ALDS breakdown: Yankees
Bombers hope to continue regular-season success vs. Tribe
The Yankees have the most potent lineup in baseball and had little trouble this year with the Indians, sweeping the season series 6-0, although they didn't face 19-game winner C.C. Sabathia.Those games were all early on in the season (April 17-19 in New York and Aug. 10-12 at Cleveland) before the Indians made their big late-season move to topple Detroit and Minnesota atop the American League Central. In typical Yankees fashion, their offense pummeled Tribe pitching to a tune of 49-17 in the six games. But that's not really uncommon. The Yankees finished the season with the AL's top batting average (.290), most home runs (201), most total bases (2,649), most runs scored (968), most RBIs (929), top slugging percentage (.463), top on-base percentage (.366) and most hits (1,656). Those seasonal numbers were also reflective of their play in the six games against the Indians. They batted .348 with 14 homers, 130 total bases, those 49 runs scored, 48 RBIs, a .588 slugging percentage, a .396 on-base percentage and 77 hits. That means the Cleveland pitching staff as a whole didn't fare well, as the 8.19 ERA would attest. Even Fausto Carmona, the Indians' other 19-game winner, was knocked around by the Yankees in his two starts, losing once and compiling a 4.15 ERA. It may come as no surprise that Alex Rodriguez had six homers against the Indians in six games. But Jason Giambi was also a major factor, as those two series came in between slumps and a long stint on the disabled list. Giambi was 8-for-16 with four homers and six RBIs in five of those games. Key late-game matchups
The question here is whether you want A-Rod up in the ninth inning against Tribe closer Joe Borowski, and the answer is a resounding, yes. He's a .500 hitter vs. Borowski (2-for-4) in four plate appearances with a homer and three RBIs. And what of Derek Jeter against Borowski? Mr. November is a perfect 2-for-2 with a walk, a homer and five RBIs. Yankees Secret Weapon
Yankees Achilles' heel
Games 3-4 starters Roger Clemens, who will go at Yankee Stadium with a sore elbow and/or hamstring, and Mike Mussina, who's had a sore ERA of late.
American League Division Series schedule
|Wed., Oct. 3||6:30 p.m.||Fenway Park||TBS|
|Fri., Oct. 5||8:30 p.m.||Fenway Park||TBS|
|Sun. Oct. 7||3 p.m.||Angel Stadium||TBS|
|*Mon. Oct. 8||9:30 p.m.||Angel Stadium||TBS|
|*Wed. Oct. 10||8:30 p.m.||Fenway Park||TBS|
|Thu., Oct. 4||6:30 p.m.||Jacobs Field||TBS|
|Fri., Oct. 5||5 p.m.||Jacobs Field||TBS|
|Sun. Oct. 7||6:30 p.m.||Yankee Stadium||TBS|
|*Mon. Oct. 8||6 p.m.||Yankee Stadium||TBS|
|*Wed. Oct. 10||5 p.m.||Jacobs Field||TBS|
|* If necessary. All times ET.|
Yankees manager: Joe Torre
Torre has led the Yankees to 12 consecutive playoff appearances that include six AL pennants and four World Series titles. What more can you ask?
Pure guts. This was the Yankees team that everybody counted out in May, but that stormed back into the playoffs with a great second-half run.
Three Reasons Yankees will win
A-Rod will finally have a postseason series in New York to remember. He's heir apparent now to Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle and Reggie Jackson. Time to play like it.
Andy Pettitte is back in a Yankees uniform after three years in Houston. The Yanks haven't been back to the World Series since he left. See the connection?
Oh, those kids. Melky Cabrera, Robinson Cano and Joba Chamberlain will have something to say about all this before the series is concluded.
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.