ALCS Game # 4: Astros (2-1) vs Yanks (1-2)

Magic Number for ALCS: 6

Romine squats. Sanchez at DH. The status of the RF Wall was still in doubt at the time of this posting.

Can Gray find the mound without a map? Will Judge repeat yesterday's performance? Can Sanchez stop hitting like a DH while being the DH? Is this a day game? Or a night game? Maybe a day-night single header!

Astros

Springer, CF
Reddick, RF
Altuve, 2B
Correa, SS
Gurriel, 1B
Bregman, 3B
Beltran, DH
Gonzalez, LF
McCann, C
McCullers, P

Yanks

Gardner, LF
Judge, RF
Gregorius, SS
Sanchez, DH
Bird, 1B
Castro, 2B
Hicks, CF
T. Frazier, 3B
Romine, C
Gray, P

Game on FS1

ALCS e # 3: Astros (2-0) vs Yanks (0-2)

Magic Number for ALCS: 8

Headley at DH. Minor line-up order changes.

Can the Yanks rebound at home? Can CC continue his string of great pitching? Can Judge and Sanchez get hot? Can the Yanks stop Altuve and Correa? Can any player feel their nose and hands?

Astros

Springer, CF
Bregman, 3B
Altuve, 2B
Correa, SS
Gurriel, DH
Gattis, C
Gonzalez, 1B
Reddick, RF
Maybin, CF
Morton, P

Yanks

Gardner, LC
Judge, RF
Gregorius, SS
Sanchez, C
Bird, 1B
Castro, 2B
Hicks, CF
T. Frazier, 3B
Headley, DH
Sabathia, P

Game on FS1

ALCS - Perspectives After 2 Games

Perspective.png

Well, the Yankees are down two games to none again.  I guess if they came back last series, they can do it again in this one.  As long as there are games to play, there is always hope!

I have to keep reminding myself that this is all gravy.  This year the Yankees weren't supposed to even make the playoffs.  At the start of the season, I just hoped that they'd be competitive.  The Yankees were building for tomorrow.  And I am grateful and thrilled this season has been as exciting as it has been.  That being said, now that I am at the table, I don't just want the gravy.  I want the roast beef.  I want the potatoes.  I even want the vegetables.  Let's go Yankees.  Gravy is good, but it is no fun watching the Yankees lose.

Can we say enough about the Yankees' pitching?  The pitchers have been spectacular.  Other worldly.  One thing that hurts about the two loses is that the Yankees wasted two games that were pitched unbelievably well.  In my book,  you need to win the games that are pitched this well.  It's frustrating that the Astros have scored only two runs in each of the first two games and the Yankees lost both games.  

I know the answer to the above is that the Astros pitchers have pitched better.  That's true.  It has to be.  But, and I understand that this is just a frustrated fan talking, it seems the Yankees hitters have given away more outs.  Watching the Yankees batting right now is painful.  Painful.  Flailing away at pitches out of the strike zone at bat after at bat...  It's hard to watch.

Again, this is just a fan talking, but boy it seems that the Yankees batters get strikes called when the pitches are well out of the zone.  I know every fan sees the game that way.  I get it.  But, just when it seems that a batter is going to be in a hitter's count, a ball of f the plate or under the knees is called a strike changing the at bat.  This seems to happen to Aaron Judge all the time. 

Joe Girardi (who deserves a huge ovation when he is announced on Monday night) needs to do something with the Yankees lineup.  Before the series, I opined that Aaron Judge should not be hitting second.  I hoped to be wrong about that.  At this point, he has to be moved down in the order.  If he was hitting hard outs, a case could be made that the balls will fall and that he's hitting into bad luck.  But, right now, he is completely lost at the plate.  Aaron Judge, right now, is historically bad.  He cannot be hitting second in the line up.

