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The Views From 314ft Podcast Episode 31: What’s Next?

Randy and Derek team up to give their overall impressions of the Yankees’ 2020 season and start to turn their attention towards the 2021 season. The blog brothers identify areas that will need improvement and come up with some preliminary solutions for those areas.

The podcast is still being recorded remotely. We are operating over Skype so we apologize in advance for any sound quality issues. We hope you continue to bear with us as internet connections can always be tricky during recording.

The podcast is now available on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher so please subscribe, drop a five-star rating, and spread the word. We hope this gives you some distraction from all the craziness in the world right now.

Again, we apologize for any sound quality issues. We’re making the most of an inconvenient situation as all of you are. Please don’t forget to subscribe to the pod and spread the word.

The Views From 314ft Podcast Episode 28: The ALDS

Randy pulls another Mike Francesa as the other blog brothers take care of some personal and work business. Randy recaps the confounding decision to use an opener with Deivi García and then turning to JA Happ. He then moves on to break down the remaining games of the ALDS and gives his prediction for the series. You may also want to stick around for the CB Bucknor rant. Heads up, this was recorded right before Game 3 so the result of last night’s game wasn’t known.

The podcast is still being recorded remotely. We are operating over Skype so we apologize in advance for any sound quality issues. We hope you continue to bear with us as internet connections can always be tricky during recording.

The podcast is now available on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher so please subscribe, drop a five-star rating, and spread the word. We hope this gives you some distraction from all the craziness in the world right now.

Again, we apologize for any sound quality issues. We’re making the most of an inconvenient situation as all of you are. Please don’t forget to subscribe to the pod and spread the word.

Thoughts Following The ALDS Game 2 Loss

Game 2 of the ALDS was bizarre. It was bizarre before the game even started. That theme continued after the game as well. It is a bit difficult to recall a pre-game strategy potentially influencing an entire playoff series to this degree. The Yankees and Rays are tied 1-1. Even after calming down from last night’s rollercoaster experience, I still believe a different approach delivers a commanding 2-0 series lead. Here are some thoughts.

The Opener Plan Didn’t Make Sense

The Tampa Bay Rays have a middle of the pack offense. Outside of Randy Arozarena, aka Randy Trout, and Brandon Lowe, there aren’t many dynamic offensive players on their roster. Here are some of their numbers and rankings in various offensive categories:

  • 109 WRC+ (9th)
  • .325 wOBA (13th)
  • .425 SLG (15th)
  • 26.9 K% (2nd)
  • 0.40 BB/K (15th)
  • 289 R (12th)
  • 608 K (1st)

This isn’t a dominant lineup in any sense of the word. It would be unfair to say the Rays construct their lineups using smoke and mirrors but they have to employ non-traditional approaches to maximize their talent. This is one major reason why they rely so much on platoon situations. They can’t throw nine guys out there, sit back and watch the lineup do their thing. In other words, they don’t have the luxury of trotting out a lineup like the Yankees or Dodgers. So, if that is the case, why are the Yankees developing a pitching game plan rooted in concern for the Rays platoon approach?

Aaron Boone wanted to force the Rays’ hand by counteracting their lefty lineup with JA Happ. Boone went on to say the Yankees didn’t go into the game limiting Deivi to just one inning. The length of Deivi’s outing was dependent upon what they saw from the young starter. One definitive aspect of this strategy was going to Happ early in the game. The Yankees didn’t know exactly when they would go to him.

None of this makes any sense. The foundational logic of the strategy has flaws. As we all know by now, there are no off days on the ALDS schedule. The Yankees have a short bullpen for multiple reasons. One of those reasons being a lack of dependable options. The team willingly entered a bullpen game with a 1-0 series lead, no off days, and few trustworthy arms. Yes, there is the potential for a bullpen game at some point in this series but why push it up to the second game of the series when you have a fantastic opportunity to take a commanding lead? If you take care of business in the first three games, there is no need for a bullpen heavy game.

You have to gameplan for that day’s game. This idea that you need one eye on today and one eye on the future leaves you cross-eyed and tied in a huge playoff series. Overall, the Yankees need length from their starters. They don’t need less of it. García had some jitters. He gave up a home run to Arozarena but there wasn’t anything alarming about his lone inning of work. The platoon game isn’t a strong enough reason to immediately turn to Happ in the second inning. It especially doesn’t make sense because Deivi got the two lefties out and gave up a home run to a red hot righty hitter. Also, if you didn’t know when you were going to Happ, why was he up in the pen after three pitches? It is confounding that a team with limited pitching depth consciously chose to burn two pitchers in two innings because of some perceived platoon advantage.

