27 Sep 2012
The baseball season has entered its last week. Barring ties, the playoff matchups will be settled by this time next week. For the Yankees, the two magic numbers are 6 and 4. Any combination of Yankee wins and Anaheim losses that add up to 4 means the Yankees are a playoff team. Any combination of Yankee wins and Oriole losses that add up to 6 means the Yankees win the AL East. The Yankees have clinched at least the #2 seed in the AL if they win the AL East, meaning they will have homefield advantage in the first round. And, the Yankees are currently one game behind Texas for best record in the American League. The Yankees won the season series, so a tie in the standings mean the Yankees clinch homefield until the World Series. Finally, it’s important to remember that homefield advantage this year means that you open on the road for two games in the ALDS and then host games 3-5 at your stadium.
Obviously, the Yankees need to win some games over these final seven days, but they also need to start to figure out a playoff roster. I think we can make the following assumptions for the roster:
Pitchers- CC, Kuroda, Hughes, Pettitte, Soriano, Robertson, Logan, Rapada, Phelps
Hitters- Martin, Stewart, Cano, Jeter, A-Rod, Chavez, Nix, Ichiro, Granderson, Swisher, Ibanez
That leaves five spots up for grabs. Assuming Teixeira is healthy, he obviously makes it leaving four. Figure three hitters and one more pitcher.
The pitcher will probably come down to Nova, Eppley, Lowe or Joba. Unless Nova shows something in his final two starts, I think the spot goes to one of the three relievers because Phelps can be the long guy. If I had to handicap this race, I would say Joba has a slight edge.
The three hitters are a bit harder to predict. I think one of the battles will be Andruw Jones versus Brett Gardner. If Gardner can hit, I think the Yankees would put him on the roster. The second spot is probably Eduardo Nunez’s. Nunez can obviously pinch run, but I could also see the Yankees using him as a DH against LHP in the playoffs. The final spot could go to Jones, but his line of .146/.262/.262 since the All-Star Break, certainly leaves the spot open. If someone gets hot over these final seven games, they could steal this spot. We will find out soon.
As Sting crooned- “Seven days, so quickly go….”