THE MATCHUPS

CATCHER

Jorge Posada wasn’t tested in the ALDS, but the Rangers can run.

Francisco Cervelli figures to catch A.J. Burnett. Texas will go

with the duo of Bengie Molina and Matt Treanor, who has caught C.J.

Wilson’s last four starts. Neither has had a good season. Edge:

Yankees

FIRST BASE

Rookie Mitch Moreland has hit homers and drawn walks (teamhigh

five vs. the

Yankees this year) in limited major

league tenure. It was an impressive ALDS performance from Mark

Teixeira after last year’s miserable postseason. Edge:

Yankees

SECOND BASE

Ian Kinsler tore the Rays up in the ALDS, hitting .444, blasting

three homers and driving in six runs. Robinson Cano has been the

best second baseman in baseball. Best head-to-head matchup of the

series. Edge:

Yankees

SHORTSTOP

Speedy and sharp defensively, Elvis Andrus – dealt to Texas in

the Teixeira trade – was awful in second half but racked up eight

ALDS hits. Derek Jeter looked better in the ALDS and hit .385

against Texas during the year. Edge:

Yankees

THIRD BASE

Alex Rodriguez didn’t do that much in the ALDS (zero extra-base

hits), though it’s presumably only a matter of time. Career Ranger

Michael Young, a six-time All-Star, had another excellent year.

Edge:

Yankees

LEFT FIELD

David Murphy had a phenomenal second half but didn’t play vs.

lefties in the ALDS. Julio Borbon or Nelson Cruz could play here

vs. CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte, with Jeff Francoeur in right

when Cruz is in left. Brett Gardner was probably the

Yankees’ worst player in the ALDS.

Edge: Rangers

CENTER FIELD

Back from his rib injury, probable AL MVP Josh Hamilton made his

postseason debut but struggled against the Rays (2-for-18). In his

first

Yankees postseason, Curtis

Granderson had monster ALDS Edge: Rangers

RIGHT FIELD

In eight games vs. the

Yankees this year, Cruz has three

homers. The only Ranger with a better OPS this year was Hamilton.

Nick Swisher was solid vs. Minnesota, but Rangers owned him this

season, holding him to 3-for-29 with 12 strikeouts. Edge: Even

DESIGNATED HITTER

Enormous season for Vladimir Guerrero, who has batted .356

(16-for-45) against the

Yankees in two past playoff series.

Lance Berkman wanted to play Texas and should face righties Colby

Lewis and Tommy Hunter. Marcus Thames will play vs. lefties Cliff

Lee and C.J. Wilson. Edge: Rangers

STARTING PITCHING

A.J. Burnett will rejoin the rotation for one start likely in

Game 4, making that contest a potentially major issue. The CC

Sabathia-Andy Pettitte-Phil Hughes trifecta is slightly better than

Texas’ top trio of LeeWilson-Lewis, especially because Lee goes

once in first six games. The ace lefty, however, is also set for

Game 7. Edge: Even

RELIEF PITCHING

Relief group of Mariano Rivera, Kerry Wood, David Robertson and

Boone Logan was good in the ALDS versus the Twins, though Wood was

a little shaky. Texas’ probable Rookie of the Year closer Neftali

Feliz is a flamethrower, with a setup crew including former Mets

Darren O’Day and Darren Oliver, plus righty Alexi Ogando and lefty

Derek Holland. Edge:

Yankees

BENCH

Late in games, Greg Golson will be in right field for defense.

Cervelli possibly could catch Burnett. Either Berkman or Thames is

a strong pinch-hitting option. Former Met Francoeur and speedy

outfielder Borbon lead the Rangers bench, plus either

Molina/Treanor and Jorge Cantu. Edge: Even

MANAGER

It’s the first postseason as manager for Texas’ Ron Washington,

whose team has improved its win total each of the past three years.

Joe Girardi is 14-4 as a postseason manager. Edge:

Yankees

INTANGIBLES

The Rangers are talented but inexperienced, and just played a

tough, five-game series. The

Yankees rolled over the Twins, are

well-rested and have been here before. The Rangers do have Lee, a

righty-heavy lineup and homefield advantage. Edge: Even