Last season the Yankees steamrolled the competition down the stretch. They went 9-1 versus the Red Sox in the second half, and picked up a key series win in Anaheim in late September. The victories heading into October were a statement. Forget whatever had happened earlier in the year, the Yankees were the team to beat heading into the playoffs.
The Rays’ 1-2-3 is as good as any team’s in the Majors. Big Game James Shields is having a bit of a down year, but he still puts up innings and gives the Rays a solid chance to win every five days. David Price will finish in the top three in the Cy Young voting and Matt Garza is a consistent top performer. All three of these guys can pitch, and all three will be in the postseason rotation.
The way things are playing out this year I don’t think the Yankees will meet the Twins in the playoffs. If the postseason began today the Twins would be flying to Tampa, where I predict the Rays will make short work of them. Adding injury to insult, Kevin Slowey is on the DL (so is Justin Morneau, who’s quickly turning into a better version of Nick Johnson).