There are a number of reasons, but I’ll touch on just a few of the big ones:
Everyone worried about the Yankees in August and September. They lamented the fact that the Yankees had gotten old. The talk was about problems with pitching, problems with offense. Had Mo lost a step?
And, then, Minnesota happened. The Yankees have had their number for years, and this time was no different. A 3-game sweep (2 of which were in Minn), 17 runs scored, 7 runs allowed. Other than one bad pitch by CC, great performances by him, Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes. Some bumps for Kerry Wood, but Mo as Mo, the greatest closer in baseball history.
Mark Texeira (formerly a Ranger), hitting over .300, as well as a clutch homer in game 1. Lance Berkman with a key homer and a double. Georgie (Jorge) being, well, Georgie. RBIs, 2-out RBIs, key hits.
The Rangers were pressed to five games, but beat an impressive Tampa Bay team. In the process, their bullpen pitched a number of innings, and the unquestionable ace, Cliff Lee, pitched 9 innings in game 5. That means Lee won’t pitch until game 3, in Yankees Stadium, and will only start twice in the series.
The Yankees have had their problems with Cliff Lee, but they have gotten to him before (most noticeably in the 2009 Series and a late August game, where Lee gave up a bunch of runs late). And, Lee was a different pitcher away from home this year, with almost a full run higher ERA. So, the Yankees catch a break in that he’ll have to pitch game 3 in the friendly confines of the house beside the house that Ruth built.
I don’t suspect this will be as easy as the Twins. But, I think the Yankees have all the elements necessary.
Yankees in 6.