Game One Perspectives
I always enjoy a game when the Yankees simply crush their opponent. Last night was one of those games. I hope there are many more, just like that, this post season.
The following are some perspectives on last night’s game:
When D.J. LeMahieu led off with a clean single to right field, things had a positive feel for the Yankees.
Aaron Judge’s immediate two-run homer really set the stage for a big night for the Yankees. (The best part about the homer was that Ethan, sitting right next to me, said, “Judge will hit a homer now.” And he did!)
As the Yankees started putting the game away, the big question for the Yankees was how long to leave Cole in the game. This will be a difficult balance. The Yankees need to keep Gerrit Cole sharp. This is a long playoff format and the biggest key to the Yankees winning lies on Gerrit Cole’s right arm. If the game remained close, the Yankees would have had to stick with him longer. Since it was a blowout, letting him go seven innings (105 pitches) was probably just about right. To be safe, a case could be made to have pulled him after six innings with a 7-2 lead, but probably not. I think Aaron Boone played that perfectly.
It was also great that the Yankees used Luis Cessa to finish the game. Sometimes managers get cute and use two pitchers in situations like this. I am glad Aaron Boone didn’t do this. The rest of the Yankees’ bullpen is now rested and (hopefully) ready to go.
How about a turn-back-the-clock game? Last night the Yankees had homers from Brett Gardner, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, and Aaron Judge. This was how the Yankees were supposed to crush opponents for the last few years.
Raise your hand if you would have started Clint Frazier over Brett Gardner last night. I probably would have. For tonight, I’d stay with the hot hand. I hope Gardy can keep it up. If this is his last postseason as a Yankee, I hope it’s a great one. When Brett Gardner is playing well, he’s still an exciting player to watch.
Every single Yankees starter reached base last night. Each had at least one hit except for Aaron Hicks who reached base twice on walks. Impressive!
Kyle Higashioka had a solid game as the catcher last night, but if the Yankees’ plan is for Gary Sanchez to be their regular catcher in 2021, he will have to get the start tonight.
Maybe Gary Sanchez can turn the clock back a few years as well and have a big night at the plate.
Tonight it is Masahiro Tanaka’s turn. He usually comes up big in the postseason (see today’s 4:00 p.m. article) but past performance is no guarantee of future success. If the Yankees can get to the sixth inning with a lead, and with Tanaka still pitching, then he did his job. I’m not overly confident in the Yankees’ bullpen, but I do trust that the big arms can cover the final three or four innings.
Best-of-Three postseason series set the stage for immediate desperation. The Yankees best chance to advance is by winning tonight. Their chances in a winner-take-all Game Three are not as optimistic.
Let’s Go Yankees!