Another Yankee Postseason.
The Twins on the other side of the field.
So, of course, the Yankees win Game 1 of the American League Division Series 10-4.
Say what you want about how good the Twins are this season, when they play the Yankees, all bets are off.
And today, the Bombers put their 2019 formula to work. Not just with home runs but some well timed hits, with their starter – James Paxon – just going enough and then leave it to the bullpen.
This time, manager Aaron Boone decided to split up his one-two punch with JA Happ going in the eighth. It worked out well.
“We were prepared to be aggressive there, and we were prepared to try to split up the seventh, eighth, and ninth with Britton and Chappy in that spot, but once we got the lead leverage, we decided to go with J.A. there for an inning,” Boone said. “It was good to see him get in the game like that where, obviously, a different role for him, and I thought threw the ball really well.”
Listen, this is the playoffs and every pitch counts here. The 4:15 game felt intense for every minute as the Yankees worked the count at every at bat.
And it led to success as the Yankees got on base and that led to some timely hits.
“I thought we did a really good job today of getting on base, whether it’s walk or just finding a way to get on base,” said D. J. LeMahieu, who went 3-5 with a homer and 4 RBI. “I just feel like we had more opportunities to score than they did.”
That’s what the Yankees do, they find a way to score more than the opposition.
It didn’t matter that Paxon was shaky over his five inning and it didn’t matter that LeMahieu made a key error dropping a popup, which led to Minnesota runs.
The Yankees just continued to make their case and continued to play their game.
And it showed in the score.
“We did a really good job against their pitchers,” LeMahieu said. “I feel like we — every one of their pitchers that came in pretty much had tough innings against us, hard-fought innings. So I guess to come through there in a couple situations felt good.”
And let’s not forget the Yankee Stadium crowd, also known as the 10th (or 11th with the DH) on the field. Every one of the 49,233 in the stands were into every pitch and they intently almost willed the Yankees to victory, wearing down the Twins on each pitch.
Now, it’s not going to be like this every game. The Twins can jump out all over Masahiro Tanaka in Game 2, taking the crowd out. The Yankee bats could be shut down by Twin pitching. It has happened in the past and could again in the future.
But with Game 1 in the books, the Yankees are in the driver’s seat. Even with a great year by Minnesota, it was clear who was the better team out there tonight.
And the Yankees hope that continues into next week.