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When everything has settled down and we look back, we will know that 2009 is the year that Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez finally earned his stripes — pinstripes, that is.

A-Rod had such a tumultuous start to 2009 with the steroid confession, hip surgery, and his divorce finally becoming official.

While Hideki Matsui may have been the MVP of the World Series, A-Rod was the MVP of the entire playoffs. He hit .365/.500/.808 over 68 plate appearances with six home runs and 18 RBIs.

Benjamin Kabak at River Ave. Blues illustrates what changed about A-Rod this year and why he is finally raising the World Series Trophy over his head for the first time ever.

While A-Rod will never be one of my favorites and I won’t consider him the greatest Yankee ever, I definitely respect all he has accomplished.

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Here’s something for y’all to read while you chow down on your breakfast this morning.

Here’s a breakdown of the upcoming Yankees-Angels series from Stan McNeal of the Sporting News:

This should be the best series of the postseason: The majors’ two winningest teams feature the two best offenses and also play in two of the nicest ballparks.

ALDS HEROES

Angels: Prepare to hear about Bobby Abreu. Announcers usually have plenty of time to talk about him because his at-bats can take forever. Abreu was at his disciplined best in the first round, reaching base nine times (four via walks in the first game) and scoring four runs. “He was the MVP,” teammate Torii Hunter said. Now Abreu is heading to his first League Championship Series, against a team that deemed him expendable after 2008.

Yankees: There is a reason Alex Rodriguez makes $32 million this season. When he is right, no hitter is more dangerous. He enters the ALCS as right as Yankee pinstripes. A-Rod finished the first round with a .500 OBP and 1.500 OPS. He hit game-changing homers in Games 2 and 3. “I feel great, not only with the game but in my life,” A-Rod said after Game 2. “When I came back in May, I felt like I had a new start, and I wanted to let my play do the talking.”

NEED TO STEP UP IN THE ALCS

Angels: Chone Figgins wasn’t a complete bust against Boston. He made a few highlight plays at third base and saw more pitches than any Angels’ hitter, one of his responsibilities as a leadoff hitter. But the Angels will need more from him to put the fast break in their offense. Figgins reached base only once in the first round, going 0-for-12 with six strikeouts.

Yankees: Phil Hughess aved the Yankees’ bullpen in the regular season after he settled into the eighth-inning role, but he struggled in the first round. Though he recorded two outs in each game, he allowed at least one hit each outing. Overall, he gave up five hits and a walk to the 11 hitters he faced, and was saved further embarrassment by Nick Punto’s baserunning gaffe in Game 3.

Prediction: Yankees in six. The starting pitching is a draw, but the Yankees’ sluggers will produce more offense than the Angels’ balance of power and speed. And never underestimate the importance of having Mariano Rivera.

Can’t disagree with that assessment. I will never make predictions or comment on them.

Here are some other links, thanks to Greg at Sliding Into Home:

Check out this article from Scotty over at More Hardball. He talks about how Mark Teixeira has helped A-Rod.

It’s likely that the ALCS roster will look nearly, if not completely identical to the one we saw in the ALDS.

Television ratings for this year’s ALDS were up from last year. Is this the power of the Yankee brand we’re seeing here? I know it sure wasn’t for Boston and their choke performance.

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When trying to find a ticket seller for baseball tickets, try VividSeats.com. They’re a leading seller of sports event tickets and have reasonable prices for some of the biggest games this year. They offer cheap Yankees tickets throughout the season and you can view the full schedule and seating charts.

It’s often proven true. Good pitching wins games, and that was the case during the ALDS sweep of the Twins. The Yankees were quick to credit their pitching.

“Our pitching is the reason why we’re here,” said Derek Jeter. “CC started it, A.J. followed, and Andy finished. That’s how you have to win in the playoffs.” Mariano Rivera agreed. “Everything was pitching.”

The Yanks have the offense to generate runs, no question about it, but the offense was a bit anemic against the Twins. So with that in mind, here’s a blog post by Joe P. at River Ave Blues about how pitching was the key in the ALDS and will be the key for victory in the ALCS…

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When trying to find a ticket seller for baseball tickets, try VividSeats.com. They’re a leading seller of sports event tickets and have reasonable prices for some of the biggest games this year. They offer cheap Yankees tickets throughout the season and you can view the full schedule and seating charts.

The Yankees entered last night’s game finding out that the Angels had swept the Red Sox, then proceed to do the same themselves.

This sets up a four-day rest for both teams before they face off in the ALCS on Friday night. This was thanks to a 4-1 victory over the hapless, bumbling Twins.

Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada hit seventh-inning home runs to spoil Carl Pavano’s opportunity to frustrate New Yorkers one more time.

But baseball’s highest-paid player returned with a more positive outlook, and New York surged to the top of the AL East.

Mariano Rivera got the last four outs in the final baseball game at the Metrodome, preserving Andy Pettitte’s record-tying 15th career postseason win.

This pitching duel between former teammates Pettitte and Pavano ended with another first-round playoff victory in Minnesota for the Yankees, who also eliminated the Twins here in 2003 and 2004.

The Yankees aren’t about to let an opponent get away with overrunning the bases, as Carlos Gomez did in Game 2 to cost the Twins a run. Nick Punto then wasted his leadoff double in the eighth by failing to see that Denard Span’s single didn’t get past shortstop Jeter, and he was thrown out trying to retreat to third base.

Posada gave Rivera more room with an RBI single in a two-run ninth.

Pettitte, who retired 17 of the first 18 batters he faced, left Joba Chamberlain a 2-1 lead with one out in the seventh. He matched John Smoltz for postseason victories.

Rivera came in to get Mauer on a bat-shattering groundout to end the eighth after the Twins blew their chance to score against Phil Hughes because of Punto’s blunder.

Notes: The Yankees need to be more balanced. Aside from the power from A-Rod, a lucky home run in the 11th inning from Tex, and a home run from Posada last night, as well as timely hitting from Jeter, the rest of the line-up needs to wake up. They cannot do this against the Angels. The Angels have a good line-up and their rotation is evenly matched. We’ll have position by position breakdown later this week.

Here’s a video off YouTube of Bald Vinny leading the first roll call in the postseason at the new Yankee Stadium. A good way to start our Friday morning leading until 6:07 p.m.

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When trying to find a ticket seller for baseball tickets, try VividSeats.com. They’re a leading seller of sports event tickets and have reasonable prices for some of the biggest games this year. They offer cheap Yankees tickets throughout the season and you can view the full schedule and seating charts.

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