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The Tuesday Discussion: The Wild Card Game

October 5, 2021

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This week we’re having some fun. We asked our writers to look into their crystal balls and

“Make your prediction about what will happen in the Wild Card Game.”

Here are their responses:

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Paul Semendinger – The Yankees showed a great deal down the stretch. A great deal Gerrit Cole will be pitching with an extra day’s rest. The Yankees should head into Fenway and defeat the Red Sox. It will not be easy. It will be close, but I see the Yankees winning this game and battling the Rays in the ALDS.

Some fun predictions:

Gerrit Cole strikes out 8 batters over 7 innings of work

Anthony Rizzo homers.

Kyle Higashioka homers as well.

The Yankees win 4-2.

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Cary Greene – I want to believe, even though the 2021 Yankees have been wildly inconsistent. I want to trust that the Yankees will hit clutch home runs and overrun the Red Sox pitching staff and earn an easy victory. I want to place my faith in Gerrit Cole and predict that he’ll rise to the challenge and elevate to postseason form, pitching into the 8th inning as he dominates Boston hitters with overpowering stuff.

We’ve seen Cole turn in some pretty impressive, high stakes performances since he came to the Yankees. Granted, he’s had a rough final month of the season, going 3-3 with a 5.13 ERA as opposing hitters have batted .282 against him while Cole averages 5 innings and change per start.

More than likely, any chance of a Yankees victory depends upon how effective Cole is and how deep into the game Cole can get. He’s not pitching well right now and I don’t feel confident.

I’m also concerned that Gerrit Whitlock has been activated just in time to make an impact in this one game playoff and it does feel like this game could come down to whichever bullpen does a better job.

Ultimately, I don’t have a ton of faith in the Yankee offense to be able to manufacture some runs and pressure Boston’s defense on the bases. Therefore, it’s going to come down to can Aaron Judge or Giancarlo Stanton come up big in this game? It’s unfortunately a home run or bust approach for NY at this point.

If the Yankees had that dynamic of blazing speed and ability to steal bases that they had going on when Greg Allen and Estevan Florial were part of the active roster, I’d feel better about the offense and it’s chances to scratch out a run here or there. Who knows what we’ll get with this Yankee offense right now?

I think Boston’s pitching will hold up and I think they’ll benefit tremendously from hosting this game and playing in front of their home fans. If their offense can touch Cole up, I think the Red Sox can take a lead heading into the middle innings.

Whitlock being available may play a huge part in this game and the Red Sox should be able to build a bit on the early lead they will likely take.

I also don’t think Gerrit Cole is going to all of a sudden find another gear and pitch deep into the game. While he’s capable of turning in a gem, he’s been tailing off pretty badly as the season has wound down. It all adds up to a Red Sox win, 7-2 – in a game that just grew further and further out of reach for the one dimensional Yankee offense.

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Mike Whiteman – The Yankees have won their last two Wild Card games (2017 and 2018). I’m not sure there’s any real significance to that, but I think they will run their Wild Card “winning streak” to three games.

In his remarks yesterday, Gerrit Cole stated that he couldn’t wait to get on the mound tonight, and I think he will be pretty amped up. I see him coming out blazing, and will make it roughly five innings before Aaron Boone goes to the bullpen, after which some configuration of Luis Severino, Clay Holmes, Chad Green and Aroldis Chapman will keep the Red Sox in check.

On offense, I think it will be a continutaion of the Judge and Stanton show, mixing in some clutch moments by Anthony Rizzo and Brett Gardner.

It all adds up to a 6-3 Yankee win.

*** Ethan Semendinger – Gerrit Cole vs. Nathan Eovaldi. In my mind, I figured the Red Sox were going to try and get Chris Sale the start for the Wild Card Game, but they instead used him for 3 innings this past Sunday. (And it appears as though he won’t be added to the WCG Roster.)

However, who has the upper-hand? I don’t think either team really does. Cole has been shaky recently (4.35 ERA in his past 7 games) and Eovaldi has looked better (3.86 ERA over last 7), though against easier competition. What this game is going to come down to is what team has the better bullpen configuration, of which the Yankees have the advantage.

A combination of Severino, Peralta, Loaisiga, and Chapman should be the first 4 options (if necessary). Add in some arms like Holmes and Green if the Yankees offense gets ahead by a good amount. The Red Sox don’t have this same luxury as their best reliever is coming directly off injury (Whitlock) and the rest of their bullpen is just fine and not great.

My prediction? I think both Cole and Eovalid go 6 innings of 2-run baseball. Each team keeps it close as the Red Sox put together a solid inning of contact-first to score their 2 while the Yankees hit 2 solo Home Runs to get themselves an early lead and get back the tie. (My guess: Rizzo and Torres hit the HR’s.)

Once the game goes to the bullpen, the Yankees will hold the Red Sox to just 1 more run over the final 3 innings.

The Red Sox will allow 3 runs to the Yankees, forcing them to use their best relievers to get the win tonight.

Yankees win 5-3.

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Andy Singer – The Yankees love hitting at Fenway Park against Nathan Eovaldi, and the fun doesn’t stop tonight. As I predicted on the Bronx Beat Podcast yesterday, I say the Yankees have a dominating 8-1 win over the Red Sox on the back of a classic Gerrit Cole outing. Cole throws 7 strong innings, striking out 10 Red Sox batters while allowing just a single run on an early solo shot. Judge and Stanton bring the noise, driving in a combined 5 runs between them with a homer each. Loaisiga and Chapman will wipe out the Sox in order in the 8th and 9th innings, setting up a difficult showdown against the Rays in the ALDS.

#FenwayPark #RedSox #WildCard

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