Are the Yankees and Phillies on a Collision Course for the World Series Again?

September 30, 2011 – 8:40 am by Eric Schmoldt

The last time the New York Yankees won the World Series, they beat the Philadelphia Phillies in six games to win it two years ago. Might they be on a collision course for a rematch in 2011. The Predictalator certainly believes so.

The Yankees wound up cruising to the pennant in the American League East while watching all of the drama unfold behind them. Well, they were actually a part of it, squandering a big lead to the Tampa Bay Rays to pave their way to the playoffs. That said, the Yankees obviously have playoff experience, have a big-time pitcher in C.C. Sabathia and have a lineup that can go toe-to-toe with any team. Don’t be shocked if they win it all.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi joined WFAN in New York with Mike Francesa to discuss the crazy Rays’ comeback, matching up with the Tigers in the Division Series, if he had to make any tough decisions in assembling his roster, the health of Alex Rodriguez, his take on what he’ll do with his lineup, what he’ll say to Nick Swisher, how he feels with Sabathia out there in Game 1 and Tigers’ slugger Miguel Cabrera.

How crazy was the Rays’ comeback on Wednesday night?:

“It was really crazy. We got to the point where we wanted to in the game where we had the relievers that we planned on using. It’s unfortunate that we gave up some runs and you get down to two strikes, two outs and Dan Johnson — who really hasn’t done a whole lot for them this year but did a lot for them last year — hits the home run. It was a crazy night.”

What’s your take on the Tigers?:

“I think they’re deep in all areas of their game. … To me, the big difference between the Tigers this year and last year is their lineup. I think their lineup is dramatically improved with Martinez and the progress that Avila has made and Jhonny Peralta having a comeback year.”

Did you have any big roster decisions to make or was it fairly easy?:

“It was fairly easy. When you come down to the last two or three guys, it becomes difficult because you’re trying to cover all your bases. What you realize is it’s really difficult. You’re trying to say, ‘If this guy goes down in a game or this guy goes down in a game, can I cover myself?’”

Is A-Rod healthy or any concern there?:

“No, I’m not. If it was a playoff game, he would have played [Wednesday] night.”

Will you have a consistent lineup, particularly the 3-4-5 spot, or will it change day to day?:

“Well, the interesting thing about the Tigers is they are all right-handed starters, so my goal is to have the same lineup every day. That’s what I want to do. … I think what we’ll probably do is put Cano third, Alex fourth and Teixeira fifth.”

Will you say anything to Nick Swisher, who has struggled in the postseason?:

“It’s like I said today, it’s the message I gave to all of our guys. Don’t try to do too much. Don’t try to be the hero, just do what you can do. I was really pleased with his at-bats the last three or four days. I thought, in a sense, he quieted down a little bit. … It just looked like he was in a better place and I do feel better about it.”

Are you worried at all about C.C. Sabathia in the first game?:

“No because he seems to me a big-game pitcher. He always has been and I think he it. I thought he pitched better at the end of the year, his last couple years. I feel really good.”

How scary of a hitter is Miguel Cabrera?:

“I think, when it’s all said and done, he’s 27 or 28, if he plays another 8-10 years, you’re going to look at possibly one of the best hitters of the game. That’s how good he is.”

Listen to Joe Girardi on WFAN in New York here

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