• Yankees 2011 ALDS Preview

    Posted by on September 29th, 2011 · Comments (11)

    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.

    Comments on Yankees 2011 ALDS Preview

    1. clintfsu813
      September 29th, 2011 | 10:46 am

      Again..no argument here. Please let Texas handle their business with Tampa too.

    2. G.I. Joey
      September 29th, 2011 | 11:25 am

      Evan put it best in another thread. All of the AL teams in the race are capable of beating the Yankees and the Yankees are capable of beating all of them.

      If the Yankees are mashing the ball to the best of their capabilities, the starting pitching becomes less of a concern.

    3. Raf
      September 29th, 2011 | 12:33 pm

      Of the 4 playoff teams, TB has the best pitching. Next up? The Yanks.

    4. Greg H.
      September 29th, 2011 | 4:00 pm

      Yanks have the best lineup, best bullpen, deep bench, and home advantage. Given that all four AL teams are flawed somewhere, I don’t mind our chances – they’re as good as the other three teams.

    5. LMJ229
      September 29th, 2011 | 10:29 pm

      The Tigers have the best 1-2 punch in the AL with Verlander and Fister, Fister is 8-1 with a 1.79 ERA as a Tiger which includes 7 wins and a 0.65 ERA over his past eight starts. That is complete dominance. Together, they have been more effective than Halliday and Lee for the Phillies. And the Tigers traded nothing for the guy. I don’t know how involved Cashman was in those trade negotiations but if he wasn’t involved then shame on him. I’d feel alot better right now if we had CC, Fister and Nova as our starters.

      Most of us don’t feel good about this series because we all know that starting pitching is the key to a championship and that is exactly what we lack. We lacked it going into the season and we still lack it heading into the post-season. Shame on Casman for that. It is his job to identify the weaknesses and try to improve upon them. Instead, he just maintained the status quo and hoped for the best. And so, once again, this off-season we will be in the same boat as the last off-season.

    6. KPOcala
      September 29th, 2011 | 11:03 pm

      From mlbtraderumors.com: ESPN’s Jim Bowden (Insider subscription req’d) agrees that the Braves don’t need to shake up their roster and suggests that Atlanta could be one of the top suitors for Jose Reyes. Bowden also notes that the Braves have fewer looming issues than their September collapse partners in Boston: “While age and a barren farm system dim the Red Sox’s upside going into 2012, the Braves have a much brighter outlook.”

      What I found interesting was what Bowden had to say about the aging Red Sox
      and their lack of quality farm system. Sounds familiar to anyone? I think that there is a lack of objectivity to think that Cashman didn’t put together a quality organization since he took over. I believe that I wrote here some months back that the teams that you have to worry about down the stretch are the ones with the best 50 players (major leaguers included). The Yankees passed the Sox because of organizational depth. Obviously the starters could be better, but with a little luck an arm or two may appear in spring training from the minors and maybe an arm or two comes via free agency.

      So Epstein emptied the farm for a star first baseman w/ a bad shoulder, pays a fortune for the aptly named Lackey, an overwhelmed Carl Crawford, and now is all but forced to overpay to keep Paplebon. Epstein is now boxed into the same corner that Cashman was in 6-7 ago, only he’s probably had a lot more autonomy than Cashman did. So, just maybe Cashman isn’t quite the village idiot that some pundits make him out to be. Unless all the dominoes fall the right way for the Sox, they may have to play catch-up with the Yanks for 2-4 years. Sometimes a GM or manager is at the right place at the right time (I think of Jimmy Johnson) and is anointed a genius, then suddenly they lose 70 points off their IQ (I think of Jimmy Johnson & Bill Parcells w/ the Dolphins). So, if the Yankees don’t go all the way this year (they might) they have a damn good team returning next year. Does a fan really deserve any more or less than that?

    7. Raf
      September 29th, 2011 | 11:25 pm

      LMJ229 wrote:

      Most of us don’t feel good about this series because we all know that starting pitching is the key to a championship

      As evidenced by all the championships the Braves have while Maddux, Smoltz & Glavine were there? ;)

    8. LMJ229
      September 29th, 2011 | 11:35 pm

      @ Raf:
      You can beat good pitching only if your pitchers match them.

    9. Raf
      September 30th, 2011 | 12:04 am

      @ LMJ229:
      The Braves have had significant pitching advantages. As have other teams that have matched up in the playoffs. Starting pitching is the key to a championship, except when it isn’t.

      The 2002 Yankees featured Mussina-Clemens-Duque-Wells and they didn’t escape the 1st round.

    10. Evan3457
      September 30th, 2011 | 9:47 am

      In their last 51 games, the Tigers have gone 36-15 in their last 51 with a 3.63 team ERA, including taking 3 out of 4 from the Rays in August when the Rays got hot the 1st time.

      Impressive. Impressive?

      Steve is fond of pointing out when the Yanks are looking impressive only because they’re beating up on lousy teams. Here’s who the Tigers won those 36 out of 51 from: Royals, Indians, Orioles, Twins, Indians, Rays, Twins, Royals, White Sox, Indians, Twins, White Sox, A’s, Royals, Orioles, Indians.

      In those last 51 games, the Tigers have only faced 1 team in the upper half of the league’s offenses: the Royals, who are hardly Murderer’s Row. The Royals got 38 runs in the 6 games the two teams played. In the 51 games, the Tigers held the opposition to 2 runs or less 17 times; the Twins 5 times, the Indians and White Sox 4 times, the Rays 3 times, the A’s twice and the Royals once.

      Just sayin’.

    11. MJ Recanati
      September 30th, 2011 | 3:30 pm

      LMJ229 wrote:

      The Tigers have the best 1-2 punch in the AL with Verlander and Fister…Together, they have been more effective than Halliday and Lee for the Phillies. And the Tigers traded nothing for the guy. I don’t know how involved Cashman was in those trade negotiations but if he wasn’t involved then shame on him…[W]e all know that starting pitching is the key to a championship and that is exactly what we lack. We lacked it going into the season and we still lack it heading into the post-season. Shame on Casman for that. It is his job to identify the weaknesses and try to improve upon them. Instead, he just maintained the status quo and hoped for the best.

      Your assumption is that Brian Cashman was not involved in any potential deal for Doug Fister. You may be right however you may be wrong as well. Moreover, it’s just as possible that no other GM was involved in any potential deal for Doug Fister because it might’ve been a private, one-team negotiation between Detroit and Seattle. Not every trade involves multiple phone calls and dozens of potential suitors. Sometimes trades just happen organically, between two GM’s that are comfortable with one another and doesn’t involve a lot of negotiation or back-and-forth exchange. Sometimes trades just happen, especially relatively minor ones such as one involving Doug Fister, a guy that has pitched well but was not considered a trade deadline blockbuster acquisition.

      To chastize Cashman for allowing another team to steal away a potentially valuable player without so much as a token effort is to argue the unknowable. You’re welcome to do so but it would seem like more reflexive bashing on what should’ve been done without considering what could’ve been done. Not everything we want to happen is actually feasible.

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