soft hands.

i giggled

from the VERY HUGE MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYOFF PREVIEW [thx juney, or i'd have never seen]:

Johan Santana, no matter how great he is, is just one man … and he's facing a whole lineup of big strong men who hit the ball real far when it is pitched in their general direction.

For all the sturm und drang involving the Yankees this year -- What's wrong with the pitching staff? A-Rod isn't CLUTCH enough! Jason Giambi is wasting away like the guy in RoboCop after he falls in the toxic waste! Derek Jeter broke Mariah's heart! -- Joe Torre's boys did the same thing they do every year: Win, with deceptive ease. This is a team that dealt with a disorienting opening series in Japan, a self-destructing rotation, a withering slugger making $11.5 million (and going up!), a historic Jeter slump and a media horde gobbling up any power pellet and ghost it could dredge up. And yet they still notched their second-highest win total of the last 10 years.

This is a lineup that bats Alex Rodriguez second and got an MVP season from Gary Sheffield. And as much as people worry about the rotation, it still features potential Hall of Famer Mike Mussina, a revived Jon Lieber, a dangerous Kevin Brown and the still-fully functioning embalmed corpse of El Duque, who, if he were cut in half, you would discover by counting his rings is, in fact, 83 years old. And -- how could we forget? -- that bullpen, which, thanks to Tom Gordon's lead-in to the indomitable Mariano Rivera, shortens the game to six innings in the postseason … at least.

Johan Santana was the best pitcher in baseball this year, but he is facing one of the best lineups with an undermanned, intimidated team in the bowels of Yankee Stadium. He'll have to be near-perfect twice just for the Twins to even have a slight hope. These are the Yankees. Try as you might, you can't forget that. They will find a way; these guys aren't missing another shot to demoralize the Red Sox because of the Twins, that's for damn sure.


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