Perspectives: Yanks Force A Game 5
by Paul Semendinger
October 17, 2022
Well, they did it. The Yankees forced a Game Five tonight against the Cleveland Guardians. This is why I love baseball, why I watch. I wait, with anticipation, for the big games. And tonight, tonight, tonight is certainly a big game.
Gerrit Cole has pitched two fantastic games for the Yankees in this series. He was called on to set the tone in Game One. He did just that and pitched great. He was then called upon to keep the team alive last night and did, in some ways, even better. The Yankees needed a long outing from Gerrit Cole. He gave it to them. He's now won big games twice in this series. This was huge for him. (And, of course, for the team.) We tend to celebrate the players who step up big time in the big moments. Gerrit Cole has now stepped up big time in two big moments. He deserves a TON of credit.
I was one of the few (or so it seems) that had no problem going to Jameson Taillon in the 10th inning on Friday night. I think Taillon is a good pitcher. I believe in him and I have confidence that he'll do well tonight.
The weather for this afternoon into the evening and early night is for rain. We could see a delayed start to the game and a long night of baseball ahead...
Some readers got frustrated with me because I pointed out that Aaron Judge isn't hitting in this series. He isn't. He has the big home run and an infield single that he beat out. In last year's Wild Card game, he had an infield single. In the Division Series in 2020, he hit .143. In the Wild Card Series that year, he hit .111. Since 2020, in the post season, Aaron Judge is 7-for-50. It's fair to point out that that is just... not good.
With a big game tonight, or should the Yankees win, with a good series against Houston and (please) the National League winner, Aaron Judge can change all that. Just as Gerrit Cole has done well in clutch games, Aaron Judge can (and just might) as well. None of this says he won't do well. None of this says he can't do well. It just says that he hasn't done particularly well over the last three post seasons. Again, it's fair to point that out. Of course I want Aaron Judge to do well. I hope he hits four homers tonight. Five even. But, until he does, as he struggles, it is very fair to note what is happening. He is the big star. He gets the attention. So, as we pay attention, we have to note what is taking place.
Here's an interesting stat: For his career, Derek Jeter batted .310. His post season batting average for his career was .308. Talk about being consistent!
Baseball is a funny game. One never knows what will happen. Harrison Bader, brought in, primarily, for defense, has been a bit erratic in centerfield. He wasn't brought in to hit much. Of course, he's blasted three homers. Who could have predicted that? Oh, I did (sort of). This is what I wrote for last week's Tuesday Discussion:
Just for fun (and why not?), the player of the series will be Harrison Bader. He'll hit .375 and smash 3 home runs in the Yankees' four game victory. Just for more fun, he'll also drop an easy fly ball just so John Sterling can say, "Isn't that amazing?"
For his one hit last night, Aaron Judge ran, hard, down the first base line to leg out an infield single. This is the type of playing I love to see. It's the playoffs. Run hard! Aaron Judge sets a great example for his teammates. I think that kind of effort and hustle will, in the end, impact more on decision makers as they look at his contract that his poor batting average this series. We don't always get hits. We don't always make the plays. But, we can, and must, always give our best.
Gleyber Torres did not give his best. We have seen that a lot from him. More than enough - the lack of hustle. I want to see the players playing hard. I don't like seeing players loafing. Torres loafed last night in a big spot and it resulted in being doubled up. Torres, with effort like that, might be playing his way off the team.
One can see how good Jose Trevino is behind the plate as he seems to get close pitches called strikes and other catchers don't. Strikes look like strikes with Trevino back there. He's great at what he does.
Josh Donaldson has played very well defensively all series. He's made play after play in the field.
Giancarlo Stanton's stock has fallen so much, that no one even really talks about the fact that he also isn't hitting. He sometimes runs into a pitch, but it almost seems more by luck than anything else. I think Yankees fans and such have gotten to the point that we wouldn't be shocked if he hits a few loud homers in a game or series, but, at the same time, we don't expect much when he comes to the plate.
I feel bad for IKF, but he wasn't brough in to be the shortstop forever. He was brought in top hold the position for the young kids. He did that. He did his job. It's now time for the young kids to play. For now, for tonight, that should be Cabrera. I think having Aaron Hicks, and his defense in left field, is the best set-up for tonight.
I really hope, if the Yankees win tonight, that they put Oswald Peraza on the ALCS roster. I think it's clear that he can play a role in this post season.
If the Yankees win, they will get their chance to get even with the Astros. That should be an amazing series. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Let's Go Yankees!