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Friday, October 2, 2009

The Yankees, Unobstructed- October 2

Who to Fear in the Division Series

With either the Detroit Tigers or Minnesota Twins awaiting the Yankees in the Division Series, not making the American League Championship would be an absolute travesty. Against those two teams, the Yankees have a combined 12-1 record. Of course, that stat is only mildly comforting when you consider that the last time the Yankees made the playoffs, they were defeated by the 2007 Cleveland Indians — A team they had gone 6-0 against in the regular season.

Who to fear on the Tigers:

Justin Verlander - Detroit's ace throws mean heat, but he has also finished poorly. He's given up four or more runs in three of his last four starts.

Rick Porcello - The rookie is mad good. He has allowed two runs or less in six out of his last nine outings.

Miguel Cabrera - 33 home runs, 33 doubles. Scary.

Magglio Ordonez - At the end of July he was hitting .258. Now his average is .301. Ordonez had 11 multi-hit games in the month of September alone.

Who to fear on the Twins:

Joe Mauer - The 26 year old has put together one of the greatest offensive seasons by any catcher ever. Mauer is slugging almost .600 while batting above .360. His 28 home runs and 95 rbis in just 134 games ain't too shabby either.

Michael Cuddyer - For Yankee Stadium's sake, it's good that he's not a lefty!

Who to fear on the Yankees:

Alex Rodriguez - His postseason struggles are will be topic #1 if he gets through game one without a hit, or makes an out late in any game. A-ROD has excelled towards the end of games all season long and his calm demeanor has been written about by every paper in town — but if the old A-ROD returns for the playoffs, things could get ugly.

C.C. Sabathia: The Yankees' ace pitches poorly in the cold. Just reference his career during April and his previous postseason starts. In his last four playoff outings, C.C. has gone 19 innings while surrendering 15 runs and 13 walks.

The Yankees will not win the World Series if C.C. Sabathia pitches poorly.

NOTE: Make sure to check back on Fridays for The Yankees, Unobstructed, BNN's weekly Yankees opinion column.

For more of Graham Kates' sports writing, check out his True/Slant blog "Coaches in the Crosshairs" (http://trueslant.com/grahamkates).


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