Are you pumped?
I don't think I've been this excited for a playoff series since the last Yankee-Red Sox matchup...
If you're not as excited as I am, maybe a little blogging with the enemy will help.
Check out the questions we asked and LTG's response here.
Anyone care to tackled CU Adams' question about what "Yankee fans have instead of a soul" (sic)? I always thought this hollow void at the center of my chest was normal...
I guess I shouldn't expect an Indians fan to have mastered the nuances of plurals.
1) Derek Jeter: great fielder, or greatest fielder? But seriously, what's the consensus on Jeter's defense?
I believe the consensus over at Pinstripe Alley lines up with most of defensive metrics: Jeter has improved to an average defender with the addition of a thirdbaseman with great range.
I'm of the opinion that Derek Jeter is the best centerfielder playing shortstop in the Major Leagues. Watch him go back on pop-ups to medium centerfield and leftfield- there's no infielder in MLB who does that better.
He has a cannon for an arm and is generally quite accurate. He's been the best relay-man in the league for a decade.
What he lacks is range.
As John Amato points out, he has the uncanny ability to make the perfect intuitive plays like no other player in the game. The flip is one that everyone knows about, but he also throws strikes at homeplate, cutting down runners trying to score from relays throws in the outfield. Just ask Timo Perez in the 2000 WS.
2) Is Alex Rodriguez a True Yankee yet? If not, what will it take for him to become one?
jscape2000: That whole True Yankee b.s. is a talk radio toy. With all the nostalgia and lore surrounding the Yankees, I can understand a need to view `Yankeehood' on a scale- but to Yankee fans, the idea that the postseason defines Yankeehood is just as false as the idea that any season without a ring is a total failure.
anaconda: I've always thought that "True Yankee" stuff was nonsense, so yes, he's a "True Yankee." A big postseason from him over the next few weeks will do his Yankee legacy wonders.
John Amato did not dignify that question with a reponse.
3) Who do you have more confidence in...Roger Clemens, or Mike Mussina?
I'll let anaconda speak for all of us: That's easy - Roger Clemens. Not many in Yankeeland feel confident in Moose going in Game 4 and would prefer to see Hughes instead. Clemens hasn't been great this season, but he's perfectly capable of coming back and pitching a good ballgame in Game 3.
4) Biggest weakness of this year's Yankees?
We all agree: The bullpen has been the main problem.
I blame injuries, ineffectiveness, and mismanagement by Joe Torre, in that order.
The Yankees are carrying 11 pitchers. In a perfect world the Indians will only see 6 of them: 4 starters, Joba, and Mo. Viz is suffering from overuse (a classic knock on Torre), but hopefully the extra rest this last week will help give us another reliable arm. I'm very high on Ross Ohlendorf- I've been following his struggles as a minor league starter and success as a reliever all season. Hopefully we'll never see Farnsworth pitch.
5) Most underrated Yankee?
jscape2000: This is actually a very tough question, because I know all Yankees seem overrated to opposing fans. Conversely, we're very hard on our players and expect nothing but the best.
I honestly feel that a bunch of our players (Matsui, Damon, Cano, Cabrera, Clemens, Pettitte) while good players and vital to the success of the team, are overrated.
I've taken some flack over at Pinstripe Alley for my defense of Bobby Abreu. But he struggled mightily in the first month and half of this season, and when he turned it around the Yankees turned it around. He's an OBP machine who sees a ton of pitches.
He is not a great defensive player- he gets lost in the outfield and doesn't know where the walls are, and he thinks his arm is better than it is. But even given that he has much better range than Sheffield or any of the scrubs we trotted out there since Paul O'Neill retired.
John Amato: Manky (Doug Mientkiewicz). Everyone hated the move to bring him here because while he's a gold glover at 1B, he can't hit, but since he's returned from his injury, he's been on a tear. In September, after a very solid Andy Phillips went down, Torre told him that he'd have to wait his turn and as soon as he got his chance he came through against Boston.
anaconda: I'm going to say Jorge Posada. His offensive production this season has been unreal and he has been a horse over the years. I don't recall him missing any significant time due to injury at the toughest position in MLB and that says a lot about him.
6) Joba Chamberlain: future starter, or future closer?
All you're likely to see Joba throw this series are his fastball (96-100 mph) and his slider (mid 80s). He also throws a great changeup from time to time, and occasionally a curve. Scouts consider all four pitches plus pitches.
It'd be a waste to leave him in the pen.
There is a concern because he's only thrown 112 innings this season because of an early season leg injury. Don't be surprised to see him start 2008 in the minors, or move from the rotation to the pen (or vice versa).
John adds: If Joba has the control of all 4 pitchers I'd like to see him in the rotation, which would include Joba (age 22), Phil Hughes (23), I.P. Kennedy (23), and Wang (27) to go along with Andy Pettitte. Nobody in baseball has that kind of young depth in the starting rotation.
Cleveland and Oakland would be the closest competition.
7) Thoughts on Joe Torre's bullpen management - too slow to change, too quick a hook, or just right?
Too slow to change tactics and too quick with his hook.
anaconda nails it: His problem is more about picking a favorite guy in the pen and sticking with him night after night until his arm falls off.
That's why we've repeatedly seen Luis Vizcaino (our 8th inning guy for most of the season) pitching in 10 run blowouts.
I'll add that Torre has proven he can't change tactics mid-stream. If Tom Gordon is the set up man, he pitches the 8th inning of close ball games, even if the club he's facing has pounded him recently.
Part of that could be blamed on the NY media- they really tore into Joe when he pitched Jeff Weaver in extra innings of the World Series against the Marlins and lost.