Friday, October 23, 2009

Yankees Core 4 on cusp of another World Series

The Yankees old-guard of Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada are getting a lot of ink with the Yanks on the verge of the World Series. The gist of the coverage revolves around two central themes: that they are still playing together after all these years and that they are so close to another World Series and perhaps a 5th ring, in large part due to their own significant contributions in the postseason this year.

It is remarkable that the four have managed to play together so long, given free agency and the Yankees' propensity to pull the trigger on trades involving their young players in the late 80s and early 90s. The hiccup was Pettitte's choice to leave for Houston via free agency after 2003, a decision the Yankees team shared the blame for after not aggressively pursuing him during that offseason. But when Andy made the decision to return to the Yanks, it seemed like the quartet had never been apart.

The sportswriters are correct in pointing out the valuable contributions of the Core 4 this postseason. While Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia are quite deservedly getting a lot of the attention and credit, the old-guard has played a tremendous role in helping the team get to this point. Mo has been amazing, closing out the Yankee wins and keeping them in the games during their two losses. Jeter has hit some crucial home runs. Posada has had some key hits. And of course, Andy has had two good starts already and the Yankees will be counting on him for a third to close out the ALCS tomorrow night.

Andy's not an 8-inning pitcher, but I'll be looking for him to throw long enough to narrow the gap to Mo and minimize any possibility of a bullpen meltdown or mismanagement by Joe Girardi. Pettitte has been clutch in so many of these situations, I expect him to bear down on the Angels and pitch the Yanks into the World Series so that the Core 4 can go after Ring 5.

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