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Game 5 Perspectives

by Paul Semendinger, October 10, 2020

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Here, finally, are my perspectives from last night’s game:

I have commented (a few times today) that the Yankees lost the game in the first inning when they allowed Tyler Glasnow, a pitcher known for not having great command, to pitch through the first inning and retire the side on only eight pitches. That played right into the Rays’ game plan. Every out the Rays got from Glasnow was gravy. The Yankees allowed him to get to the third inning. That was where the game was lost – swinging early, or on 3-0 counts…seemingly not having a clue.

The Rays, on the other hand, wore down Gerrit Cole in the first assuring that Cole wouldn’t last as long into the game which exposed the Yankees’ weaker pen.

The Yankees’ lineup was bizarre…no? Gio Urshela, who hadn’t been hitting, was moved up in the line-up. The Yankees’ lone lefty bat, Brett Gardner, who had been hitting, and had been the one guy to have long quality at bats, was dropped down. Did that make any sense?

Trying to make excitement from the booth rather than the playing field, the TBS announcers tried, and they tried hard, to make it seem like Gerrit Cole hit Randy Arozarena on purpose in the bottom of the first inning. There is no way Gerrit Cole did that on purpose. At all.

Gerrit Cole did not have his best stuff, but he battled and battled and battled. He showed why he is an ace. Gerrit Cole did an amazing job last night. He was a hero in the game.

I was fine with allowing Cole to pitch the fifth inning. I wanted the Yankees to ride his right arm for as long as they could. (For the record, Ethan said, “Don’t let him have a third time through the order.” Ethan was right as Austin Meadows hit the game-tying homer.)

The Gardy catch on the long fly robbing Arozarena of a homer had a chance to be the turning point of the game.

Kyle Higashioka was again amazing as the Yankees catcher. Boy was he great. He was a difference maker.

Aaron Boone’s decision to remove Zack Britton with two outs in the seventh inning was again baffling. He also brought in Aroldis Chapman the night before to get the third out of an inning replacing Britton who had been flawless. Why? How did either of those moves make sense? It is often said that it is better for end-of-the-bullpen pitchers to begin an inning rather than come in during an inning. It is said that the most difficult thing for a pitcher in that spot is to come in, get an out, and then immediately sit down before having to come back out and do it again. Why couldn’t Britton have gotten the third out of the inning? This made no sense in either game. The Yankees got away with it on Thursday, but not last night. It didn’t work. At all. The move baffles me – completely. Zack Britton, on both nights, had been flawless. He had another out in him. The batter both times was the slumping Brandon Lowe, a left-handed batter. It made no sense. At all.

I sometimes get the sense that Aaron Boone so much wants to show how smart he is that he makes moves that defy reason. He seems desperate for the “Look how that paid off” praise. It seems that he wants so hard to be proved brilliant that he makes terrible decisions. Time-after-time-after-time.

How many more times will we watch a playoff series and say, “Aaron Boone was just outmanaged.?”

Boone isn’t a rookie any longer. He has now managed the Yankees for three seasons. It’s time he stopped getting outmanaged.

Because the Yankees have no left-handed hitting depth, the only lefty off the bench they could turn to was Mike Ford. Ford was overmatched again. That’s not his fault. The Yankees shouldn’t have sent him up in either spot. Both times, I would have rather taken my chances with Clint Frazier.

But, even pinch-hitting for Kyle Higashioka made no sense. It was apparent that Mike Ford had no chance against Diego Castillo. The move also took one of the Yankees few strengths (Higashioka’s game calling and superior defense) out of the game.

Is it possible that Higgy would have better framed that possible strike three pitch to Michael Brosseau? Is is possible that with Higashioka back there it would have been called a strike? Is it possible? (I think so.)

This is now two consecutive years that the Yankees have lost on home runs hit off Aroldis Chapman.

The umpiring wasn’t great last night, but at least it was consistent. That is until the ninth inning when the count got to 2-0 on Giancarlo Stanton. At that point, the strike zone seemed to expand into a huge, “throw it anywhere and I’ll call it a strike” zone.

And then, that was that.

Another long winter begins.

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