Speaking of perceived platoon advantage, Kevin Cash and the Rays didn’t even take the bait. The Yankees plan was so out of left field the Rays probably knew something funky was up. Boone showed his hand before the game even started. The Rays didn’t scramble and start playing the match-up game. Cash showed faith in their game plan. The team who has to use innovative approaches to win just threw their guys out there and competed. That should tell you all you need to know about the Yankees plan last night. The team that needs creativity to survive went the traditional route. The team with the imposing roster got cute for no reason and paid for it. It may be a better strategy to just assert your dominance and win a series.

One other confusing aspect of the Yankees’ strategy is building the game plan around the team’s most inconsistent starter. JA Happ hasn’t earned the right to be the centerpiece of a playoff game plan. Happ pitched well in his last couple of starts in the regular season. The overall body of work still remains. It feels shortsighted to allow a few productive starts to influence a pitching strategy that is already undermining the situation and context of the entire series. And to make matters worse, the “bulk” guy didn’t provide much bulk. Happ went 2 2/3 innings and probably should’ve been pulled earlier. The opener strategy didn’t make much sense in a conceptual manner and the execution of the strategy made matters worse. It was a bad strategy that truly earned its results.

ALDS Game 1: All Aboard The Cole Train

This is what we wanted. We had to endure a season-series long beatdown from the Rays to get to this moment. Yes, the games were close. The Yankees weren’t at their best or healthiest. The truth remains the Rays handled the pinstripes all year. It doesn’t matter now. The Yankees are healthy. They are hungry. And they are better than the Rays. Now, they have to go out and prove it.

Gerrit Cole gets the nod for this all important first game. Bobby did a great job of detailing why he is the man for this moment. I highly recommend reading his piece if you haven’t already. There is one thing I would like to add. Cole needs to go deep in this game for a multitude of reasons. The biggest one is saving the pen for tomorrow night’s game after the big announcement from Aaron Boone this afternoon. We will get to that in a moment.

Another reason for Cole giving the team substantial length is Blake Snell’s inability to go deep into games. Outside of his eight inning performance against the Yankees earlier this year, Snell doesn’t go beyond the sixth inning many times. It is a big accomplishment if he actually completes six innings. The sooner the Yankees can get into Tampa’s bullpen the better. The Rays pen is good but flawed. It would be advantage Yankees A-lineup if they can get to their pen before the Rays get to the Yankees’ pen. And speaking of tonight’s lineups, here they are.

Tampa Bay Rays

  1. Yandy Díaz
  2. Brandon Lowe
  3. Randy Arozarena
  4. Ji-Man Choi
  5. Manuel Margot
  6. Joey Wendle
  7. Willy Adames
  8. Kevin Kiermaier
  9. Mike Zunino

LHP Blake Snell

New York Yankees

  1. DJ Lemahieu
  2. Aaron Judge
  3. Aaron Hicks
  4. Luke Voit
  5. Giancarlo Stanton
  6. Gio Urshela
  7. Gleyber Torres
  8. Clint Frazier
  9. Kyle Higashioka

RHP Gerrit Cole

  • Deivi García will get the Game 2 start. This is a pretty big surprise. It will most likely be a piggyback situation where the Yankees look for Deivi to go through the order at least one time and then let the game dictate the decision making. It is possible we see JA Happ or Jordan Montgomery back up Deivi. This feels like a risk, but I have faith in García. He will be the youngest pitcher to start a playoff game for the New York Yankees. That is pretty damn dope.
  • Michael King was added to the ALDS roster. Eric Kratz was removed. If Michael King throws a pitch in this series, the Yankees may be in trouble.
  • The game begins at 8:08 pm EDT on TBS and WFAN. Enjoy the game and go Yankees.

The Views From 314ft Podcast Episode 27: The Playoff Preview Pt. 2

Randy and Bobby cover all things related to the big Wild Card Series matchup against the Cleveland Baseball Team. They give their thoughts on the team heading into the series and the importance of having Gerrit Cole starting Game 1 for the Yankees. The duo also discusses Cleveland’s poor offense, x-factors for the Yankees, and gauge their confidence level (it’s pretty high). We recorded right before Game 1 so we obviously don’t get into the moments of the big win to start the series.

The podcast is still being recorded remotely. We are operating over Skype so we apologize in advance for any sound quality issues. We hope you continue to bear with us as internet connections can always be tricky during recording.

The podcast is now available on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher so please subscribe, drop a five-star rating, and spread the word. We hope this gives you some distraction from all the craziness in the world right now.

Again, we apologize for any sound quality issues. We’re making the most of an inconvenient situation as all of you are. Please don’t forget to subscribe to the pod and spread the word.

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