|A capsule look at the Yankees-Indians playoff series|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 01 October 2007 13:31|
Schedule: (All times Eastern) Game 1, Thursday, at Cleveland (6:37 p.m.); Game 2, Friday, at Cleveland (5:07 p.m.); Game 3, Sunday, at New York (6:37 p.m.); x-Game 4, Monday, at New York (6:07 p.m.); x-Game 5, Wednesday, at Cleveland (5:07 p.m.). (All games on TBS).
Season Series: New York won 6-0.
Yankees: LF Johnny Damon (.270, 12 HR, 63 RBIs, 27 SB), SS Derek Jeter (.322, 12, 73, hit .418 with two outs and runners in scoring position), RF Bobby Abreu (.283, 16, 101, 25 SB), 3B Alex Rodriguez (.314, 54, 156, 24 SB), DH Hideki Matsui (.285, 25, 103) or Shelley Duncan (.257, 7, 17), C Jorge Posada (.338, 20, 90), 2B Robinson Cano (.306, 19, 97), 1B Doug Mientkiewicz (.277, 5, 24) or Jason Giambi (.236, 14, 39), CF Melky Cabrera (.273, 8, 73).
Indians: CF Grady Sizemore (.277, 24, 78, 33 SB, 155 strikeouts), 2B Asdrubal Cabrera (.283, 3, 23), DH Travis Hafner (.266, 24, 100), C Victor Martinez (.301, 25, 114), 1B Ryan Garko (.289, 21, 61), SS Jhonny Peralta (.270, 21, 72), LF Kenny Lofton (.296, 7, 38, 23 SB with Texas and Cleveland), RF Franklin Gutierrez (.266, 16, 36), 3B Casey Blake (.270, 18, 78).
Yankees: RH Chien-Ming Wang (19-7, 3.70 ERA), LH Andy Pettitte (15-9, 4.05, went 11-3 in second half), RH Roger Clemens (6-6, 4.18), RH Mike Mussina (11-10, 5.15).
Indians: LH C.C. Sabathia (19-7, 3.21, major league-high 241 IP), RH Fausto Carmona (19-7, 3.06 - 2.15 in second half), RH Jake Westbrook (6-9, 4.32), RH Paul Byrd (15-8, 4.59, 28 walks in 192 1-3 IP).
Yankees: RH Mariano Rivera (3-4, 3.15, 30/34 saves, 12 walks, 74 strikeouts in 71 1-3 IP), RH Joba Chamberlain (2-0, 0.38, 34 strikeouts in 24 IP), RH Luis Vizcaino (8-2, 4.30), RH Kyle Farnsworth (2-1, 4.80), LH Ron Villone (0-0, 4.25), RH Phil Hughes (5-3, 4.46 - 3-0, 2.66 ERA in final 4 starts), RH Ross Ohlendorf (0-0, 2.84).
Indians: RH Joe Borowski (4-5, 5.07, AL-high 45/53 saves), RH Rafael Betancourt (5-1, 1.47 ERA is second-lowest among AL relievers), LH Rafael Perez (1-2, 1.78 ERA), RH Tom Mastny (7-2, 4.68), RH Jensen Lewis (1-1, 2.15), LH Aaron Fultz (4-3, 2.92).
e most accomplished pitchers in postseason history. He is 14-9 with a 4.08 ERA, and this will be his 25th postseason series. ... The Yankees scored 968 runs, their most since getting 979 in 1937.
But like most everything else Shapiro has done, it worked out. ... Sabathia developed into a bona fide No. 1 starter and would have won more than 19 games if the Indians had hit behind him during the second half. Carmona, who flamed out in a brief tryout as a closer in '06, went 19-7 and might have the best stuff in the AL. ... Hafner, who signed a four-year, $57 million extension in July, has struggled with consistency but still managed to drive in 100 runs. He batted .373 over his last 17 games. ... As a whole, the Indians lack playoff experience, but savvy veterans such as Lofton and Trot Nixon will help Cleveland's kids deal with October's chill.
ames of the Red Sox in late September before falling short of catching its longtime rival. Boston's first division title since 1995 ended the Yankees' streak of nine straight AL East crowns. ... The Yankees captured the wild card, their 13th consecutive playoff berth, and were proud of the accomplishment after digging out of such a deep hole. Now, their focus turns to the postseason, and anything short of a championship will be unacceptable - as always. ... New York hasn't won it all since 2000 or been to the World Series since 2003, and the club was knocked out of the playoffs in the first round the past two years. ... After an incredible season, Rodriguez goes back on the hot seat because of his recent failures in October. He'll try to reverse that trend, and his performance under pressure could affect whether he's back with the Yankees next year. He can opt out of his record contract this fall. Baseball's best player has never reached the World Series. ... Manager Joe Torre is in the final year of his deal and would love to win another championship after leading the Yankees to four titles from 1996-2000, his first five seasons with the team. ... The key for New York will be whether its starters can pitch through the sixth inning and hand leads to Chamberlain. Vizcaino and Farnsworth were largely ineffective down the stretch.
- A-Rod Behind the 8-ball. Rodriguez was dropped to eighth in the batting order for the Yankees' postseason finale against Detroit last year - he hadn't hit that low since May 1996. After putting together a tremendous regular season that likely will earn him his third AL MVP, he must show whether he can perform in the postseason. He is hitless in his last 15 playoff at-bats with runners in scoring position, striking out six times, and is 4-for-41 (.098) with no RBIs in his last 12 postseason games.
- Let's See-See. C.C. Sabathia hasn't faced the Yankees since 2004, when he was a 23-year-old prone to emotional outbursts on the mound that often wrecked his concentration and starts. He's more polished and more of a pitcher, relying on a nasty cutter and changeup to fool hitters. During spring training, Sabathia said the AL Central winner would go to the World Series. It might be up to him to get the Indians there.
- Sizemore Matters. Cleveland's do-it-all center fielder with the striking looks and Gold Glove could become a huge star with a big October. Nobody plays the game harder than Cleveland's No. 24, whose return to the leadoff spot after a brief stint as a No. 3 hitter triggered the Indians' division-clinching surge.
- Joba Rules. As the regular season ended, the Joba Rules were relaxed: The 22-year-old rookie sensation with the 100 mph fastball and devastating slider pitched on consecutive days, entered in the middle of innings and pitched two innings after just one day of rest. He's been virtually untouchable since being promoted to the majors in early August. Can he be as dominant in October?
- JoBo or JoBlow? Borowski's high-wire act was amusing during the regular season, but nothing is funny when a season hangs in the balance. Somehow he has gotten the job done, and he'll have to be pinpoint perfect to beat the pinstripers.