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ALDS: Yankees vs. Indians
The Indians enter the ALDS with an advantage over the Yankees in starting pitching because their two best pitchers, C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona just happen to be running neck-and-neck for the American League Cy Young Award. Chien-Ming Wang has won 19 games in consecutive years for the Yankees, and Andy Pettitte has a long postseason resume, but they are not as good as Cleveland's top two.
However, that might not be the only place where the Indians hold a pitching advantage over the Yankees. Their two setup men, right-hander Rafael Betancourt, and southpaw Rafael Perez have been sensational this year. They have not received the kind of hype that Joba Chamberlain and Hideki Okajima have gotten, but they've been just as effective.
Betancourt has struck out 80 and walked just nine in 79 innings with a 1.47 ERA. In his fifth big league season he has a remarkable ERA+ of 300, which is not only higher than other setup men like Okajima (206 ERA+ in 69 innings), and Luis Vizcaino (101 in 75 innings), but it's even better than that of some the league's premier closers -- Jonathan Papelbon (246 in 58 innings), Joe Nathan (235 in 71), K Rod (154 in 67 innings), and Mariano Rivera (137 in 71 innings). In fact, only J.J. Putz (311 in 71 innings) scores a higher mark than Betancourt.
Perez (249 ERA+), is the best left-handed reliever in the league, has been a revelation since being called up in late May. Originally considered a mop-up long reliever, Perez has been one of the Indians' most valuable players, striking out 62 and walking 15 in 60 innings to the tune of a 1.78 ERA.
As Yankees-Indians writes in the Cleveland Plain Dealer today:
Betancourt, listed at 6-2, 200, relies heavily on a four-seam fastball that comes shooting out of a high arm slot, and only after the slowest of slow sets. Betancourt will mix in a breaking ball seemingly out of boredom.
The Yankees, of course, counter with their own rookie phenom, Chamberlain, who is profiled in SI this week by Gary Smith. Chamberlain is simply the best young pitcher the Yankees have had since Rivera, and in just a brief time in New York has become a seemingly stable bridge to the Sandman. According to manager Joe Torre, Chamberlain "has given us someone dominant":
"You didn't realize it was a complete package. It doesn't mean he's going to be successful, but it doesn't seem like he's concerned about the outcome. Some are afraid to make a mistake, but that doesn't seem to be part of his thought process. I'd like everybody to feel that way."
What makes the matter even more intriguing is that the setup men for both teams have been more impressive than the closers. Joe Borowski has notched 45 saves for the Indians but also lead the league in blown saves (8), and had an unsightly 5.08 ERA. And while Rivera is the greatest closer in playoff history, he's coming off his worst season since becoming a full-time reliever. Rivera's walk/strikeout numbers are still impressive (12 walks, 74 K's in 71 innings) but his 3.15 ERA is almost a run higher than his career average. Which is not to say that he won't fair well this coming week given the opportunities, but Rivera isn't the same dominant pitcher that he has been in the past.
As for the Yankees, they probably like their chances in a close game against Borowski. The trick will be getting past the two Raffys to get to him.
posted by SI.com | View comments |
It was refreshing to see that you haven't gone with the default and give the Yankees an edge in all matchups. All streaks have to end, and the Yankees postseason dominance over the Indians is over.
i hardly think it's over. the yankees hitters are just too strong to be held down by potent pitching.
I think the Indians get the edge in the first two games for starting pitching on paper. If they can channel all pitches in the strike zone, then they have a good shot of handing it off. But Wang, like Sabathia, has not been seen this year by the Indians, and he could potentially nullify any advantage. As for games 3 and 4 at yankee stadium, Paul Byrd and Jake Westbrook are the kind of middling pitchers that the yanks can feast on. It'll be interesting to see how Clemens and Moose will do, but with all that rest between the two of them, you think they have to be favored with the yanks getting last licks against Borowski. I think the Yanks have to split in Cleveland, if they don't, then I see Cleveland wrapping it up in 5 games.
The Yanks' lineup this year is no better than the '99 Tribe who are the only team in baseball history to score 1000 runs in a season. Their pitching is also no better. Tribe got taken out handily by Pedro and the Sox in '99, the Yankees will go the same way. Tribe in 4.
Yankee's post season dominance? Hmm not 1997.
The only dominance I see in this series is ALex's She-Male lover beating him after he chokes again.
I see the Indians winning it in 5. The Yankees season swept the Indians, but that was before the Indians got hot and took a 7 1/2 game lead over Detroit and won 8 sraight. C.C. and Fausto are both, in my opinion, shoo ins for the Cy Young, so the first two games should be tough for the Yanks, at least batting wise.
"the yankee hitters are just too strong to held down by potent pitching"??? Did you even watch the yanks 1st round vs detroit last year? they got buried by the tiger's stronger pitching.
Indian fans here is your news alert your team sucks and you were lucky the Tigers had the injuries they had for you guys to pull away. CC Sabathia is 1-7 against the Yanks. Your lineup is a bunch of free swingers that will not be patient enough to wait out the Yankee pitchers and to top it off the Yankees have Wang, Pettite, Clemens and Moose or Hughes to pitch in 4 games which is much better than CC, Fausto, Westbrook, and Byrd. The Yankees are also 30 games over .500 playing at Jacobs field. Yanks in 3 and wont even be close!
Ok if people are going to say forget about the regular season. Then I respond with forget about the 2006 postseason. You can't compare teams across from 99 to 07. AROD is in a better place mentally. Our defense is much more sound. Our pitchers are good enough. Our hitters are looking to break out of the gate hard. I love how everyone is saying we wont win it. Well everyone said that in May so why would they change their tone in October. We'll see in about 18 hrs.
look at yankee run production through the lineup last year as compared to this year, young players like cano and melky are a year older, A-rod is having a historic year and the regulars continue to produce red hot numbers, bottom line, these yankees are much better then the yankees in the ALDS last year, look for the sweet as indians get pounded again,
The '99 Indians are NOT the only team in mlb history to score over 1000 runs. The '31 Yanks scored 1067 and '30, '32 and '36 squads also tallied 1000+.
How do all you Yankee fans feel now after last nights beating by the Tribe? Yanks in 3 - I don't think so! More like Tribe in 5.
Fausto wins tonight to continue his phenomenal year. Yanks rebound at home to even the series. CC blows them out in game 5!
Do all you Yankee fans still fell the same after last nights beating by the Tribe? Yanks in 3 - I don't think so. Tribe in 5 - we'll see after todays game how that shakes out.
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