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ALDS: Indians' 'pen the difference
In the 2001 ALDS, the Oakland A's quickly jumped ahead of the Yankees 2-0 on the strength of fine starting performances from their aces, Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson. After the Yankees won Game 3 -- the Derek Jeter Flip game -- the A's decided to pitch Corey Lidle in Game 4 instead of Mulder. The Yankees pounded Lidle and then got to Mulder early in Game 5. By the time Hudson came in for relief, the damage had been done and the Yankees went on to win the series.
Eric Wedge was in a similar Game 4 predicament but he never wavered in going with Paul Byrd.
"I came to the press conference last night, and they asked me two questions." said Byrd when Game 4 was over. "The first one was, do you think he should have gone with C.C. [Sabathia], and the second one was, if they would have gone with C.C., how would you have felt. And I waited for question three, and there wasn't one, so I walked out of here feeling like a loser." Byrd laughed. "I told my wife, hey, I think I'm a pretty heavy underdog."
Byrd was far from brilliant -- allowing 2 runs on 8 hits and 3 walks over 5 innings -- but he kept the Yankees at bay and got the win.
"He controlled the game," said Wedge when it was over. "He was aggressive, he worked ahead. Defensively, we made a few big plays. But I just liked the way he composed himself. I liked his rhythm and tempo."
I questioned Wedge's move to go with Byrd before last night's game, but the Indians got exactly what they had hoped for. Wedge comes out smelling like a rose because now he's got his rotation set exactly as he wants it for the ALCS against the Red Sox. C.C. Sabathia will start Game 1 on Friday night in Boston, followed by Fausto Carmona. Sabathia could conceivably pitch three times in the series, though considering how Wedge mapped-out the first series, he'll likely only pitch twice.
Sabathia is 0-1 against the Red Sox this season, though he only allowed 1 run over 7 innings; Carmona is 1-0, throwing 8 scoreless innings. Overall, the Indians were 2-5 vs Boston.
Beyond the starters, however, it was Cleveland's bullpen -- led by Rafael Perez and Rafael Betancourt -- who were the key factor in beating the Yankees.
"They're very impressive," said Joe Torre after the game. "They have great balance out of that bullpen. They've got some young kids that are going to give the Red Sox some problems, because they can switch back and forth, and they're very aggressive, and they throw hard. And, again, they're not afraid to throw strikes."
Perez pitched gave up a run on three hits (1 walk and six strikeouts) over six innings. Betancourt, the best reliever on the team (and one of the very best in the league), only pitched a total of two innings, both scoreless. The bullpen's streak of 10 scoreless innings in the ALDS was snapped by Alex Rodriguez's solo home run off of Perez in the seventh last night.
Joe Torre is not the only face who may not be in pinstripes next spring. Roger Clemens is probably finished. Who knows if Andy Pettitte will return? Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera are free agents. And then there is Alex Rodriguez.
Things won't be the same in the Bronx without Torre.
After the game, I caught up with Steven Goldman from Baseball Prospectus and YES.com.
Q: Why was Joe Torre successful as a Yankee manager? Goldman: He was in a position, much like Casey Stengel before him, where this was bonus time. He was playing with the house's money. He had managed the Mets at the worst moment in their history and didn't get anywhere, managed the Braves and had some success but was ultimately let go in a way that was probably a little embittering. He had the long stint in broadcasting where it didn't seem like he'd ever come back. He then got one of the best jobs in baseball in St. Louis, but he had the double-handicap of following a legend in Whitey Herzog and picking up this great franchise at a moment where it was in transition and ownership wasn't too invested in making anything happen. The Yankees job really came out of left field, so in a lot of ways the pressure was off of him, outside of his own ambition. A lot of people would feel desperate in that situation, but I think that like Casey he was freed by it. The other thing is that he seems to have really paid attention to what happened in New York under George Steinbrenner, and seemed to understand that if he rose to Steinbrenner's bait in public he would lose, that he would diffuse rather than exacerbate the Boss's rages. No one before him really seemed to get that. And unlike a lot of George's other managers, he was likeable. No doubt in private he could be more of a hardass, but I think that time in media was really helpful to him. He was likeable, he won, and he didn't get into bar fights or take George on and so he really disarmed the old man. He became bigger than the Boss, and that maybe one underappreciated reason that Steinbrenner receded like he did – rumors of ill health aside, he had finally met his match. It's not a coincidence that he emerged the other day, when Torre was finally in a weak position.
