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yankees postseason preview

Yankees Playoff Preview: Nick Swisher

With the Major League Baseball postseason just one week away, we're doing our best to sleep as much as possible so we can make it through the nightly 3 a.m. bedtimes baseball playoffs force upon us. And to preview the Yankees' first postseason in two years, we're taking a daily look at players vital to the team's October success. Today: Nick Swisher.

When you think back through the annals of Yankees playoff history, you don't come across a lot of guys like Nick Swisher. We think of low-key heroes like Scott Brosius, or Tino Martinez. We don't think of wildly gesticulating Twittering dingbats who like to make mock-wrestling poses when fans chant their name. (We see nothing wrong with this, by the way. We do the same thing every time we finish a post.)

But as much fun as Swisher has been this year — and, more to the point, as much fun as he's obviously had — it's time to get serious now. Swisher's a notoriously streaky player, and now would be a nice time for one of his hot streaks. He was fantastic in April and September, awful in May, and above average in June, July, and August. We would take above average.

If Swisher can homer this weekend, he'll be only the second Yankee to reach the 30-homer mark for the season. (Which is kind of amazing, really; with that short porch, only two guys with 30? To be fair, the Yankees have nine guys with at least thirteen, and seven with at least 22.) He's been, essentially, house money for the Yankees on the season; it is safe to say that no one misses Wilson Betemit, the man they traded for Swisher.

But if Swisher is going to truly make the leap into eternal folk-hero status, he needs to work his magic in the postseason. As a switch hitter, he also is a power threat against left-handers, mixing up any late-game bullpen shenanigans opposing managers might try to pull.

The odds are excellent Swisher will grab our attention at some point this postseason, and we need to hope it's not with his glove. (He plays right field like the first-baseman and designated hitter he is.) Even though he's only 28 and in his first season with the Yankees, Swisher has been to the playoffs with two different teams already. No one remembers those. They'll remember this one. He'll make certain of that.

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A.J. Burnett

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Photo: Getty Images