NEW YORK -- The formula is simple: heaps of A-Rod and CC Sabathia, mixed with just the right amount of Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte. Throw in a Nick Swisher slump here or some shaky middle relief there -- just for the drama of it, really. And the result, apparently, is a World Series berth, the Yankees' first since 2003.
The second act of the Yankees' postseason play came to a close Sunday night, in a journey that has at times seemed simple and at others complex. But it has certainly never been boring. Because the Yankees clinched their postseason berth and home-field advantage with a week to go before the end of the season, they had to wait to learn exactly who they would play. Then the season ended, and they had to wait some more. It was not until the Twins eked out a win over the Tigers in Game 163 that the Yankees learned the identity of their opponent, before proceeding to dismantle it. An uncommonly heavy favorite heading into the Division Series, the Yankees played the Twins tight in three games but ultimately won all of them, using Alex Rodriguez's power surge and sudden clutch ability to hurdle over their first obstacle. Just as important, the Yankees enjoyed strong starts from each of their starters, never allowing the Twins to jump out to leads. After dispatching the Twins, the Yankees knew immediately who they would play next: the Angels, who swept the Red Sox in three games to create a nightmare matchup in the Bronx. Since the turn of the century, the Angels are the only team with a winning record against the Yankees -- and they had fared even better in two previous postseason series this decade.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.