Some people will now say that Aaron Judge isn't "clutch."  That I do not believe.  He's in a slump and he looks terrible right now.  That doesn't mean that he chokes or that the moment is too big for him.  This is just what happens in baseball.  Every player has slumps.  Judge's slump is just coming at a horrible time.  I believe that he will figure it out.  (This is gravy remember.  Judge is learning.  He might be a monster in next year's playoffs.)

Just a little perspective on the whole "clutch" thing:

  • Mickey Mantle hit .120 (3 for 25) with no home runs and no rbi's in the 1962 World Series.
  • Babe Ruth hit .118 (2 for 17) with no homers and 1 rbi in the 1922 World Series.
  • Joe DiMaggio? .111 (2 for 18), 1 HR, 2 RBI in the 1949 World Series
  • Derek Jeter hit .118 in the 2001 ALCS and followed that up by batting .148 in the World Series.
  • Reggie Jackson, "Mr. October", hit .125 against the Kansas City Royals in the American League Championship Series in 1977.  (He followed that up by hitting .450 with five homers in the World Series.)

Great players get into slumps.  "Clutch" players have bad periods - even in the spotlight when they supposedly shine (according to legend).  Aaron Judge will be fine.  Maybe he'll pull a Reggie and start hitting a ton of homers... But, until he starts hitting, at least a little, I think he needs to be moved down the line-up.  

Gary Sanchez has looked just as bad as Judge.  In the ALCS, he is 0 for 7 with five strikeouts.  OUCH!

The Yankees won't win if Judge and Sanchez continue to not hit. (Statement of the obvious.)

What are the Yankees going to do at DH?  I am amazed that they have zero production from that spot.  Zero.  Maybe they should just let the pitchers hit.  The pitchers can't do worse!  (If only the Yankees had Shohei Otani!)  Could the Yankees find a way to put Headley, Ellsbury, or Holliday on the disabled list?  Can one of them pull a muscle?  The results might be the same, but I'd at least have hope if Clint Frazier, Tyler Austin, or even Miguel Andujar was batting.  The law of averages says that one guy playing DH is going to get a hit...right?  Eventually?

I understand why Joe Espada (the third base coach) is being so aggressive.  He's "trying to make things happen."  If the close plays where the Yankees have been thrown out on the bases went the other way, all would be praising Espada for his "guts" and the way he can read the situation.  That being said, he has cost the Yankees in two big spots.  Sending Greg Bird home in Game 1 was a terrible call.  Bird is slow.  He's coming off a foot injury.  And the left fielder had the ball as he was rounding third.  I was surprised the play was as close as it was.  To me, that was a clear situation where the runner shouldn't be sent.  Similarly, last night, it seemed that Brett Gardner was slowing down as he headed to second base, content with a double, when Espada called for him to try for third.  Having Gardner on third with two outs (as compared to second) would have been no advantage.  Why gamble and make the third out of the inning at third base?  Again, this seemed like a very clear situation to not send the runner.

I have found the television commentary during the game to be sub-par.  At one point, one of the announcers, I think it was John Smoltz, when reviewing the play with Gardner getting thrown out at third base, said, "Coaching third is the hardest job in the world."  Really? I get what he was saying, but the hardest job in the world?  Talk abut hyperbole.

And the love fest for Jose Altuve?  My goodness.  The man can do no wrong according to the announcers.  He's good.  Exceptionally good.  Great!  I wish he was on the Yankees.  He's exciting to watch.  But the commentary where everything he does is so wonderful is a bit much.  At one point they were praising Altuve for never taking a pitch.  (I don't think that's a good thing necessarily.)  At another point they said, "He just takes any bat and swings with it."  Well, if I were his teammate and he took my favorite bat and broke it, as happened last night, I think I'd be a little upset!  To be fair, again, I wish that guy was on the Yankees and helping spark that team to two wins to begin the series.  I also wouldn't mind, if the announcers were praising Didi Gregorius or Starlin Castro or Aaron Judge - if any of those guys were doing all the things Altuve is doing!

