The ALCS MVP Race Spelled Out: A-Rod or CC?

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The ALCS MVP Race Spelled Out: A-Rod or CC?

If 2004 taught us anything, besides how to properly apply fake blood on a sock for profound effect, it would be to assume nothing.

What you're about to read assumes absolutely nothing. Zilch. Nada. It lives solely in the moment.

The Yankees played one of their best all-around games of the season on Tuesday night, a 10-1 win over the Angels that put them one victory away from their 40th American League pennant.

Until that one victory is attained, I will not gloat, or celebrate, or openly mock Vladimir Guerrero for having the knee composition of Mr. Glass from Unbreakable . My team still has much work to do.

Since I respectfully assume nothing, and I live in constant fear of Kevin Brown and Javy Vazquez being added to the postseason roster, I deserve some leeway in foresight on a smaller scale.

All of which leads me to Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia, who have made the ALCS their personal playground. For that, I will now try to figure out who is the favorite for series MVP.

Assuming nothing, of course. You never know if Curt Schilling sent some red dye John Lackey's way. I really, really hate Curt Schilling.

 

Pure production

A-Rod the hitter and CC the pitcher makes this a bit of an apple and oranges debate.

In two starts, Sabathia has gone 2-0 with a 1.12 ERA, striking out 12 over 16 innings. With A.J. Burnett a constant liability and no fourth starter to be seen, CC's value is almost incalculable to that staff. His win on short rest Tuesday may end up being seen as the turning point of the season.

Rodriguez has carried the middle of the Yankees' lineup, batting .375 with three homers, five RBI, five runs scored and a 1.450 OPS. When you realize Teixeira is hitting like he's spent too many late nights with Jimmy Leyritz, A-Rod has done the work of two men. Maybe more than that.

Advantage: Even

 

The Salvation Effect

Heading into October, no player on any of the eight playoff teams had more pressure on him than Alex Rodriguez.

He was a postseason pariah, a goon, a lost cause. But he said over and over before the ALDS that he "was in a good place." Then he went out and proved it.

He had a pair of run-scoring singles against the Twins in Game One, bettering the RBI total of his previous 16 playoff games. After getting the RBI gorilla off his back, the Rally Monkey was nothing.

CC had his share of doubters as well. His postseason record was spotty heading into this month, though I think most people agreed that his struggles were more the product of over-use by past teams than any type of playoff anxiety. He has obviously now cemented himself as one of baseball's greatest big-game pitchers.

Sabathia might actually be the most relaxed person I've ever seen. I get more worked up over wiffle ball games.

Advantage: A-Rod


Significant other

I think we're all pretty much in agreement here that Kate Hudson's private parts are magic.

Amber Sabathia is likely a fantastic catch in her own right, the strong and independent black woman that keeps her husband grounded. But Kate has done some miraculous work here.

Her dad is also Kurt Russell, who starred in Breakdown , one of the most under-appreciated thrillers of the '90s. Warrants mentioning.

Advantage: A-Rod

 

Historical context

The Yankeeography guys probably have to wear bibs to keep the mess of their salivating to a minimum here. If New York can win five more games, and A-Rod and CC continue their outrageous play, the Yankee brand will have two more October icons to work into their deep catalogue.

A-Rod will become the new Reggie, a modern-day Mr. October. CC will enter that upper echelon of pinstriped pitching greatness, standing along side Guidry and Ford.

Tim McCarver doesn't want this to happen. Chip Carey really doesn't want this to happen. Joe Buck is still pissed off about Randy Moss.

Advantage: Even

 

Bottom line

If you can go the co-MVP route, that's the move. They both deserve accolades for memorable performances.

If you have to choose one, I think the award has to go to A-Rod. He's overcome so many hurdles (many of them self-imposed, but still) that he deserves that moment on the podium. It will represent the culmination of a 180-degree image turn none of us ever saw coming.

Except for Kate Hudson, of course. She's magic.

 

Dan Hanzus can be reached via e-mail at dhanzus@gmail.com. Follow Dan on Twitter at danhanzus .

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