Yankees vs. Twins, ALDS

October 7, 2009 – 10:59 am

So here we go, playoff baseball returns to the Boogie Down after a painful one-year absence. Probably the biggest obstacle the Yankees have with this divisional series is overconfidence. They obviously have home field advantage. They got the schedule with the extra day off so they avoid one of their few weak spots, the No. 4 starter position. They’ve had two days of rest since finishing the season, whereas the Twins had to go 12 innings last night and burn through eight pitchers just to get to the playoffs. Also, during the regular season they went 7-0 against the Twins, although to be fair four of those wins were by one run, and two were by two runs. So the 7-0 might be a bit deceiving. But as they say, once the playoffs start it’s a brand new season and all bets are off. And the 5-game series just magnifies everything, so the Yankees will need to be at the top of their game.

xyzzyCC Sabathia will get the game one start, no surprise there. But Joe Girardi has opted for A.J. Burnett to start game two and save Andy Pettitte for game three which will be on the road. That, I guess, is at least a little surprising. The downside is that A.J. has been very unpredictable all season, so you run a risk of “bad” A.J. showing up and all of a sudden you are 1-1 in a short series, and you’ve lost home field advantage. But at the same time, you do mix your lefty and righty starters (a strategy I never quite understood the real value of, but what the hey). And you have Pettitte starting on the road, where supposedly he’s the better option. But on the downside, should the series go to a final game five, you’ve got A.J. on the mound again. Argh.

All that said though, here are some interesting numbers — here are the Yankee won-loss records for each of the three starters:

  • Sabathia 22-12 (.647)
  • Burnett 21-12 (.636)
  • Pettitte 21-11 (.656)

Amazingly, the Yankee win percentage is pretty much the same for all three. So going by just that one statistic, it’s really a toss up as to who you have on the mound. In fact, the Yankee season win percentage was .636 — so really, it doesn’t seem to matter who the Yankees start, even through the No. 5 starter. I think that just goes to show you how well rounded this team is — not only solid pitching through the first three starters, but also solid in the bullpen, and of course the offense is the top scoring team in the league. Pretty formidable indeed. Let the fun begin!

Photo: Yahoo! Sports

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