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ALDS Perspectives: Looking Back and Ahead

Now that the Yankees have defeated the Twins, it’s time to look back at the series as a whole. Here are my thoughts about the ALDS and my thoughts about the ALCS going forward.

If the top of the Yankees batting order, D.J. LeMahieu, Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, and Edwin Encarnacion continue to hit as they did in the ALDS, the Yankees will be tough to beat. Almost every single at bat they had against the Twins was a quality at bat.

I know we keep waiting for Giancarlo Stanton to explode, and it looks like he is going to, and I want him to, absolutely, but I need to see it before I believe it. I think Stanton is great, but I also think sometimes the game gets into a player’s head. Just like everyone is saying about Didi Gregorius, “All he needed was a little hit to get going,” I feel the same about Stanton, but the more he doesn’t hit, I worry that the more he’ll start to press, and then he won’t hit.

The Yankees had their way with the Twins, but the Astros* (Yes, I still think it will be the Astros in the Championship Series) are not the Twins. Like every team the Yankees play, the Astros scare me. They’re good. Very good. That rotation is amazing. Can you imagine having to win four games against Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and Zack Grienke? My goodness. But, that’s why they play the games.

Is it wrong to be a little frustrated that all three of those pitchers have been rumored/linked/acquirable over the years by the Yankees?

That being said, if James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, and Luis Severino can pitch like they did against the Twins, then I think the Yankees have a rotation that, for the first five or six innings at least, can match Houston’s.

That, though, is the real difference between the two teams. The Astros starting pitchers do not have to be at their best to be very good or exceptional, the Yankees starting pitchers do.

All of this Houston talk is not to say that Tampa Bay is a push-over. If they defeat the Astros, that will say a lot. Just taking them to the fifth game is impressive. But, that fifth game will be in Houston. (Here we go again with the home field stuff.) It will be awfully hard for the Rays (and if it gets that far) the Yankees to win a Game 5 or Game 7 in Houston.

Wouldn’t it be something if Tampa Bay wins and the Yankees secure home field advantage?

(Maybe this is a bad thing, but…) The Tampa Bay Rays don’t scare me the way the Astros do.

Bold Prediction – If Tampa Bay makes it, the Yankees will lose a big hit or a game or something because of that ridiculous catwalk in their indoor stadium.

I stated this in many of the game summaries, but the Yankees defense in the ALDS was exceptional. Player after player made outstanding defensive plays. Aaron Judge was amazing time and time again. We also saw Gio Urshela, Gleyber Torres, Didi Gregorius, and D.J. LeMahieu make excellent plays. Gary Sanchez, as stated, also looked terrific. Before the series, I stated that I would want an infield of the best defenders, exactly as the Yankees set it up. In close games against the best teams, I think defense matters a lot. I am glad the Yankees and I are thinking alike.

I think Aaron Boone did an excellent job with his pitchers, except when he burned through more than one reliever in an inning as happened a few times. The Yankees’ strength is that bullpen, but only if they can get length out of it.

It seems that C.C. Sabathia is stating that his shoulder feels better. That would be a positive sign. I’d love to have his arm as another one out of the bullpen in the ALCS.

It seems that Aaron Hicks might also be well enough to play, but I have to ask… where? I just don’t see, right now, how he fits with the line-up. Who would you sit to play him? I want Stanton’s bat and Encarnacion’s bat in the line-up. Gardy too. Judge is a definite. If I were the manager, I just don’t see how to get Aaron Hicks any playing time. I hate saying that. Aaron Hicks is a very good player, but I wouldn’t play him over any of the current starters.

If I’m the Yankees, I just keep trotting out that same exact lineup. No changes are necessary. At all.

Let’s Go Yankees!

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