As stated numerous times before I am a lifelong Yankee fan. I am ecstatic over the fact the Yankees not only made the playoffs, but clinched both the Division and home-field advantage. That being said, the Yankees find themselves in an interesting position. The final 3-game series of the regular season is against the Tampa Bay Rays. Tampa Bay trails Boston by 1 game in the Wild Card race. The Yankees should, and I believe will play to win the game.
The Red Sox are slumping and seem to be the team anyone would want to play in the post-season right now. However, look at their lineup. The playoffs bring out something special in all teams. Now throw in a struggling Red Sox team with hitters like Adrian Gonzalez, Dustin Pedroia, and Jacoby Ellsbury into a playoff situation. I would not want to be the opposing pitcher. The Red Sox will not struggle forever. They face the Baltimore Orioles beginning tonight and just may “wake-up” and put on a show. The potential of what the Red Sox can be is enough for all contenders in the 2011 playoffs to become Rays and Orioles fans.
The Yankees could easily put a second tier team on the field in the final series. However, here is why the won’t, and they shouldn’t: they do not want to devalue their 2011 post-season run. The potential lies for the Yanks to simply “let” the Rays take the series and potentially knock Boston out entirely. The Yanks won’t do this because you play to win the game. They shouldn’t do this because many fans, myself included, will be greatly disappointed. Second, the fans paying to see these games in person are not paying very good money to watch the Bombers not put in 100% effort.
Finally, the Yankees possess too much class, character, and history to not play hard night in and night out.
I am not presuming the Yankees will dominate the American League playoffs. They may not make it past the ALDS. If the Yankees do, and they don’t play the Red Sox in the ALCS because of New York’s performance in this final series of the regular season….I digress.
In the end, my point is moot. The Yankees will play hard, the Red Sox will play hard, and so will Tampa Bay. Not to mention, these last three games for the Baltimore Orioles might as well be the World Series. Sit back baseball fans, and enjoy the show.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think!