Andy Pettitte -- How many synonyms can you think of for the word "clutch"? The man just notched his 19th postseason victory this past week. Clearly, he has had plenty of opportunities for playoff success with the Yankees over the years. However, it takes flat-out skill to actually capitalize at such a prolific rate. Against the 2010 Twinkies, Pettitte abolished any lingering doubts about his physical health by pitching 7 innings of two-run ball (retiring 12 hitters in a row at one point). His 2.57 ERA was highlighted with a 0.857 WHIP, 5 SO, 1 BB, and of course, the "W." 88 pitches later, the Minnesota natives were left idling in their seats feeling quite morose. Regardless of where in the rotation the Yankees choose to pitch Andy during the ALCS, look to him to continue his solid performances.
Mariano Rivera -- Here's a joke: For opponents, what's worse than seeing Mo on any given night? Answer: The nightmare of seeing Mo every night. During the ALDS, Mo contributed in each of the three games, acquiring 2 saves in the process. During the 3.1 innings pitched, Rivera boasted a 0.00 ERA and a 0.600 WHIP. It was literally just a few weeks prior when doubts were cast on the age-defying closer as he labored through the final weeks of September. In vintage Rivera fashion, he returned to postseason form immediately. Over the course of 46 pitches through 3 games, Minnesota hitters experienced pop fly outs 27.7% of the time, groundouts 18.18% of the time, and strikeouts 9.09% of the time. 67.4% of his pitches were called strikes. Oh yeah, he also threw nothing but his patented cut fastball. In other news, Rivera has continued to be the weapon he has always been.
Jorge Posada -- Ah, yes. The stalwart presence behind the plate and vocal leader within the clubhouse. Jorge played in each of the 2010 ALDS games posting a triple slash of .273/.333/.273. He didn't showcase his flashiest offensive performances, but interestingly enough, seemed right in line with his historical ALDS career averages. Of his 12 plate appearances, he managed 3 hits (all singles) with 1 BB. However, of his 3 hits, one came at a pivotal point in Game 1. In the top of the 6th, he singled on a hard line drive to right field enabling Alex Rodriguez to score and Robinson Cano to progress to second base. This hit continued the rally which ultimately produced another come-from-behind-victory at the Twins' expense. Fortunately, Gardenhire made some strange decisions (such as signaling Orlando Hudson to bunt with no outs and Denard Span on first) and Posada's "stellar defense" was never tested.
Derek Jeter -- Jeter's postseason has been largely uneventful thus far. El Capitán has battled .286/.286/.286 (.571 OPS) with four hits over 14 at-bats. He also contributed 1 stolen base and 1 RBI. Compared with his historical ALDS performance, his results have been down (unsurprisingly, given his overall 2010 season). Of the 55 pitches Jeter saw, 28.57% have resulted in singles, 21.43% in groundouts, 21.43% in strikeouts, 14.29% in flyouts, and 14.29% in lineouts. During the course of the 2010 regular season, Jeter averaged 3.65 pitches seen per plate appearance. During the postseason this average has actually decreased to approximately three P/PA. On the plus side, he hasn't grounded into any double plays yet so hopefully that continues (knock on wood). In one sense, all's well that ends well, and the Yankees did beat the Twins in convincing fashion. However, the remainder of the postseason looks to be quite daunting, and The Captain will certainly need to beckon some of his typical playoff heroics.