Q: Why did he put up with so much crap from George? Goldman: For the reasons I outlined above. I think he liked the job, liked being Joe Torre of the New York Yankees, and he understood what he had to put up with to keep the job. I don't think he put up with crap as much as let it roll off of him.
Q: Where does his legacy stand in Yankee history? Goldman: Well, obviously he's up there. We can fault his tactical management all day long, and I have, but at the end of the day he came in and got the team focused on winning and never let George subvert that. Earlier today, I heard a radio host talking about how George was brilliantly motivating his team by threatening Torre this week. My question was, "When did that work?" I always go back to 1985, when he called Dave Winfield "Mr. May" and ripped half the team and they went on an eight- or nine-game losing streak. I also think we can overrate the tactical thing. He was better than many, worse than some, but I'm not sure who those "some" are. If there's a John McGraw-level strategist working today, who is it? Mike Scioscia? He hasn't won like Torre has won. As far as historical Yankees managers go, I'd probably take Casey and Joe McCarthy first. I have a hard time getting a bead on Miller Huggins, but I suspect Torre was more relatable. You'd certainly take him over Bucky Harris, Ralph Houk, Showalter, or Billy.
Q: Is it the right move to get a new man and move on? Goldman: Not if it's punitive, you know, for losing the series. You move on if there's a better man. I don't know that another manager would have gotten more out of this team than Torre did. I think they kind of screwed up the postseason rotation, but I think he had to have had help there. I also suspect that most other managers wouldn't have done what needed to be done, which was bypass Clemens and take a flier on Hughes. That takes a lot of guts, and if it doesn't work out you're more screwed with the public than if you made the conventional choice. Look, one of the things we always got on Joe for was sentimentality. There shouldn't be any. But there shouldn't be pointless hostility either. You do what will improve the team, period. If someone else is going to get the Yankees to another championship, fine, but you had better be sure.
ALDS: Wedge hedges his bets
Last night, after the Yankees won Game 3 of the ALDS, Paul Byrd was the final player brought into the interview room to speak with the assembled media. Only the vast majority of the press left the room to work on their stories, leaving just one reporter to ask questions to the genial Byrd (who bares an almost uncanny resemblance to Kelsey Grammer), tonight's Game 4 starter for Cleveland.
Byrd was asked if he felt like he had anything to prove after being asked to start in place of C.C. Sabathia, one of the Indians' two "big guns."
Byrd smiled and said, "I'm kind of like a little gun." But there was no edge to his voice, and he quickly added that he was kidding. "I think Wedgie went with some matchups." Byrd said he would have been fine if Sabathia had gotten the call.
Still, he continued, "I'm excited that he gave me the ball. I've got a little extra rest. I feel good, arm feels good. I'm looking forward [to it]. Great fans here. Just overall great place to play."
Are the Indians making the correct move here? Sabathia has not pitched on three days rest all season. He's made 27 starts on 4 days rest (2.97 ERA), just three starts on five days of rest (4.05), and only four starts on six or more days of rest (4.33). Even though Sabathia threw a lot of pitches last Thursday in Game 1 and has only started on three days rest once in his career, wouldn't he give the Tribe a better chance than a veteran control pitcher like Byrd, who is facing a Yankee offense that is finally feeling confident?
After all, Fausto Carmona would be available to pitch on normal rest if the series moved back to Cleveland on Wednesday. Byrd actually pitched better this season the more rest he had, ending the season with 15 wins. But his ERA (4.59) was higher than league average (4.42), and while they would never admit to it publicly, you'd have to imagine that the Yankees would rather take their chances against Byrd than Sabathia.
For Wedge, there was never a question about who to pitch tonight. "We're going to move forward just as we had planned," he told reporters. "We knew we were going to need four starters if it went that far here in the series. And that's where we are at."
Bud Shaw thinks that in refusing to panic, Wedge is making the correct call.
Wedge was accused over over-managing in Game 1 by not only using Rafael Perez for two innings (a move that did not have a negative impact Perez's effectiveness in Game Two), and, even more to the point, pitching Rafael Betancourt in a blowout. Now though, Wedge has opened himself up to criticism by not going for the jugular.
If Byrd and the Indians win tonight, Wedge will come out smelling like a rose, of course, with Sabathia and Carmona lined up perfectly to face the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS. If they lose, the Yankees will be alive with a chance to knock the Indians out, and Wedge will be feeling the heat.
Before the game last night, Joe Torre said that everyone, with the lone exception of Andy Pettitte, was available to pitch. You'd have to imagine the same holds true for tonight. Chien-Ming Wang will start for New York, not Mike Mussina.
