Really, how important is playoff experience?

Luckily, the Yankees-Orioles series will be able to put that question under the microscope.

The Yankees have 27 titles, while the Orioles are in the postseason for the first time since 1997.

The Yankees' lineup is loaded with future Hall of Famers, while the Orioles have a team of up-and-comers.

And Monday's pitching matchup of rookie Wei-Yin Chen vs. 40-year-old Andy Pettitte, whose 19 wins and 43 starts are the most in postseason history, epitomized the experience vs. inexperience debate.

Chalk one up for the newbies.

In his first postseason start, Chen allowed two runs (one earned) in 61Ú3 innings to help the Orioles tie the series 1-1.

Pettitte pitched well, allowing three runs over seven innings, but earned the loss.

Too much emphasis is put on being there before.

Pettitte is not the same pitcher he was during his prime, and the fact that he's had experience in the postseason doesn't mean he'll automatically revert to his old form. The reality is he's 40 years old and only made 12 starts this year because of health issues.

The ancient Yankees' roster is filled with past-their-prime stars, including 37-year-old Alex Rodriguez. New York's slugger has one hit in nine at-bats in the first two games of the series.

Yes, the Yankees are experience, but they're also old.

The Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays have recently proven experience isn't a prerequisite for a deep postseason run.

The Rangers made it to the World Series in 2010 after missing the playoffs the previous 10 seasons. And the Rays made the World Series in the franchise's first postseason berth in 2008.

There's a reason the AL East went to the final day of the season this year. The Yankees and Orioles are two evenly matched teams.

With the ALDS heading to New York, the Yankees are favored to advance. But if they do, it won't be because of their experience.

- Jeffrey Tomik