After the obvious lay down the Yankees did yesterday, they came back today and reminded everybody why they're the best team in baseball.
-A.J. bearing down after a shaky first inning and delivering a quality start that almost certainly would have gone through the 6th if the Yankees weren't determined to get Robertson and Joba work today? Check.
-A-Rod leading the Yankee offensive resurgence and reminding everybody exactly how they put up the numbers they did this year, getting himself to the 100-RBI plateau in the process? Check.
-A dominant performance from the bullpen aces that provided a frightening sneak preview to what the playoffs will look like to the tune of 4IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 4Ks on 50 pitches, 35 of which were strikes? Double check.
Pitching wins in the postseason and pitching has been what's killed the Yankees in their last 4 postseason appearances. Today was a dress rehearsal for what the playoffs will look like with the scary depth of the Yankee pen. Robertson, Coke, Hughes, and Rivera were at their collective best and Joba looked far more comfortable coming out of the bullpen in the 7th inning today than he has starting the game on the mound in the 1st inning all season. And you want to know the really scary part for the rest of the so-called "competition?" Aceves and Marte didn't even pitch today.
The Yankees can almost shorten the game to 5 innings with the strength of their pen right now. Logic would dictate that their starters, at least CC, will give them more than that in the opening round, which means with the extra rest provided by their opening round schedule it will pretty much be all hands on deck every game of the Division Series and the first couple games of the ALCS.
As far as who pitches games 2 and 3, I think the choice is obvious: Burnett. He's the better pitcher at home and Andy is the better pitcher on the road, and Burnett has pitched better than the suddenly tired-looking Pettitte over the last 4 starts. You go CC-A.J. 1-2 and then hope the extra day or 2 of rest allows Andy to rediscover his velocity and command enough to finish the series off clean. Not that it matters, considering Detroit and Minnesota have had to play balls out the last week and a half to just get to Tuesday where they have to play a one-game playoff. Whichever team survives is going to stumble into Yankee Stadium tired, beaten up, and in no condition to take on the well-rested, well-stocked juggernaut that is the 2009 New York Yankees, but since the Yankees have to win 3 games, the conversation over who starts which game is still slightly relevant. The smart thing to do would be to cancel that Division Series and just let the Yankees rest up for the ALCS.
Everything is coming up pinstripes as the season winds to a close, so it only makes sense to hit the fucking music...