Time to size up the Yanks
Here's the batting order that the Yanks used last night to crush the Orioles:
1. Johnny Damon
2. Derek Jeter
3. Bobby Abreu
4. Alex Rodriguez
5. Jason Giambi
6. Gary Sheffield
7. Hideki Matsui
8. Jorge Posada
9. Robinson Cano
As Aaron Gleeman pointed out this morning, that's "two former MVPs, perhaps the leading candidate to win the award this year, another guy who's finished among the top three vote-getters in three different seasons...eight multi-time All-Stars, and a 23-year-old chasing Joe Mauer for the AL batting title." In other words, a bunch of big-ass bats who could rain homers all over the Twins' little post-season parade.
Luckily for Minnesota, there's an old adage--"pitching and defense win in the post-season"--that turns out to be true, at least statistically. Back to BP.com:
"There are three particular characteristics of teams that win more than their share of post-season games. These characteristics are as follows:
* A power pitching staff, as measured by normalized strikeout rate.
* A good closer, as measured by WXRL.
* A good defense, as measured by FRAA.
Of the dozens of team characteristics that we tested for statistical significance, in terms of their relationship with winning post-season games and series, these were the only three that mattered. Ending the year hot doesn’t make a whit of difference, for example, nor does having a veteran club, or a smallball offense."
That's sabremetrician Nate Silver explaining how he came upon a new stat equation, dubbed "Secret Sauce," that magically quantifies a team's playoff juju.
The good news for Minnesota fans is that Silver pegs the Twins' Secret Sauce score well above the Yankees. In fact, according to this wonderful new math, the Twins' pitchers, closer, and defense are good enough to carry the team past that indomitable Yankees lineup (in four games) and win the World Series.
Of course, that was before Silva's meltdown last night all but booted him from the post-season rotation. And no equation, no matter how advanced, can solve the big question mark inside Radke's shoulder. Which makes Radke's return tonight all that much more important. So watch carefully--you know the Yankees are.