The 2009 World Series is clearly the Yankees’ to lose.
Their offense features seven hitters who have at least 22 home runs as of Oct. 1. Don't forget an ace and a legendary closer no one wants to go up against.
The Yankees have also finished the season stronger than any other team who made the playoffs (they went 19-9 in September). They will have home field advantage from the American League Divisional Series to the World Series should they get there.
A few months ago, I made up my mind that the Yankees were going to win the World Series due to their dominant and consistent play under manager Joe Girardi. I'm not the only one who believes this, but doing so, is much like picking a three-to-five favorite to win a stakes race at Hollywood Park.
The obvious choice doesn’t make you look smart if they win, but gives you a reputation as being dumber than a Nascar fan if they lose.
And while the concept of the MLB playoffs being a crap shoot is a bit overrated; the reality is that anything can happen; especially in a best-of-five divisional series where failing to take a 2-0 lead can prove to be deadlier than Tony Montana for a team with home field advantage; as they then have to win a game on the road in front of an optimistic and hostile crowd.
But simply put, New York should wiz by the fading winner of the American League Central and beat the winner of the Red Sox-Angels series in six games, before defeating the NL champions (probably the St. Louis Cardinals) in the World Series, so long as they don’t completely fall apart.
But the chances of that happening are slim.
I expect Alex Rodriguez to perform much better this postseason than he has in the past- thanks to more protection around him in the lineup and a media that will arguably be more interested in the play of C.C. Sabathia and Mark Teixeira- than whether he ends up being a significant offensive contributor or not.
Plus, both Rodriguez and Teixeira will have plenty of guys to pick them up if they have an off-game thanks to Derek Jeter, Nick Swisher, Jorge Posada, Robinson Cano and Melky Cabrera; hitters who are batting close to .300 and have hit well in past postseasons.
C.C. Sabathia may let his nerves get to him for the first couple of innings during game one at Con Air Stadium on Oct. 9, but he should be fine from there, as he is 2-1 in his postseason career with a 3.14 ERA and is currently pitching well.
Closer Mariano Rivera has become the new version of Roger Clemens, with his cut fastball appearing to be just as effective as ever despite his old age.
And while A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte and Joba Chamberlain have struggled as of late, the odds of all of these starting pitchers being lousy during one series is very low, and they should get plenty of run support in the ALDS while facing a weak Minnesota lineup.
Obviously, winning the World Series won’t be easy for the Bronx Bombers, as the Angels and Sox pitching staff has the potential to be effective against the new Murderer’s Row, and the Dodgers and Cardinals could be very dangerous if they hit (I don’t see the Phillies or Rockies making it to WS).
But the Red Sox have looked like a shell of their 2007 World Series team and the Angels need to prove that they can hit in October.
And I don’t think the Dodgers or Cardinals pitching staff's can handle New York’s lineup (or the Red Sox or Angels’ lineups), and their hitters won’t be able to match the production of the Yankees’ lineup either.
No club has been better than the Yankees this season, and no team looks better than them heading into the postseason.
They should bring the franchise its 34th World Series title if their talent prevails, and will have nobody to blame but themselves if the only parade Manhattan sees in November features an oversized turkey and a washed-up singer.