The Yanks just concluded their best series of the season -- sweeping Bahstin at the Stadium, holding the RedSawx to 6 runs and 13 hits in three games, and winning close, well-pitched contests against the RedSax top 3 (Dice-Dice KB, Backout and the Shill) with the Yanks top 3 (Pettitte, Clemens and Wang). Totals for the Yankees' starters: 3-0, 20 IP, 4 ER, 1.80 ERA. The game Tuesday night was the best game of the season between the teams -- just a few feet separated rolltheDice from keeping the game tied, the teams had to scrap out hits and runs, and the performances had an October feel. Compare that to all the games in Ratway this year where neither team has scored fewer than 5 runs in any game and the relievers have taken turns bonking.
Give credit where it's due, the RedSux didn't play badly. DiceDiceKB pitched well except for two justoverthewall homers, Backout ran in and out of trouble all night (12 H in 6 IP before A-Rod's 7th inning homer), The Shill only allowed 2 solo HR to Cano. As well as the Yanks pitched, the RedStanks can feel good because their top 3 had been shredded by the Yanks this season, but all did decent jobs in the Bronx.
Conventional wisdom is now that the RedSawx don't want to face the Yanks in October. As we all know, conventional wisdom is a phrase renowned for its 50% accuracy. The Redstiffs would love to take on the Yanks and dump them en route to a second AL title in four years. Yes, the Yanks are a tougher matchup for Bawstun than the Angels (whom the Redhos routinely crush), but if you think you're the superior team and have a permanent inferiority complex, who better to beat than the most hated rival?
Problem is, if the Yanks make the playoffs, they'd likely have to face the Angels -- a quick but not painless death to Yankee title hopes in 2002 and 2005. Think the third time's the charm against a playoff rival? So did the 2001 Astros, 1978 Royals, 1975 Pirates, and 1953 Dodgers -- each of whom lost for the third straight time to the same foe within a six-year period. And personally, The Monk doesn't want to wait for the fourth time for the breakthrough like those teams did. [Houston lost NLDS to Atlanta in 1997, 1999, 2001, won in 2004 and 2005; Royals lost in the 1976-78 ALCS to the Yanks, won in 1980; Pirates lost the 1970, 1972, 1975 NLCS to the Reds, won in 1979; Dodgers lost the 1949, 1952 and 1953 WS to the Yanks, won in 1955]. The Monkling wants his inaugural playoff season to be memorable for GOOD results.