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Yanks got Mojo, but pitching will dictate results

Michael Kay address your playoff-related questions
10/03/2007 12:16 PM ET
By Michael Kay / Special to YESNetwork.com

Can the Yankees depend on Mike Mussina?(AP)

Editor's Note: The Yankees are in the playoffs for the 13th consecutive season, but issues remain and they are facing a tough Indians team. YES play-by-play man Michael Kay addresses these issues and more. If you'd like to send a question for a future Q&A with Michael or any of the other YES Network broadcasters, click here.

Michael,
I know Yankees fans are somewhat happy that they don't have to face the Angels in the first round. The Yankees swept the Indians in the season series this year, whereas they have had problems with Angels in previous postseason runs. Should Yankees fans be careful for what they wish for? I mean everyone disregarded the Tigers last season.

Kelly O'Malley — Bloomfield, NJ

Kelly,
Great point. I totally thought the Yankees should trounce the Tigers and was wrong, like everyone else. I also think they should handle the Indians, but this is a much better team than the one from which the Yankees swept all six games. New second baseman, new right fielder and the Yankees have not faced C.C. Sabathia all season. Also, the last time the Yankees swept the Indians in Cleveland, around midseason, Travis Hafner was out with an injury. This will not be easy, but it is preferable to facing the Angels.

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Hi Michael,
I'm wondering if you knew anything about the Yankees' postseason plans for Ian Kennedy. It seems that in addition to Phil Hughes he'd be a good asset to have in the bullpen as a long man in case one of the starters should falter. Do you know if the Yankees are doing anything to keep him sharp, or if they plan on using him at all?

Adam Ellsworth — Bridgeport, Conn.

Hi Adam,
I don't believe he will be on the first round roster, but he is going to go get married Saturday in California, as was planned, and then head down to Tampa to get ready in case they need him in the ALCS. At this point, with his upper back problem, he will likely not be much help this round, anyway.

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Hi Michael,
My congratulations to you and the entire YES Network staff for another great job covering the Yankees this year. Rather than comment and ask, I'll just list a few questions for you as we head to postseason; Outside of Mariano Rivera and Joba Chamberlain, is the Yankees bullpen the biggest vulnerability? And will Jason Giambi start at first base or come off the bench?

Marc S. — Boca Raton, Fla.

Hi Mark,
Thanks for the nice words about the staff. As for the biggest vulnerably, I would think you have to list the pitching in general. After Chien-Ming Wang and Andy Pettitte, everything else has to be considered a huge question mark. I also don't think we will see Giambi at first and if he starts at all he is going to be the DH. Otherwise, he will simply be relegated to pinch-hitting duties.

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Michael,
I am 37 years old and have been a Yankees fan from birth. The last two years have been especially agonizing with the early exits. How well will their starting pitching match up with the Indians and other teams? I really feel that that this year's team is the best we've had since 2003. It seems like they have more "heart." Can you sense that as well?

Eric Williamson — Chicago, IL

Eric,
The first two starting pitchers match up pretty well with the Indians' first two starters, but I am somewhat dubious concerning three and four.

A healthy Roger Clemens is obviously better than Paul Byrd, but the Rocket's health is a concern and I am simply not comfortable with Mike Mussina. I have no idea how he will pitch.

And yes, I do sense a bit more Mojo about this team, but honestly, it all comes down to how the pitching does. Heart will have nothing to do with it. If they get decent pitching they will be fine offensively.

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Michael,
Do you think the Yankees having three days off before the first playoff game will hurt some of the momentum they had gained towards the end of the season?

Andrew Cohen — New York, NY

Andrew,
No.

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Greetings Michael,
Based on everything I've heard, "The Joba Rules" would be relaxed if the Yankees make the World Series. I am of the opinion "The Joba Rules" should be thrown out the window starting Thursday in Cleveland. What is your take on this?

Ron Julian — Rochester, NY

Greetings Ron,
I am not of that opinion whatsoever. What you're suggesting is "damn this guy's career as long as we win the whole thing." Sorry, I don't feel that way. If the only way for the Yankees to win the World Series is to overtax a 22 year old, then they have bigger issues as a team than I am aware of.

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Hey Michael,
The YES announcers are the best in the business and I want to congratulate you on another spectacular season.

Hideki Matsui just got his knee drained and will only be available in the ALDS as a DH. Does that create a bit of a logjam that he won't be able to play the field? Also, do you think he will be affected by his knee injury?
Jimmy Gobble (Not related to the pitcher) — Seattle, WaA

Hey Jimmy (no relation to the pitcher),
I think Matsui was always going to be the DH if he played anyway because Johnny Damon has surpassed him defensively as a left fielder. And there was always going to be a logjam with three players — Damon, Matsui and Giambi, for two positions — but that is what Joe Torre is going to have to deal with. Ironically, both Matsui and Giambi could be on the bench in Game 1 as Torre is considering using Shelly Duncan as the DH against the left-handed Sabathia.

Michael Kay is the Emmy Award-winning play-by-play announcer for YES Network's coverage of New York Yankees baseball, and is the host of CenterStage, YES' one-on-one interview series with the superstars of sports and entertainment.
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