The Yankees have lived and died with this cast of characters all season either hitting homers or stranding runners. It has been a season as hard on the emotions and nerves as any in recent memory. These are the guys you have paid millions of dollars to have in your lineup. These are the guys you nursed along through injuries to be healthy for this moment. You continue to live and die with them. Doing so this season has led to a first place finish in the division and to a fifth game, winner-take-all scenario. The odds are about 50/50 no matter who the Yankees trot out there. Despite swinging air balls the entire second half, Curtis Granderson did hit 20 homers in that same time frame. Do you really want to sit that kind of possible explosion? Are the Orioles going to sit Mark Reynolds because he has struck out 37 percent of the time this series? Heck no.
And the reason is that despite all the air swings, Reynolds can win the game with one swing. So can Curtis Granderson. So can Alex Rodriguez. They may not. The odds are against it judging from what we’ve seen. But you have to go with what brought you to this point. You have to go with your horses.
Derek Jeter has to play shortstop so that Ibanez can DH. Eric Chavez has not exactly looked prolific in this series with the few chances he has seen. The Yankees did not bring Eric Chavez in for a few lousy million to pin the entire hopes of the season on his shoulders. You have to win or lose this game with your best players.
I will continue to maintain that a short series is a random series of events that cannot be predicted based on the season or even the second half. Saying so would be like saying that this series is showing who Joe Saunders really is. Well, he isn’t. This series has not shown us the normal Joe Saunders. His success is a random event in that he executed a game plan to perfection and succeeded.
The Yankees have to hitch their wagon to the horses that they hoped to have in place in such a scenario. They may win. They may lose. But you do it with your best players no matter how much they have struggled to this point. Orioles’ pitching has really done a remarkable job of keeping the Yankees off balance and avoiding the heart of the plate. A Yankees win is just a few mistakes away. But then again, so it is for the Orioles. All we can do is watch and see how it all plays out.