NEW YORK -- The fact that the Yankees are using one of their favored regular-season lineups is not significant. The fact that Alex Rodriguez is in the middle of it is.
As long as Rodriguez continues to hit as he did in the American League Division Series and Championship Series, the Yankees should be able to break through offensively against the Phillies in a World Series that begins Wednesday evening at 7:57 ET. If not, the Yankees will not find the task of scoring runs as easy.
Rodriguez, as he has throughout the postseason, is in the Game 1 lineup batting fourth and playing third base. Derek Jeter is leading off and playing shortstop, followed by Johnny Damon in left field and Mark Teixeira at first base.
Catcher Jorge Posada, who generally hits ahead of Hideki Matsui against left-handed pitchers, is batting fifth against Phillies southpaw Cliff Lee. Matsui is batting sixth and is the designated-hitter, followed by second baseman Robinson Cano, right fielder Nick Swisher and center fielder Melky Cabrera.
GAME 1 LINEUP
But it all revolves around Rodriguez, who entered the World Series batting .438 with five homers this postseason. He has hit safely in 11 straight playoff games dating back to 2007.
"He's hot, there's no denying that," Lee said prior to Game 1. "You'd be a fool not to recognize that. I don't think there's any one way to get that guy out. Looking at their lineup, it's kind of hard to pitch around him with the guys you've got behind him. But as hot as he's been, it's almost like he's the guy you don't want to hurt you."
The Angels certainly agreed, frequently pitching around Rodriguez during the ALCS. Twice in the series, Angels pitchers intentionally walked Rodriguez with two outs and no one on base.
On neither occasion did Rodriguez score, vindicating manager Mike Scioscia's strategy. But if Teixeira -- who is 4-for-9 over his past two games after opening the postseason 4-for-30 -- can continue to heat up, then the Phillies would have to be more cautious about putting Rodriguez on base.
"I tried to do the best I can out there," Teixeira said Tuesday. "I haven't been getting it done."
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.