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I'll Tell You When To Panic: Why being swept by a likely playoff opponent in mid-September isn't a big deal

Okay, yes the Yankees just got swept by the Rangers, the team they're most likely to face in the first round of the playoffs. Don't panic. Here's why:

1) Two of the losses came in walk-offs. If you're in a close race for a playoff spot or in a postseason series, those losses are huge, but in reality, those games are effectively ties. This isn't tennis, in which you have to win by two. Also, Chad Gaudin gave up three runs in a pair of one-run walkoff losses, including the game-winning home run in the first. If Chad Gaudin is pitching important innings in the postseason, then you can panic. Not now.

2) Dustin Moseley started the third game against Cliff Lee. Again, if Dustin Moseley is starting games in the postseason, then you panic. Right now, there's no reason to believe he will even be on the postseason roster.

3) Though they lost both games in walkoffs, the Yankees faired well against the Rangers' starters in the first two games, which is actually quite encouraging as both are sure to be in Texas's postseason rotation. In the opener, the Yankees scored four runs in three innings against C.J. Wilson, running him after 75 pitches. Wilson now has a 5.65 ERA in three starts against the Yankees this season, has averaged less than five innings in those three starts, and has walked nine men in those 14 1/3 innings. Tommy Hunter faired better, but still used up 98 pitches in five innings during which nine Yankees reached base. Also, the Yankees hadn't faced Hunter since his rookie year of 2008, so they got good look at him just weeks before they have to face him in a game that counts.

4) The lineup that faced Lee didn't include Alex Rodriguez, Nick Swisher, or Brett Gardner.

Now, if you still want to panic, you can do so for these reasons:

1) Nick Swisher's knee isn't getting better.

2) Brett Gardner's wrist is still bothering him.

3) Mariano Rivera, who is 40 years old and has been pitching through side and knee injuries all season, was awful in game two after pitching two innings in game one.

4) The postseason rotation my not include Moseley or Javier Vazquez, but it will include A.J. Burnett.