"He's a 19-game winner," said Torre, "he's pitched well at the Stadium, and we relied on him so much. Taking nothing away from Moose. Moose hasn't pitched in a while. Certainly I made him aware before the game that we'll decide later who is going to pitch. And he was comfortable with that. I just told him afterwards that it was going to be Wanger and said, fine. So he'll be the one backing up [Wang], as Hughes was today."
Wang made 16 starts at Yankee Stadium this season, going 10-4 with a 2.75 ERA in 111 innings.
Joba Chamberlain, who pitched two innings on Sunday, will be available as well.
Mussina defending Torre to reporters. "We know expectations are high," he said prior to Game 3. "The frustration is out there and there is frustration in here too within our own players, within our own clubhouse. We've had a bulls eye on our back since I got here seven years ago. That's just part of playing with this team. It doesn't change anything."
Was this the last we'll see of Roger Clemens? You would have to think so. Look for Ian Kennedy to replace him on the roster should the Yankees make it to the next round.
There is a feeling that this might finally be the end of the Yankee dynasty. Clemens is a sure-goner, and if New York doesn't win this series, George Steinbrenner has made it clear that Joe Torre will not be asked to return. If Torre is gone, how will that affect the futures of Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera, both free agents? Posada, in particular, may consider leaving the Bronx if Torre does not come back.
As the Yankees' young players (Chamberlain, Hughes, Cano, Cabrera) continue to develop, aging veterans like Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon, and, in particular, Jason Giambi, continue to fade (Giambi is owed a boat-load of money next year, but I wonder if the Yankees won't eat a majority of that and cut ties with him anyway).
Another notable change for the worse at Yankee Stadium last night was the absence of longtime P.A. announcer, dubbed "the voice of God," by Reggie Jackson, Bob Sheppard. Sheppard has laryngitis and hasn't worked in weeks. His presence is most certainly missed.
ALDS: Money's on the table
George Steinbrenner is scheduled to be in attendance for Game 3 of the ALDS, the first time he's been in the Bronx for a game since the beginning of the season. The Boss and his Yankees are now in desperate need of big-money performances from their most expensive stars -- specifically Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriguez, but also Jason Giambi, Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon and even Derek Jeter too.
Roger Clemens raked in $4.5 million per month in 2007, posting a modest 6-6 record with a 4.18 ERA. But he has pitched just twice (10 innings) in the past month. On Sunday, he'll take the mound for the first time in three weeks in what could conceivably be the final start of his legendary career. (In fact, it could conceivably be the final playoff game in the history of Yankee Stadium if the Yankees lose.)
What the Yankees can expect from Clemens is anyone's guess. He was effective in his previous outing -- giving up just a single run on two hits over six innings against the Red Sox at Fenway Park -- but the Rocket has not been dominant this year. Pitching in the AL East and not the NL Central has something to do with it (Clemens struck out only 68 batters in 99 innings). Even more to the point, his body has finally caught up with him. Now, he's forced by his own limitations to be a different kind of pitcher. Mentally, he's as alert and competitive as ever.
Now he's center stage in the biggest game of the season. This is the whole point for Clemens being with the Yankees in the first place. Yet if he falters, Mike Mussina, another big money veteran, is likely to be the first in line for long relief. Recall that Mussina saved Clemens' bacon once before. When the Rocket was pounded by the Red Sox in Game 7 of the 2003 ALDS, it was Mussina who stopped the bleeding with three scoreless innings.
Mussina won the 250th game of his career this summer but was just 11-10 with a 5.15 ERA, by far the worst of his career. He did have a couple of decent outings in September, but lacking the finesse of El Duque or Greg Maddux, who make due with average fastballs because they changes speeds so brilliantly, Mussina's stuff has been exceedingly hittable. If the Yankees have to rely on Mussina to save their season, well, they'd better hope the hitting comes around.
Which brings us to Rodriguez, who is over-due for his big-money (re: Reggie) moment. The spotlight won't be hotter on any Yankee than Rodriguez, who is hitless in first two games of the series. Rodriguez was overmatched by Fausto Carmona in Game 2, but he was jumpy too. According to Murray Chass in The New York Times:
In the fourth inning and again in the ninth, Rodriguez batted with first base unoccupied and a runner at second. The second time with the potential winning run at second. But the Indians eschewed an intentional walk. Carmona pitched to Rodriguez, and he struck him out.
