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New York Yankees: 2012 Playoff Preview

Posted By Michael Burke On Oct 3 2012 @ 11:17 pm In New York Yankees | No Comments

After 162 games and six months of baseball, the New York Yankees have clinched both the American League East and the top seed in the American League following a 14-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox.

While they await the winner of the Texas Rangers/Baltimore Orioles Wild Card play-in game, here is a full preview of the Yankees 2012 postseason:

Strengths:

1. Lineup: Clearly, this Yankee lineup is the club’s biggest strength. New York ranks second in runs scored, first in home-runs (with a franchise record of 241), fifth in batting average, and sixth in hits among American League teams. They have it all: from depth (10 players have hit at least 14 home-runs) to being able to hit for both average and power, there is nothing missing from this lineup.

2. Front-end rotation: If anyone has qualms with New York’s pitching staff, they certainly are not with regards to the front-end of the starting rotation. C.C. Sabathia and Andy Pettitte are very familiar with making deep postseason runs together—the two anchored the rotation of the 2009 World Series Championship team, and will look to make a similar run in this postseason.

Sabathia is heating up at exactly the right time, having won his past three starts, while tallying eight innings in all three and giving up a combined total of just four runs.

As far as Andy Pettitte goes, we know he will be ready. This is exactly what he came out of retirement for—to make a run at another championship, and we can be rest assured that Mr. Reliable will bring his best stuff to the mound this postseason.

Weaknesses/Concerns:

1. Back-end rotation: Hiroki Kuroda has pitched well enough throughout this season to be considered the team’s Cy Young, but his lack of postseason experience is still a concern to me. Do I expect him to answer the bell? Yes, I do, but he still needs to prove himself.

Phil Hughes has had a typical Phil Hughes season: he has been able to tally a large number of wins despite an inflated ERA due to considerable run support. Ivan Nova has all of the talent in the world, but his inconsistency is too prominent to just let him be the fourth starter. David Phelps has pitched phenomenally, but can we really put a rookie into our starting postseason rotation?

My solution? Don’t let any of them pitch.

Flashback to the 2009 postseason. What was arguably the biggest key to the Yankees’ title run? A three-man starting rotation.

If Girardi reverts back to his 2009 strategy and uses just three starting pitchers, it will provide a world of benefit for this club. Sabathia and Pettitte have proved in the past that they can handle it, and the rewards of doing so outweigh the risk of Kuroda responding in a negative fashion.

2. David Robertson: David Robertson is one of the most talented relief pitchers in all of baseball and, when pitching with confidence, his stuff is among the best in the league. However, he often comes up small in big moments, and New York simply cannot afford that this postseason. Robertson will need to step up, but I’m not so sure that he will.

X-Factors:

Hiroki Kuroda and David Robertson: If Kuroda can pitch like he has all year, and Robertson pitches like we all know that he can, this Yankees team will be nearly impossible to beat. If not, it could be an early exit for New York.

Bottom Line:

The strengths and positives for this club vastly outweigh the weaknesses, and the Yankees have all of the necessary pieces needed to win a World Series. If New York plays to its potential, they will be crowned as World Series Champions.

 

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