So we look ahead to Monday.  C.C. Sabathia will be called on to pitch another HUGE game.  I think he can come up big again.  And maybe, just maybe, the Yankees hitters will come alive.  It could happen.  

If you're at the game, Joe Girardi deserves a cheer!

Let's go Yankees!

 

 

 

 

 

 

ALCS Game # 2: New York (0-1) vs Houston (1-0)

ALCS Magic Number: 8

Holliday Inn is closed. Headley at DH

Can a non-Bird Yankee get an X-base hit? Will Judge continue to improve? Can a Yankee DH get a hit? Will Ells be a PR or a PH? Can Svey continue his masterful pitching? Can the Yanks hit Verlander's FB? (Hint: YES!)

New York

Gardner, LF
Judge, RF
Gregorius, SS
Sanchez, C
Bird, 1B
Castro, 2B
Hicks, CF
T. Frazier, 3B
Headley, DH
Severino, P

Houston

Springer, CF
Reddick, RF
Altuve, 2B
Correa, SS
Gonzales, LF
Gurriel, 1B
Beltran, DH
Bregman, 3B
McCann, C
Verlander, P

Game on FOX.

ALCS Game # 1: Yanks (0-0) vs Astros (0-0)

Yanks Magic Number for ALCS: 8

Holliday Inn. White Christmas. Bing Crosby. (Sorry, I got a little carried away.) No Headley or Ells.

Can the Yanks win without a CI? Can Holliday remember how to hit? Can the Yanks beat The Bearded One? Can the Yanks win a close shave? Can Judge get hot again? Can anyone beat the 2017 World Champions?

Yanks

Gardner, LF
Judge, RF
Sanchez, RF
Gregorius, SS
Castro, 2B
Hicks, CF
Bird, 1B
Holliday, DH
T. Frazier, 3B
Tanaka, P

Astros

Springer, CF
Reddick, RF
Altuve, 2B
Correa, SS
Gonxalez, LF
Gurriel, 1B
Beltra, DH
Bregman, 3B
McCann, C
Keuchel, P

(I know, I know, but the Yanks won the last time I had 2 RFers.)

Game on FS1

ALDS Victory Perspectives

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Wow!  That was amazing.  I have so many ideas and perspectives following what was an absolutely amazing five game series.

Let's start with Joe Girardi.  It's time to be fair and honest.  Girardi did an outstanding job.  Outside of the Game 2 debacle, Girardi actually out-managed Terry Francona.  I know it's hip to say what a great manager Francona is, but, if he was in New York - imagine the outrage now.  I felt that throughout the series, Francona made numerous questionable moves: Kipnis in center field, not starting Corey Kluber to open the series, using the entire bullpen in Game 4... Yes, Francona is an excellent manager, but he's not infallible.  I believe his record in his most recent "championship" games is 0-6, am I correct?

Also speaking of Girardi.  Let's say he doesn't come back for 2018.  Please tell me who you would like to see managing the team who is better than Joe Girardi.  Does anyone on the list of potential Mets or Red Sox managers inspire great hope?  For me, I hope Girardi stays.  I think his overall body of work as Yankees manager has been outstanding.

One last Girardi point - he deserves a standing ovation when the teams are announced at Yankee Stadium for Game 3.  A Standing Ovation.  

Moving Didi to the #3 spot in the batting order, breaking up the right handed bats of Judge and Sanchez, was a brilliant move (by Girardi).  Didi is fast becoming a New York superstar and legend.  He's happy, he's fun, he's full of energy, his Twitter posts are great, and he is one OUTSTANDING baseball player!  Didi is one of the leaders on the team.  The Yankees should extend his contract this off season.  Keep Didi in the Bronx.  He has become, in just a few years, a cornerstone player.  He's already knighted.  Might they make him the captain one day?

