October 5, 2010

IS C.C. UNDER MORE PRESSURE THAN ANY POST-SEASON STARTER EVER?:

ALDS Preview: Yankees vs. Twins (Craig Calcaterra, Oct. 5, 2010, NBC: Hardballtalk)

The storyline which doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things but which TBS will nonetheless beat to death

Probably that stuff from above about the Yankees recent dominance of the Twins. Yes, I understand why it's something worth mentioning and I even mentioned it myself in HBT's Playoff Power Rankings. But baseball should come with the same disclaimer that comes on the mutual funds in your 401k: past performance is no guarantee of future results. While interesting, recent history is not exactly illuminating. As they say, momentum is only as good as your next day's starter. And given that Andy Pettitte's back and Phil Hughes' stamina at this point of the season is in question, the next day's starter for the Yankees is not as strong as it used to be.

The storyline which actually does matter but about which TBS won't spend a lot of time talking
Less of a storyline than a dynamic: unlike the previous three playoff meetings between these clubs, the Twins should be considered the favorites. I don't care about seeding: bet your bippy that we'll hear a lot about the allegedly plucky Twins and the Big Bad Bronx Bombers. The betting lines and even smart guys like Aaron Gleeman disagree with me, but I think the Twins are a better team. At least on paper. Their starters are better right now. Their bullpen is stronger than most people think. The differences between the team's offense are not that great. If you tell mystique and aura to go down the street and get you a box of chicken or something, you'll be able to see clearly enough to realize that the Twins should be favored here. That said . . .


While the Yankees should not be favored, they are. And they should not be favored because even if CC wins both his starts they don't necessarily have another quality start coming from elsewhere and if he loses a game they're likely toast.

There have been underdogs--the Astros of Mike Scott and Orel Hershiser's Dodgers come to mind--that had to ride one starting pitcher to have a chance, but has there ever been a favorite so dependent on one starter?

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Posted by Orrin Judd at October 5, 2010 2:10 PM
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