New York Yankees: 10 Things Yankees Must Do to Reach World Series

HJ MaiCorrespondent IIOctober 1, 2011

New York Yankees: 10 Things Yankees Must Do to Reach World Series

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    Anything but another World Series appearance would be a failure for the New York Yankees. They just won their 17th AL East title and finished the season at 97-65. Now after a Game 1 win over the Detroit Tigers, the Yankees' look to be on course to complete the season on top.

    You want to know how the Bronx Bombers will win their 41st AL Pennant, and ultimately their 28th World Series title?

    Here are 10 reasons how the Yankees will reach this goal.

Defeat Detroit Tigers

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    A first hurdle on the New York Yankees' way to a record-setting 41st World Series appearance is the Detroit Tigers.

    The AL Central division champions finished the season with a 95-67 record and Justin Verlander is arguably the best pitcher in the AL.

    The 28-year-old right-hander had a Cy Young-worthy (some are even saying MVP) season, winning 24 games with a 2.40 ERA.

    The Tigers won the regular season series against the Yankees taking four out of seven games, including the last three matchups in early May.

    In order to get past the Tigers, Yankees manager Joe Girardi will have to make sure his team is playing its best baseball.

Defeat Texas Rangers or Tampa Bay Rays

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    After the Yankees defeat the Detroit Tigers in the AL Division Series, the Bronx Bombers will head on to face the Texas Rangers or Tampa Bay Rays in the AL Championship Series.

    The Rangers defeated the Yankees in last years ALCS before they lost to the San Francisco Giants in the World Series.

    During the regular season the Yankees won seven of the nine matchups against the Rangers.

    The Rangers’ pitching rotation took a hard hit with the departure of ace Cliff Lee during the offseason. But they were still able to deliver another outstanding season allowing only 1327 hits, which was second-best in the AL.

    New York’s division-rival, Tampa Bay, is coming off the greatest September comeback in baseball history.

    The Rays were trailing the Boston Red Sox by nine games at the beginning of September and managed to clinch the AL’s wild card spot with a 12th inning victory against the pinstripes in game 162.

    The Yankees and Rays split the regular season series.

    No matter what team will be New York’s opponent in the ALCS, the Yankees should be the clear favorite of winning the AL championship.

Power Lineup

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    The Bronx Bombers’ lineup is without a doubt the most powerful lineup in baseball.

    The Yankees hit a league-best 222 home runs and drew a league-leading 627 walks during the regular season.

    They also accumulated a total of 836 RBI, trailing only the Red Sox in this category, while hitting .263 as a team, which is good enough for 7th place in the big leagues.

    If the Yankees can duplicate that kind of plate performance in the postseason, they will not only reach the World Series, but win it all.

Pitching Rotation

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    The most storied franchise in baseball has not only unstoppable power at the plate, but also on the mound.

    The Yankees had a team ERA of 3.73, which ranked them 4th in the AL.

    New York’s pitching ace is CC Sabathia, who had his third consecutive 19-plus-win season.

    As a whole, the Yankees pitching staff led the AL with 1222 strikeouts.

    The pitchers also had to deal with the disadvantages of Yankee Stadium, which has the reputation of being a batters ballpark, yet they gave up only 152 home runs. The 6th best during the regular season in the AL.

Derek Jeter

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    Too old, not reliable and past his prime­—those were the attributes that described Derek Jeter before the 2011 regular season.

    The 37-year-old captain silenced his critics by hitting .297, 61 RBI and a career-low 81 strikeouts.

    He led his team to yet another postseason appearance, the organizations' 16th postseason appearance in the last 17 years with 2008 being the sole exception.

    Mr. November shifts into overdrive as soon as the postseason starts.

    Derek Jeter will put another chapter to his Hall of Fame career. 

Curtis Granderson

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    Curtis Granderson is New York’s regular season MVP.

    The outfielder had the best hitting season of his eight-year career.

    The 30-year-old former Detroit Tiger exploded during his second season in the Bronx, setting career highs with 41 home runs, 119 RBI and 136 runs.

    He also had 25 stolen bases and was selected to his second All-Star game after 2009.

    Granderson will have to transfer his regular season performance into the postseason if he wants to return to the World Series for the first time since 2006, where he lost as a member of the Detroit Tigers against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Mariano Rivera

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    Arguably the greatest closer of all-time, Mariano Rivera, delivered another tremendous season with 44 saves and a 1.91 ERA.

    The 41-year-old pitcher also became the all-time saves leader in baseball history, breaking Trevor Hoffman’s record of 601 career saves on September 19.

    Rivera plays even better when the stakes are higher. He is 8-1 in the postseason with an ERA of 0.71 and 42 saves.

    The Sandman will do what he does best in October—breaking opponents bats with his cut fastball.

Alex Rodriguez

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    The highest-paid baseball player in the world had a disappointing regular season.

    Alex Rodriguez played only 99 games due to an injury to his right knee, which required surgery in July. He contributed only 62 RBI and 16 home runs this season while batting .276.

    Rodriguez has to bounce back in the postseason, and prove that his career up to this date has been more than the result of steroids. 

    A healthy A-Rod can win a game with one swing of his bat. It is time for him to redeem himself for a forgettable regular season performance.

A.J. Burnett

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    A weak spot in New York’s pitching rotation is $82.5 million man A.J. Burnett.

    The 34-year-old former Toronto Blue Jay had another underachieving season going 11-11 with a 5.15 ERA. He also gave up a career-high 31 home runs.

    Girardi announced that Burnett would not be part of the three-player rotation for the ALDS matchup with the Detroit Tigers.

    Not having Burnett on the mound should increase the team’s chances of reaching the World Series. 

X-Factor: Jorge Posada

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    Jorge Posada’s season has been a roller coaster ride. From the incident in May, where he took himself off the lineup to his two-run single that clinched the AL East title.

    After a miserable season start, Posada finished the year batting .235 with 14 home runs and 44 RBI.

    He seems to have accepted his role as the team’s designated hitter and could become what Hideki Matsui was in 2009.

    It’s time for Jorge Posada to secure his place at Yankee Stadium’s Monument Park.

    Hip, Hip, Jorge!