There are only a few days until the start of the MLB playoffs and SportsPickle is previewing each playoff team. Today: New York Yankees.
AL East Champion / Homefield throughout playoffs / Divisional round opponent: TBD
The Yankees will be the presumptive favorite this postseason thanks to their league-best record. But that will only add to the pressure on the game's perennial big-spender who has yet to win a World Series title this decade.
How can the Yankees overcome that pressure? How can they finally win another World Series? There are five important keys.
1. Don't look ahead. If the Yankees don't win the World Series, their entire season will be seen as a failure. So it will be difficult not to look past divisional and league championship rounds. Or will it? This Yankees team has done a great job celebrating every little accomplishment along the way. Walk-off home run? Shaving cream pie in the face! Quality start? Shaving cream pie in the face! Robinson Cano getting a guy over to third in the fourth inning with a 4-1 lead on a sacrifice fly? Jump around together at home plate and a shaving cream pie in the face! This is how baseball's classiest team behaves. Apparently.
2. Get Alex Rodriguez going. As much pressure as there will be on the Yankees, Alex Rodriguez will have 10 times the pressure on him thanks to his playoff track record. The Yankees need to try to get their superstar jump-started by not talking to him about the pressure and telling him the playoffs are just like any other games. Of course, Rodriguez will notice that change in approach, understand why the team is doing it and then get all the more tight and panicked. So, really, there is probably no scenario in which Rodriguez doesn't blow again in the playoffs. So this second bullet point should actually be: Find a way to overcome Alex Rodriguez's continued postseason sucking.
3. Give Joba Chamberlain a role and stick with it. After 34 preseason games and 162 regular season games, the Yankees have yet to determine if Joba Chamberlain is a starter or a reliever. They need to end the uncertainty for the playoffs and give him an official title. I predict they make him a startliever. Or maybe a restartver.
4. Make it "us against the world."The '00s have been strange for the Yankees. They used to be able to count on everyone in the country who isn't a Yankees fan rooting against them. That motivated them. Kept them sharp. But then the Red Sox had to come along and out loathsome them. This year, though, that douchevantage has started to shift again. The Red Sox just aren't that good. It's hard to get a nice hate going for them. Whereas the Yankees are still the Yankees. And they brought in Nick Swisher and A.J. Burnett. And started doing those HILARIOUSLY ORIGINAL shaving cream pie smashes. Like, every night. I think I may have mentioned them earlier. Fun Fact: The secret ingredient in A.J. Burnett's shaving cream pies? A pinch of cinnamon. And a dash of Axe Body Spray.
5. Avoid distractions. Well, I guess that's one way to do it.