About Last Night: Yankees Force a Game Five!
By Mike Whiteman 10/17/2022
*** One hundred fourteen years ago, Red Rolfe was born. Rolfe was a solid, unsung third baseman for the great Yankee teams of the mid/late 1930s. https://sabr.org/bioproj/person/Red-Rolfe/
Quick Stats: Gerrit Cole’s career postseason record – 10-5, 2.81. He is 4-1, 3.20 in Pinstripes, which is pretty good too. Harrison Bader has three home runs in this series. The only other Yankee to hit three home runs in his first four postseason games for the team was Charlie Keller in 1939. The Big Story:
The first part of the game story came before the contest even started, with the benching of shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa in favor of Oswaldo Cabrera; Aaron Boone stating that he felt IKF was “pressing” on defense. On Saturday, the Yankees took a two-run lead into the ninth, and we all know the disastrous results. Last night, things went much better. The Yanks got on the board first when Gleyber Torres singled and stole second, and Anthony Rizzo singled him in. The next inning, they extended the lead to 3-0 on another Harrison Bader home run. Cleveland later narrowed the deficit to 3-2 before a Giancarlo Stanton's sacrifice fly in the sixth gave some breathing room. That was all the Guardians would get off of the Yankee pitching staff. Starter Gerrit Cole gave the Yanks exactly what they needed – quality and quantity, going seven innings and allowing only two runs. Clay Holmes threw a scoreless eighth, and Wandy Peralta, who has pitched in each game of the series, retired the side in the ninth using only seven pitches. Yankees win, 4-2. The ALDS best-of-five series is now tied at two games apiece. Player of the Game:
Gerrit Cole put the team on his shoulders and seemed to will them to victory. Nestor Cortes and Luis Severino have looked very good, but Cole has really firmed up his status as Yankee ace. Notable Performances:
Aaron Judge has struggled in this series, but in the sixth his hustle legged out an infield single, and eventually scored the important insurance run. He really is a great all-around player who plays the game the right way – all the time. Better to Forget:
Previous to Judge’s hustling play, we saw the opposite in the fifth when Torres ripped a hard line drive at Jose Ramirez, who couldn’t catch the ball cleanly but started a 5-4-3 double play, completed in a big part due to Gelyber not running hard all the way to first. They Said It:
“This is a dream. It’s hard for me to put it into words…. I’m definitely having the time of my life” – Gerrit Cole on pitching for the Yankees in the postseason. My take:
IKF has been open about being anxious and pressing in the past, particularly at the beginning of the season after being acquired by the Yanks, so the benching made sense. Cabrera played a clean game at short, and I have to think Boone will play him there again tonight. The Yanks’ backs were to the wall last night, and they responded with a gutsy effort in a loud, hostile environment. The distinct change from noisy to silence when Peralta struck out Andres Gimenez to end the game was just remarkable.
Speaking of Peralta, he looks to be emerging as Boone’s most trusted option out of the depleted bullpen. Wandy started the season as a minor player in the Yanks’ stocked relief corps, but now is perhaps the most important cog in the operation. Who would have thought? On another note, I was thinking about the overall MLB playoff picture. Here are the teams eliminated: 111 win Dodgers 101 win Braves 101 win Mets And the 99 win Yankees are being pushed to the limit. The NLCS has the 89-win Padres and the 87-win Phillies fighting to go to the World Series. The Padres and Phils are good teams playing very good baseball, but MLB marketing officials cannot be happy with one of these teams representing the National League. I’m guessing a Guardians-Phillies series might be a marketing nightmare.
So, the Yankees need to win. Not just for themselves, but for the sake of the game as well! Next Up:
A winner-take all contest at Yankee Stadium – what can be better! Jameson Taillon (14-5, 3.91) takes the mound against Aaron Civale (5-6, 4.92).