The more I think about it, the more I want to say that the Yankees are going to need two things to happen in this post-season for the team to win.
First, Torre is going to have to manage like it’s 1996 in a series where the Yankees are in a hole. By this, I mean, he’s going to have to bench some people in spots where the lesser name is the better option. Joe was willing to sit Tino and Boggs in 1996. He should be willing to bench someone like Giambi against a very tough left-hander this year – if the situation calls for it.
I know Torre will no longer do this – can you see him pinch-hitting for A-Rod, late in a game, with Guiel, in a contest where a flame-throwing RH-RP comes into a tie-game with a runner on 3rd and one out? But, if he wants to win, as badly as he did in 1996, Torre needs to put the team in front of the egos.
Secondly, someone on the Yankees staff is going to have to pull a “Jim Beattie 1978″ – meaning someone who has not been a huge factor this season, for the most part, is going to have to step up in the post-season and make big pitching contributions in at least two games.
Maybe it’s Jaret Wright? Maybe it’s Cory Lidle? Maybe it’s Darrell Rasner or Jeff Karstens? But, given the situation with Randy Johnson, the Yankees are going to need someone outside of Wang and Mussina to hold down the wins for them.
If these things don’t happen, this year could just be another dead stone in the string of 2002-2005 post-season letdowns.