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Game One Perspectives

The following were my thoughts on the game as it played out last night. These are somewhat random, and some are first guessing some things – questioning situations as or before they happened (even though this article will be published after the game).

Let’s get to it:

For whatever reason, even though the Yankees fell behind 1-0 in the Top of the First Inning, I had confidence in James Paxton. I just had the sense that he’d keep the Twins in check.

In the Bottom of the First, it looked like the Yankees just might break the game open. I did not like the fact that Giancarlo Stanton swung at a 3-0 pitch, but, when he was initially called safe, even though I didn’t like it, I was okay with it. That’s just being honest. When he was safe, all was well, so I cannot jump all over him because the replay showed he was out and the call was overturned.

Batting Edwin Encarnacion fourth was a risky, but inspired move. I wanted to question this, but I didn’t. Likewise with batting Brett Gardner third. I was also glad that Didi Gregorius was batting way low in the order. I love Didi, but he has not been tearing the cover off the ball. Aaron Boone showed a lot by resisting the temptation to bat Didi higher because he is Didi. This shows managerial maturity. Boone has come a long way.

Aaron Judge made a big play on defense coming in and diving to catch a sinking line drive in the third inning. It was very impressive. Judge can flat out play baseball. He seems primed to play “big” this series.

The whole Yankees team seems focused.

If I had a dollar for each time the announcers talked about how Yankee Stadium is a great place to hit homers last night… Talk about saying the same thing over and over and over… Enough! (And, as I recall from a Bronx Beat Podcast, the stats show otherwise. I apologize that I don’t have the time to look this up, maybe a reader can provide the data or a link.) If I am correct that Yankee Stadium played as a neutral ballpark, then the announcers did a terrible job pushing a narrative that isn’t even true. (I am willing, as always, to stand corrected on this.)

It’s just not as much fun to watch a game without a team’s regular announcers. I have said this before, but MLB’s approach isn’t a good one. The announcing team was fine, but seemed to lack energy. Allow teams to listen to the announcers who they lived with all season. Why must they use the national announcers for the team’s biggest games? #Free The Home Team Announcers!!!

I finally went to the radio broadcast with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman in the Bottom of the Third inning, even though my radio feed is about 15 or so seconds ahead of the action. Sterling brings life and energy and fun to the game – something lacking (a great deal) on TV with the national announcers who have to play it straight. #Free The Home Team Announcers!!!

I loved when Giancarlo Stanton walked and threw the bat down. He was fired up! I love the energy! (Stanton, by the way, looks like a completely different hitter than last year. He seems locked-in and ready to mash.)

When the Twins failed to turn the double play and the error was made on the Gleyber Torres “would-be double play,” I had the sense that some of the players on Minnesota got that “Here we go again” feeling. I still think this series will be hard fought, but the Yankees will get a huge advantage if the opponent starts to wonder where the next problem will occur. (The Red Sox overcame that feeling in 2004, but, for now that negative energy on the Twins can play big for the Yankees.)

Suzyn Waldman kept noting how all the fans in the ballpark were standing – as I watched plenty of fans sitting. Hyperbole can be fun, but sometimes it seems like the announcers try to paint a different picture than what it really there. That being said, the fans at Yankee Stadium seemed really into it last night. Really into it! (And, I’d prefer the quirks and nuances from my home town announcers – at least I know where they’ll exaggerate and such. They might drive me crazy sometimes, but, they are like family.)

At times, I had the radio and the TV on and was listening to both. (YOu can do that when the radio is ahead of the game action.) On one pitch, the radio announcers said “That fastball was 97 miles-per hour.” On the TV, they claimed it was 98. Small difference, but how many radar guns are there?

It didn’t work out as planned as Jorge Polanco tied the game with a single, but I love how Aaron Boone kept James Paxton in the game in that situation to face him. Believe in your pitchers and you’ll get more out of them. That was a big moment. It didn’t go as planned, but it was a good move by Boone.

That being said, I wasn’t thrilled with giving Adam Ottavino only one batter and using three pitchers to get one out in the fifth inning. Talk about burning through a bullpen. YIKES!

I love John Sterling’s enthusiasm, but last night he called two long foul balls homers, “Driven to deep left… it is HIGH… it is FAR….” Granted, they just missed, but man, talk about getting me excited for nothing.

D.J. LeMahieu’s homer was for real…and it was AWESOME!

Gleyber Torres’ big two-run double was the hit that convinced me the Yankees would win.

I didn’t love the bullpen management after taking James Paxton out. Only one inning for Chad Green? Zack Britton in the seventh inning? J.A. Happ in the 8th? I get what Aaron Boone was doing, not over-taxing any individual pitcher, but that didn’t seem to be the best approach – especially with Masahiro Tanaka and Luis Severino coming up. I question either pitcher’s ability to pitch deep into a game (though Tanaka does come up so big so often in the post season and in big spots).

Gary Sanchez made an outstanding play on a ball barely hit up the third base line. He barehanded the ball and threw out the runner in an instant. That was great to see.

Aaron Judge made another great catch! BAJ (Big Aaron Judge). Got to love him!

D.J. LeMahieu’s three run double in the seventh inning was the back breaker. It put the game away as it put the Yankees up 10-4.

That hit also allowed me to go to sleep. I have to drive about 4-5 hours to Maryland today to attend a memorial service – and then will be coming home right after. Having the chance to get a little more sleep before the long rides was appreciated. Thanks D.J.

I’m going to have to “watch” most of the game on the radio this afternoon as I’ll be driving on the New Jersey Turnpike.

Let’s Go Yankees!


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