With the Texas Rangers losing to the Oakland A’s 9-1 last night, the New York Yankees became the first team in baseball to clinch a playoff spot. With that last sentence, at least 5,000 New York Mets fans just converted to Yankees fans just to be “cool.” Today, they all came into school with red Yankee hats and replica Joba Chamberlain jerseys.
If you lived in New York in the mid-to-late 90’s, you know everything I just said is 100 percent true.
In all seriousness, the Yankees have had a very good year. A better year than I expected, to be honest. Not that I didn’t expect the Yankees to win 90 games, but I didn’t think they would beat out the Tampa Bay Rays and the Boston Red Sox for a playoff spot.
In my opinion, the Yankees won this year for three reasons:
1. They have gotten tremendous years from a lot of aging veterans. Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon, Jorge Posada, and Derek Jeter have all had nice bounce-back years offensively. Jeter is having an MVP season.
2. Overall offensively, the Yankees just bludgeoned teams. The Yankees ranked first in the AL in runs scored (864), first in homeruns (231), and first in team OPS (.842). One through nine, the Yankees can matchup with anyone.
3. Phil Hughes. When Phil Hughes went to the bullpen and became the bridge to Mariano Rivera, everything seemed to fall in place for the Yankees. Their bullpen became better and in turn, made their starting rotation better.
The Yankees have a six-game (five in the loss column) lead over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for the title of best record in the American League. Baring an epic collapse and thanks the AL beating the NL in the All-Star Game, the Yankees should have homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.
Everything is set up for the Yankees to make a World Series run in 2009. If they don’t — John Sterling’s head might explode.