Let's face it: Joba was rested this week because the Yankees, deep down, have stopped seriously fearing the Red Sox.
If the Red Sox beat the Yankees' two best starters today and tomorrow, the edge will be 5 1/2 games. More importantly, right now, the Sox simply lack the starting pitching to mount a comeback.
Second. No one knows what happens in a short series, but between our jaunts to Minute Maid and our late nights in front of the TV, Astro-Girl and I have seen the National League. The Cubs have been in a holding pattern for three months, the Phillies just returned Jamie Moyer, a former teammate of Cap Anson, to the starting rotation. The Marlins are nothing special, the Rockies are the Rockies. The Cardinals, seemingly the best hope of the NL, just signed John Smoltz, a former teammate of Eddie Matthews. The Dodgers? Maybe. But nothing scary.
If the Yankees--as seems the case--win their division, they will play Texas, Seattle, Chicago, or Detroit. Of those, Detroit (with Verlander) could, but a Tankee loss to any of those teams in a five-game series would be a major upset.
CC, AJ, Pettitte, Joba, CC. Hughes, Mo. Rinse, repeat.
If the Angels hold on, they'll play the Red Sox, White Sox, Detroit, or Tampa. And beat them.
The season, if it holds true to form, is shaping up as a Yankee-Angel ALCS. And, Madden writes, that's scary.