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The Week Ahead: The Evil Empire is back

Sep 21, 2009, 12:38 AM EDT

teixeira_090920.jpgAt some point this week, the New York Yankees will officially be back.

Back in the postseason, back on top of the AL East and back on the throne as favorites to win the World Series.

It wasn’t a long hiatus, at least by the standards of mere mortals. But things are different in the Bronx, where missing the playoffs after 13 straight entries, and going two straight seasons without winning the AL East, is simply unacceptable.

So they spent large – even by their standards – in the offseason, purchasing free agent studs Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett. And what a payoff those three have turned out to be. Teixeira is at .289/.381/.566 with 37 HRs, 40 doubles and 118 RBIs. Sabathia is 18-7 with a 3.31 ERA, and Burnett is 11-9 with a 4.22 ERA.

They’ve survived the injuries and scandals of Alex Rodriguez, the up-and-down season of Joba Chamberlain, and the most brutal of divisions.

Sometime this week, as soon as they win a game (or the Texas Rangers lose one), the Yankees will clinch at least the AL wild card spot. And with a five-game lead with only 12 to play, the AL East crown isn’t far behind. This week will also be a nice preview of the playoffs, as the Yankees travel to L.A. to face the Angels, then return home to host the Red Sox.

Yes, like them or not, the Evil Empire is back.

FIVE SERIES TO WATCH
Yankees at Angels, Sept. 21-23:
These two teams have been the best in the AL for most of the season, and it looks like they will be the top two in the playoffs, making this a potential preview of the ALCS should everything play out to form.
Twins at White Sox, Sept. 21-23: The White Sox are just about finished as far as the playoffs go, but they can still play a big part in who wins the AL Central, playing host to first the Twins …
Tigers at White Sox, Sept. 25-27:  … then the Tigers this week. Detroit enters the week with a three-game lead over Minnesota.
Cardinals at Rockies, Sept. 25-27: Just as Colorado tightens its grip on the NL wild card spot, the Rockies get to host the powerful Cardinals at Coors Field. And though the Cardinals just about have their division sewed up, they’re still in the running for best record in the NL.
Red Sox at Yankees, Sept. 25-27: It’s the final installment of baseball’s best rivalry this season, unless these two end up facing each other in the ALCS. Boston still has a remote chance at the AL East title, as well.

ON THE TUBE
Wednesday, 10:10 p.m.: Giants at Diamondbacks (ESPN)
*Saturday, 4:10 p.m.: Red Sox at Yankees (FOX)
*Saturday, 4:10 p.m.:  Phillies at Brewers (FOX)
Sunday, 1:05 p.m.: Red Sox at Yankees (ESPN)
Sunday, 3 p.m.: Cardinals at Rockies (TBS)
*Check local listings

******

If you Twitter, you can find me there at @Bharks.

  1. Juan martinez - Sep 21, 2009 at 7:14 AM

    Yes, you sound like a yankee hater, i’m sure you will love if this was bosox, too bad
    Juan
    Delaware

  2. Antonio Fernandez - Sep 21, 2009 at 11:16 AM

    No one hates the yankees they made them selves be hated they cry when they loose to a team like the Mariners, but jump and dance when they win to one of the lowest teams in the league
    I believe that they will not make it this year last night proves it
    I hae to say aloha to the lowely Yankees
    Save money and get rid of all those highy payed pros they carry

  3. ImWhiteWolf - Sep 21, 2009 at 12:08 PM

    The Yankees will not get to the World Series. Their pitching is too suspect and we’ve seen how many times good pitching can stifle good hitting in the playoffs.

  4. joes - Sep 21, 2009 at 12:55 PM

    Looks to me like the only ones crying are a couple of the posters on this thread.
    The Yankees are indeed back, they will be favored to get to the World Series and will probably win their 27th. World Championship.
    Deal with it!

  5. yankee fan in bosox town - Sep 21, 2009 at 1:50 PM

    Beckett, Lester, Bucholz and Dice K 4 reasons the Yankees will not make the series

  6. joes - Sep 21, 2009 at 3:54 PM

    yankee fan in bosox town.
    You’re being fed propaganda…you need to move out of Boston or become (God forbid), a Red Sox fan.
    Here’s four reasons the Yanks will make the series:
    Hitting
    Hitting
    Hitting
    Texiera

  7. Gillberg - Sep 21, 2009 at 4:59 PM

    The Yankees are falling apart. Losing 2 to Baltimore at home, almost 2 to Toronto at home, 2 out of 3 to Seattle with 6 games vs Angels and Red Sox. To make mattes worse, Boston’s winning every game so they may even lose the division. We definitely cooled off. Even if we still old off Boston, CC still sucks in the playoffs, Burnett sucks in general, Joba sucks as a starter and can’t go more than 5 innings and Petitte is too old. (Gaudan and Mitre as starters also make me cringe.)

  8. Ben - Sep 21, 2009 at 5:11 PM

    yawn

  9. joes - Sep 21, 2009 at 5:50 PM

    They’re in a’mini’slump…they’ll pull out of it….still have the best record in baseball…12 to play, 5 up on the Sox (who are about to have their slump)…have some faith Yankee fans.

  10. phillyjeffsr - Sep 21, 2009 at 9:25 PM

    You guys can argue all you want about the Sox and Yanks, neither one of them has a shot against the Phillies in the Series anyway. They matchup bat for bat with the Yanks – and we OWN CC in the playoffs. Red Sox would be a better series but with Hamels and Lee pitching 4 of the possible 7 games? Plus the best 1 thru 6 hitters in baseball, nobody has a shot. Phils back-to-back (and belly to belly – what a hack Sterling is)!!!

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