September 22, 2006
2006 A.L. Playoff Team Report Card
If I had to assign grades to the teams in the 2006 A.L. post-season, I would do so as follows:
Of course, this assumes that Mariano Rivera is fine for the post-season.
Looking this over, as a Yankees fan, I want to play the A's, at some point in this post-season. The Yankees match up favorably with them.
The Tigers can't hit - but they can pitch and field.
The Twins are probably a notch below the Tigers, overall, but, they've been a super-hot team lately. That concerns me. Plus, they have a huge home-field advantage.
It appears that the Yankees - unless they tank the rest of the year - are going to get the Wildcard team in the ALDS.
This all said, I think Yankees fans should root for the Twins to win the A.L. Central. This way, New York can face Detroit in the ALDS - and allow the Twins and A's to beat up on each other in their ALDS.
And, if this happens, as stated before herein, Yankees fans should root for the A's to beat the Twins.
If the Twins do not win the A.L. Central, then the Yankees would have to face them, and Johan Santana, in a best of five. That's not in the Yankees best interests.
So, root, root, root, for the Twins until the end of the season. And, once the playoffs start, root for the Yankees (of course) and cross your fingers that the Twins start to lose.
Posted by Steve Lombardi at September 22, 2006 01:44 PM
Actually, Steve, the A's scare me. The Yankees are 3-6 this season against them and 6 of those 9 games were at Yankee Stadium.
Here are the 9 games and the lists of the winning and losing pitchers.
Mon Apr 3 @Athletics W 15-2
Tue Apr 4 @Athletics L 3-4
Wed Apr 5 @Athletics L 4-9
Fri May 12 Athletics W 2-0
Sat May 13 Athletics W 4-3
Sun May 14 Athletics L 1-6
Fri Jun 9 Athletics L 5-6
Sat Jun 10 Athletics L 2-5
Sun Jun 11 Athletics L 5-6
Paul speaks for me on this one too. The A's beat us up pretty badly (or we just played/pitched like shit). However you want to say it, the Yanks didn't fare all that wel against Oakland. And I'm not sure where the Tigers are better than Minnesota comment comes from. We've OWNED the Tigers all year and the Twins came from the depths of the division to now sit within 0.003 points behind Detroit.
No, as a Yankee fan, I'm rooting for us to face the Tigers in the ALDS and the Twins in the ALCS. I don't like our chances against the A's and I especially don't want any part of another playoff series on the west coast.
Steve - I think your grades are right on the mark, with the exception of Detroit's starting pitching. Verlander is spent and Kenny Rogers is still Kenny Rogers. I'd rather face their starters than Oakland's or the Twins.
Curious how you would grade the middle relief for each team?
I couldn't agree w/ Paul & MJ more.... the A's smell like the Angels in '05... Tigers & Twins don't have the fire to do the trick against our boys, so I'm hoping the Twins do a little number in Oakland...
Posted by: Athos333 at September 22, 2006 03:12 PM
Yanks were 4-6 against the Angels this season. They played one more game than against Oakland and they won one more game. Thus Oakland is the worst nemesis.
So how did the A's fare against the Twins and Tigers?
Tigers vs A's
9 games, 6 in Oakland, 3 in Detroit
Detroit wins 5, Oakland wins 4
Twins vs A's
10 games, 4 in Oakland, 6 in Minneapolis-St Paul
Minnesota wins 6, Oakland wins 4
Whichever one of the midwest teams faces Oakland, lets hope they keep up the trend.
Hey, it's not like the A's will be a push-over. But, they can't hit - which helps the Yankees because the Yankeees SP are not stellar, on the whole. And, whereas the A's pitchers are good - the Yankees now have a very deep line-up (adding Abreu) and the A's don't field great. This tells me that there's a chance for the Yankees, offensively, vs. the A's.
I can't say for sure that the Yankees hitters will get lucky against the Tigers (given their pitching and D) or the Twins - having to face JS two or three times in a series.
Posted by: Steve Lombardi at September 22, 2006 03:31 PM
I still don't follow your logic, Steve. Other than our 15-run output on the first night of the season, the Yanks have topped out at 5 runs vs. Oakland. Sure, all of those games are pre-Abreu and some were without Sheffield and Matsui, but the Yankee lineup was still potent enough and yet was stymied all year long.
Having Abreu and Matsui/Sheff is a huge difference than not having them.
Posted by: Steve Lombardi at September 22, 2006 03:47 PM
~~~Curious how you would grade the middle relief for each team?~~~
Tigers: Joel Zumaya, Jamie Walker & Fernando Rodney
Twins: Dennys Reyes, Juan Rincon, & Jesse Crain
A's: Chad Gaudin, Justin Duchscherer & Kiko Calero
Yanks: Farns, Proctor, Bruney......
I'd say they're all about even.
Posted by: Steve Lombardi at September 22, 2006 03:54 PM
Without numbers, I don't feel like I can accurately state what I think about everyone else's middle relievers. I'm very familiar with our own and Detroit's but I don't know much about Oakland's. Minnesota's has a good reputation but doesn't strike me as imposing.
I'd probably give ours a little edge because all 3 of our boys throw absolute smoke and, if rested and on their game, can strike out the side in the 6th, 7th, and 8th innings en route to Mo.
Easy solution -- don't let Randy Johnson pitch vs the A's. He was the losing pitcher in 3 out of the 6 loses.
Same goes for the Mets, which means Johnson should sit out in potentially 2 of 3 playoff series!
I honestly fear the Twins more than any other team that might be in this postseason. Just the thought of them throwing out Santana and possibly Liriano (who you know they would use against us in the postseason no matter how injured he was) is a scary thought.