This morning, I talked with Butch Stearns over at the Pulse Network about the baseball goings on. We discussed the Terry Francona/Theo Epstein situation (comparing it to Brian Cashman/Joe Torre post-2007) and of course, the upcoming ALDS matchup between the Yankees and Tigers. Watch here and enjoy!
Last year, on the occasion of Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum matching up in Game 1 of the NLCS, I wrote about how exceedingly rare it was for two truly elite pitchers (by “elite,” I mean, among the top five or so pitchers in the game at the given moment) to square off in a postseason game. Obviously, one cannot guarantee that two such pitchers will even make the playoffs, much less have their teams meet and their throwing schedules line up. Thankfully, for a second season in a row, the stars have aligned, and Game 1 of the ALDS in New York will not only feature two of the top talents in the league, but the two prohibitive favorites for this years AL Cy Young.
Not since 2001, when Cy Young winner Roger Clemens lost to runner-up Mark Mulder has the ALDS featured such a matchup. And 2001, as you may recall, was not the greatest season for pitching. The Rocket’s 5.4 rWAR would barely be good enough for 8th in the AL in 2011, as far from Cy Young consideration as Doug Fister or Gio Gonzalez. Before tonight, the best cumaltive rWAR for opposing pitchers in an ALDS matchup was Pedro Martinez and Tim Hudson in 2003. C. C. Sabathia and Justin Verlander have been 1.4 wins better. So, I posit that we have the good fortune of kicking off the 2011 playoffs with the best pitching matchup in ALDS history.
Further giving us the sense that this pairing was fated, one might remember that these were the Opening Day starters in the Bronx many moons ago.
First, the basics:
As Brien argued not long ago, while the mainstream media have positioned Verlander as the clear Cy Young (and even MVP) frontrunner, Sabathia has a strong case, especially according to the advanced metrics. These are similar players, and not just according to their statistical performances. Obviously, they both epitomize the power pitcher. Verlander tied Alexi Ogando for the MLB lead in average fastball velocity in 2011 at 95.0 MPH. Sabathia ranked 8th at 93.8 MPH.
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When the Yankees announced they were signing Russell Martin after he was non-tendered by the Dodgers, I was thinking one thing: He’s a placeholder for Jesus Montero. Once Montero was ready–maybe around May or June–Martin would shift to the backup role, Montero would catch, Cervelli would go…somewhere. Well, it didn’t happen that way, and that’s [...]
Via Mark Hale, the Yankees have announced their ALDS roster. They’ll be carrying 11 pitchers, so the roster breaks down as follows:
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Just a friendly reminder that you can join the IIATMS crew for a pre-postseason chat today at 2:00 P.M. We’ll be talking about the Yankees, the playoffs, baseball in general, our desert preferences, basically anything you want to talk about. Hope to see you there!
Autumn is one of my favorite seasons. The summer heat fades away; jackets, sweaters and scarves make a comeback; the leaves crisp, color, and then hue the ground. People start carving pumpkins and planning Halloween costumes.
More importantly, Autumn is when the Yankees play postseason baseball. This year, the Bombers will open the playoffs against the Detroit Tigers, a team with two legitimate top tier MVP candidates, a very strong 1-2 punch at the top of their rotation, a solid bullpen, and a number of under-the-radar position players who have turned in impressive 2011 seasons. Make no mistake, the Yankees will have their hands full in the first round.
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For previous installments of TYA’s 2011 ALDS Preview, please see the following: Part 1: The 2011 Yankee Offense, Top to Bottom Part 2: Head-to-Head Overall Team Numbers The Yankees will send CC Sabathia to the hill for his 6th career Game One start with the Bombers. Sabathia has a 3.41 ERA over 31.2 innings across [...]
Last night, I co-hosted a 1-hour radio show with Mike Silva of New York Baseball Digest. We covered a host of topics from the amazing final day of regular baseball, our expectations for the Yanks in the ALDS, the prospect of adding an additional Wild Card team, and some other issues surrounding the teams including [...]