Last year, the Yankee Stadium crowd was all over Rodriguez's every failure, but he won them over this season with a monster season that included a string of late-inning hits. On Sunday, count on the crowd to do everything in its power to will Rodriguez to a breakout performance. And expect Rodriguez to respond. In fact, the entire Yankee offense is ripe for a big game, especially with Jake Westbrook on the mound for the Indians. Westbrook is a professional pitcher, of course, but a far cry from Sabathia and Carmona. If the Yankee hitters can't get it going against Westbrook, they'll have their tails between their legs as they head home.
The Indians, on the other hand, are playing with house money. They can swing free-and-easy in New York with a two-game cushion. Through two games, Cleveland's pitching has been great, and haven't had to use their closer, Joe Borowski -- a weaker option than setup men Rafael Perez or Rafael Betancourt. Even if the Indians lose Game 3, they can either counter with the veteran Paul Byrd or return to Sabathia for Game 4 and still have Carmona for Game 5 if necessary back in Cleveland.
For the second-straight year, the big-bad Yankees have been shut down in October by young pitching. In order for them to stay alive, they need for their veteran stars to shine. If they don't, there will be a lot of questions. First and foremost: Will Rodriguez opt out of his contract and escape from New York? But also, will Joe Torre be fired? And if he is, will Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera return? The big money is on the table. Now, will the real money players show up?
ALDS: Whiffs of a Winner
The Yankees had C.C. Sabathia right where they wanted him -- on the ropes. Cleveland's massive southpaw struggled with his control, just missing the strike zone repeatedly through the game's first five innings. The Yankee hitters were patient and Sabathia was keyed-up early and threw an awful lot of pitches. But his ability to strike batters out proved to be crucial.
In the top of the first, with two runners on, and the Yankees already ahead on a Johnny Damon solo home run -- initially ruled foul, then quickly, and correctly, overruled -- Sabathia struck out Jorge Posada. He then got Hideki Matsui to roll over on a soft breaking ball to end the inning.
In the fifth Shelley Duncan singled to right on a full count to start the inning. After Damon walked, Derek Jeter lined out to right field. Jeter will often bunt in that scenario but he's a lifetime .500 hitter against Sabathia and swung away instead. Bobby Abreu lined an outside fastball down the third-base line to score Duncan and pull the Yankees to within a run, 4-3. Alex Rodriguez was walked intentionally and Sabathia now found himself over 100 pitches.
In no time, he fell behind Posada 3-0. Then Posada swung at a 3-0 fastball and fouled it off. He swung at the next pitch, another fastball, in on his hands. Tough pitch to lay off, but probably a ball. After fouling off another heater, Posada whiffed on another borderline strike. Matsui followed with a weak pop-up and Sabathia had squirmed out of trouble.
The Indians scored five runs in the bottom of the inning and the rout was on. Posada's at bat "changed the whole inning, the whole game," said Indians' catcher Victor Martinez. Sabathia added:
I was just thinking, "Just try to make sure we end this inning with the lead." Posada helped me out a little bit by swinging at the 3-0 pitch and I was able to get out of it…I don't know if he swung at ball four, but I was a little surprised that he swung. I felt like it was a good pitch…He was trying to make something happen ... he swung, fouled it off and it helped me out huge.
Posada complimented Sabathia after the game saying the 3-0 pitch was the best one he saw in the sequence. Eric Wedge was blunt. "When things are getting a little bit crazy, that's when you need to be the coolest cat in the house."
Sabathia was able to survive trouble because of his stuff. Chien-Ming Wang throws the ball in the mid-90s but simply doesn't strike batters out. Last night, he was wild, and his sinker was up, time and again. He recorded just five groundball outs all evening, a sure recipe for disaster, and the Indians pounded him good. Posada reminded his pitcher on several occasions to keep his arm up so that he could find the right slot to throw the sinker. But Wang could not make the adjustment.
According to Tyler Kepner in The New York Times:
The pitching coach, Ron Guidry, said the Indians resisted Wang's sinkers, knowing that they end up too low to be called strikes. That forces Wang to throw the pitch higher in the zone, where it can be hit. When he tried to freelance with his off-speed pitches, he paid for it. "If you have to go away from what always works best, it's almost like a learning experience," Guidry said. "The only problem is, in a postseason game, you don't want to try to learn something new."
In Game 1 Wang and the Yankees learned the hard way. At Baseball Prospectus, Jay Jaffe anticipated Wang's difficulties:
As good as Wang is, he's shown a decisive enough home-road split (2.75 home/4.91 away this year; 3.04/4.62 career) to prefer that he not start in Cleveland once, let alone twice if the series goes five games.
Joe Torre said that he would consider using Wang again in Game 4.
Kenny Lofton was the hero of the night for the Indians, driving in four runs on three hits. But Victor Martinez and Pronk Hafner were in fine form as well, as the Indians offense rolled.
