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While Seasons End, Rivalries Never Die
cyrus wittig 10 former sports editor alex chapin 11 staff writer
October 23, 2009

Cyrus Wittig:

Yankees fans seem to be drifting dangerously close to their arrogance of the late 1990s, when they could count on a World Series appearance almost every year. Since the start of the new millennium, it has been harder for Yankees fans to rely on their 26 World Championships. While this might be their best team in a decade, don’t reach for that 27th Championship T-shirt just yet Yankees fans, as it won’t be happening this year.

The Bronx Bombers have ridden a 103-win season into the ALCS with the help of pitcher C.C. Sabathia, slugger Mark Teixiera, former steroid abuser Alex Rodriguez, and a reenergized Johnny Damon. However, the teams they will face from now on won’t go down to overpaid players who had to bring in their right field wall nine feet for them to have a shot at a league title.

The Yankees will face the Anaheim Angels in the ALCS. The Angels, who have outscored the Yankees 61-55, and boast a sizzling .315 team batting average in their 10 meetings this season.

Should the Yankees, by some strange twist of fate, move on to the World Series, they will face the defending champion Philadelphia Phillies or Manny Ramirez and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ramirez, dating back to his Red Sox days, is a notorious Yankee-killer with a .391 lifetime average, and .591 average against Sabathia.

The bottom line is that, without the performance of the players they so heavily depended on this season, the Yankees are in for a rude awakening. While Nick Swisher is bleaching his mohawk and ironing his pinstripes, the Angels, Phillies, and Dodgers are all preparing for a monumental World Series win. Derek Jeter better hold on to his four World Series rings, because he won’t be adding to his collection anytime soon.

Alex Chapin:

After finishing the season with a league-leading 103 wins and a three game sweep in the ALDS, all signs point to the Yankees claiming their 27th World Series Championship.

The Yankees used power pitching and power hitting to get by a fatigued Twins team that snuck into the playoffs after defeating the Detroit Tigers in a one-game playoff.

While every Yankees fan knows that long time Bombers like Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera thrive in the hostile environment of October baseball, the key to the Yankees run this year are players such as Alex Rodriguez and C.C Sabathia, players who have not performed well in their playoff past.

In the Twins series alone, Rodriguez had two HRs and six RBIs in three games. Compare this to the one HR and one RBI he totaled in his last 13 playoff games. There is no doubt he is prepared to handle the pressure of being the Yankees’ clean- up hitter.
As for big C.C. Sabathia, while his 19 regular season wins has become the standard for the hefty left-hander, the 7.92 ERA he brought into the 2009 postseason was a major cause for concern. However, his Game one outing when he fanned eight Twins in 6.2 innings while allowing only one earned run showed how dominant he can be.

Even without stellar performances from A-Rod or C.C., the Yankees could very well be the favorite to take home the title, as they sport the most dangerous lineup in the league, maybe the best in Yankee history.

With seven of the nine everyday players with over 20 HRs in the lineup, and a team batting average of .283, there is no such thing as an easy out when facing the Yankees.

The Yankees look confident behind their skipper Joe Girardi, who is wearing the number 27 this year. Coincidence? I think not.