Brett Gardner has also cemented himself as a "True Yankee."  He has also been the heart and soul of this team.  The veteran.  The leader.  Full of energy.  Gardner does not give away at bats.  He battles.  And then he battles some more.  The 9th inning at bat last night was textbook great.  He battled until he could get a pitch that he could drive.  Those two insurance runs made all the difference.

I love Aaron Judge and think he's a super star, but the strikeouts are a HUGE problem.  We have to admit this.  His ALDS was a nightmare.  I don't think he should be ripped by fans or the media.  It's not like he isn't trying.  But, he had a bad series.  Legendarily bad.  It happens.  But, that being said, he's killing the Yankees in the #2 spot in the order.  It's time for a line-up change.

My optimal lineup goes Gardner (LF), Hicks (CF), Didi (ss), Sanchez (c), Bird (1b), Castro (2b), Ellsbury (dh), Judge (RF), Frazier (3b).  I could be convinced to flip Castro and Judge.  

I think Matt Holliday should be left off the ALCS roster.  The Yankees owe him nothing, there is no spot in which he'll be used, or so it seemed from the ALDS, so they should add a player who can play the field, just might hit, and can run (Clint Frazier).  

Who will DH for the Yankees?  The position gave the Yankees nothing.  Nothing.  Ouch.  Think about that, the Yankees, the Bronx Bombers, got zero production from their designated hitters.  (And they still won the series!)

Back to the positive stuff...

Todd Frazier is full of positive energy.  He brings a lot to this team.  He's solid.  He's a smart player.  The run he scored last night, because he goes all out and is always thinking on the field, was gigantic.  It took the pressure off of the team for the bottom of the 9th inning.  It put the game out of reach.  I'm so glad he's on the team.

The Yankees pitching has been spectacular.  CC was amazing last night.  Nine strikeouts!  Girardi managed EXACTLY as I would have the way the game played out.  Chapman has been outstanding since September 1.  He fixed whatever was ailing him.  He has been amazing.  D-Rob, Tanaka. Severino, Kahnle... they were all lights-out.  Brilliant.  Man is that fun.  

What a joy it is to watch great baseball!

Yankees fans must enjoy the moment.  Today is a day to celebrate and relish in the joy that comes from unanticipated success.  No one expected this.  The joy of sports is in moments like these.  The Yankees Won!  The Yankees WON!  The season goes on.  And it is GREAT!  

Go Yankees!  GO YANKEES!!!!!

 

 

ALDS Game # 5: Yankees (2-2) vs Cleve (2-2)

Elimination Game #3 (4 counting the Wild Card game)

Ells replaces Headley. Can a Yankee DH get a hit? Will Girardi challenge everything? Can the Yankees hit Kluber....again? Who will come up big for the Yankees tonight?

Yankees

Gardner, LF
Judge, RF
Gregorius, SS
Sanchez, C
Bird, 1B
Castro, 2B
Hicks, CF
Ellsbury, DH
T. Frazier, 3B
Sabathia, P

Cleve

Lindor, SS
Kipnis, CF
Ramirez, 2B
Encarnacion, DH
Santana, 1B
Jackson, CF
Bruce, RF
Perez, C
Urshela, 3B
Kluber, P
 

Game on FS1

ALDS Game # 4: Cleve (2-1) vs Yankees (1-2)

Elimination Game #2!

Bird moved up in lineup. Headley at DH. Yanks at full-Aaron strength.

Can Sevy be Sevy? Can the Yankees get to Bauer? Can the 0-fer guys get some BIG hits? Can Bird duplicate last night? How many pitches are left in Chapman's arm?

Cleve

Lindor, SS
Kipnis, CF
Ramirez, 2B
Bruce, RF
Santana, 1B
Brantley, DH
Chisenhall, LF
Perez, C
Ursehla, 3B
Bauer, P

Yankees

Gardner, LF
Judge, RF
Sanchez, RF
Gregorius, SS
Bird, 1B
Castro, 2B
Headley, DH
T. Frazier, 3B
Hicks, CF
Severino, P

Game on FS1