The Yankees send Andy Pettitte to the mound tonight. It is another critical playoff Game 2 for Pettitte, who is 6-3 for the Yankees in Game 2s. Moreover, in his Yankee career, Pettitte is 70-33 following a Yankee loss.
The sky may be falling for some Yankee fans but since 1995, the Yankees are 5-0 in the ALDS after dropping the first game, 2-5 after winning Game One.
Wedge went for the jugular last night, using both Rafael Perez (two innings) and Rafael Betancourt (22 pitches in the 9th). An argument can be made that it was foolish to use both relievers in what amounted to a blowout game, but Wedge didn't want to see the Yankees claw their way back into the game, and was determined to get the win last night. Perez and Betancourt fared just fine on back-to-back days this season, and you'd have to imagine they'll be on call nightly for the Tribe for the rest of the playoffs.
The Indians will be confident with Fausto Carmona on the mound this afternoon for Game 2.
ALDS: Yankees vs. Indians, Game 1
The Bronx Bombers have some burn in them too. Johnny Damon stole 27 bases this season and was caught three times; Bobby Abreu was 25/8, Alex Rodriguez, 24/4, and Derek Jeter can run too, though he posted an uncharacteristically poor stolen base ratio of 15/8. Victor Martinez led the Indians in OPS (133) this year and is a wonderful hitter, but his defense has often left something to be desired. His throwing, in particular, has been a vulnerability for years. In his first three full seasons behind the plate, Martinez threw out 25 percent, 23 percent and 18 percent of runners. So it's a cinch that the Yankees will run over and over again on Martinez in this series, right?
Maybe not. Martinez threw out 32 percent of runners this year, by far the best mark of his career, while Jorge Posada posted a career-low in the same category, throwing out just 24 percent of runners (last year, Posada had his finest year, throwing out 37 percent). Their respective pitching staffs also have something to do with the results as Martinez threw out 33 men in 103 attempts, while Posada threw out 32 runners in 134 chances. Last year, Posada threw out 38 runners in 102 attempts.
Maybe it'll be Grady Sizemore (33/10) running wild on Posada, and perhaps Martinez will be able to control the Yankees' running game. Veteran sports writer Terry Pluto thinks that Sizemore will be the Indians player that the nation will discover during this series (that is if they haven't already -- Sizemore was featured on the cover of SI earlier this year):
Tribe fans love him, he sells twice as much merchandise as any other player on the team, according to the marketing department. But the nation still hasn't seen him, especially on a big stage against New York. Sizemore's season was almost greeted with a yawn, but he batted .277. He led the team with a .390 on-base percentage. His 24 HRs were one behind team leader Victor Martinez. A year ago, he had a staggering 101 extra base hits. He had 63 this season, and stole 33 bases in 43 attempts. Fans sometimes dwell on his 155 strikeouts, but he does so much, so well -- it's not a huge negative. He plays with such passion, look for him to have a big series.
In the final analysis, the key for the Yankees will not be stealing bases, though that might be part of their attack. It will be working the count, driving the starting pitcher's pitch count up early, drawing walks and hitting home runs. Alex Rodriguez belted six dingers in six games against Cleveland this year. Granted, he never faced C.C. Sabathia and only saw Fausto Carmona once, but as versatile as New York's offense can be, they are not the Angels, and will need to go yard if they are to beat the Indians.
The rub is that Sabathia and Carmona will not mince around. Murray Chass reports in the New York Times:
"They're two power pitchers who come right after you," Ron Guidry, the Yankees' pitching coach and once a power pitcher himself, said before the Yankees worked out at Jacobs Field yesterday. "They don't seem like they waste a lot of pitches. They try to get ahead of you early, they try to stay ahead, and once they get ahead, they can make quality pitches...You have to keep close to them to be able to have a chance to win. You can't get very far behind because you don't figure they're going to give up a lot, not the way they pitch."
It will be interesting to see if the late afternoon sun plays a role in the early innings tonight. Sabathia pitching out of the shadows must be a frightening thought for New York's hitters. The Yankees have struggled against lefties this year, but that isn't stopping Joe Torre from going with Hideki Matsui and a whole lot of left-handed hitters tonight.
As the series unfolds, be sure and check out the following blogs -- just a sampling of the fine partisan blogs you can find for either team:
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.
AL East blog (Monday)
NL West blog (Monday)
AL Central blog (Tuesday)
NL Central blog (Wednesday)
AL West blog (Thursday)
NL East blog (Thursday)
Wild Card (Friday)