We know right now that the New York Yankees accomplished what every team in the American League sets out to do at the onset of each major league season: Win the division and try and win as many games as possible to secure home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
The 2012 Yankees have several flaws and questions in both their lineup and pitching staff, yet for all of the chatter about how this team was going to blow the division and possibly even miss the playoffs, the Bronx Bombers are a veteran-laden team that never choked and are now standing tall, getting ready for their first game on Sunday.
The Yankees will begin the playoffs on Sunday, at a time yet to be determined and at a location yet to be determined. However, we do know that once the dust settles on Friday night in Arlington, Texas, the Yankees will find themselves opposing either Texas or their division-rival from this season, Baltimore.
The playoff structure this season has changed and even though the Yankees finished with the best record in the AL, they will play their first two division series games on the road. Then, at minimum, one game will be played at Yankee Stadium (Game 3) with the potential for two more also in New York.
This year's structure is nearly identical to the first year of the wild card in 1995, though of course this season has the wild card vs. wild card playoff game just to get in to the main part of the ALDS. The Yankees finished very strong and have exceptionally hot hitters like Robinson Cano powering them into postseason play.
Now, Yankee fans have a few days to digest and concern themselves with the competition that will be standing in their way of a 41st American League pennant and 28th World Series championship. I have ranked Baltimore and Texas and out of those two, who the Yankees would prefer to play, based on how they match up.
Here is a close look at each of the teams the Yankees could play on Sunday.