Well, we saw the Yankees’ “Dr. Jekyll,” in the Wild Card series in Cleveland, instead of the regular season, “Mr. Hyde.” I picked against the Yankees but it was an impressive start to their post-season, however, the Rays will be a “whole new ballgame.”
The Yankees scored 22 runs and they needed every bit of the ten they scored in game two to hold off a gritty Cleveland team. The Yankees did not make an error in either game which was encouraging. Of course, you can’t talk good defense until you mention the great defense of Gio Urshela at third base. Everyone saw the play he made to start the eighth inning, ending double play that became even more significant after the Yankees’ ninth inning rally.
Gleyber Torres came alive at the right time and will be counted on heavily, going forward. Brett Gardner had a really good first game and had an important walk in front of Gary Sanchez’ two run homer in game two. Sanchez has shown some life in his bat and had a big at-bat in the ninth with a sacrifice fly. Giancarlo Stanton showed some promising signs with two home runs, including a big one in game two that got the Yankees on the board in the second inning and came right after Cleveland put up a four run first against Masahiro Tanaka.
There are some negatives (sorry) to take out of this series. Even though Aaron Judge hit a huge home run in game one, since that point, he was 0 for 8 to finish 1 for 9 with four strikeouts. Aaron Hicks walked three times and scored four runs but he only had a misjudged triple and was 1 for 8. The Yankees are going to need more from those two hitters against Tampa Bay.
After Gerrit Cole’s outstanding performance in game one, the Yankees’ pitching was suspect, to say the least. The Indians came into the series with one of the worst offenses in baseball, yet they were able to score nine runs, without the benefit of a home run in game two. The Yankee bullpen is not as reliable as its reputation and needs to step up in the next round.
Manager Aaron Boone made some poor decisions. You don’t pinch-run for your hottest hitter, when you have a two run lead in the seventh inning on the road, in a game that was displaying signs of coming down to the last at-bat. Tanaka should not have started the fifth inning.
In the 7th inning, I would’ve let Britton pitch to pinch hitter Jordan Luplow. I didn’t care about Luplow’s numbers against left handers. I know Britton walked two consecutive batters but it’s still a matter of a veteran as opposed to an inexperienced Jonathan Loaisiga and that was my call at the time. Loaisiga does not have the resume of Britton, who knows how to get out of jams, even ones of his own creation.
You can’t expect the Yankees to generate the offense against Tampa Bay, the same way they did against Cleveland. Even with their impressive run output in the two games, they were 6 for 21 with RISP. Against Tampa, the Yankees overall game will need to be better.
Once the other MLB owners approve Steve Cohen as the new owner of the Mets, then the club can get down to the business of improving their team for, what is hopefully, a regular 162-game season and playoffs (?) in 2021. The quicker, the better so the team can navigate the direction they want to take with the structure of the front office.
Cohen already let it be known that, once he’s officially approved, former GM Sandy Alderson will be named the President of the team. What that means for GM Brodie Van Wagenen is anyone’s guess, it’s important because this is a crucial off season for the Mets.
At 32, Jacob deGrom is not getting any younger and the Mets have already wasted a number of his prime years. Rookie lefthander David Peterson performed well, but has not gone around the league yet, while the Mets hope to get Noah Syndergaard back next season. Edwin Diaz was much better, but the rest of the bullpen as a whole remained unreliable. There’s no disputing that the Mets will need starting pitching and maybe a bullpen arm or two.
The Mets need a steady presence in center field and have to decide if they want to keep using Jeff McNeil and/or Dom Smith in left field. Pete Alonso had a tough time and will have to make adjustments next season. I thought Alonso became too obsessed with his glove and got away from his offense.
The good news is that it appears that the “Universal DH” will be implemented on a permanent basis next season. With the way the roster is constructed, the Mets will make good use of a DH and they do have some trade chips.
With a couple of “smart” moves, the Mets are not that far away of being a prime playoff contender in 2021.
It’s the 42nd anniversary of Bucky “Bleepin” Dent.
The former Yankee shortstop was handed that moniker by “Red Sox Nation,” after his famous, three-run, seventh inning home run became the turning point of the 1978 AL East, one game playoff. The Yankees had rallied from 14½ games behind in July to overtake Boston. The Yankees actually “backed in” to the one game playoff because they had a one game lead heading into the final day of the regular season and lost, while Boston won their game to set up an historic day.
The Yankees and Red Sox were not just bitter rivals, but arguably, the two best teams in baseball that season. Both teams had 99 wins going into the game (the stats counted as a regular season game) so it was going to take 100 wins to decide the 1978 American League East Division title.
Dent’s three-run homer overcame a 2-0 deficit to give the Yankees a lead they would not relinquish. The Yankees added two more runs but the gutty Red Sox made it a one run game that ended on Carl Yastrzemski’s iconic pop up in the ninth.
Yankees won the game, 5-4 and eventually won a second straight World Series title, their 22nd overall.
In 60 years of watching the Yankees, that was one of the greatest games that I’ve ever seen.