And Here We Go, Mission 28 Begins Tonight

Less than two hours away from the beginning of the Yankees 2010 postseason, I’ve officially decided I’m not going to do any predictions. Last season, I was wrong in every single series the Yankees weren’t involved in (which is fine, since I WAS right about the Yankees winning the World Series). I like to think it’s not just that I’m bad at predictions though; the postseason is meant to settle the question of “who’s best,” but it requires luck. The best team all year does not often win the World Series. In fact, only 3 times in the past 15 years has the team with the best record going into the postseason actually won the World Series. The Yankees did it in 2009 and 1998, and the Red Sox did it in 2007. That’s it. (And for a visual of this, check out this graphic from FlipFlopFlyball.)

The postseason is exciting because it’s so random. It’s frustrating because it’s so random. The best you can do as a fan is try to enjoy it… at least that’s what I keep telling myself.

All that said, here are some relatively superficial questions:

When did the Phillies become the clear favorites?

ESPN posted its usual list of predictions and I cannot believe the amount of love for the Phillies. Surely, the Phillies are the favorite in the NL, but considering the disparity in talent between the 2 leagues, I would say Philadelphia is still behind New York, Tampa Bay, and Minnesota. Every team of course has a shot and given my prognostication skills, I’m not going to judge any individual prediction. I’m just surprised that the Phillies are seemingly such a clear-cut favorite. I think most people are pointing to the Phillies’ top-3 starters (and as I type this, Roy Halladay is dominating Cincinnati) but how many times did the Braves win the World Series with all those great pitching staffs? Everyone says pitching wins in the playoffs, but I don’t think it’s that simple.

Who will get hot?

It will be interesting to see how players carry over momentum from the regular season. Curtis Granderson had a great September, while Mariano Rivera had a pedestrian one. Derek Jeter has been pretty bad all year. Do these trends continue?

Will I actually miss Michael Kay?

I know I’ll miss Kay when the games move to Fox, as we’ll once again be subjected to perhaps the worst announcing team in sports: Joe Buck and Tim McCarver. Last year, I was amazed at how bad the TBS coverage was as well. A lot of the blame fell on Chip Carey though (who apparently only knows the verb “fisted”), and he’s gone this year. So we’ll see.

How real are the Yankees’ pitching problems?

Much has been made of the “mess” the Yankees rotation is in. And don’t get me wrong – there are major issues. But there are question marks on every team. The Phillies’ best area is their starters, which is why I guess everyone is jumping on the bandwagon, but their lineup and bullpen both have issues. And look at the starters filling out the rotations of other teams. If some of those guys were lined up to go for the Yankees, people would still be saying their rotation is a disaster. In New York, the good seems great and the bad seems terrible.

Really, no prediction?

Fine. Yankees over Giants. (Sorry Giants fans.)

Feel free to follow the game with me on Twitter @burkhartb.

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