It begins – and ends? – with starting pitching.
CC Sabathia is the Yankees ace. And, he’s by far their best starting pitcher option. But, let’s not pretend that he’s Curt Schilling in October. The big lefty is far from a lock in the post-season. Just look at how he did last year in October against the Twins and Rangers. In fact, overall, outside of 2009, CC has not been a stellar post-season performer.
Next, we have Ivan Nova. Now, he may excel against the Tigers. Then again, he might be like Worm Killer Wang back in the day – great in the regular season, deer in the headlights in the post-season. We just don’t know…and have to wait and see.
And, Freddy Garcia gets the start in Game Three. Anyone else having Jaret Wright and/or Cory Lidle flashbacks? Heck, maybe Freddy pulls a Jon Lieber and gives the Yankees a good effort? Shoot, I trust him now more than Burnett, Colon or Hughes. But, I’m not feeling all that confident about his start.
The whole thing is not very hopeful. Maybe the Yankees’ bats and bullpen make up for where their starting pitchers may stumble? But, we’ve seen where guys like A-Rod and Teixeira go cold in the post-season. If that happens again, it’s not helping the Yankees. And, this team no longer has guys like Johnny Damon or Hideki Matsui – who seemed to come through in October, sometimes.
This all said, I will not be shocked if the Yankees lose the ALDS – and I probably will not be upset. I realize that they are not the best team, without question, out there – no matter if they did have the best record in the league this season. Maybe I would be upset if they choke/blow the ALDS in some manner. But, on the whole, I’m not feeling groovy on the Yankees chances here – and, that’s what has level set my expectations for the ALDS.
Don’t get me wrong – I’ll be rooting for the Yanks, 100%, like I always do. And, I will be thrilled if they win this ALDS. However, I think we (in Yankeeland) better be prepared for this being a short ALDS with an outcome that’s not good for New York.
Starting pitching. This Yankees team just doesn’t have it…at least now…when they need it the most. And, I don’t need Brian Cashman’s objective pipe to figure that out.