So I'm hopeful about the Yanks tonight. Let me explain why:
* The absence of Mark Teixeira from the lineup, thanks to his hamstring injury. There, I said it (and felt bad about saying it!), but it's true. He's not only been slumping (not a single hit in the ALCS), but he's been injured. Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger reports:
Teixeira said he believes playing with a broken toe may have led him to compensate for the injury, altering the way he runs. Those changes, he believes, led to the hamstring strain that ended his season in Game 4, and also a swollen knee he played through during the month of September.While he did play through the pain, literally, maybe it's best that he's not in the lineup right now.
* Robinson Cano moving up to the No. 3 spot in the lineup. It could be coincidental that the Yanks had their best day at the plate this series with him there, but he also is the best player on the Yankees right now, and moving him up from fifth to third can only help.
* The hitting of the whole team in Game 5. Perhaps they are finally waking up out of their October funk.
* Speaking of which, did A-Rod's good Game 5 wake up a sleeping giant? Let's hope so.
* The look on Phil Hughes' face during the pregame presser. He looks like he wants payback for that Game 2 loss. Unscientific, I know, but I'm going with it!
* CC Sabathia is available in the bullpen. Could it be shades of Randy Johnson in the 2001 World Series?
* Nick Swisher being ticked off at all the Cliff Lee questions.
* And finally, Cliff Lee himself, or rather, him being used as a crutch by the Rangers. Hear me out. I remember in 2004, how Joe Torre and the Yankees showed little sense of urgency after losing Game 4, and then Game 5. They were thinking about how they still had two games at home, and mystique and aura and all that jazz, until it was too late. Are the Rangers thinking it was okay to lose Game 5, or even a Game 6, because they have Lee for Game 7? That kind of complacency can be fatal.
Of course, if I'm wrong, I'll hear it all this winter from Squawker Jon! Oh well.
What do you think? Tell us about it!