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A lot of questions stand unanswered regarding the Yankees and the World Series, such as: who is pitching games 4 and 5; who is starting in right field in games 3-4-5 and what to do with Hideki Matsui in games 3,4 and 5.

Matsui is the Yankees full-time DH.  A former outfielder, Matsui has not played in the field since injuring his knee in 2008.  He has been either the DH or on the bench.  It seems as if Matsui will remain on the bench while the series is in Philly, despite his good bat.  Even though going with Brett Gardner, Nick Swisher, Jerry Hairston, Jr, or Eric Hinske means a worse bat at the plate, it does mean a better defensive player in the field.

Which leads me to who starts in right.  Nick Swisher was the everyday starter in the regular season, but has struggled greatly at the plate this postseason.  He is hitting .114 (4-35) with 3 walks and 1 RBI.  He has struck out an amazing 12 times in 10 games before being pulled after Game 1 of the World Series.

I would want to choose Brett Gardner, but it seems as if skipper Joe Girardi wants Gardner’s speed off the bench.  I am torn.  I can appreciate how much his speed can make the difference as a pinch-runner, but couldn’t he impact the game more with his speed in center field (move Melky Cabrera to right) and his speed as a batter with 4+ chances to get on base?  Gardner is also 2-4 in his 4 AB this postseason

Hinske and Hairston provide some veteran experience in the field and at the plate AND both were acquired in trades from National League teams mid-season – so they both have experience against Philly and national league teams in general.  I want to resist Hinske as a starter because he was a beast as a pinch-hitter this season and with no DH in games 3-4-5, I would want him available to pinch-hit for the pitcher when needed.

Finally, what to do about the starting pitching.  With no day off between games 4 and 5 like there was in the ALCS, the Yankees can start CC Sabathia in Game 4 on 3 days rest and then Burnett and Pettitte in games 5 and 6, also on 3 days rest (which I am sure both can handle) and then CC again for game 7 (if needed) on 3 days rest.  This is probably the least likely scenario.  If a Game 7 is needed, you don’t want to have tired out CC as much.

The most likely scenarios are Game 4-Sabathia, Game 5- Chad Gaudin, Game 6 Burnett, Game 7 Pettitte with Sabathia in relief or Game 4 – Gaudin, Game 5- Sabathia, Game 6 – Burnett, and Game 7 Pettitte with no Sabathia available.

My predictions?  Hideki Matsui stays on the bench.  Gardner should start in CF, Cabrera in RF, with Hinske, Hairston and Swisher off the bench and the first pitching scenario (Sabathia, Gaudin, Burnett, Pettitte/Sabathia.)

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Derek Jeter and CC Sabathia got the New York Yankees win number one on the way to the 27th World Series title. Jeter tied it with a two-run homer, Sabathia was the ace the Yankees signed him to be, and New York romped over the Twins 7-2 in the opener of their AL playoff series.

After Jeter’s third-inning homer pulled New York even at 2-2, Nick Swisher pulled a go-ahead double down the left-field line in the fourth that scored Robinson Cano from first.

Rodriguez had gone 0-for-29 in the postseason with RISP before an RBI single that made it 4-2 in the fifth.

Hideki Matsui followed with a two-run homer into Monument Park.

With a hit to the outfield wall, Rodriguez added another run-scoring single in the seventh.

It was fitting that Jeter hit the first home run in the Yankees’ postseason. The captain also got New York’s first hit, was on base four times with two hits and two walks, and scored three runs.

Sabathia allowed one earned run and eight hits in 6 2-3 innings, striking out eight and walking none.

Phil Hughes came in and struck out Orlando Cabrera in a 10-pitch at-bat.

Sabathia escaped trouble in the first after Denard Span’s leadoff double and the first of Jorge Posada’s two passed balls by striking out Joe Mauer and retiring Cuddyer on a flyout.

Minnesota took a 2-0 lead in the third when Cabrera singled with two outs, Mauer doubled, Cuddyer hit an RBI single and Posada crossed up with Sabathia and allowed a run-scoring passed ball.

Jeter tied the score with a drive about 10 feet fair down the left-field line. With his 18th postseason home run, he tied Yankees stars Mickey Mantle and Reggie Jackson for third on the career list behind Manny Ramirez (28) and Bernie Williams (22).

