According to Cool Standings, the Yankees have a 99-percent chance of winning the division. So this seems safe to ask:
Who do you want the Yanks to face in the Division Series?
There are two choices, either Texas (if the Rangers win the wild card) or Detroit (if Boston wins the wild card).
Let’s break it down:
Tigers: The Yankees are 5-1 against Detroit this season. The teams have not played since July. The Tigers could line up Justin Verlander, Edwin Jackson and Rick Porcello, a formidable trio. They do not have an especially good bullpen, however. The Tigers are one of the worst team in the league offensively but do have a star player in Miguel Cabrera. The X-factor is wily old Jim Leyland, who led the Tigers over the Yankees in the 2006 playoffs. Plus A-Rod could get distracted by poker room at Greektown Casino.
Rangers: Texas is one of the surprise teams in baseball. After winning 79 games a year ago, they are fighting for the wild card with the Red Sox thanks to a pitching staff that is fourth in the American League in ERA and an offense that is second in home runs to the Yankees. Texas has not been to the postseason since 1999 and only a handful of their players have postseason experience. Texas also is three games under .500 on the road. The Yankees are 5-4 against Texas this season. The Rangers took two of three at the Stadium in late August. Young Neftali Feliz could be the K-Rod of the playoffs.
Other things to think about: If Texas is in, that means the Red Sox are out. As Yankee fans, that is ostensibly what you want. But would it be the worse thing in the world for the Angels to the play the Red Sox in the division series? That series could be a bloodbath and the Yankees would get the bruised winner. Perhaps Boston would even eliminate those pesky Halos. I think the Yankees have a better chance to win a game or two on the road at Fenway in the ALCS than they do in Anaheim.
The verdict: To worry about the ALCS, you need to get there first. Texas is a better team than Detroit right now. But those three starters and Jim Leyland would scare me more than the untested Rangers in the postseason. I’d root for Texas to win the wild card.
Which team do you want the Yankees to face? Vote in the poll over to the right.