As it always seems to be, pitching has been a big part of our success this season.

You win with pitching -- that's the bottom line. It's no surprise that two of the pitchers we signed over the winter -- CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett -- have been huge for us. The better pitching you have, the better team you are going to be, and those two guys have been outstanding.

I don't think they've exceeded expectations with their performances, because I've faced them before, and I've seen them pitch enough to know they're both very talented, very smart pitchers. They're both capable of dominating a game every time they take the mound.

When they got here at the start of the season, I wanted to help make them feel as comfortable as I could. You help them by telling them what to expect. You make sure you're available to answer questions they might have.

At the same time, though, you can tell somebody something all you want, but they still have to experience situations first-hand. From that standpoint, they've done a tremendous job, too.

I think another thing that has helped CC and A.J. in their transition to the Yankees is that they're veterans. It wasn't like the Yankees are their first Major League team. They weren't going to be overwhelmed by either the change or the environment.

They've also been just as important to us off the field. They're good guys, and you couldn't have asked them to do anything more than they've done.

They'll be extremely important to us for the postseason, too. Like I always say, you have to be able to pitch.

Entering the final week of his 15th regular season, Derek Jeter is second in the AL with 206 hits, third in both batting average (.333) and on-base percentage (.404), and tied for third with 106 runs scored.