Hat tip from Sliding Into Home

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4. Yankees sign Mark Teixeira for $180 million over eight years. The Red Sox power brokers had a bad meeting with Teixeira at his Dallas-area home, opening the door for Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman, who implored his bosses to take the big plunge and beat Boston’s $170 million bid by telling them it was an opportunity to “make the Red Sox look bad.” It also made the Yankees look good.

10. Yankees sign CC Sabathia for $161 million. Some wondered whether the Yankees had to pay this much. That’ll never be known, but they felt a threat from Sabathia’s home-state Angels and simply had to have Sabathia, the ace they plainly needed.

17. Yankees sign Andy Pettitte for $5.5 million plus incentives. Pettitte held out for long enough for the price to drop, but he made it up in incentives after delivering an excellent year in the Bronx.

18. Yankees acquire Nick Swisher for Wilson Betemit, Jhonny Nunez and Jeff Marquez and a pitching prospect. It seemed like an extravagance once the Yankees acquired Teixeira, as Swisher appeared destined to become an expensive and dissatisfied bench player. But when Xavier Nady went down with elbow trouble, Swisher moved to right field where he became a power threat and fan favorite.

30. Yankees pick up Chad Gaudin off the waiver wire. For $100,000, Cashman got a pitcher that may supplant Joba Chamberlain as the team’s No. 4 starter if the Yankees need one later in the playoffs. Twenty eight teams passed before Cashman pounced.

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Greg, at Sliding Into Home, makes the great point that AJ Burnett’s signing was left off the list.  Although I support Burnett as a Yankee – he has brought a level of fun and excitement to the clubhouse that was missing before he and Nick Swisher arrived and I think has been crucial to the Yankees success this season.  As a sales manager, I have always told my sales reps that unless they have fun – they will not sell.  Because if they have fun, their customers will have fun and are much more likely to buy.  And of course, they’ll enjoy their job more too.

Despite the fun he has brought, he has not been the dominating pitcher the Yankees hoped he would be.

Joba Chamberlain might just have pitched himself off the ALDS roster. Chamberlain lasted just 3 2/3 innings and was booed by fans at Yankee Stadium during the Kansas City Royals’ 4-3 victory Wednesday night, which stopped New York’s seven-game winning streak.

Derek Jeter homered leading off the first, and Chamberlain left with a 3-1 deficit before Nick Swisher’s 29th homer tied the score in the fifth, a two-run drive.

Chamberlain allowed three runs, seven hits and four walks, throwing just 52 of 91 pitches for strikes.

With CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte set to start in the first round of the playoffs, Chamberlain either will go to the bullpen or be dropped from the division series roster.

The line of the night came when Chamberlain told reporters in the clubhouse he will do anything to win with the team.

“If they want me to fold towels, I’ll fold towels,” he said. “I don’t really care. I’ll do anything to win on this team.”

The Yankees are off today before going to Tampa to finish the season. The Yankees’ rotation for the playoffs will be starting this weekend.

In the very first live game I watched in Taiwan, Andy Pettitte was overpowering, retiring his first 20 batters before an error spoiled both his perfect game and no-hit bid, as the Yankees defeated the Orioles 5-1.

With the win tonight, Pettitte passed Lefty Gomez for third place on the all-time Yankees wins list with No. 190. Pettitte also improved to 50-19 career in August. His .724 August win percentage stands third best all-time.

Pettitte was ready to finish the seventh without allowing a baserunner, but Jerry Hairston let a two-out grounder slip through his legs for an error.

With his 190th victory with New York, a number bested by only Hall of Famers Whitey Ford (236) and Red Ruffing (231), Pettitte allowed one run and two hits, struck out eight and walked none to improve to 4-0 in his last seven starts. Brian Bruney gave up a walk and a single in the ninth before Mariano Rivera got two outs for his 37th save — and career-best 33rd in a row.

Baltimore starter Jeremy Guthrie allowed two runs and four hits in six innings. Nick Swisher led off the third with his 22nd homer. New York used successive doubles by Robinson Cano and Swisher to make it 2-0 in the fourth.The Yankees pulled away with a three-run eighth that featured an RBI single by Johnny Damon and a two-run double by Robinson Cano.

AJ Burnett takes the mound on Tuesday night at 7:05pm. It was a good game for me to watch this morning — remember there’s a twelve hour difference between Taiwan and the east coast in the U.S.

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