Sunday, October 11, 2009

Yankees Sweep Twins, Move to ALCS

For the first time since October 2004, the Yankees won a postseason series.

Not only did they win the series, but they swept the way they were supposed to sweep, not like underachieving squads of not too long ago.

The game was similar to most of the Yankee-Twins games played this season: a close affair in which the Twins had a lead, lost it, and had one too many miscues to be able to recover.

Baserunning miscues may have coast the Twins two games this series, and the Yankees' ability to step on the Twins' neck, with two more runs in the ninth inning to turn a 2-1 nail-biter into a 4-1 game almost assured of being a sure thing with Mariano Rivera on the mound, Minnesota never had much of a chance.

No one will forget that the losing pitcher in this game was Carl Pavano, because it simply fits too well.

Pavano, in a sense, is THE symbol of the underachieving Yankee squads of recent note--$40 million to ride the disabled list, pitching just enough in 2008 to prove he can and get signed by another team in the offseason.

When motivated, Pavano is a decent pitcher--and he showed it tonight, matching Pettitte nearly pitch for pitch into the seventh inning.

Still, even the great Carl Pavano (note the biting sarcasm) could contain the Yankees forever. They were simply a better team than the Twins.

There are no MVPs awarded for the ALDS, but if there was such an award, there is no question that its recipient would be Alex Rodriguez.

How many of you thought you would be reading that sentence back in February?

Long the brunt of many a "but-he's-not-a-true-Yankee" criticism, Rodriguez was simply stellar throughout the series and tonight, again, played a hero, tying the game at one with a no-doubt home run into the stowed away football seats.

Andy Pettitte's pitching was also stellar--only one run through six and a third and only throwing 81 pitches in doing so.

There's a considerable question mark as to whether or not Pettitte should have been removed from the game at that point--and I would argue that Girardi simply remembers 1996 too well: going to a lock-down bullpen in the seventh inning to shorten the game, won championship #23.

It remains to be seen whether or not it will bring about #27, but for the moment Yankee fans can content themselves with the knowledge that no matter what, there will be at least four more games of Yankee baseball in 2009.


Check back throughout the week for ALCS previews and analysis. Game one is Friday, 10/16.