There will, of course, be lots of 'Kudos' and only a couple of 'Wet Willies,' so let's get to it.
Kudos to ...
- Alex Rodriguez: How can I not start here? The guy was amazing in the last three games, with huge, game-changing hits in each one. You can make an argument that the Yankees don't win any of those games without A-Rod's contribution. This is the kind of playoff performance we have hoped for from Rodriguez for years. So far, it's been worth waiting for.
- Yankee Starting Pitchers: CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte were all brilliant in their respective outings. Let's hope that continues.
- Derek Jeter: The Captain played like he always does when the post-season rolls around. A .400 average, clutch hits that always put him in the middle of rallies, huge game-changing defensive plays. What more can you say?
- Joba Chamberlain: Clearly, Joba is more comfortable coming out of the bullpen. Chamberlain, the Phils and Mo is a devastating late-inning bullpen. When the Yankees need a fourth starter against Anaheim, it has to be Chad Gaudin and not Chamberlain.
- Mariano Rivera: Three games without allowing a run, extending his career-long post-season brilliance. Sunday night he shattered the bat of Joe Mauer, the game's best hitter, for the most important out of the game.
- Jorge Posada: Yeah, the passed balls in Game 1 were annoying, but Posada's bat was huge in the last two games. Argue about his defense, but he is still critical to this team's success.
Wet Willies to ...
- Phil Hughes: He never exactly imploded during the series, but he was an adventure. Last night bad Twins base-running and heads-up Yankee defense bailed him out. Hughes posted a 9.00 ERA in the series, and surrendered five hits in two innings. You have to wonder if Hughes and Chamberlain will switch roles at some point.
- Johnny Damon and Nick Swisher: I will lump them in together, since they both hit .083 in the division series. Last night they combined for seven strikeouts. Damon, in particular, looks lost at the plate. If these guys continue to struggle, you have to think Brett Gardner or Jerry Hairston will get a start or two somewhere along the way.
- The Metrodome: I've always hated the place. Thank God the Yankees put all of baseball out of its misery by closing the dump nicknamed the 'Baggy-Dome' down.