YANKEES POSTSEASON: Random Stream of Thoughts
By Mike Whiteman 10/10/2022
*** In a real interesting twist of Yankee history, October 10th is the anniversary of a number of negative Yankee events 1904 – Jack Chesbro’s errant spitter evades the reach of catcher Red Kleinlow, allowing the winning run to score and the Boston Americans (later Red Sox) knock the Highlanders from the pennant race. https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NYA/NYA190410101.shtml 1926 – Babe Ruth is thrown out trying to steal second base, ending Game Seven of the World Series, as the Yanks fall to the Cardinals, https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NYA/NYA192610100.shtml 1957 – On two days’ rest, Lew Burdette wins his third game of the World Series and the Braves shock the Yankees and take the title. https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NYA/NYA195710100.shtml
1980 – George Brett rips a three-run HR off of Goose Gossage, sealing a three game sweep in the ALCS. https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NYA/NYA198010100.shtml
So, I’m kinda glad the playoffs start October 11th! ********** I’m a student of Yankee history and am constantly looking for connections to Yankee teams of the past. Will Matt Carpenter be this year’s Darryl Strawberry off the bench? Could Clarke Schmidt be this year’s 2009 Phil Hughes? Luis Severino this year’s 1996 David Cone? ********** I’ve said before that Isiah Kiner-Falefa has become a favorite of mine with his hustling style play and ability to be a player in a small-ball situation due to his speed and bat handling skills. I could see a bottom half of the lineup of IKF, Harrison Bader, and Jose Trevino manufacture some runs in close postseason games. That being said, Oswald Peraza sure has looked good. Has he impressed the Yankee brain trust enough to give him some playing time if IKF falters? The last time I can recall when a young player rode a late push into real postseason playing time would be 1998, when Shane Spencer and Ricky Ledee played a lot of left field on the way to the World Series Championship. ********** I consider myself a bit of a traditionalist who misses the pennant races prior to the three division change in 1994. Like other sports, MLB is putting their eggs into the postseason basket as opposed to the winner-take all division races. I must admit though, the new format is pretty interesting, as when this is being written, there are must four teams in a must-win situation. Compelling! ********** I’m hoping to see Jameson Taillon get a start or two (or three) this postseason. With a decision needing to be made on his future this offseason, I’d like to see how he responds to playoff pressure before committing to the multi-year contract he’ll certainly be seeking. I’ve always enjoyed watching control pitchers work and enjoy watching “Jamo”. I’d like to see him back in pinstripes in the future. ********** A difference in this Yankee playoff team from some of their predecessors is the depth of this squad. This has the potential to create difficult decisions for Aaron Boone. What if Giancarlo Stanton is dreadfully flat in the first two games of the series? Who sits among Josh Donaldson, DJ LeMahieu, and Gleyber Torres? It’s one thing to sit during the regular season, but everyone wants in the postseason games. Oswaldo Cabrera has been so good this year, but what if he struggles in the postseason? Would Boone even consider Stanton in the field and Carpenter at DH if the team was in desperate need for offense? Lots of opportunities for second-guessing. Joe Torre had the golden touch (remember 1996) in situations such as these. Here’s hoping for similar wisdom from Boone. ********** Much is made of “who do you want the Yanks to play” in the playoffs. I don’t get too excited in most cases, as championship teams need to play and beat elite teams. Of course, I wouldn’t be upset is Seattle beat Houston in their ALDS series. ********** Which Yankees will rise to the occasion in this year’s playoffs? My gut says Luis Severino, Harrison Bader, and Giancarlo Stanton will shine in their series against Cleveland, one in which I think the Yankees will win in four games. ********** Speaking of Bader, the much maligned trade for Jordan Montgomery looks to be one that is helped both teams, as the Yankees and Cardinals seem to have met their goals for the deal this season. The trade also looks to be a good match for both players going forward, as Montgomery has expressed comfort in St. Louis and Bader as well in New York. Another lesson that baseball is a “long game” sport. Well, a “long game“ sport except for now. We’ve got to win three of the next five games. I’d feel real good if the Yanks can pull out a Game One win behind Cole with Cortes and Severino in waiting. Lets go Yankees!