2001 World Series

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Yankees winning in the postseason is money in the bank

Posted: Tuesday October 23, 2001 4:30 PM
Updated: Saturday October 27, 2001 2:53 AM

 NY YankeesArizona
  Playoffs Season Playoffs Season
ERA 3.00 4.02 (3) 2.73 3.88 (2)
BB 29 465 (7) 23 461 (3)
SO 66 1,266 (8) 77 1,297 (2)
HR vs. 9 158 (4) 11 195 (10)
AVG .252 .267 (6) .235 .267 (4)
Runs 43 804 (5) 32 818 (3)
Hits 82 1,488 (8) 77 1,494 (3)
HR 10 203 (4) 5 208 (4)
OBP .332 .334 (8) .314 .341 (4)
- NL and AL rankings in parentheses
- Both NY and Ari have played 10 playoff games
The Ones To Watch
A. Pettitte - Yankees
15-10, 3.99 ERA, 200+ innings
2-0, 2.51 ERA as ALCS MVP
D. Jeter - Yankees
.311, 21 homers, 74 RBIs
.118 with just two singles in ALCS
C. Schilling - D'backs
22-6, 2.98 ERA
3-0, 0.67 ERA, 3 CG in three playoff starts
L. Gonzalez - D'backs
.325 avg, 57 HR, 142 RBIs
.237 with two HRs and five RBIs in playoffs
By John Donovan, CNNSI.com

No one beats the Yankees in the postseason. No one in the last four division series, four American League Championship Series and three World Series, anyway.

If you're adding that up, that's 11 straight postseason series wins for the New Yorkers. They've gone 40-11 in that time (a .784 winning percentage, or the equivalent of a 127-win regular season) and have now made it to the World Series the last six times they've made it to the league championship series.

We're talking postseason money here, folks. We're talking guaranteed returns.

We're talking dyed-in-the-wool-uniforms dynasty.

The Yankees strut into their fourth straight World Series this weekend as certain favorites, looking for their fourth straight title and their fifth in the last six years. Across the diamond, playing the part of the sacrificial baseball lambs, are the Arizona Diamondbacks, in their first World Series in just their fourth year of existence.

They are both veteran teams, both fueled by good-sized payrolls that have bought the best pitching available. The difference: The Yankees, with a few notable exceptions, are much the same team that has rolled to the last three World Series titles. The Diamondbacks have only a handful of players who have been to the World Series. None, obviously, with the Diamondbacks.

You better believe that will make a difference.

The No. 1 thing the Diamondbacks have going for them actually is two things. They have the best 1-2 pitching punch in the game. Right-hander Curt Schilling (a 22-game winner) and lefty Randy Johnson (who won 21) are terrors, two guys who combined for a mind-boggling 665 strikeouts this season. They are a combined 5-1 with a 1.24 ERA this postseason.

The postseason, as everyone knows, is all about pitching. Schilling and Johnson are the reasons the Diamondbacks aren't dismissed out-of-hand in this Series. New York, though, is no pitching slouch.

The Yankees boast Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and Mike Mussina as their top three. Clemens, a 20-game winner, figures to be the Cy Young winner in the AL. Pettitte is postseason clutch, coming off two wins and an MVP award in the ALCS. Mussina, a No. 1 on practically any other club, finished second in the AL this season with a 3.15 ERA.

World Series experience
  Yankees  D'backs 
Players  19 
Games  223  26 
Rings  60  1* 
*Counsell has only World Series ring

The Diamondbacks have a fine closer in Byung-Hyun Kim. But the Yankees have the finest closer in baseball in Mariano Rivera.

Arizona has some capable hitters, including Luis Gonzalez (.325, 57 home runs, 142 RBIs) and scrappy Craig Counsell (.381, four RBIs and five runs scored in the five-game NLCS).

The Yankees have no one with Gonzalez's gaudy numbers. But with Bernie Williams, Derek Jeter, old dogs Paul O'Neill and David Justice, the Yankees always get it done.

Arizona rookie manager Bob Brenly may get some votes for NL manager of the year. But in this series, he'll be going against Yankees skipper Joe Torre, who has four World Series titles in his unis pocket.

Here's the cold hard fact of this postseason: The best series already have been played. And the Yankees won both of them.

When the Yanks beat the 116-win Mariners 4-1 in the ALCS and the 102-win A's 3-2 in the ALDS, they beat the best baseball has to offer. As good as Schilling and Johnson are, the Yankees handled the two best pitching staffs in the AL in the Mariners and A's.

The Diamondbacks' 1-2 punch is impressive. It may even give the Yanks a tad of trouble.

But it won't be enough. We'll call this one the Yankees in five.


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