather than his usual one during the pennant stretch. Come World Series time, Rivera's arm was a bit tired and the Yankees lost on a broken bat base hit. Penny wise and Pound foolish they were that year, not wanting to splurge the extra million on Nelson.
This year the secret addition to the club is former stud starter Kerry Wood, who has been the most reliable set-up man since well, Rivera in 1995. Wood is carrying a 0.42 ERA since joining the Yankees. Do you think this guy wants a Championship having languished with the Cubs his whole career? Joba Chamberlain has also been performing better this season after finally shaking off the great Starter experiment. Chamberlain is becoming the phenom again of his rookie season where he was tabbed as the heir apparent to Rivera as the Yankees future closer. He is a high-strung personality that loves to lay it all out for 2 innings. His makeup is not geared to be a starter. You could make a case that the Yankees have the best bullpen ever, with Wood, Chamberlain and Rivera, With Vasquez in long relief and rookie Ivan Nova. His stuff is way too good not to include on the postseason roster and if you eliminate his middle innings meltdown as a starter, you have another version of Chamberlain.
The new addition of Curtis Granderson is starting to pay off. His swing has been re-worked by the team hitting coach and his is learning plate patience and beginning to understand he does not have to carry the team like he did in Detroit. He has speed, a big upgrade over johnny Damon and he has been hitting in the clutch over the last month with two homers last night against Tampa Bay. Lance Berkman another Kerry Wood type, this man hit 41 homers in Houston last year and wants to win. He looks like a Yankee and I expect big things from him in the post season especially against the National league pitchers he has faced his whole career.
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