Hey, Red Sox fans: You think September was bad?
Wait'll you see October.
There's no way around it now. It's as inevitable as a Rays triple play, or as Marco Scutaro failing to scoot between second and third.
The Yankees are going to win it all.
I can't believe I'm saying that. I can't believe I'm writing it.
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I'm the one who stupidly wrote back in March that the Yankees were the American League East megateam that would miss the playoffs. I said then that their starting rotation just wasn't good enough.
It still isn't. And they're still going to win.
They're going to win because their lineup is the best one out there, and because that crazy winter idea of a lockdown bullpen really did work. They're going to win because Ivan Nova grew up, because Freddy Garcia didn't grow old, and because Joe Girardi will realize just in time that it makes no sense at all to believe in A.J. Burnett.
They're going to win because the overpaid guy they got from the Rays (Rafael Soriano) can handle the seventh inning, while the overpaid guy you got from the Rays (Crawford) couldn't even handle batting seventh.
They're going to win because their beat-up third baseman (Alex Rodriguez) will be able to stay on the field long enough to contribute, while your beat-up third baseman (Kevin Youkilis) couldn't.
They're going to win because the catcher the Red Sox didn't get -- Russell "I hate the Red Sox" Martin -- is going to come up big.
They're going to win because if Jeter has a chance to score a big run, he definitely won't stop halfway between second and third.
They're going to win because the Red Sox of May through August were the one team that would have beaten them, and those Red Sox went home with a month left.
But mostly, they're going to win because this is the year that tests all those Red Sox fans who began feeling entitled after 2004 and 2007. This is the year when they find out that the most painful September possible really can be followed by the most painful October possible.
It'll be a thrilling month for most of us, whether we like the outcome or not. Just as the regular season went the distance, every postseason series will go the distance. The storylines will be so good that the ratings go up, even in Boston.
But in the end, the Sox and their fans will hate October, just as they hated September.
The Yankees are going to win the World Series.
Here's how it happens (and keep in mind that my preseason World Series picks were the Braves and Red Sox):
Yankees vs. Tigers: As tough a series as the Yankees may play, and not just because of Justin Verlander. But if CC Sabathia neutralizes Verlander, and the Yankees force him to throw enough pitches, the Yankees have a deep enough lineup and deep enough bullpen to get through -- barely. Yankees in 5.
Rangers vs. Rays: Absent Cliff Lee, the Rays would have beaten the Rangers in the first round last year. Absent Cliff Lee, they lose to them again in the first round this year. The problem this time is that as good as the Rays rotation is, the Rangers will find a way to score. And the Rays' weak lineup will prevent them from keeping up. Rangers in 5.
Phillies vs. Cardinals: A scouting friend of mine said if the Cardinals had Adam Wainwright, they could beat the Phillies. I'm not sure that's true, but even without Wainwright, the Cardinals have a better chance than you think. They're still not going to win, because the Phillies rotation is just too good. Phillies in 5.
Brewers vs. Diamondbacks: A fascinating series that too few people will watch. And when it's over, the rest of the country will wonder how in the world Arizona won it. Just as we wonder now, how did the Diamondbacks get this far? The Brewers will be done in by poor defense, and by some more Kirk Gibson postseason magic. Diamondbacks in 5.
League Championship Series
Yankees vs. Rangers: The Rangers were the team that cheered up Red Sox fans last October by ousting the Yankees in six games. The Rangers are good enough to do it again, but they won't. Their lefty-dominated rotation will be a challenge, but this time the Yankees will be up for it -- barely. Yankees in 7.
Phillies vs. Diamondbacks: The last time the D-Backs were in Philadelphia, they became the first team ever to rally in the ninth inning for a win over Roy Halladay. So it can be done. And Gibson will talk them into believing it can be done again. This is his time of year. Diamondbacks in 7.
Yankees vs. Diamondbacks: It's Gibson's time of year, but it's also Derek Jeter's time of year. Jeter is playing. Gibson isn't. Advantage: Yankees. Oh, and their lineup is just a touch deeper and more dangerous than Arizona's. Yankees in 7.